Saturday, January 16, 2010

Early American History

As most of my regular readers/friends know, I am not shy about speaking my opinion. I was just yesterday called a "fiery friend" by a dear friend, and wondered if maybe just some of the time, I cross the line of comment to challenge, or response to uninvited rebuke. Even as I ponder this latest comment, I find myself long-winded answering a comment by my nephew (whom I wish I knew better, and he my family).

I love God, family and country! Though this doesn't mean I don't love anyone or anything else. It does mean I rarely am at a loss for words about these three topics. I guess you could say I am quite fiery (excited, lit-up, motivated) to talk about them.

And I am like anyone else on these three often "touchy" topics, just learning, formulating my thoughts, gelling my foundational beliefs. Therefore, though I espouse my comments with passion, I also embrace truth and am willing to confront the errors in my logic or knowledge.

Having said this, now I will give my response to my nephew, that would have been much too long for a facebook comment response (some would say too long for a blog....)

Bondage in Sin to Slavery of People

It is quite interesting to me (but very understandable why) you jump from "being set free from the bondage, penalty and power of sin" as a choice for God (faith in God) to broadly describing a Nation as "savagely and greedily eradicate the native american population and forcefully enslave millions of captured people from Africa". It appears to me that your view of American History has not been shaped by the study of original documents.



In this conversation we are speaking of hundreds of years and many varying individuals that makes it hard for the heart intent, Biblical knowledge and actions to be lumped together until the founding documents of our country were jointly signed, and still then not to the complete satisfaction of any one person.

God has, did and can provide providential guidance to people seeking to please Him.

Is this "savagely and greedily eradicate the native american population and forcefully enslave millions of captured people from Africa" truly an accurate description of all/most of the colonial and early American people's actions or heart? I respond with a resounding - "no". It is two deplorable facts of American history, but not the essence of who we were as a people, just as abortion and human trafficking does not define our country nor people in America today.

Credit to Whom?

I hesitate to give man too much credit apart from God for anything! Rather than hesitating to give God too much credit for something so unquestionably providential as our Constitution (quite more so than our Declaration of Independence). I doubt man apart from God could have come up with this document.

I do not go as far as to question their understanding of what it means to be a slave of righteousness, knowing many sacrificed all they knew for a chance on finding a place they could raise their family as they saw God asking them to do in the Bible. I am certain there was great suffering that they all faced. Early American living was quite rugged and very hard work, much more than I will see or do in my lifetime.

And furthermore, I do think we are much more depraved (not than anyone can be more or less lost but we can be more or less entwined in sin) then our forefathers, in the disregard for God, His principles and our commitment to live for Him. The bureaucratic, controlling, usurping, powerful centralized American government of today is totally not the kind of government designed or intended for people who can and are self-governable, placing faith in God alone, and never fully in man.

Documents


I am not at all articulating that God signed the Declaration of Independence, but drawing attention to the common worldview of the 1600 - 1800. It was a very God-centered worldview, as you noted even by the anti-organized religious stance (not a necessarily bad position to hold). People commonly accepted that everyone was created by God, as was the entire world. They also accepted the Bible as the Word of God, the laws, truths, teachings guided principles of everyday living.

The blanket defaming of our early settlers and later founders of our Nation is erroneous in the view of how narrow/limited/selected facts it is, and frankly dangerous dogma, for our history if left alone and surrounded by all the good/blessing of our history. This narrow, only negative, view is slanted in light of history supported by original documents.... letters, journals, books, any printed material from first-hand accounts. Actions of some should never widely paint the account of most/all early Americans, in general.

There is no doubt uncaring, ungodly, selfish people were among the people who first came to America. There is no doubt man without God is very depraved. Gold/wealth seekers were some of the absolute evil people who destroyed anything in there way (natives, land, animals, and others Europeans). Slavery is always a horrendous crime, that is un-Biblical - even though it still persist today.

The moral triumph over African slavery must never be taken for-granted and forgotten, nor brave godly men like Wilberforce in England taking up their life cause to see slavery ended. This should be taught so we today can be moved to take up the causes of sexual-driven human trafficking and abortion horrors of today.

Are we, a people in the 21st century, to be only remembered for the sins of people in our Nation/World? I pray future historians will not overlook the fight and hard work of those trying to stop these atrocities in our lifetime, trying to make people face the truth that each human life matters to God, all need to be saved/protected.

Jamestown was an utter failure due the mindset of its settlers for many years. Communal living proved disastrous, and simply feed the lazy and greedy, and ended up killing 90-95% of their own population every year until new rules/laws were established that provided people with property of their own, a chance to prosper through hard-work, and the ability to keep the fruits of their labor (only required to give 2 barrels of corn to the mutual storehouse). This change and following survival to prosperous living laid the groundwork for our Republic.

It is very important in history to take our sources from original documents, not historical text written hundreds of years after the fact.

The majority of early settlers were coming to America with a clear purpose of needing to find a place that they could be free, unencumbered by overbearing government, and the ability to live by the Bible which was ushered in after reformation with Martin Luther and his 95 theses nailed to the cathedral door. Our Nations beginning is clearly traced back to the reformation occurring in Europe.

God did not sign the Declaration of Independence but those that signed it understood, due to the Lutheran Reformation in Europe, what it was like to not have freedoms of religion, life and property. The vast majority were strongly God-fearing/ respecting people. Those who did sign this document know their were signing their death warrant if the cause for independence was lost. I would tend to think they did not tread lightly upon their decision to put their name to this paper.

The words of our Constitution (including Bill of Rights) were the first of its kind in the entire world, never had a republic been set up in such a way and dare I say never has one yet, since its inception. Sadly, Americans are widely un-educated and very misinformed about our history, and the greatness of such liberty to be a self-governed people who only loan/entrust very limited power to the central government.... we are so far from this today.

I have many sources, original documents and resources if you want to verify or further investigate.

Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts. I am not an authority on my response, just a citizen, wife, mom that has gratefully been taught but much wiser people a little history of my birthplace, America.

4 comments:

  1. It's really all about our perspective isn't it! It's so important not to form opinions of any kind on any topic without doing the research.

    One of the reasons the media has such power today is that most of us would rather have our opinions formed for us by others rather than thinking, discussing, praying, researching for ourselves.

    Great post:=)

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  2. Mary, you made the exact central point I was trying to express in this response. "It's really all about our perspective isn't it! It's so important not to form opinions of any kind on any topic without doing the research."

    You are so right! The media and public schools and the government has much too power today because most would rather be told having "our opinions formed by others rather than thinking, discussing, praying, researching for ourselves."

    Thank you for this encouragement. It took me much longer to compose this response and too away family time on Saturday, but I felt strongly that it needed to be expressed. Too many of our citizens don't know our true rich full history, and thus would not sacrifice life to return to our beginning ideas or to save our republic.

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  3. Mary and Lindy,

    Politically I'm a libertarian, I attend a private conservative christian college, and I was raised in the church (and I'm still part of the church). However, my "perspective" on the foundation of our nation is still COMPLETELY different than yours. I've done my research, I believe in Jesus wholeheartedly, and I still think something completely different than the two of you.

    This seems to suggest that my understanding of history is not ignorance, or an excessively liberal government education, or an excessively liberal media, or an unwillingness to think through the "facts." My stance on our history is a well informed opinion. It is not the truth. In addition, your opinion is not the truth either, it is a "perspective" at best and a harmful "belief" at most.

    Lindy, you're right that many of our citizens don't know our full and rich history. And it is full and rich. But sadly some of our citizens fail to recognize the egregious moral failures carried out during the foundation of our nations history and still disguise them in theology akin to Manifest Destiny.

    As Christ said, "My Kingdom is not of the this world." Our republic has never been and will never be God's Kingdom.

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  4. Sadly, much is misunderstood like two speaking the same language but not living in the same world or time, therefore the words are loaded with very different meaning.

    I do not buy into the "manifest destiny" of America nor a theology of my country. My God is very holy, righteous, merciful and graceful. He is able to use what some intended for evil for the good of those that love Him and allow them to be conformed to His image. My God works in and through His people.

    I have not finished my research on our Nation nor any other topic, and I hold to my beliefs while I always remain open to learning new details and facts from original documents.

    I think you will hold to your well formed stance on religion, America and history.

    While Christ said His kingdom is not of this world, He also prayed for each of us knowing we would be in this world. As followers of Christ we should be salt and light into every arena bring His grace, love, holiness and principles as much into our daily life and since we are a republic of the people into our Nation. The State was to be separate of the Church never dictating what faith would or should be believed, but our faith was never to be separated from our involvement/actions/instruction/ guidance in education, governing or any other area of our life.

    We do differ, but we are family, brothers and sisters in Christ, in Him there should be unity. I trust God to grow and lead us in understanding as He chooses.

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