Rich Christians can't imagine God was serious. But the sad modern history of El Salvador shows the wisdom in the Biblical Jubilee year. There's a pattern that I think of as Jubilee massacres: a dramatic spike in violence every fifty years. Twice a century, landless peasants rise up...and are crushed. In the 1830s, an insurrection and its charismatic leader were put down. In 1881, peasants suffered a big and bloody land grab. In 1932, after the great global depression and communist influence made landless peasants both hungry and bold, an estimated 30,000 were massacred following an insurrection. In the 1980s again, the people rose up and were repressed so cruelly that a 12-year Civil War followed. The 1830s, 1881, 1932, the 1980s — during the last two centuries, El Salvador has endured a slaughter every fifty years.
Thoughtful travelers who respect the Bible can make a point to read it as the majority of Christians on this planet do: through the eyes of the poor world. Christians with two different outlooks could read Matthew 25, where Christ says, “I was hungry and you fed me, imprisoned and you visited me, naked and you clothed me. What you have done to the least of people, you have done to me.” One could be motivated to find ways to tackle structural poverty in poor nations. The other might think that's naive, and continue pounding plowshares into swords.
About This Entry
You are reading "Reading the Bible through Developing World Eyes", an entry posted on 19 October 2009 by Rick Steves.