Sunday, January 6, 2019

We as Christians have a responsibility to understand our role

in today's planetary and moral crisis.

How do we redeem our own spiritual lineage embedded in a history of patriarchy and white supremacy in order to act in right relationship with all creation and with our beloved Mother Earth?

An exploration of the history that legitimized the cultural and physical genocide of the Indigenous Peoples of North America and the establishment and growth of US white supremacy with its continuing effects today. 

We are learning, some of us for the first time, about the Doctrine of 
Christian Discovery/Domination  dating from the 15th century and, unbelievably, still enshrined in law today. 

Over the past 500 years the  Doctrine of Christian Discovery/Domination has established patterns of dehumanization that have become institutionalized in language, thought, and behavior in our American cultural and legal systems. White privilege, patriarchy and climate disruption, are just some of the current harms legitimized by it. We are now coming to a fuller recognition of the deep trauma resulting from the enslavement and genocide perpetrated on the Indigenous peoples by the original settlers and colonizers of this country and its connection to Christian actions. 

These systems of oppression harm the bodies, hearts, minds and spirits of all with whom we share this country and threaten our future.
Understanding that I am not a professional historian, I want to share what I have learned about the ideologies that were imported from Europe of superiority, divine providence and the historical narratives used to legitimize those beliefs and actions across the world, particularly in North America.  Endeavoring to look at more than the linear story commonly told about our country’s origin,  I look at some parts of our histories that are not usually exposed, but are suppressed by the dominant power structure.

I look at the truth about my own family histories so as to better understand my place now, in particular as a person of faith. I want to understand how we got where we are embedded in a culture of continuing oppressions, and on-going harms, in crisis mode today. Who are we, how did we get here, and where are we now? How can we live in right relationship within today’s world? How can we leave a legacy of well-being to our future generations?

My great, great grandfather, General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, 
Californio Patron, Director of Colonization of Northern California, for Mexico, 1835

My great, great grandfather, General P. Edward Connor,
Father of Mining of Utah and
perpetrator of the Bear River Massacre, 1863, Idaho

I have noticed a disconnection with my own authentic sense of self, particularly as an elder and person of faith in this culture, but also in grasping what responsibility do I have for my own lifetime and all the past lifetimes that created me today? I am committed to understanding today's systems of oppression and racism and the roots of the injustice within the foundations of our own American and Christian history.

C:\Users\marthur\Documents\Waking Up to Our Own History\uf4E5JxHziFhGD28kMvYvb4B.jpeg

l honor very valid feelings of pain, grief, horror, anger, can be held with compassionate acceptance so that our self-identities may change in the process.  I understand that as Christians and descendants of white colonizers/settlers and immigrants, by facing the full dimensions of our histories, with the sense of loss and disconnection that comes to the dominant group in the US, we might feel shame. 

Instead, let us reconnect to our capabilities of empathy, moral principles and spiritual values. We can try to hold to the larger story of connection that is justice and care-oriented with the responsibilities and obligations of being in right relationship with today's world.

What connection is there between the social justice focus of Christians with the current truth of the status of Indigenous today? What actions and reparations are we obligated to do? How do we Christian whites respond to the intimate history that we are part of and its results still seen today? How do I reconcile my family history and my spiritual heritage with my own integrity and self-identity and act to create a loving, caring world?

A Litany for Those not Ready for Healing

Shake Us From Our Slumber

When our eyes do not see the gravity of racial justice,
Shake us from our slumber and open our eyes, O Lord.

When out of fear we are frozen into inaction,
Give us a spirit of bravery, O Lord.

When we try our best but say the wrong things,
Give us a spirit of humility, O Lord.

When the chaos of this dies down,
Give us a lasting spirit of solidarity, O Lord.

When it becomes easier to point fingers outwards,
Help us to examine our own hearts, O Lord.

God of truth, in your wisdom, Enlighten Us.
God of hope in your kindness, Heal Us.
Creator of All People, in your generosity, Guide Us.

Racism breaks your heart,
break our hearts for what breaks yours, O Lord.
Ever present God, you called us to be in relationship with one another and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered. In our community, we are many different people; we come from many different places, have many different cultures. Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion and the treasures of diversity among us. We pray in faith.
      - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.