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 Nathan and missionary work 
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As I read The Poisonwood Bible I think about our history's missionary work with the Native Americans--in particular, Sitting Bull. He rejected Christianity, because he felt he had always known God (whom he referred to interchangably as "God" and "the Great Spirit"). He had always prayed and listened to God (he was prophetic); in his mind the white man was trying to change him when he did not need changing. He was a truly inspiring and remarkable human being--very much in touch with the planet and "the Great Spirit". While he did not feel the need to convert to Christianity, he did send his children to Christian school because he wanted them to learn to read and write. I wonder how many missionaries he came in contact with were like Nathan? I come from generations of missionaries, and hope that they are/were not perceived as narrow-minded, forceful, judgemental and condescending as Nathan is perceived. Also if you are interested in reading some of Sitting Bull's quotes regarding this, go to http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Omega/1854/sb.html
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"I am here by the will of the Great Spirit, and by his will I am chief. I know Great Spirit is looking down upon me from above, and will hear what I say..." "The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans; in my heart, he put other different desires.

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Paige Hoffman


Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:06 am
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I think that you make a good point. Although I think that Nathan means well, I do not think he takes enough time to be open to other ways of living. That is the basic problem with many forms of missionary work. Personally, I have strong feeling about not pushing beliefs on others. I think that as long as you are not hurting anyone, you should be free to live as you like.

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Rachael Dunton


Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:58 am
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I do not think anyone should be FORCED to believe anything. I DO think that people should be able to share their beliefs freely and whenever they have the opportunity. Though I don't think the listener should be forced to sit there and listen (thought in college, that is exactly what you are foreced to do!) I think each person has a free will and we should each be able to excercise it. I believe that we will each be held accountable for what we choose in the end by God; no one else is accountable for the choices we make, but us. I do believe that if there is an absolute Truth, then how can you not share it?

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Jennifer Wampler


Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:03 am
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I agree with Jennifer, religion should not be forced. But, is there anything wrong with telling people about what you believe? If they choose to listen that is their bussiness. If you live with people and they can see that you have something in your life that they are missing and they want to become a part of it there's nothing wrong with that.

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Ricky Ward


Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:52 am
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As I have stated in a different post, I do believe missionaries can do some good considering my grandfather was one in Brazil. However, unlike Nathan, he opened an orphanige, hospital, and a couple of churches which are still in operation today. He worked with the community and tried to blend their culture with the Methodist view of religion. I disagree with missionaries when they force their views on another culture instead of working to understand that culture.

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Ashley Tyndall


Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:33 pm
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