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Redeeming Culture

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Redeeming Culture

For class this week we made a list of all the Indian customs and symbols we could think of – about 50. Aum (orOm), incense, lamps, flowers, Tikka (dot on forehead after going to the temple) holy cows, cow dung (also considered to be holy), Rucksha Sutra (red thread bracelet people wear),Swastik (symbol of “good luck” which is common in India long before Hitler), etc, etc.

We’d pick one item on the list and Swami(our teacher this week) told us about the origin, history and reason Hindus do this. Then we discussed and analyzed if this thing was ok for believers to do based on scripture. Does the scripture say “do this” or “thou shalt not…” Some things are obvious, like “thou shalt not worship idols.” But other things, it took maybe an hour to discuss, and even then it was still maybe a “gray area” as we would call it.

Some things we originally dismissed as “evil”, but then realized it is not really a problem at all. For example, putting flower necklaces around photos of dead relatives. Indian’s are not worshiping the person, but just showing respect, much like how we put flowers on someone’s grave. Then we all wondered, “why do we put flowers on grave sites?”

Another thing is children touching the feet of parents (or elders). Not worshiping them, but as a sign of respect. There is nothing wrong with doing this, in fact the scriptures say to “honor your father and mother” so if this is how Indians show honor to their parents, they should keep doing this, and more-so if they are devotes of Yeshu. If you tell new believers to stop touching the feet of their parents/elders, then those people will see Yeshu Bahktis as people who do not show respect for their elders, and that closes the door of their interest in hearing our message.

So as much as possible and in-line with scriptures, we want to find things in this culture which we can use as a bridge to be able to share about Yeshu.

Unfortunately the cross, is not a good symbol in this culture. The story is something to the effect of gangster-thugs wear giant cross, so in Bollywood movies this has become more like a symbol of a pimp. So people wearing a cross, are trying to look more “sexy.”

So, instead of the cross, (or fish symbol), some of our friends used India style art to make a symbolof Yeshu’s pierced feet, with a crown of thorns around it. We all think it’s really cool, and want stickers like this for on our notebooks, etc.

Becky is wife to Duane, mama to "Monkey-girl" and baby "Lioness" aka "PipSqueek." She is the administrative powerhouse for YWAM Bend and keeps our team grounded and organized. Her hope is to inspire and encourage other mamas in their journey to raise healthy, thriving families.
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