An important idea we discussed last week was American Exceptionalism, which believes that we as Americans are above other nations and that we cannot be negatively affected by anything, such as the virus. This attitude has resulted in our rather poor response to the corona virus, U.S. cases have surpassed many other nations and death cases may shortly follow suit.
The impact of American Exceptionalism holds true even for our personal response. It keeps us from having the emotional tools and the spiritual resilience to get through this time. Not only that, it proves to show that we are a people who can’t stand not being in control of the situation.
We need to stop living with the mythology of our own exceptionalism. Instead, we must begin detoxifying ourselves from the American Exceptionalism and find our identity and citizenship in Christ alone. Rather than believing that this pandemic is simply a temporary disruption in our lives, we need to lament and see the ways we are not in control and it is bigger than our country and nation, it is hurting the world.
We must grieve collectively for what we have done and bring that before our Lord, to repent and return. We are not immune to this virus simply because we are Americans and Christians. It is easy for us to think because God’s favor is upon us, we do not have to go through what the rest of the world is going through. No, we, as followers of Christ, will face suffering and persecution. Just as Jesus promised that to his disciples. Even more, we share in that same suffering and persecution with all the brothers and sisters in the world.
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. -Phillippians 1:29
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” -Mark 8:34
“You cannot ‘discover’ land that is already inhabited,” hearing from the perspective of Mark Charles, a Native American man, was really eye opening. It is really easy to take for granted the privileges that come from living on a land that was stolen ground. There were around 6 million Indigenous peoples living in North America in the 1500s and in almost 400 years, the number of Native inhabitants dropped to 237,196 due to intentional genocide, not disease, but genocide.
That’s a 96.05% genocide rate of Native Americans, so that America could be as large as it is today. I had to deconstruct the narratives I have been taught in school because when you only hear history from the side of the winner or the oppressor, the result is that many stories are left out and forgotten. But those stories matter.
When these stories are not talked about, when the media chooses what is important and what is not, we forget the injustices of those that have gone before us; and we do not love on the needy and brokenhearted of our day. And when we look at our actions, our decisions, and the actions and decisions of those around us, it is good to ask: “Who does this benefit?” Are we elevating those that are higher up already? Are we elevating ourselves? Or are we truly valuing others as ourselves?
To see what Native American land you are residing on: https://native-land.ca/
Written by Jocelyn, Pam, Jun and Sisley