How Soon We Forget…

239 years old…seems like a long time doesn’t it.  I mean the oldest person in the world as of July of 2015 was 116 years old.  So yea 239 years is pretty old…but a quick look around finds that it’s actually not as old as say something that had its start in 660 BCE Japan, or 221 BCE China.  If we were to look at ages then we would look at other’s France is about 843, Austria sits at 976, Denmark started in the 10th century, Hungary is 1001, Portugal 1143, Mongolia 1206 Thailand 1238, Andorra 1287, Switzerland 1281, and Monaco 1419.

If you are a Christ follower and you believe the Bible you come to the realization that middle eastern countries have been around for a really really long time as well.  So again 239 not all that old in the grand scheme of things.

The thing that so fascinates me is the fact that in spite of the young age of our country, Americans as a whole tend to conveniently forget that before the founding of Jamestown in 1607, there were people who lived here.  I realize that if you add the 169 years between what is looked at as the founding of “our” people living in North America to 408 but still looking at all the countries I mentioned  well it’s not really all that big a stretch to be amazed at the shortness of our memories.

My point is simple, unless you are Shawnee, Apache, Aroostook, Dakota…the list goes on you are not really from here.  The truth is you don’t even have to go back nearly as far as 408 or 239 years to find that most of the people who are American citizens, even those born here haven’t been around that long.  My great grandmother and grandfather came from Italy, I grew up knowing her, she babysat me, met my wife the whole nine.  Without an Antoinette there would be no Aaron.  If the vast majority of us did a bit of digging we would find that we came from someplace else. The reasons very,  Back in the 1600’s people wanted the freedom to worship and so found a place they could go to do so in 1789 the following was written by Fischer Ames : 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  

We all recognize it and for many Christians we like the part that says congress won’t make a law that prohibits  the free exercise of religion, but are less inclined to admit that the country was NOT nor ever would be defined as a Christian Nation.  That’s what making no law respecting and establishment of religion means…We may be a nation that was founded by men who were Christians, and even that could be considered a stretch in some respects, but that is different than being a Christian Nation.  There is no national religion….anyway enough of that soap box.

Leviticus 19:34 (HCSB)
34  You must regard the foreigner who lives with you as the native-born among you. You are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Yahweh your God.

I’m guessing that some of you have already figured out where I’m going but in case you haven’t indulge me in a bit more history, that indirectly links to that verse in Leviticus, the beginning of our nation, and where we stand today and how angry I am at a vast majority of people claiming Christianity, and “americans”  small a on purpose, in general.

If it weren’t for Samoset and Squanto welcoming the Pilgrims and teaching them how to grow crops, there would have been no colony to kick this whole thing we call the USA off, and while I realize that at best I’ve just given a 1 graders Thanksgiving Report, there is something important to realize there.  These Native Americans were living out Leviticus 19:34, the tragedy is what those settlers, our ancestors did to the people who lived here in the first place, the real Americans as it were.  We should be taking a page from the Samoset book, or better yet, oh I don’t know THE BIBLE…not Mein Kampf

Now to the part that makes me angry when I read stories about idiotic white Americans running for president wanting to deport Muslims or keep them from immigrating, or seeking asylum I get angry.  When I read about some dumb white person in a suit in Chicago spitting on a young woman because she “looks like” she’s from the middle east, I seriously question what is wrong with my race, when I hear or see another story about a police officer beating someone because they have a badge and can seemingly do whatever they want, I feel I need to apologize to every person of color for bigotry and every person of a different faith than mine for the call to re-institute the Crusades.  If Republican…no no wait…if extremely right wing religious Republican…no that’s not enough either.  If Extremely Religious Right Wing Republican Tea Party, NRA members want to claim Christianity as their religion then they need to start acting like Christ, and if they aren’t going to act like Christ and they are going to end up being the face and voice of Christianity in the media and pop culture, then I’m out.  I will officially declare myself a Christ Follower, or as Paul said in Acts a follower of “The Way”

Acts 24:14 (HCSB)
14  But I confess this to you: I worship my fathers’ God according to the Way, which they call a sect, believing all the things that are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

The point is this.  God doesn’t change,  in Leviticus he told the children of Israel to treat people that were different than they were as though they were part of the family..(sure that’s an Aaron paraphrase but I think fairly accurate.)  In the New Testament Jesus tells us to Love God and Love People, he doesn’t put any qualifiers as to the type of people or kind of people or whatever just love God love people.  That’s what a christian is supposed to do…not encourage all his students to own a gun…not keep people out of the country or deport people because they are different.

I have said before that there are times I’m ashamed to be white….

I will say this.  I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto Salvation…I am not ashamed to be named with Christ, to be accused of being open and welcoming, full of love and grace and mercy to all… I believe with everything that is in me that if we live and move and have our being in Jesus, and model Jesus to others, God will deal with people, he will show them where they need to change, he will begin the process of rooting out the sins that so easily beset them…not me, not my church, not your church…

But I say with great sadness that there are times I am ashamed to be an american christian…because so many american christians have forgotten who Christ is, and that we are to be more like him and less like ourselves.

 

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