History serves up little dishes of this and that for us to sample. We look back on those things, and either give our approval of how it tastes, or our disapproval, depending on the event.
One such item occurred in 1492, on this very date, April 17th. You may recognize the name. Christopher Columbus. In that year, he signed a contract with the Spanish monarchs. His order of new business? Well, he was to find the “Indies” with the stated goal of converting people to Catholicism. His part of the deal was pretty sweet. They promised him 10% of all riches found, and the governorship of any lands encountered.
The thing that struck me the most about this was this quest, was the part about converting people to Catholicism. And then follows my next question. Why?
I will give them the excuse that it was more than 500 years ago, and in those darkened ages, the Spaniards were simply thick. But people, to this day, try to convert people from one way of being to another.
Of course, the one that stands out the most to me, are the hard-core Bible Camps that try to bully the Homosexual right out of someone. I mean, if we follow the other logic there, God created all people. God loves us all. God created us in his likeness. Uh Oh. I am people. He loves me. I am in his likeness. I am gay.
Right on God. Right on!
Oh, come on. No. No. There’s no converting me. THAT, I can assure you.
That is just one for instance. Many other conversion-scenarios exist. There are certain religions out there, which go door to door, in hopes of scoring a conversion. This too, leaves me a little miffed. I know it is a part of their doctrine, their dogma, to do the work, and bring in new recruits.
I’ve seen the popular show on Broadway. I understand the schematics. “Orrrrllllannnnndoooo. Orlando. Orlaaaaaannnnnddddooooo.” But I just don’t get it.
Of course, I have a theory about how all of this is supposed to work. Each human is put on this ball for a reason. And perhaps that reason is to become a better person. However that may occur. It could be through physical work. Or intellectual advancements. Or acts of kindness and love. But no matter. At the core of it, for any of those things, is our spirits. Our souls. That is what drives us, one way or another.
It is our unique path to find.
It is our own way to decide.
I guess others feel it is important to influence others in a certain direction. Hence the “conversion” schemes. But again, my theory is that we should lead by example. By what we do and how we act. Not by our promises of things which are not really ours to promise.
I wonder. If we could see each other’s souls, we would not be squabbling / hating / killing one another over different interpretations of God. I bet.
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He went to find some people there,
To give them a cross and style their hair.
I don’t think that is how the original poem went. Brand spanking new Catholics in the Indies, with gorgeous new bouffants.
But all of this offers me a reminder. And that is to be the best “me” than I can be. On any day. To wake up each morning with the vow to convert myself, again and again, and again. With each thing. In the right and fine direction.
“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”
― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
“Don’t go on discussing what a good person should be. Just be one.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“You can’t do everything but you can do something!”
― Jeff Dixon