Soleil Ho, “Craving the Other” (via unapologetically-yellow)
As a Christian myself, I’ve always been somewhat put off by individuals’ understanding of Christianity as an imperial religion. I would never deny something as atrocious as the Crusades or other imperialistic endeavors Christians may have pursued, but to color the religion off because of a Western mistake is naive and ignorant. Christianity started as a religion of the persecuted and was eventually instituted as the Roman empire’s official religion after Constantine had a conversion experience. That seminal event completely turned Christianity upside down. What once was shameful and hated became instituted and glorified. And now that Christianity had gained the blessing of the emperor, so too did Christianity begin to adopt ambitions of the empire: nationalism, imperialism, and growth.
Further, Christianity was a religion of the commoners. Jesus chose a group of fishermen—not the studied rabbis and learned men—to be his officers.
I understand the groaning of those who have been burned and cut by Christianity, but it is hard for me to accept their experiences as the end-all-be-all. The history of Christianity and proper Christianity in the contemporary world really shouldn’t be offensive at all.
My own narrative crosses with Christianity in the refugee camps in Thailand. My father, an orphaned Lao boy in pre-communist Laos, became a Christian in those camps at the diligence of Catholic missionaries. Professing his faith never ripped him from his cultural identity. It’s interesting, though, to visit an immigrant church in America. My father is now a pastor of a church largely composed of Lao refugees and their children. It’s interesting to look at what cultural values have persisted and what Western ideas of Christianity have permeated.
I don’t know man. I have a lot of thoughts about cultural identity and religious identity and I get irked when the two are put at odds because I feel like I exist fully in both.