Further Thoughts on Colonialism

In recently reading for class, I was exposed to universality, that there is a “universal” way of life, or culture, or means by which one lives one’s life.  What if his worldview doesn’t allow for an understanding what a kiss is?  We think, assume, project, etc. that other cultures have an understanding of these things.  If they don’t, they are ought of the norm, abnormal if you will.  Capitalism, as a foundational tenet, has defined Euro cultures and her western descendants.  What does this mean then, for the non-Western cultures?  We have superimposed this image of wealth onto these nations, tribes and peoples.  Resources, certain types of mathematics as the means of order and structure, the money these facets offer in forms of trade, have been foisted on these nations due to power and might garnered by the resources of those acquired before them.  Now, in a more post-colonial age, we have the hollow skeleton of those structures left behind in what seems the transient space between an indigenous culture, and the “proper” or “normative/normal” western economy. 

(These of course our my thoughts, visceral reactions without more informed readings into colonialism or even of the history of the peoples that I refer to.  That being said, it would seem that these post colonized peoples have no means of maintaining, perhaps not even understanding it.  It cannot be fully integrated into the people, the worldview. )

In the movie the God’s Must Be Crazy, the Bush People were portrayed in their historical and indigenous ways.  Small, nomadic peoples of the land.  But in watching the bonus features, the Bushman in the movie, played by a Bushman, revealed the stark truth of Bushpeoples’ situation.  They are disenfranchised, have no money (not of great accord at one time), and are no longer mobile but live in a non-mobile community.  Are these attributes introduced by colonialism?  How do we respond to this?  How do we take responsibility for this?  Europe raped and screwed Africa with its politics and colonialism actively until 1960, when Belgium, France, and other European countries divided up the continent, as if it was theirs!  Their policies and practices continue to reap the oppressive fruit of colonialism.

Further, how is this tied to Christendom?  How has this colonialism tied itself to our worldview and community of Jesus?  Do we “do” “evangelism” with this view of normality or universality?  Is this the result of which the Crusades were born?  In the non-spiritual sense, how do Euro-ancenstral people of Jesus live our lives (for I am one of them) in systems which continue to oppress in this way?  How do our jobs, raise our families, etc., so that we are raise our collective voice for the poor, the marginalized, for the nations cast in the image of wealth?

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~ by Brian Shope on September 25, 2007.

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