just an apprentice

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hotel Rwanda

I watched Hotel Rwanda for the first time yesterday. I have been wanting to do that for some time, but knew that I had to be emotionally prepared to do so. It's not the kind of movie you watch for something light. It is powerfully moving. I highly recommend the movie.

The whole Rwanda crisis came to my attention again when we discussed it in class the other week. The inhumanity of genocide is beyond comprehension...disturbing.

Add to the picture the fact that Rwanda was considered "the most Christian country in Africa." Lee Camp, in his book entitled Mere Discipleship, writes:

The breakdown of Rwandan Christianity, unable to stem the tide of mass murder, is all the more puzzling.

"In fact, the Rwandan genocide highlights a recurrent failure of much historic Christianity. The proclamation of the "gospel" has often failed to emphasize a fundamental element of the teaching of Jesus, and indeed, of orthodox Christian doctrine: 'Jesus is Lord' is a radical claim, one that is ultimately rooted in questions of allegiance, of ultimate authority, of ultimate norm and standard for human life. Instead, Christianity has often sought to ally itself comfortably with allegiance to other authorities, be they political, economic, cultural, or ethnic. Could it be that "Jesus is Lord" has become one of the most widespread Christian lies? Have Christians claimed the lordship of Jesus, but systematically set aside the call to obedience to this Lord? At least in Rwanda, with "Christian Hutus" slaughtering "Christian Tutsis (and vice versa), "Christian" apparently served as a faith brand name--a "spirituality," or a "religion"--but not a commitment to a common Lord.
(Camp, 2003).

Ten years after the genocide in Rwanda that took the lives of 800,000 people, the country's children continue to struggle with the lingering impact of the atrocities (2004)

Rwanda is home to one of the world's largest proportions of child-headed households, with an estimated 101,000 children living in 42,000 households.

It's heart-wrenching to consider the impact that living through these traumatic atrocities has on the lives of children. I came across this site that has the artwork of children who lived through the genocide. My heart grieves for the children whose tender lives were devastated by the dark acts of evil.

Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer


  • At 11:47 AM , Anonymous dml said...

    I attended a session with Brinton Rutherford yesterday where he showed the BBC clip you have pictured here. He asked the questions, how could the Christians of Rwanda justify killing? What kind of Christianity did Western missionaries export to Rwanda which justified such genocide?

    I always assumed that Christians who condone war or aligned themselves with a just-war theory do so because they hold a "flat-view" of the Bible. (Afterall, God allowed war in the OT.) But Rutherford gave quotes which point out that it also has to do with the interpretation of the gospel or the message of salvation. . .basically coming back to your "Lordship/discipleship" point. He explained that some Christians would view what Christ did on the cross as just something Christ had to do -- basically for himself and so that we can have salvation -- but it has no link to how we should live.

    It really hit me as I reflected on the missionary tactics I saw in Cambodia. In a seminar I once took there on the Kingdom of God, the speaker explained how our view of the Kingdom of God affects how we go about mission work. In other words, does the salvation message boil down to a formula of words we must get as many people to say before the end comes so that they go to heaven (the K. of God)? Or does the salvation message say that the life of Christ is just as important as his death, thus daily discipleship, following the example of Christ in every aspect of day to day living is our mandate in life (conveys that the K. of God is here, now, on Earth)?

    As I deem the latter to be the gospel message Christ intended for us, I was saddened to see results of missionary work which preached the former. I saw Cambodian Christians with shallow faith, those who syncretistically added Jesus/the cross to their row of other "saviors" like Buddha or protective spirits. I witnessed Christians who joined in the mob killings of suspected thieves and heard others make hateful, racist remarks toward other ethnic groups present in Cambodia. Though we tried to explain many times, I have no idea if our Christian friends ever grasped how our decision to "live like Jesus/making Jesus Lord" was different than our decision to "accept" Jesus.

    So I can't help but wonder what the message of the Cross was for Rwandans . . . and then pray that the same will not happen in Cambodia! Lord, have mercy on, and reveal yourself to those who share and those who receive a "lord-less" gospel!!!

  • At 11:52 AM , Anonymous dml said...

    Actually, I see your pictures are from the movie, not the BBC clip. I think I am remembering the pictures you showed yesterday.

  • At 11:55 AM , Blogger Brian Miller said...

    Thanks for sharing your response.


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