I’ve been reading a few things lately. Two books from Erwin McManus that are great. Wide Awake and Chasing Daylight both are most reads for anyone who wants to pull away the veil and live life as it were intended. Then there is this other book that I happened upon, Reading Seattle: The City in Prose.
In Reading Seattle: The City in Prose’s first essay, “Northwest Gateway: The Story of the Port of Seattle,” Archie Binns quotes a speech made Chief Seattle. Parts of the speech really made me reflect upon just how arrogant we, as white believers of God, are. The Chief speaks to his people and the white nation that offered a treaty,
“Your God is not our God! Your God loves your people and hates mine. He folds his strong and protecting arms lovingly about the paleface and leads him by the hand as a father leads his infant son — but He has forsaken His red children — if they really are his. … The white man’s God cannot love our people or He would protect them. They seem to be orphans who can look nowhere for help. How then can we be brothers? How can your God become our God and renew our prosperity and awaken in us dreams of returning greatness? If we have a common heavenly father He must be partial — for He came to his paleface children. We never saw Him. He gave you laws but He had no word for His red children whose teeming multitudes once filled this vast continent as stars fill the firmament. No, we are two distinct races with separate origins and separate destinies. There is little in common between us.”
“Your religion was written upon tables of stone by the iron finger of your God so that you could not forget. … Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors– the dreams of our old men, given them in solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems; and it is written in the hearts of our people.”
“Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander way beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being.”
It is hard for me to read those words and even though they are from years gone by … I sense that they are still true in some form today. I don’t think one has to go to far from the axis of evil (i.e., our current conflict) to sense similarities. Our arrogance in having a belief in the truth, the answers or, as some prefer, the way, does cloud our perspective on belief. Always striving to maintain the truth muddies the significance and most importantly the humility of believing. I’m not sure what is more important, but I do sense that when I read the translated words of Chief Seattle’s speech that we represent an arrogance that is sadly unsettling. I observe the same arrogance in many of our churches and places of worship. Is such a sadness about our arrogance a good thing as we desire to develop the soul and spirit towards redemption and restoration?