In expounding on Western European Christian History, Dr. Albert Hernandez, describes a much slower process of converting Europe than is told in most basic histories. It seems much of Europe, even when being called Christian nations, had average people holding strongly to their traditional religious understandings. In fact, Dr. Hernandez, goes on to explain how we can see this continue in the cult of the Virgin Mary. The art of Mary shows her many times portrayed over a crescent moon, a symbol usually associated with worship of the earth mother. If Europe was completely Christianized as much of history would have us believe, then why do we see these images that are compiled symbols of multiple traditions? The following question must then be, “Where does the cult of the Virgin Mary relate to traditional Christian trinitarian thought?”
The conclusion I must draw is that conversion, true acceptance of new pieces of faith does not really mean a complete removal of past traditions. Why then has Western Christianity been so focused on Christian unity through the conversion of sameness? We see it in sermons and rhetoric from those labeled fundamentalist in our tradition, “people must believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or else they will go to hell.” A rhetoric of save your soul, but damn your life experience before and the rest of your self, body. The truth is that even the selective exegesis of biblical literalism in the gospel message can allow for this…Matthew 10:5-15 as traditionally exegeted allows for people to be the other the, “Samaritans or Gentiles.” It allows for the simple conversion of believe this or your soul is done for, and not for a call to live a new way in connection with all of God’s creation and humankind.
If in this new generation we(in my case American Christianity) is going to be effective at spreading the gospel message we are better to turn to the beatitudes of Christ. By living as examples of Christ’s wholeness and willingness to share we will better show what it means to be Christian. Jesus will be shared not through meaningless one way messages, but instead in a dialogue of mutual respect. Mutual respect that is based upon positive human relationships in which we claim Christ as one who has led us to wholeness in communion with one another. It will be through the synchronicity of the combining of traditions that we will find hope for the future of positive Christian action in the world.