Thursday, August 25, 2011

15 Thoughts on Syncretism or the Mixing of ContradictoryReligions

15 thoughts in response to my trip to Haiti and the mixing of religions...I am not sure that any of these thoughts are accurate or TRUE but they are fun to think about and challenge my beliefs.

1. According to the pastor we worked with…Almost everyone in Haiti will call themselves Christians. Christian in Haiti has a similar meaning to human. Instead of saying “yes, I am a human being,” like we would in America, many Haitians would say “yes, I am a Christian being.” It has the same meaning. This is why the term Evangelical is important.

2. From what pastor Mark said, most Haitians also believe in Jesus and the Bible, but do not understand the importance of excepting Jesus or believing that he is their one true savior.

3. This seems to be true in America too.  Many people believe that Jesus was a great prophet, but not much more.  My husband and I were talking about the act of accepting Jesus and what "excepting Jesus" actually means just a few days ago.  We seem to agree that it should be a conscious decision, but there are certainly exceptions (especially individuals with developmental disabilities and those in other countries who may not have heard).  It is a tough subject.

4. It was fascinating to see how a Voodoo temple would be right across the street from a Evangelical Christian church.

5. The Voodoo priest would come hang out at the Church Under The Tree (Evangelical Christian). My pastor and I were there sharing the gospel once when he came by.  The kids giggled because they knew the irony of the situation.

6. Another time when the pastor was sharing the gospel (using the EvangeCube) nearly every child rose their hands saying they believe. I am now wondering if that means they believe the story of Jesus or if they have accepted Jesus or believe that he is their savior or if they simply believe he was a good man.

7. The Europeans forced their religion on the African slaves in America, Brazil, Haiti, and Cuba. In response the Africans often times kept their beliefs and added aspects of Catholicism (or Christianity) to their original beliefs. A common example was the use of the imagery of the saints to represent African gods. According to Haitian pastor Mark, in Haiti Catholicism still has deep voodoo ties.  Voodoo is the mix of Catholicism and African Animism specific to Haiti.

8. The effects of Colonialism on world religion may be another example of the mixing of religion or at the very least a corruption of Christianity.  The gospel of colonialism was not Christ-like at all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Critical Thought Tuesday

If you don't believe in the gods, leave them alone.
Chinese Proverb

What do you think? Do you agree? What perspective/religion are you?

Monday, August 15, 2011


The first day leaving the village, I saw the voodoo priest standing outside one of the houses. I knew instantly that there was something going on and knew he was the voodoo priest. I could tell when I looked into his eyes.

The voodoo priest had the same look in his eyes that a client I worked with in the past. She would sit up in the middle of night and look around while asleep. It was always scary because sometimes the voices she heard would tell her to attack staff and other times she would be just fine. The staff always wondered if she was possessed but the senior staff decided it was simply schizophrenia (though I still am not sure if some "disorders" have spiritual explanations (or if spiritual matters have clinical explanations).  Either way it was the same look and a look you don't forget.

Possession is a main aspect of Voodoo.  The Voodoo gods or Orishas are asked to possess those who practice the religion.

A voodoo ceremony
This area is very similar to the natural springs we saw.

For more on Voodoo check out my Background on Voodoo and Voodoo Basics posts.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being Jesus/Love in Haiti

Some of the plans for this trip included working on a Chicken coupe and working at an orphanage. We did not get to spend much time at the orphanage but we were able to spend a significant amount of time with the kids in the village of Thomazeau.

One day I was feeling a bit unproductive because I was with the kids rather than working on the chicken coupe.

Pastor Mark, the Haitian pastor we were working with, thanked me for loving on the kids. He said “you are being Jesus to these kids.” It was a great revelation. These kids have probably never had anyone who just took the time to play with them.  The young girl Evette probably really enjoyed having another young woman around. 

While there, we made bracelets and paper beads.  These projects were both projects that I was able to share with Evette first.  I was able to teach her, then have her help me teach some of the younger kids.  With the beads, she was able to monitor the project and insisted that only the older kids and younger ladies help with the project.  Her brother was extremely happy when I left the beads and supplies with the family.  It was interesting because all I really left was a glue bottle, scissors, a magazine some paper, and the 50 or so beads that they had helped make.  It really was not much, but it meant a lot.

The younger kids loved having their pictures taken. After a photo was taken, they would gather around the camera and fight to see the image.  They would also fight to be in the front of the photographs.  It was quite humorous, but made for some great photographs.

Not only was I able to spend time with the kids, I was able to set up an opportunity (including translator) for Pastor Brad to share the gospel with the kids I was with, as well as bring others (when willing) from our group into conversations with the kids.

Pastor Mark was right.  My job was significant and was an opportunity to "be Jesus to the kids."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Prayer for My Art


Please help me to develop my niche in art. 
Help my art to glorify you and to be honest. 
I also want to use my art to help people. 
Whether you want my studio to be in a youth venue or 
youth center or you want me to volunteer at a homeless shelter, 
please help those desires to become my desires. 
Please help me find Christian mentors in the art field 
who can support me and encourage me to develop according to you will. 
Again I pray that your will would become my desire. 
Help me to develop discipline in the studio and 
help my business to glorify you and help those in need. 
Help me to learn what you want me to learn and use the gifts you gave me 
(Thanks again!) 
to glorify you and your kingdom. 
I truly believe that you would not have given me the passions 
(working with those in need and art) 
if you didn’t want me to use them in a specific or a variety of ways. 
Please grant me the wisdom to know what your will is and what your goals for me are.