Just a Li'l Jesus with my Vodou, Please  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

At a recent meeting of area pastors in Haiti, I asked a senior leader (Emmanuel) what his biggest obstacle in the work of evangelism and discipleship was. His response was "Vodou." I asked if he meant opposition and conflict with the spiritually dark grip this cultish religion held on the island. "No, it's not so much the direct conflict - although there is much of that, and possession situations that are vexing - as much as hesitancy to let go of Vodou for Jesus. People realize they need God and His Son, Jesus, but want the new world in addition to their old one - not instead of, in place of. It's very difficult to address. Even when we think people have abandoned all former ways, we'll find hints of Vodou slipping into the church. We have to always be vigilant looking for signs and calling them out. It's not who we are anymore!"

Another pastor aptly elaborated further on it, categorizing it as a worldview issue. "It's such a part of our culture that people don't even realize how much it has shaped the way they view everything. So many will consider themselves free of any Vodou practices, and yet still think about life, each other, and the world in ways that are of Vodou and not Christ. We struggle to systematically substitute the old with the new ways of thinking."

It is in these discussions that the struggles of Haiti or any other culture are suddenly quite identical to our own. Sure, we would scoff at something as culturally foreign as Vodou - all the while seeing no parallel to equally destructive shadows of cold capitalism, trendy materialism, vague spiritualism, psycho-individualism, or nationalistic ethno-centric prejudism.

We, too, are often prone to complacently live in such a way that says, "Just a li'l Jesus with my Vodou, please." It handicaps us and can create a spiritual dissonance or static. Apart from Christ we can do nothing to transform these areas - but we must recognize and surrender them to Him.

What are areas in your life that are old man-esque?

This entry was posted at Thursday, September 25, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

6 thoughts and responses

This is so true! Great post. The trick isn't so much in giving up the vodou in our Christianity as it is being able to identify it. Talk about subtle! "Search me and know me" has to be our prayer. You can be willing to surrender, but you have to be able to identify the culprits (and so often they AREN'T the obvious things). I think we'd be shocked to know how much vodou we tolerate in our spiritual lives.

September 26, 2008 at 8:27 AM

"cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously." Wackopedia

That's a great word! You say, "spiritual dissonance..." How descriptive of the conflict between Jesus and Satan. I like that.

But tell me, "how does spriritual dissonance impact my prayers?" Notice I didn't say, "I think". I am serious. I want to pray with expectations of God hearing my prayers and then "Spot" His work.

October 5, 2008 at 8:25 PM

spiritual or cognitive dissonance inclines us to limit our participation in the Kingdom...to reduce God into the dimensions we are willing to experience Him as or recognize Him. Consider in Mark 8-10 when Jesus foretells that His "mighty plan" is to be seized, beaten, mocked, killed ruthlessly and then return 3 days later. Each time He said this the disciples reacted out of the dissonance of presupposition. Peter refused to accept it and actually rebuked Jesus (gutsy!). James and John wanted an "in" with the new regime. They each wanted Jesus to fill a blank spot in their fleshly architected outlook on life. Jesus was trying to complete regenerate, re-egineer, reorient, rebirth their outlook framework...the clash of lifeviews was a spiritual and cognitive dissonance that limited their ability to appreciate the richness of what was unfolding until after the fact.

October 7, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Under that umbrella of dissonance, prayers become handicapped in their boldness, humility, and surrender because of our presuppositions. We over-work it or under-utilize the relationship venue with Almighty God.

October 7, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Great thoughts. I understand as best I can. So how do I pray?

October 7, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Our Father, who art in heaven...Thy Kingdom...Thy Will...Give us, Forgive us, Lead us...

October 7, 2008 at 4:51 PM

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