02 December 2009

Something To Be Thankful For On Thankstaking

On the Thankstaking holiday, I took my kids to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. Since America is built on the robbery, mass murder and displacement of the native population, then what better place to celebrate the day Americans give thanks for all they took from the Indians?

I expected the NMAI to be a downbeat, solemn place, an American Holocaust museum—but it was surprisingly cheerful. If there was one single exhibit which captured the native’s curious good cheer, it was this odd example of Indian adaptation:
The beaded Apache cell phone case: the red man’s craft in service of the white man’s technological wizardry. . .a game attempt to keep native tradition alive in the occupier’s culture.

Of course, the reservations do not reflect the same degree of cheer. They are forlorn bantustans of alcoholism and depression [one could make the case the reservations exhibit a more advanced stage of the disease known as Americanism]. But from the small window available to peer into reservation life, one does not get the impression the natives have sacralized their suffering to the degree of the Judaics, who have made their holocaust an object of worship and a means of redemption, sanctification and justification. One senses in the natives a stoic acceptance of their bitter lot in life. . .it is as if they had collectively internalized the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. . .

I would speculate, without being able to offer any supporting field data, the natives’ much more benign processing of their holocaust is due to their beliefs in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life.*

And, paradoxically, the Indians’ faith in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life* may have been reinforced and refined by the beliefs of their victimizers. As a brutal, bloody and extreme example of the kind of *preaching* observed in the following case by the imprisoned Apostle Paul, it could be argued the insincere Christianity of the white invaders did, indeed, deepen the natives’ faith in a *Higher Power* and an *after-life:*

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. . .

Therefore, one could reasonably argue the defeated natives found the white God, Jesus, more powerful than their gods, and thus many from the vanquished tribes *accepted* Christian conversion. . .if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em:
As my kids and I were examining the collection of Indian bibles, we discussed the rather inelegant introduction of the gospel into the Americas.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds. . .

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

So God has always used men and women to deliver the gospel, and given the imperfection of what is called *human nature,* we cannot be surprised, as we survey the history of the gospel, from Eden until our present day, that it is sometimes preached on a trail of tears. . .

And as we must believe God Almighty was able to implant the genuine faith of Christ into at least some number of those natives who *accepted* their conquerors Christianity, we also must, as my kids and I were at the NMAI on Thankstaking, be thankful God was able to salvage some eternal good from the white invaders’ wickedness.

[Additionally, I would hazard to guess those natives who truly receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, having been torn from their terrestrial homes by white *manifest destiny,* are less subject to the temptation of the devil’s nationalism, and have a deeper awareness of their true status as pilgrims and strangers (Hebrews 11:13), without citizenship here (Philippians 3:20), and are therefore more inclined to set their eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2). May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep them until the Day of the Lord.]

1 comment:

  1. The descendants of those wicked white conquerors will soon meet their own tribulations as many already are driven from their unpayable "Credit Borrowed" homes...The sins of the father will visit the son. So you reap you shall sow, this will be true until the world will witness Judgement Day!