Hard to say

It's been awhile since I wrote last for two reasons - I've hardly had time to even go on facebook, let alone write a blog; I somehow still feel like I have nothing much to say, and anything I have been thinking about is either too incomplete or not blog-worthy. I still feel this way, but I'm forcing myself to write this now, and I hope it goes well.

I'm so tired politically. I listen to lots of different people with lots of different views, people who are intelligent and whom I respect. I read BBC and watch a few interviews here and there. And it seems that the more I research and discuss, the less I know. I think for so long I didn't much care at all, and now that I want to care, I'm too far behind to make sense of anything. And the hard part is Mexicans and other people from different countries are always asking us who we're voting for, why, what we think about this or that, and I'm just tired. I don't believe in world peace, but I don't want to participate in world violence. Is there another way? I could go on, but like I said, I'm tired of this, so I think that's enough for now.

As I mentioned before, I'm going to Lubbock with some of my teammates in October for our field presentation, and we're all working together on our video. One of my topics for the video is religion, so I've been thinking about what I want to say. This will actually end up being pretty long, so I'll leave it there. Here's what I have so far:

More and more people in Mexico are calling themselves something other than Catholic - Guadalupanos, or worshippers of the Virgen Guadalupe. This is usually the first question people ask when we say we are "Cristianos" - "So you don't believe in the Virgens?"

"Well," I say, "I believe that Mary was a virgen when she gave birth to Jesus. I love Mary and believe that she is a great example, especially to women, in obeying God. I believe in her just like I believe in Paul, Peter, or Abraham. But we have only one Savior, and his name is Jesus."

Well, let me back up. The history of Guadalupe goes farther back than you might think - she's pre-hispanic and pre-Catholic. The Aztecs worshipped a mother goddess, Teteoinan, known as the Mother of all gods. After the Spaniards came, the story goes, an indigenous Mexican named Juan Diego saw an Aztec apparition of the Virgen Mary. She told him she would be the mother of all the Mexicans, and she told him to build her a church in her honor. This all happened on the very same mountain that the Aztecs worshipped their original mother goddess, Teteoinan. And to this day, worshipping her is one of the truest marks of Mexican culture, the Mother of God, of whom it is said "To be with her is to be with God." Many Mexicans don't go to Mass regularly, don't necessarily care what the Vatican has to say about birth control or so on, but I do see shrines to Guadalupe in bus stations, neighborhoods, living rooms...

For all I know, Juan Diego did see a vision of this woman, and she did tell him these things. But let's remember what Paul said to the Galatians, "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed" (1:6-9).

(Sidenote: I am aware that many people feel differently, that Pope John Paul II canonized Juan Diego, but I'm convinced that Guadalupanos are following a different gospel, and therefore need to know the truth about salvation, that Jesus is our only Savior, and our God has no equal, predecessor, or originator. We worship him alone.)

On the other hand, I was very surprised to discover the amount of Jehovah's Witnesses there are in Mexico. Just about everyone I know has a close friend or relative who is Jehovah's Witness. Even if they aren't Jehovah's Witness themselves, many people have been taught and believe that Jesus is not God. This is a different gospel, and they need to know the truth.

So, what I'm trying to say is many Mexicans, just like people everywhere, have been deceived, and need to know mercy and truth. We're here to study the Bible with people and show them these things, to grow with them in these things. And we're inviting you to join us.


Jill said...

love you, brettin! it is so hard to watch people around you believe a lie with all of their heart. i'm definitely praying for your strength and perseverence. you inspire me!

thetysonfamily said...

I had some missionary friends living in Mexico for a while who said the same thing about JWs... they observed that the problem was that Christian missions would come in, build a hospital, or toilets, or schools, etc. and not preach the Gospel. So these people were just ripe for deceiving doctrines to come in. JWs, prosperity heresies, and American "christianity" all remind me of the passage in 2 Timothy:

2 Timothy 3
Perilous Times and Perilous Men
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

May God's spirit be poured out on you as you share the truth and on the precious people of Mexico that their eyes may be open to see it! (And may we who are doing "good works" stop being ashamed of the Gospel that saves!!!)

brettincasie said...

I totally agree with you Tracy (or Lindsay? haha) and that's why I said what I did about our goal in studying the Bible with people, because that's what they need. That's what everyone needs, right? Like that old analogy about a banker knowing the real money instead of studying all the conterfeits. We need to know the truth in order to recognize lies.

And thank you too Jill! I'm praying for you too, and it's crazy to think that I could inspire someone so strong and amazing as yourself. :)