I just watched Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I've seen it before, but it hit me differently this time. I don't why, but I started thinking about our elections and how much our political parties are like two large tribes that have very different points of view. Then there is another tribe that both of the big tribes have as members. I'm talking about the Christians.
The Christians came to the United States with good intentions. The truth is that the people who settled in New England were Puritans at first. They anchored their lives and lifestyle into the land and felt that somehow they were going to found a “Christian Nation.” This is a contradiction because the word says that we are not citizens of this world. We are sojourners. We are to render unto the government what the government requires (as long as we don't give up our faith.)
I see history repeating itself again and again. The crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crimean wars, the slaughter of Native Americans and I am sure there is more. All over land and power that has nothing at all to do with Christianity. Now it is the Republicans against the Democrats. There are Christians in both parties yet they align themselves holding that we should stand strong to our values or they will disappear.
I would say they disappeared as soon as we stepped on this land and tried to make it our own. Yes, we have to live our lives, but we came here and tried to pound God into a people that already knew Him; apparently better than we did.
In a Washington state tribe, two medicine men got a message from God that told them that two white men were coming to tell them about Him. God told them not to resist them because it would make trouble. God also told them that more white men would follow and asked them to send the Chief's sons to the Christian School that would be built. They did this because “they” heard from Wankan Tanken, The Great Mystery, in whom they believed. They were way ahead of us. They didn't even have a word for “land ownership” in their language because theirs was a spiritual life.
As European Christians, we became so homogenized with the ancient philosophies of the Greeks, the ways of Rome, and the Pagan beliefs and customs of northern Europe that the true meaning of what it meant to be a Christian was polluted. Gone were the days when people met underground if necessary, or house to house. Gone was the time when we didn't need a leader because we had the Spirit of God with us. Gone were the people who were unconnected to the government but understood the spirit.
We have become so polluted that very few people really know what the gospel is. They go to church, they experience liturgy, but they don't know the Father and the Son. They don't live the spiritual life that the Native Americans knew in their everyday life.
They were awed by nature. They constantly gave thanks for God's provisions. They called God The Great Mystery because they knew he was indefinable. Perhaps the Native Americans could give us a lesson if there were enough of them that still remembered what they had lost. Now I fear what they experience is only a liturgy of what was.
As this election approaches, I implore Christians to stay away from putting down opponents that are against what you believe. Yes, vote. Seek God and if someone asks, give your opinion. But berating others does not make your candidate sound better. It doesn't further the Gospel. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's. Seek a spiritual life that does not include a huge pile of things. Lose the feeling like you have a “right” to ownership. (I am not saying we can't buy a home to live in if it is an expedient thing to do.) But if we are not citizens of this world, but of Heaven, can we really own anything here anyway? Does all the angst really belong in our lives? I think not.