Rachel, tradition has roots that go deep into the hearts, minds and behavior of people around the world. Going from one culture to another can be perplexing and confusing.
Africa has been an eye opening experience over the last several years. Cultural gaps in thinking seem to span a large abyss. Pictured to the left is a traditional Sangoma (witch doctor) that shoulders a significant amount of influence in the villages and communities of Africa. They tell the future, prepare Mhuti (herbal medicines) and cast spells. Traditional Africans go to them for guidance, healing, burials and the naming of children.
It seems like such practices would be relegated to the past but you would be amazed at how deep these cultural roots go. Behavior in Africa is profoundly influenced by their comments and practices.
A quasi Christian church here in Africa is called the Zion Christian Church or ZCC. Most demographic assessments designate them as Christian. They are by far the largest on the continent. You see them everywhere. You can identify them by the prominent tin star they wear with their clothes. Each star has a ZCC engraved on it. It reminds me of the old timey Western movies and TV shows of the 50’s and 60’s. You could recognize the sheriff by the tin star.
The Bantu languages from the Congo. . . South to the Zulu nation of South Africa has provided a platform for the homogenization of the Bible into deeply rooted tribal customs. Thus the Sangoma controls a significant portion of tribal thinking and tradition. The leaders in an African village area are the Chief, the Sangoma and finally the pastor. As a team they ensure the roots of traditional thinking remain intact.
What customs have rooted themselves in your hearts and minds? Are those customs founded in the Word of God or in the tradition of people? When you read the Bible are your thoughts directed by convictions sternly planted in preconceived ideas? Or are you open to God speaking clearly in a direction that goes against your understanding?
Peter experienced that feeling when Jesus said I will die and rise from the dead after three days. Peter was convinced it couldn’t be true because he was convinced Jesus would be the King. I understand how he could arrive at his conclusion.
Read God’s Word today with a fresh window open to your mind and heart. Don’t allow tradition to infect your hearing.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
Deeper Still Missions
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.