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Oblivious to history underfoot

I was doing earthquake relief in Tambo de Mora, Peru last week. We had an hour to kill before we saw the mayor, so my team took off to hike to the top of a large hill overlooking the town while I went elsewhere. I returned to see them coming down the hill. As I took a closer look at th…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I was doing earthquake relief in
Tambo de Mora, Peru last week. We had an hour to kill before we saw the mayor,
so my team took off to hike to the top of a large hill overlooking the town
while I went elsewhere. I returned to
see them coming down the hill.

As I took a closer look at the
path they were scrambling down, I saw it looked not unlike the ruins of the
town all around us. But it was
apparently much older. It occurred to me that maybe the hill itself was what was
left of some ruins – if so, it was massive, maybe six stories high and half a
mile long.

There were no signs to tell us
what they were. I asked a local farmer, “What are these hills here?”

“Those are ancient pre-Inca ruins
of the Chincha civilization,” he replied.

I was amazed at how immense they
were and how they sat unexcavated and unappreciated. I yelled up to the team, “Do
you know what you’re walking on?”

“A big, rocky hill!” They yelled
back, oblivious.

And after hearing what it really
was, looking at the ruins with new eyes, they were flabbergasted.

Later, I checked it out on the
internet. The ruins are nearly a thousand years old. The Chincha worshiped a
jaguar god, and believed themselves to be descended from jaguars, who gave them
their warlike and dominating tendencies.

It occurred to me that so much of
life is like this. In particular, in the
evangelical church, we tread over two thousand years of history, largely
oblivious to it. Josephus might be rolling in his grave.

Why do we do what we do? Whose footsteps are we walking in as we build
our churches and fill them every Sunday?
There is an army of critics who sees us like my team climbing the
Chincha ruins unaware of what lies under their feet.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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