Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sins of Our Fathers Part II

Judging from the reaction to table talk last week in Community, and from responses to last week's blog post, I think that I worded my last post poorly. We have spent a lot of time in the past dealing with the Revolution, and pondering Jesus' response. Last week's question however, was intended to draw more upon the westward expansion, than the founding of the original 13 colonies.
When I spoke of sins of our fathers, I had more in mind, the extermination of the natives, as was explained during our gathering last week. I may be wrong, but the picture I painted was that of a neighbor who begins to desire his neighbors land to the extent that he kills him in order to take it. And then the murderer procreates, has children, and eventually dies. The question that I have, is what is the responsibility of his children to those whom their father wronged?

Consider the following story told in a PBS show about the gold rush:

In the early days of the Gold Rush, from the very beginning, frustrated Anglo American miners banded together to form groups of essentially vigilante or volunteer militia groups. They were ad hoc organizations, and their stated objective was to exterminate the "red devils," to eliminate the obstacles that the native Californians had become in their minds. And their modus operandi was to attack native villages wherever they might find them in the vicinity of their mining activities, to eliminate their presence utterly, killing the men, the women, and the children. And this was considered to be a necessity.

The only way we will be able to mine in security, if all of these people are exterminated." And the language that they used at the time, "extermination," was precisely describing what they were attempting to do.

So, what is our response to such stories that are central to our great state of California? I shared on Sunday about our local Chumash history, and how the ranchers and Missionaries misrepresented themselves and ultimately dismantled an entire culture. What is our response to that?

My guess is that we have several options:
  • Claim "Manifest Destiny" (God wanted me to kill them). BTW, if this term is new to you, follow the link.
  • Claim "Survival of the Fittest".
  • Hope that I'm not culpable for the sins of my predecessors.
  • Close my eyes and plug my ears.
  • Strive to glorify God with what may have been attained sinfully (Gen 50:20)
  • ???


frisky said...

I think I was reading into the last post a little too much. I think I was being sensitive b/c I really feel like there is an attitude going around that if you're a Christian, then you shouldn't be patriotic, or even more so, anti-American. It seems like being patriotic is getting a bad name these days. So, I'm sorry, Ryan, for getting so defensive.
In regards to what you REALLY meant... I find it appalling that people would be so blood-thirsty just to get others "out of there way". I like what you said about striving to glorify God w/what may have been attained sinfully. I hope that's where my attitude is. I want to teach my kids to show respect to everybody, no matter what their skin color is, their income, or their level of education is. I think that's where part of my responsibility lies, to make sure my kids and I KNOW the past and make sure to not let it happen again. That's why I think it's important to learn as much about the people who we elect as leaders in our country . I think that's definitely one way to help make things right.
Okay, enough from me... anybody else?

I'mDarren said...

This past week I have been reading, in the NY Times archives, Lincoln's speeches before he became president. He said that the house can't stand divided. One side be it slavery or freedom, has to take over the other side or else the whole house will crumble. He continued to say that he hopes freedom prevails and that he could be a part of that. There is a point when you are sinning and as a Christian you want to devote your whole life to God. As you realize you can't with this sin you know you have to get rid of it, and then you do. From that point you repent and plead to God for forgiveness. No matter how much good you do from that point on, you can't be saved without Jesus, and your sins forgiven. I'm certain that Lincoln knew this, and he also knew that the Constitution was made to evolve with time. The Constitution isn't set in stone. Slaves can be freed and African Americans can be equal, despite what the constitution said when it was written. No matter where we are in life we have to know that our country was built up on a lot of sin, but there where also many good things, and there is nothing we can do about it. We can give the land back to the natives, but we have tried that and we have already ruined them enough that they don't know what to do. I think the only thing to do is get on our knees and beg God for Forgiveness of the sins of ourselves and the sins of our fathers. And then we can fight to make this country better. Like Frisky said it is frustrating when Christians get anti-American, and I am guilty of it as well, because we can always ban together and change what needs to be changed for the good of humanity.