Christ or Ashur

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Posted by pancho ( on February 09, 2002 at 22:12:33:

Someone told me of a question put to someone else. The person was asked if he had to choose between Christ and Assyrians, which would be the choice? It's badly phrased I know but I think the intention was clear...what do you value more...or what do you consider yourself to be...a follower of Christ or a follower of you live for Christianity and as a Christian...or as an Assyrian and follower of whatever Assyrian god you would recognize.

It seems the desired answer is that one should be a Christian first and foremost, and if there had to be a choice, one would go with Christ. A simple answer would be to say they are one and the same thing. But are they really?

I know someone who actually faces this dilemna...that he is a Catholic priest and a devout Assyrian too only makes the case the more compelling. I'm refering to Father Benny, that saintly man of god if ever there was one. He told me once that he would work with the Devil himself if that would benefit his people...meaning Assyrians. Benny manged to get assigned to Georgia where he has ministered largely to the small and poverty stricken Assyrian community outside of Tblisi.

He also said said he wasn't sure what he would do the day the Vatican sent him somewhere else...after all to the Pope all people are Christians in Christ or something. Benny managed to string out his stay there but it was getting obvious that the day would come when he would be sent elsewhere. What would he do on that day?

I don't know what happened except I heard a while ago that he asked to be sent to Africa. Now...Christians everywhere have more resources than we do. As poor as they may be, they have a country to call their own. In our case the Christian Assyrian communities scattered throughout the world have nothing and no one. The Vatican sees just "Christians" when it looks out of its castle windows...but Benny saw Assyrians, and I think he saw them as Assyrians FIRST.

If he has indeed been transferred, who will take any especial care of the Assyrians left behind? All Assyrians may die out and the Vatican would hardly notice a drop in the numbers of Christians. Benny knew he faced a dilemna...that he was given the awful choice not as a puzzle, but as a real life confrontation with his own values and beliefs. He would actually have to choose between Christ and Assyrians...between obeying a Pollack in Rome and his own conscience...and while everyone else has a place in their heart for their ethnicity...Benny would have to bury that place...and go with the religion alone. I wish him well.

It's the same with being American or Assyrian. people will say you can be both. But can you? What do you do when America makes war on your homelands and kills your people and ruins your legacy and patrimony and Heritage? can you be Assyrian and support America's war on Terrorism when you know damn well that at any time Iraq can be designated a target? And even if it isn't, what about the constant wearing away of the populace there...the degradation and humiliation, the impotence that men and women...fathers and mothers must feel when they look into their childrens eyes and admit they can do nothing for them?

Can you be both an American and an Assyrian? I walked by the Chaldean Church in Campbell, California and saw two American flags on the windows...TWO! There has never been a flag of Ashur or any "political" symbol placed there. I remember Mar RinkyDink telling me that the church could not be seen as "political". What about just saving your ass then? Is it okay to put those flags there to protect your "flock" and the building whose premiums you can barely pay now? How about saving Ashur's "ass"?

So...under certain circumstances some people, maybe all of us one day...are placed in such a bind...are we American, are we Christian...or are we Assyrian? When can you be all of the above...when do you have to choose...and how do you decide.

To avoid all of this click over to aina or bethsuryoyo for reruns.

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