Boundless Love

In this world love is all around us.  With nature for sure, when people are graced by the golden rays of the sun and lush foliage in parks.  Just strolling along the beach people experience the crushing waves, while in winter just viewing the ice-covered mountains are delightful.  But in our daily lives there are other sentiments that are more personal.  People all experience these feelings on their journey through life.  These have to do with those we love – our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends.  People are moved by their smiles, and laughter, and these blessings reveal themselves in unexpected ways.  Wayne Dyer (1940–2015), a self-help author and motivational speaker said, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”  Much of this beauty that surrounds us is within our reach to enjoy.  One of America’s founding fathers and author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) wrote, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”   This saying is captured in the truth and the way we live.  People gain these gifts by doing good deeds.

Faithful Love

It takes dedication to be in love.  When people reach out to others they come to God.  His blessings are found in the kindness that we share.  It’s wondrous love that might be evasive, but through persistence we are able to capture it.  This love is all around us.  So keep on professing your faith for it points to eternity.  You will be secured in your walk when you encounter God’s deep and lasting love.  This undertaking brings joy to believers.  A cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz (1889–1975) said, “Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.”  People are able to achieve these gifts by displaying this sort of love.

 A screenwriter Monica Johnson (1946–2010) captured the essence of faith when she wrote, “God is so unique in giving His people ways of fellowship, witness, and remember what a mighty and merciful God He is.”  His love is surely the Word of Truth. It reveals itself by caring for the poor, hungry, and homeless.  The Holy Spirit deepens people’s love and reveals great blessings.  All we have to do is to adore the cross, the symbol of hope, life, resurrection, and salvation.  Walk therefore like the saints in humility.

Love of Creation

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), a Bengali author and artist said, “Love is the only reality and it is not mere sentiment.  It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”  Tagore has cleverly touched on the pulse of the nature of love.  Believers encounter this through the essence of God that surrounds them.  This involves the beauty that cleanses their hearts and minds.

With love, people care for residents in villages, cities and towns.  It honors the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  By this commandment they sow compassion throughout their communities.  Love creates, recreates, and it does bless everything in its path.  It’s the beauty of life that could be best described as boundless.

 

 

Thanksgiving for God’s Creation

A pediatric surgeon Bernie Siegel (b. 1932) said, “God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings.  Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements.  Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.”  Inevitably Siegel was putting his trust in mankind to create a perfect world.  But our world is broken because of sin.  Christians believe it will only be transformed when Jesus Christ comes again.  This has been alluded to time and time again in the Old and New Testaments.

How should people navigate this this perfect world?  We have to use our imagination and ask God to guide us to it.  George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), an Irish playwright and critic wrote, “Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”  Believers come to know their God by meditating on his Word.  They are touched by God’s divinity, and realize they must seek his forgiveness.

People’s Perception

An actor and producer James Cromwell (b. 1940) said, “Often we are recreating what we think we’re supposed to be as human beings.  What we’ve been told we’re supposed to be, instead of who we authentically are.  The key about creation of full self-expression is to be authentically who you are, to project that.”  Such gift comes by faith.  With this knowledge people walk in godly ways by doing what’s right.

Wise men and women have pondered the role of nature in God’s creative process.  Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936), an Italian dramatist and novelist wrote, “Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels.”  With the glorious displays of trees, mountains, and streams in our environment we reflect on the grandiose nature of a loving God.  Our minds and hearts leap in the sublimity of these gracious blessings first imagined in the Garden of Eden.

Testament of Life

Nevertheless life is such a powerful testament of the gifts of God.  An attorney and Freemason Albert Pike (1809–1891) said, “One man is equivalent to all Creation.  One man is a World in miniature.”  People see this phenomenon in God who is all in all.  According to scripture people were born in his image and are spiritually like him.

How can we make a difference in the world?  There might be some confusion about our life’s mission.  A French poet and novelist Victor Hugo (1802–1885) wrote, “One is not idle because one is absorbed.  There is both visible and invisible labor.  To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do.  The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act.  The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.”  It’s good to remember that everyone works differently.  How could we determine who is working the most?  How do we see the role of contemplation to that of hard labor?  Yet contemplative meditation is necessary for fostering justice, dignity, and peace in our world.

How do you view creation?  Who is ultimately responsible?  Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), a second president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania said, “Jehovah created the earth and therefore it is his by right of creation.”  Every aspect of life which exists is God’s gift to us.  He controls everything, and is the greatest gift of all living, and non-living beings.  We have to always give thanks for his creation.

By Special Authority

You’re a leader, and by a special authority you have to energize your organization.  This means finding ways to deal with assignments that appear as though they don’t have a chance of succeeding.  It’s for you to diagnose these problems.  Your responsibilities must not be seen as a power play, for you’re working for the welfare of the church.  You aren’t carrying out a private agenda, but are doing your job for the goodwill of all those concerned.  Vince Lombardi (1913–1970), a football player, best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers wrote, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”  Thus, you have to realize like in football, every church member is gifted, and through their gifts there will be success.

 Maximize Potentialities

People ought to be treated as adults.  Listen carefully to them, and hear what they are saying.  All things don’t necessarily work out as planned, but there’s always another point of view.  It’s for you to motivate your workers to be happy about what they’re doing, and urge them to higher levels of performance.  That’s why it’s essential to keep tabs on the heartbeat of your group.  In this way you’ll know more about each parishioner.  By so doing you’ll be best able to promote the church’s growth, and parishioners’ interests. Take things a step at a time and build on each success.

Margaret Mead (1901–1978), a cultural anthropologist said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Committed leaders guide their followers forward as they work at implementing what’s best for their congregation, and the world at large.

Lack of Control

Leaders must be people-oriented.  In the church there’s no room for tyrants, bullies, or autocrats.  With dictators organizations die.  It’s the kiss of death even with benevolent leaders lead by whim.  As a leader move away from being ego-centric, but democratic, and work in the interest of all.  Dr. Seuss (1904–1991), a writer and cartoonist wrote, “Only you can control your future.”  A spirit-filled leader always leads in the interest of the congregation.

Be Inspirational

Leaders’ role is to help people.  To do so effectively they must take ample note of relationships within their churches.  They should lead by example by changing policies that no longer works.  They ought to stimulate growth by their sincere beliefs in humanity.  Let parishioners be energized by this apostolic zeal. By the Holy Spirit believers would move away from the narrowness of self-absorption.  By so doing they will motivate others for the general good.

Lee Haney (b. 1959), a former professional bodybuilder said, “Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate.  The world wasn’t formed in a day, and neither were we.  Set small goals and build upon them.”  Haney’s message is encouraging.  Some might look for giant steps to be successful, but it’s always wise to remember good results often come in small doses.  As leaders your goals are to build on little achievements until projects are successful.  Remember, “Strive and persevere when the going is rough, because in every dark cloud there’s a silver lining.”

 

God’s Attributes

God has extraordinary attributes and with his saints there’s extreme joy.  It’s so because they are always striving for perfection.  Happiness from God is like a flame enlightening our lives.  This ideal is to be found in the working of the Holy Spirit.  This is a great gift symbolic of his transcendent glory.  God’s image is beyond all created wisdom as the Creator and Father of Lights.  He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

God’s attributes were noted by Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), a founding father of the United States, who wrote, “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”  It’s the Holy Spirit who provides this food and fire to believers.

Perfect Bliss

 With God there’s perfect bliss.  Christians expect eternal rest after leaving this earthly domain.  We’ll praise him without ceasing.  Hunger and thirst will be no more, for we’ll be recipients of his precious gifts.  Believers walking in the spirit are fearless.  We’ll eventually discover the full nature of our amazing lives.  Christians will demonstrate this willingness by what they do.

Believers are known for having a steadfast spirit.  Our experiences continue to deepen when we walk as spirit-filled evangelists.  A mythologist and lecturer in Comparative Religions, Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) wrote, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were walls.”  Campbell captured the essence of our earthly journey where nothing is impossible with God.

Sight of Excellency

 God’s wisdom is indescribable and known for infinite grace.  Believers walking in his footsteps often demonstrate an apostolic spirit.  It’s one of harmony revealed with the fire at Pentecost when there was a religious awakening.  Christians create trails like those envisioned by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), an essayist and poet who said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

God’s Goodness

Contemplating God is remarkable for people experience his goodness, and mercy.  This power is found in God’s boundless love.  He’s the fountain of goodness that tends the wounded before believers are able to recognize them.  As Christians it’s good to witness about God’s character, for this is a weapon used when believers fellowship with unbelievers.  God’s resurrected power was for all to see in the Risen Christ.

In our pastoral outreach let us show love for other souls.  Be industrious for that’s what God expects of us.  With the anointing of the Holy Spirit people are enlightened to walk in his ways.  Our approach to Christianity has to be Christ-o-centric.  His followers have to be obedient like true disciples.  Booker T. Washington (1856–1915), an African American educator wrote, “Character is power.”  Inevitably, faith-filled lives would best exemplify the character of Christians.  God’s goodness and mercy will shine through his believers in amazing ways.

Native Americans

The first Americans have the distinction of being a people of diversity.  They consisted of more than 500 tribes ranging from the Arctic Circle across the Great Plains to the Eastern Seaboard and known as the Lakota, Cherokee, Navajo, Haida, and other groups.  In the Northeast alone, there were dozens of tribes originating from three main mother groups – Algonquian, Iroquoian, or Siouan.  Around 12,000 to 20,000 years ago Indians came to the Western Hemisphere after having crossed the Bering Strait ice bridge that linked Asia to the Americas.  So, Native Americans are indigenous to the Americas.

The Indians displayed vibrant languages, cultural forms, and their political empowerment varied between tribes.  Some tribes boasted a sophisticated clan system with unique spiritual traditions, music, songs and chants.  Not all adopted to the horse as a primary tool of hunting, but they fished – catching salmon, trout, and sturgeon; farmed – raising indigenous plants, roots, berries, and nuts; hunted – catching deer, elk, bison, antelope, moose, and even caribou; inventing agricultural methods with flourishing crops of corn (maize), beans, and squash.

Tribal architecture flourished.  They made ceramics from clay tempered with sand, potted ceremonial objects, rugs, jewelry, bead works, and baskets of all sorts.  Their trading networks were spread across the whole American continent, and their sovereign authority was invested in cultural and linguistic patterns.

The American Dream

In their own way the Native Americans were living the American dream.  Marco Rubio (b. 1971), a senator from Florida said, “The American Dream is a term that is often used but also often misunderstood.  It isn’t really about becoming rich and famous.  It is about things much simpler and more fundamental than that.”  Early Indian tribes exemplified what the American dream was all about by having a diverse culture blessed with simplicity.  Billy Graham (1918–2018), an evangelical Christian evangelist wrote, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”  Our first Americans exemplified this legacy and faith while living off the land.

Joe Baca (b. 1947), a U.S. representative in California said, “Native Americans are the original inhabitants of the land that now constitutes the United States.  They have helped developed the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and separation of powers that form the foundation of the United States government.”   These first Americans were instrumental in proposing fundamental ways of governing by how they were living.

A Legacy Impacted

European diseases – small pox, measles and influenza devastated many Native American communities.  These natives became victims of brutal massacres, murder, and rape that dampened the American spirit.  Native Indians though continued to have rights, and the American government had no authority on Indian land without an act of Congress.  The 19th century witnessed the impounding of Indians to reservations.  Philipp Meyer (b. 1974), an American fiction writer wrote, “When you start to look at the native American history, you realize that very far from being peaceful, morally superior people, Native Americans were not that different from the Europeans.”  Meyer must have been thinking about the atrocities and broken promises committed by America on the American Indians.  Alberto Gonzales (b. 1955), an attorney general of the United States wrote, “I will be the first to admit I am not perfect and I make mistakes.”  The Europeans who settled America were imperfect men and women, and although some critics felt their actions against the American Indians were motivated by power, greed, and religious zeal they surely committed big mistakes.  Despite these atrocities the American Indian culture still exists, and adds to the spiritual richness of the nation.

American Culture

What a joy it is to hold a culture in high esteem.  American popular culture though has some drawbacks.  Carl Bernstein (b. 1944), an investigative journalist of the Washington Post wrote, “The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism.”  People find these shortcomings in the sensationalism, tabloids, pop music, and erroneous displays in some forms of art.

All however isn’t lost.  But it takes acceptance of a religious faith, for cultural peddlers to live according to what’s right in pursuing stories that uplift us.  Strange as it may seem people in the media’s audience buy into what is presented to them.  Even religious believers fall victims to ubiquitous displays of cultural distortions.  Some might say, “Everyone is watching salacious material, so why can’t I?  It gives me pleasure.”  People must realize they are falling victims to such presentations.

Cultural Appreciation

Cultural appreciation goes way back to the Egyptians, Greeks, Italian Renaissance, and Reformation.  In the West Europeans are loved for their classical tradition.  Masters like Beethoven, Handel, and Mozart are held in high esteem.  People feel empowered by fast automobiles, airplanes, nuclear power, and technological advancements.  In the pop music Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, the Beatles, and Supremes were icons in the society.  And music of different genres, e.g., rock ‘n’ roll, country & western, Christian, and jazz are alive and well.

Billy Joel (b. 1949), a pianist and singer-songwriter said, “I think music itself is healing.  It’s an explosive expression of humanity.  It’s something we are all touched by.  No matter what culture we are from, everyone loves music.”  Music appeals to people in unique ways.  Some might disagree with the quality of some genres.  What’s known is that with hymns God’s exalted.  Many have been converted by hymns like “Amazing Grace,” “Bread of Life, Hope of the World,” “Holy God, You Raise Up Prophets,” “Song of the Body of Christ,” and “We Shall Overcome.”

The American Dream

Most immigrants land on our shores with hopes of achieving the American dream.  When people reflect on this dream they think of worldly and material benefits.  This might mean acquiring their own home, finding a good job, having a loving family, a station wagon, or, sports car, and living in the suburbs.  This dream is somewhat different to every immigrant.

Some might see living a religious life as a top priority.  Walt Disney (1901–1966), an entrepreneur and film producer wrote, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Undoubtedly, since for the major religions loving, and serving their fellowmen are important it’s wise to embrace such values.  These attributes are essential in shaping the American dream.

 Moral Standards

To improve American popular culture people have to live up to higher moral standards.  H. L. Mencken (1880–1956), a journalist and satirist said, “I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie.  I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave.  And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.”  People ought to consider Mencken’s perspective as empowering.  It’s wise to know the reasons for doing what we do rather than being ignorant.  American immigrants and non-immigrants alike ought to pursue a good education for it’s a liberating force.  Knowledge is beneficial in building up the American culture.

Acts of Love

Acts of love bring us joy.  While performing such acts people are blessed by God’s grace.  These gifts become apparent when we love others.  God’s love that flows from heaven sustains souls, and causes the unification with the Holy Spirit. For the good news of the Gospel is that with faith people will find security.  Tullian Tchividjian (b. 1972), a professor of Theology and pastor said, “Believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better.  If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.”  What great news this is for those who have fallen short of God’s promises!

Sowing

People must love their neighbors as themselves by sharing warmth and tenderness in their relationships.  It’s Christ’s love that makes hope blossom, but such a revelation has to be nurtured. By doing good deeds people come to know divine beauty.  This wondrous love is beyond comparison because it’s found deep within our hearts.  It’s revealed through Christ’s promises.  An author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906–2001) wrote, “For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.”  How wonderful God’s security is in believers’ lives!  Billy Graham (b. 1918), an evangelical preacher said, “God proved His love on the Cross.  When Christ hung, and bled, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”

People must always put love into practice while serving mankind.  This calls for having humble hearts and a positive outlook.  Such care must be meaningful and authentic.  This is often demonstrated in the Eucharistic celebration of the supper of the Lamb when Christ is adored.  And all are welcomed at his feast.  Through participation believers put into practice their faith.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister and civil rights leader said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”  People’s failure to sow love, and making themselves heard are surely the sort of tragedy to which King was alluding.

 Service

Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), a South African retired Anglican bishop wrote, “You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  Such love is universal.  At the sublime level it’s one of connection.  People promote this truth when they come forward to do their part in the communities where they live.  This service is created, recreated, nurtured, and blossoms into amazing realities.  It’s holy and expresses the eternal blessings of our Creator.

Love is a true gift for all living souls.  Albert Camus (1913–1960), a French author and philosopher captured this best when he said, “Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle.  This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.”  Cycles of creative forces keep moving us forward to tap into a newer and better world.  This is through the recognition of the Holy Spirit working in our midst.

 

 

Harvest of Blessings

Jesus told the Jews to believe in the works which he did and they will know who he is.  These gifts were from the Father, for he was the Son of God.  In Isaiah 35:5 God promised the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.   Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego were bound and thrown into a burning furnace, but they were seen walking in the midst of flames that didn’t harm them.  Hezekiah was sick, and about to die, when Isaiah the prophet was told by God to let him know he has heard his prayers.  God added some fifteen more years to his life.  Living abundantly in the Lord, leads to a harvest of blessings.

Joel Osteen (b. 1963), a televangelist and senior pastor of Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas, said: “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”  By not being self-centered and reaching out to others Christians freely share these blessings.  The more they honor people the more they are blessed by God.

When offering blessings we mustn’t distinguish between the rich and poor.  We’re all God’s children.  President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough to those who have little.”  Roosevelt was cognizant that the poor has a special place in the eyes of God.

God’s Gifts

Abundance might not come only with material wealth.  Some might have these comforts and be miserable.  The founder of Simple Abundance Charitable Fund, Sarah Breathnach (b. 1947) wrote, “Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”  No doubt, we have to be in the right frame of mind to accept such gifts.  Are your hearts open to God?

People might make distinctions concerning their prayers.  Often we pray when faced with setbacks and challenges.  Khalil Gibran (1883–1931), a Lebanese-born artist and writer captured this phenomenon by saying, “You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”   In being blessed with the gifts from God’s bounty we ought to thank him.  Christians doing so will surely receive more blessings.

Love What You Do

You must love what you do.  By so doing you’ll be happy when you spread your blessings with others.  A self-help author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer (1940–2015) wrote, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”  You don’t have to wonder about those things about which you have no interest.  Do the tasks that bring you joy, happiness, and peace of mind.  All believers are blessed with at least one gift.

In our society there are some who are blessed with material gifts.  A Spanish priest and theologian Saint Ignatius (1491–1556) said, “If God has given you the world’s goods in abundance, it is to help you gain those of Heaven and be a good example of sound teaching to your sons, servants, and relatives.”  In short, it depends on how you use your treasure.  For Saint Ignatius these gifts have to be instruments for blessing people.  This is the way to live with wealth.

A Christian Allegiance

Dan Quayle (b. 1947), vice president of the United States declared, “I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior, for whose Kingdom it stands, one Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty for all who believe.”  Quayle certainly made his pledge against sin, fallacies, idolatrous pride, and fear.  Like Christians he could now approach God and seek his friendship, for he knows that obeying his laws are of paramount importance.  He accepts God’s freedom and privileges.  Christians like Quayle are continuing to do good deeds.  They are spreading good seeds even after the storms of life.

Mankind is born with the proclivity to sin.  Our lives have marks of evil, pride, display of personal power, and we aren’t humble.  But it’s right to change our behavior to a childlike trust in the supreme being of Jesus Christ.  It’s beneficial to participate in communal prayer and listen to the tick-tack of our consciences.  In word and action we must be contemplatives.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister and Civil Rights leader said, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.  There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.  When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”  By prayer and the working of the Holy Spirit, believers should pursue higher goals in their lives.

Transformation of Hearts

William Gaddis, Jr. (1922–1998), a novelist remarked, “Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.”  That’s why leaders and followers alike ought to turn away from the corrupting nature of their hearts that are evil. It was sin which led to the first humans’ downfall when their actions betrayed their trust of God.  Let us reform our hearts by daily prayer and not be blind to the truth of the Word.  Further, accept Christ’s expiation of our sins and feed on his teachings.  On our journey toward heaven it’s inevitable we’ll face tests.  You should embrace setbacks boldly and let your faith grow.  Do away with the desire to live sensually and be steadfast in your Christian walk.

The Bible says our hearts are filled with lustful desires.  These conditions eat away at the good in us.  In reading Scripture we’re distracted by fallen angels, transgressions, and evil that doesn’t enthrone God.  To counter these defects let us be athletes of the living God.  Let us dedicate ourselves to the faith and persevere in the race.  Be Christian models in our churches.  It’s wise to remember that almost everything we’re bound to make errors in judgment.  Jacob Bronowski (1908–1974), a Polish-Jewish and British author wrote, “No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.”  Bronowski held a different perspective of power than Gaddis.  But an important way of thinking about power is that, leaders who wield it, have to be wise about how it’s used.

Our goals in life must be what Quayle said earlier.  It’s about allegiance to Jesus Christ – not just any allegiance, but a holy one.  This hope for our life could only be found through the Cross of Calvary.  With such beliefs lie redemption from sin and salvation. It’s therefore right to rid ourselves of our sinful natures and put on righteousness.  For with God, we’ve to be pure, and free from sin, to enter his Heavenly Kingdom.

Religions in Africa

According to all the major surveys, Christianity and Islam each represent approximately 40 percent of the African population. Christianity is more dominant in the south, while Islam is more dominant in the north. Indigenous African practices tend to be strongest in the central states of Africa, but some form of their practices and beliefs can be found almost anywhere in Africa.

African diaspora — mostly due to the slave trade starting in the 15th century — indigenous African religions have spread and taken root all over the world, including in the United States and Europe. Some of these African diaspora religions include Cuban Regla de Ocha, Haitian Vodou, and Brazilian Candomble.

The pluralistic nature of African-tradition religion is one of the reasons for its success in the diaspora. African spirituality has always been able to adapt to change and allow itself to absorb the wisdom and views of other religions, much more than, for example, Christianity and Islam. While Islam and Christianity tend to be overtly resistant to adopting traditional African religious ideas or practices, indigenous African religions have always accommodated other beliefs.

One of the basic reasons is that indigenous African spiritual beliefs are not bound by a written text, like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Indigenous African religion is primarily an oral tradition and has never been fully codified; thus, it allows itself to more easily be amended and influenced by other religious ideas, religious wisdom, and by modern development. Holding or maintaining to a uniform doctrine is not the essence of indigenous African religions.

In lieu of these traditional African ways of defining oneself, Christianity and Islam are gradually creating a social identity in Africa that cuts across these indigenous African religious and social identities. They do this by having Africans increasingly identify themselves as either Muslim or Christian, thus denying their unique African worldview that has always viewed — as evidenced in their creation myths — everything as unified and connected to the land, the place were one’s clan, lineage, and people were cosmically birthed. Foreign religions simply don’t have that same connection to the African continent.

Jacob Olupona, professor of indigenous African religions at Harvard Divinity School and professor of African and African-American studies in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, recently sat down for an interview with Anthony Chiorazzi about his lifelong research on indigenous African religions.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/10/the-spirituality-of-africa/