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My name is Hector Garfias, I am Mexican. I am a descendant of the first Lutehran families that started missions in Mexico, in the late 30s and earli 40s. I am, I believe, teh product, of a complex inter-relation and encounter of the protestan (pietist branch of teh Lutheran tradition) Christian faith with the predominantely and many times opppressing Roman -Catholic church in Mexico.
When I wa slistening the yor interview, I almost could see myself as Mayfair described the way the pietistic protestan groups tried to eradicate anything taht looked/sounded/smelled Roman-Catholic, among which they erased any cultural and popular spirituality. I grew up in a church that had to react to the tremendus oppresion and discrimination (and sometimes persecution)from some Roman-Catholic groups. The best way to do it was to forget and even consider diabolic any celebration or ritual done bt the Roman-Catholic church. Liturgical rites, and cultural and popular expressions of faith and spiritual life were seen as the work of the devil. The day of the dead, as you may know is a sincretistic tradition among Mexicans. There are elements of the native Mexica culture and the Christian faith brought by the Spaniards. I was never ever able to celebrate it and to even ask about it. I was thought to dismiss it and to dispaise it. I finaly able to revisit it and lear about it in my 30s. As today, I do regret that I ddi not havs an opportunity to expereince, wrestle, and discern about it.
Today, I know that our cultural roots are a gift and thaty give us an identity that help us to see ourselves of the world and of a greater reality as Christians.
My wife is Taiwanese, we have many Chinese Christian friends, as we have visited their congrfegtions we havenoticed that the have almost nothing that reflects their cultural origins. A Chinese female woman who is a dear friend of us, told me once that thei pastor did not even allowed them to have a lion dance becausethey are the devil's work. So that congregation only way to express their culture is to worship in Chinese. Their sanctuary is more like an Anglo protestant/evangelical setting than a Chinse faith community. They dismiss and despise anyhing that could look like non-Christian. It ibreaks my hart when I see that there is not even a conversation about it, the conversation is shut down.
For many years I experience that 'amnesia" in my spiritual and cltural traditons, I believe my wife and I are trying to find ways to re-visit those spiritual and cultural traditions which can strengthen our Christian faith. We beliee that we are to accept that we have a God taht is greater than our intellect and our narrow understanding of the world and God's relation with the world.
I wish I could have had that opportnity to learn more about my spiritual and cultural traditions when I was younger, but life is life... As for now I hope i will be able to bring back that original traditions and look at them in a new way and celebrating that gift from God.