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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ethno Culture: The Driving Force Behind the Demise of American Christianity


     As we enter into another day of what we call the Great Apostasy, that period described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that speaks of many Christians will depart from the faith in Jesus Christ, we ponder and wonder about what could very well be one of the main contributing reasons for this apostasy. We are convinced that besides the diabolical attacks (Ephesians 6:12) we are constantly exposed to, one of our major character flaws is pride, especially as it relates to a culture we have been indoctrinated by. To be more specific, we speak of parochialism, ethnicity and or tribalism.
     Throughout this particular post, we have embedded several articles previously posted on our blog, plus links to other pertinent material, that will provide the reader with additional and corroborating information that one can explore for a more in depth explanation to any specific points we present.
     One of the first items includes links to a couple of definitions of the phrase Ethno Culture and the Difference between Culture and Ethno Culture in order to best understand the topic at hand. If you care to read these two items now, feel free to do so and then return to the remainder of this blog.
     This ethno culture topic is rather complex and obviously has been examined by far more intelligent and knowledgeable scholars than us, dating as far back as the days of the Tower of Babel (Genesis11:9), where a once united people were cursed by God as He devised a plan to confuse His creation, by restructuring humanity with a new status of diversity of races and languages that would haunt it throughout history. Therefore we won’t rehash this here. But, we will state that “ethno culture” and how we view ourselves, plays more into how we practice our Christian faith than we realize, or are even willing to admit.
     Many do not realize that our Christian ideology was formed and inculcated not into a world view mindset, but an American version that in reality is opposed to what the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly calls for. Regardless of whether we were raised in a religious setting early on or recently decided to follow Jesus Christ, our environmental and ethno culture experiences actually dictate how we practice biblical Christianity. We have always sensed that the religious practices of many people varied not necessarily from the ‘church’ doctrine they have been exposed to, but rather by their cultural standards and values. This has become more evident not by various people’s theological and doctrinal standards, but by their previous ethno culture and political realities. 
     This is most evident by the large chasm that exists between those who call themselves “Conservative Christians,” and by those who basically have lived an apolitical life but yet treasure their spiritual and religious journey. Fellow believers in Christ, for example, who have been raised in a remote desert in Mexico, who have lived for the most part as farm laborers, picking fruit and vegetables throughout their entire lives, but yet were raised by strong Christian principles, have no idea of the differences in what we in America call “Conservative” or “Liberal.” But, yet, they may be more loyal and responsive to the Gospel than is being practiced by say a Southern Baptist woman in Norman, Oklahoma. I will venture to say that this young lady has been raised mostly by an “Anglo American” culture whose forefathers could go back to the Puritans who established their beachhead on America’s shores in 1628. 
     Supposedly they left their European homeland because they were unhappy with the Church of England. They were deeply religious people, though they had an immense desire for independence and freedom. They put much emphasis on education and literacy. Their main source of literature, other than the Bible, was sermons, which were preached in front of congregations.
     In the spirit of getting down to the specific issue being addressed here, as quickly as possible, we won’t rehash what really caused the ‘ethno culture’ problem that currently permeates much of the negativity prevalent amid modern day Christianity, other than to say that America’s Version of Christianity Has Been Skewed from the Very Beginning. Much of this problem originated from what many scholars have written about in the past, which stems (and has been practiced by the predominate Anglo American culture) from an ungodly premise that has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This driving force is mostly an attitude that was ingrained early on as Americans searched for their own and specific identity, which has been dominated by a superiority view of themselves, inculcated by their belief they are God's chosen people. This thought process has been called "Manifest Destiny," which basically deals with an emperical philosophy that has more to do with an “Anti-Christian” culture that has dominated the American church throughout its history... more than it's willing to admit. 
     Without going deeply into this phenomenon, America's current agenda is churned more by intertwining political and religious zealotry into empire building rather than practicing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This mindset is not endemic solely to Anglo American Christians, this is also prevalent in many of today's African American church's who interpret the Bible from a 'liberation theology' perspective rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One can understand how this phenomenon exploded onto the poltiical arena in the mid 1960's, and has now (according to many pundits) resulted in the election of President Barack Obama. It is obvious that his election has polarized much of white and black America as never before in U.S. history.
     Many of you know that I am outspoken critic about how negatively immigrants are portrayed (and treated) in this country and, for the most part, many folks believe I place my loyalty to my ethnic roots rather than in Christ. Those who know me well recognize that is not the case and I have publicly written where my loyalties lie. Over and over again I have reiterated that my loyalty and commitment is to Jesus Christ rather than nation or nationality. So much so, even many of my former Chicano activists friends have dropped me like a hot potato. I have not only written about this, publicly, but I also discussed my former political and ethnic orientation before committing my entire life to Jesus Christ and His Gospel on the Derek Gilbert radio show, where we discussed the topic of whether Christians should devote their life to the (click here to listen to the broadcast>)Flag or the Cross?
     If any fail to understand why I actively support immigrants and defend them, it is solely because God has told us in over 250 scripture verses that in reality we are to consider aliens as Naturalized Citizens. One of the reasons why I conclude that our ethno culture many times overshadows our Christian faith is that while many agree with my biblical overview, whenever I even broach the subject of ‘immigrants’ or my support for fair and just immigration reform legislation, most of these folks go ballistic! 
     One example includes a discussion with a person whom I met on Facebook who agreed 100% with my polemic that refutes a pre-tribulation Rapture to Heaven, as well as renouncing the politically originated Zionism philosophy. However, he exploded on me and began cursing me when I told him that the negative attitude many Americans (including thousands upon thousands of self-proclaimed Christians) have towards Mexican immigrants is similar to the oppressive actions taken by the State of Israel against Palestinians, who have basically been dispossessed of the land they have lived in for thousands of years. My friend began citing the incessant verbiage of anti-immigrant talking points we see expressed on thousands of web sites. When I quoted him some of the 250 scriptures where God declares we are to treat aliens as natural American citizens, he said, “I don’t give a damn about those scriptures, we need to round up those Mexicans and send them back where they came from.” 
     This is only one example of hundreds and hundreds of conversations I have had with "fellow" Christians. Many of them (believe it or not) have called me a traitor, accused me of being unpatriotic, even though I served in the US Air Force, was once a registered Republican and who has cried on numerous occasions while singing our national anthem. I have even been called a racist because I point out the difference between an ethnic Jew and a member of the faith-believing remnant of Israel, who are in reality God's children of promise. They have accused me of being  an "anti-semite" (a word that has been coined by Pharisaic cabalists to put on the defense any one who even questions the political activities by the government leaders of the State of Israel), even though my daughter's ethnicity is half Jewish and half Mexican. All of these remarks and accusations simply because I point out specific scripture to validate my theological contentions. 
     This is only one of hundreds or reactions I have received from those who claim they are Christians, but yet they would rather follow (or allow) their ethno culture to override the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the first arguments they spew forth is that ‘aliens’ are law-breakers therefore they need to be punished and kicked out of the country. When I mentioned that this nation has enacted thousands of laws that protect more so the interests of the already rich and wealthy, rather than laws that protect all human beings (if not at least be sensitive to the plight of farm and other laborers) they play the we have to obey the 'laws of the land' card. When I presented them scripture proof that lawmakers cannot enact unjust laws, plus tons of corroborating scripture, they again went ballistics and yelled “To hell with those verses, America’s laws prevail.”
     So, I ask them (as I have asked so many others who have erased my name from their buddy list), “Where is your true heart; is it based on God’s word or in your ethno culture?”
     I understand and sense more than they realized their fears and concerns regarding the impact immigrants are having on what they once perceived as a stable community. It is obvious that the migration factor has changed the historically cultural and political landscape they grew up with. America is no longer personified by the image that was projected fifty or even sixty years ago, emblazoned in our minds by Norman Rockwell paintings. These changes are happening throughout the world, and no one country is immune whether it likes it or not. I also feel a certain degree of sadness when I visit my hometown and see how different it has changed (and grown) for the better or for the worse. But, does this have to alter my Christian world view? Of course not! Change causes everyone certain anxieties which we all have to adjust and live with. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ never changes; God is the same today, yesterday and forever. We have to adapt our ethno culture to His standards.
     Throughout the Gospels, we are told that God is no respecter of any man, that His promises are to the faithful, those who are prepared to sever all ties between family and race, to become one of those who have a pure heart, and those who are prepared to surrender everything; family, friends, co-workers, political parties, social clubs, fraternities and even their loyalty to their respective ethno culture, solely to pick up their cross to follow and serve Jesus Christ.
     In conclusion, a couple of friends of mine (I believe one is of Irish descent, and the other English), wrote two beautiful articles that paint a picture of what all American Christians should practice. One article deals with what our attitude should be toward all immigrants, and the other wrote what he believes Christians should encourage at all times, which calls for us to pray for the return of a once great country, which was called, America: A House for all people.

For more information about the author’s two books, click here on The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation. To access his web sites and blogs, click on Joe Ortiz.
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