The Friday Pickle: Are We Just As Bad As The Colonialists?

Posted by Craig Borlase on 27 February 2015

Take a good look at this map.

640px The British Empire Anachronous

For a Brit the map makes for sobering viewing. Anything that’s not grey was at one point or other a part of the British Empire.

In 1922 as much as fifth of the world’s population lived under British rule, and we ruled all right.

Less than a century on and our influence had faded, yet there remains a trace of guilt about our past. When we were colonialists we imposed our will, took what we wanted and left deep scars on communities.

The world of worship has nothing in common with all this. We’re a multi-cultural bunch. Take a look at any conference and you’ll find Americans and Australians singing alongside Brits and Canadians, Kiwis and probably that bloke from Indonesia. Our songs traveling around the world. We don’t discriminate on race and we barely notice what church background someone comes from. I mean, we’ve even got Matt Maher haven’t we?

So how can we be anything like the colonialists? How can we be accused of imposing a one-size-fits-all style of worship on the world?

Perhaps we can.

After all, how much two-way traffic is there with our songs?

When did we last have to learn how to play a chord progression that wasn’t rooted in the blues?

In how many different languages are we confident praising God?

How many names of Chinese songwriters do we know? What local Indian sounds can we name? Where does our service make room for other cultures beyond praying for those beset by the latest disaster?

Of course we’re not as bad as the colonialists. It’s a silly title for a post like this. But maybe there’s something about it that can make us think. After all, trata-se de Deus não nós, não é?

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