Not My Jesus

October 12, 2019

Indigenous Peoples Day



By Bob Fabey


“If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” I Corinthians 13:3

On this day in 1492, Columbus and his soldiers approached the Native Americans on their first meeting with these words:

“I implore you to recognize the Church as our lady and in the name of the Pope take the King as lord of this land and obey his mandates. If you do not do it, I tell you that with the help of God I will enter powerfully against you all. I will make war everywhere and every way that I can. I will subject ;you to the yoke and obedience to the Church and to his majesty. I will take your women and children and make them slaves. .The deaths and injuries that you will receive from here on will be your fault and mot that of his majesty nor of the gentleman that accompany me.” from Lies My People Tell Me, James W. Loewen

In Not My Jesus, The Reverend Bob Farley, describes the evolution of of Jesus into the view points of our American consciousness, view points that justify racism, hatred, discrimination, wealth building, antisemitism, homophobia, and so on.

From the very beginning of the coming of the Europeans the foundation of the New World has been based on building wealth, power, and racial superiority of the white majority. War across the globe for this justification continues–against minority people’s, people of color.

Farley describes these images, and sums up the book in the image of the Crucified Christ who died, that we might have life through love. The Christ who calls us to love one another simply as  human beings. Farley calls us to see Jesus as the One who calls us to inclusive love.

I wear on my left hand a class ring, which has the initials KTS, 2017, and inside the band engraved, “Doctor of Ministry,” it is symbolic of the Doctor of Ministry Degree which was earned, but more it is symbolic of an experience of growth, in diversity, understanding, and faith, in a school that is theologically conservative. Of all the schools that I have attended, and of all my degrees, this degree symbolizes for me  the Jesus who is all inclusive, and holds his arms open to meeting everyone with their views, and biases on the common ground of love. The faculty remain my closest friends and confidants, because we stand in the love of  Jesus. They do not agree with me on anything for the most part–accept we stand in the love of Jesus, who loves us, and calls us to dialogue, and to see each other for who we are. I grew more in those two years at Knox ‘Theological Seminary, than I did in the other three schools, because of the dialogue. In the differences we found solidarity. Several of my friends warned me when I applied that “they will crucify you,” and instead we found resurrection, and new life.

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared at a time when the Spanish had basically destroyed the original inhabitants of Mexico, and the wealthy controlled everything. In her appearance she signaled that God was alive in the mixed race that had evolved, and in the original people, and identified and loved the poor. She continues to lead in that struggle against wealth and the discrimination and prejudice of immigrants. 

God is alive, and well in the face of those who stand against oppression, war, discrimination of all types, and racism. We simply need to embrace the Christ who stands with his arms open, inviting us to meet as equals, to dialogue, and to see each other as children of God, entitled to be loved as those children. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min., D.S.T.

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