Progressives, Colonialism, and Christian Missions
Rant warning. And I’m mad. I have a lot to say about the young missionary thing.
It’s very layered and complicated and the young man’s methods and theology should be discussed, debated, critiqued, and analyzed. But, allow me to give a tongue lashing to American Progressives.
The self-righteous progressive chatter, to me, is reprehensible and hypocritical. You Progressives are all about flouting laws if it means throwing bricks through the windows of small businesses from your pampered safe zones in the name of liberating disenfranchised individuals and people groups being able to have access to the opportunities they need for self-actualization and expression. That’s all fine and dandy. But if it involves putting one’s unarmed body in the way of poisoned arrows in a way that doesn’t conscientiously harm others or their property for the sake of helping truly imprisoned people who embody the very opposite of opportunity, self-actualisation, individualism, and personal rights, you chide the young martyr sanctimoniously for breaking the law. Your condescending outrage is illiterate and pretentious sophistry that regurgitates the groupthink of uneducated Americans simply because the young man was motivated by Christian belief.
If you really cared about those islanders you would be outraged that they are essentially prisoners on an island, cut off, by the systemic ethnic racism of the Indian government that pretends to care for them by leaving them alone when the reality is that they leave them alone because they are completely and utterly useless people on a useless island to the government that controls access to them. If there was oil or gold on that island they’d be dead in minutes.
Progressive ideologues that insist on the right to educate our children here in America according to their anti-Christian values and would bar anyone from home-schooling their kids because “every child has a right to think for herself” are just as happy to leave a barbaric people completely isolated from education under the illusion that every child there is raised in a safe, happy environment free from all physical and sexual molestation and mind-shriveling paganism.
We Christians may be silly and foolish and wrong-headed and even evil at times, but in the main we are willing to die for people without taking their lives and/or forcing them to adopt our views. We just want them to have options and an opportunity to hear. The best among us will literally die for you to have the opportunity to reject us.
Truth is, we’d die for them to have the option to hear your stupid ideas too! What if there is a poor Sentinelese teen boy that really thinks he’s a girl? You social media Progressives don’t give a rat’s behind for him although you use this as one of your main platforms in our country. But I care for him. I think he should be free to wrestle openly with his feelings. And I think he ought to be free to choose or choose against my Lord Jesus Christ. But if you can’t control his mind, you don’t care if he’s completely isolated from education, knowledge, and an alternative worldview than the one that he has hammered into his head by superstitious people.
True Christians everywhere think that that young man ought to have the opportunities and freedom to explore the needs of his soul, but it’s going to take human beings brave enough to approach them, to risk their lives, to give them the opportunity of freedom. The young man had more courage in his nail filings than the entire American nation put together, especially you Progressives yammering away about colonialism and so forth.
As if you knew what you were talking about.
He didn’t go there with a vest bomb, a grenade, or weapons of any kind. He went there with his vulnerable body and offered it to them for the sake of having a conversation with them, giving them the opportunity to hear his ideas if they wanted. They didn’t. They killed him.
I’ll say it again for emphasis: You American Progressives want to force us to adopt your views on everything and then mock a young man who sacrifices his life to open up a whole new world of ideas, thoughts, and comforts that those poor islanders cannot know until someone loves them enough to try to be friendly to them. And die for them.
You say that the Sentinelese ought to live in peace in the life they have chosen. But how do you know that there wasn’t a powerful lord of the island that ordered his death? How do you know that the murderers had the unanimous support of every man, woman, teenager, and child on that island? How do you know that the powerful among them have not made a sex slave of everyone weaker than them? And for all of your lectures in our universities about the male tendency to dominate and abuse why do you naively think that is not happening on this island? How do you know there is no barbaric abuse there? You don’t. And you don’t care.
As for the young missionary, I think that we of historic Christian faith can differentiate between him and the system of thought that he was in and the theology that motivated him. We are fools if we condemn his motive and heart. But we don’t have to buy into his theology or pneumatology or nationalism or, yes, his colonialism-informed missiology. And I think that Christians who totally dismiss the colonialism charge are probably deaf to a legitimate issue in missiology because they think in terms of the “personal” and the “eternal” but not in terms of the “anthropological.” Although I hasten to add that the colonialism charge is utterly irrelevant here.
But as typical in American conversation, it’s all or nothing. The missionary is either a martyr or a fool. We are so ignorant and stupid and dull in our nation that we cannot even have a conversation wherein said missionary might be a hero that acted with some foolishness or a fool that heroically gave his life. Our imaginations only have two colors. We know nothing of hues, tinctures, and shades. The liberal response has been, largely, “white”, ironically, from the position of white privilege. I think we can grant that most missionary endeavors are “white” too. That’s another discussion for another time. But the sheer hypocrisy of these people to disdain a young man for giving his life for people because he thought that life could be better for them is gagging to me. Do they have no imagination to think that not everyone on that faraway island wants to be there? Do they really think that it is a world where there is no patriarchy, rape, and domestic abuse? Do feminists really think that it’s a world of equality? And they laud the notion of keeping people isolated?
You may talk about colonialism all you like, but it’s clear you have no clue what you’re talking about, Progressives, if you think that is relevant to the missionary’s action. You do not care if a young girl has no education on a distant island because you would rather castigate a brave young American Christian than put yourself in harm’s way for her freedom. You think you’re brave because you “like” an instagram post of someone marching on a street in a distant city.
The progressives in America don’t even deserve the label of “liberal”. Their attitudes and views aren’t liberal. They’re boorish, provincial, selfish, incoherent, idiotic, and so inconsistent with actual liberalism that their closed-minded tribalism can hardly be matched by any other religion or ideology in the civilized world except, perhaps, the violent and superstitious Sentinelese.
Bob Bixby is the Lead Pastor of Redeemer Church of the Silicon Valley. Bob grew up in the Central African Republic and France and brings to us twenty-two years of pastoral experience in multi-cultural settings. After studying in France, Bob returned to his birth country to study for the ministry. It was there that he met his life-long companion and together they returned to Europe where Bob served as a pastor for ten years. In 2002, Bob became the founding pastor of a church plant that grew to become a thriving ministry. After twelve years of hard work and loving relationships, that church, Morning Star Church, sent Bob with their blessing to start a church in Fremont. Bob and his wife have two school-age children and a dog! Bob enjoys reading, hiking, sports, history, coffee, and family time. He is thrilled about the opportunity to live in California!