I remember the special missionary evenings at church very well. I loved how the deacons would lower the lights and then roll out the slide projector. The anticipation of learning about foreign countries and seeing the vibrant stills on the screen became overwhelming. I loved the way the colors would explode and look so strangely bright and the missionaries would talk about what we were seeing in the picture. From Peru, beautiful mountains and scenes involving the natives leading llamas laden with supplies up and down said mountains. From France, pictures of lovely buildings and art. From Africa, sweeping plains with elephants at watering holes and beautiful smiling children. My eyes glowed and I eagerly listened for the powerful stories that would come from far flung places. The bottom line was “Missionaries are super hero celebrities and mega holy people that are extra close to God in following his calling through Jesus’ "great commission.”
Well, that was the image shown us, but when I took a closer look when I was an adult, I was appalled at what I uncovered. The missionaries of my childhood where on one level abused and tortured creatures and on another level, many of them were abusive bullies.
Missionaries started their journey of being a missionary by becoming Christians. After the thorough indoctrination of that step, they were exposed to teaching that made them aware that serving as a missionary in a foreign country is the highest and best calling in the church. As far as callings go, it is more holy and special than Pastor even. Pastors get to stay at home in their own culture with their own families, “the pansies.” Missionaries have the tremendous courage to go to some horrendous corner of the third world for their entire professional lives, not to improve said corner, but to proselytize it. Sure, orphanages or Christian schools might be built, but it is never any real change. (When you look at the appalling things done in Kenya in the name of Jesus, the true heritage of missionary work can be clearly seen. More on that later.) Then, after our perspective missionary hears that they work in the third world is the best thing he could possibly do, he feels moved by God to do so. I don’t know. I think he wants to be more holy or special. God has nothing to do with it. There is so very much pressure to do this work that the nicer, or needier for approval, feel the need to step up and do this sacred work. After “God” laid it on their hearts, they find out that they must go to seminary first to do this work. Four years of REALLY expensive schooling at an approved seminary, like Cedarville or Cornerstone. Training does not include language. After he is assigned a country, they do not even get to pick, they must complete a year of language and culture training at a different expensive school. You ask, “Now they are ready to be missionaries, right?” NO! They aren’t! After they have spent an extremely large amount of money, they now must raise all of their support to get paid from churches that approve of their message. This is why churches like mine had missionary weeks. The missionaries were flat out begging for money to go do this extra holy work. Do you think a church would take the missionary on as a fully paid employee like the pastors?? Nope. They make the super holy missionaries beg shamelessly. It is just flat out abusive and contrary to all that they say they feel about the calling of missionary. Well, this must make the missionary a bit bitter, because they then go to the mission fields and do this:
All through my past, it was taught that white, American Christians and churches were the ideal. God could really only be praised accompanied by piano or, if there was not enough money, guitar. And believe me guitar was only seen as a desperate last resort. Local, traditional, native music was always evil, especially in Africa. According to the church at large of the 1950’s-1990’s, and currently the cult denominations, rock and roll music was made out of the “demon inspired” drum beats from Africa brought to the US by slaves. (Now, I want to stay professional in my blogging. However, if you are not exposed to this teaching, you might have shock growing inside you as you read that. So, I say, “I shit you not.”) Pastors taught from the pulpit that Rock and Roll music was evil because of African drum beats that were absolutely the result of worshiping demons. You see how awkward it was for missionaries from America in Africa. They could not allow the demon filled instruments in their church services. English and American hymns were brought in hymnals and translated word for word into the native language and sung with piano. They sculpted the “backwards,” “tribal,” “carnal,” Africans into good white-“esque”, American Christians. It needs to be understood clearly these churches were not the more welcoming and kind versions in the States. The missionaries were extra special holy so they were extra special fundamentalist. They brought the WORST sort of fundamentalism to these new believers and brain washed them into blind belief. Truthfully, they exchanged one “backwards, uneducated” world view for another equally “backward, uneducated” world view. This is being played out particularly in Kenya where the teachings of rabid fundamentalism took off under the passionate preaching of one James Bisset.
I was raised to see this man as a SUPER HERO. He was like a missionary uber celebrity . All of us wanted to be him or be like his very precious and holy wife. I see now that he represents everything I hate about my past church. He founded Bisset Bible College where they have trained up sincere fundamentalist pastors that spew the hateful garbage from the church of my childhood. 700 of them wrote a letter toPresident Obama last year when he visited Africa. This Christian blog site supports it. All I can think about is the untold suffering and hurt that James Bisset is responsible for. Kenyan women who are living under fundamentalist male headship marriages and the homosexuals that are in fear of prison time or worse are all the spiritual heritage of James Bisset. Churches spread out their hurtful, hateful ways to the world in an effort to control all people.
The damage done by all of this Baptist meddling needs to be undone. Real education and humanitarian aid needs to be brought in to fix this mess. The people of Africa were only taught to hate and bring hell to Earth instead of peace. No, I do not admire the Bisset brothers anymore. I see them covered in the blood of innocent victims and guilty of the crimes committed in their name.