Followers of Christ are told to be known by their love.  It seems that in many ways we are known by the messes we make in which God breaks through with redemption.  That is not the only story, but it is a loud one in the history of the church.  We must humbly call out for and receive mercy from birth to death.  It is hard to see what a mixed bag Christianity can be.  

We discussed the role of European empire expansion and the spread of the Gospel.  Though many explorers went out in the name of the Church, what they did was appalling.  The mass murdering, enslavement and stealing by professed believers is shocking and hard to wrestle with.  Cortez kills the Aztecs, takes their gold and conquers Mexico as a man of faith.  How does that work?  How did he justify treating other human beings in this fashion.  Than you have Friar Bartolome de las Casas that goes to Mexico to preach the Gospel to those that weren’t killed.  He opposes the enslavement of the indigenous people, (yay!) but makes some major mistakes on the road to figuring out that all enslavement is wrong.  To my contemporary eyes these look like such glaring wrongs.  What were these people even thinking for a minute?  Mass murder in the name of Jesus?  Importing Africans to be slaves in order to stem the use of local people as slaves?  Heartbreaking. 

What can we learn from these situations?  What terrible injustices are we blindly perpetrating or justifying in the name of the faith?  How are we being more influenced by earthly kingdom ethos than by the values of the Kingdom of Heaven?

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