Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Peek Under Marcus Wilder's Painted Mask

A little over two weeks ago, I was asked to do a [review] of a new book by [Marcus Wilder]. The title of this new book is Naïve & Abroad: Mexico Painted Mask, and there were some things about it that really bothered me.
Since I had been asked to do the review of the book by the author himself, I felt uncomfortable fully addressing the things that bothered me about it in that review. For I did not want anything that might stirred up to overshadow what I still consider to be a book that many will find quite interesting. Hence: the reason for this subsequent article.

First of all, please understand that the only thing that really bothered me that Mr. Wilder might be fully responsible for is his tendency towards generalization. A good example of this is: Mexican morals and values…laws and traditions…concepts of right and wrong…concepts or truth and untruth…concepts of justice and injustice…concepts of responsibility and accountability…are in almost every way opposed to our concepts of individual responsibility…our belief in a systems of laws, not men.

Yes, it can be said that some (even a great many) “Mexicans” do indeed fit that description, but I can testify to the fact it most certainly does not fit ALL of them. For one of the finest individuals I have had the immense blessing to meet in this world is Juan Garcia from [Amarillo, TX],who took me into his home to live with his wife and himself while I was more interested in having enough money to buy beer than have a decent place to sleep.

On the other hand, it could be argued that it all comes down to the definition of “Mexican.” For Juan’s parents might qualify by Mr. Wilder’s definition since they were born in Mexico, and they only spoke enough English to get by—even after living in the [Victoria, TX] area for decades. This is alluded to in the book: …Mexicans do not assimilate. Whereas, Juan was born in Victoria, and he considered himself to be as much of an American as anyone.

The white Mexican aristocrat of Northern Mexico and South Texas is a Jew is another generalization made by Mr. Wilder that I found hard to take. For I can see where many of them may be descendants of [Sephardic Jews], which were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism during the days of the [Spanish Inquisition], but I cannot accept that ALL of the “white” Mexicans of northern Mexico and south Texas are Jewish. After all, does it not stand to reason that at least some of them descended from a fairly long list of [Gentile] inhabitants of the land that we now call Spain ([Iberians], [Celts], [Romans], [Visigoths])?

To be a Texan is more than a fortunate accident of birth. To be a Texan is a state of mind and a condition of the heart. Texans are tolerate of the less fortunate, welcoming true converts without prejudice…taking on faith these converts professions of faith is the last of Mr. Wilder’s generalizations that I would like to address. For I have never met a native-born Texan who thought of those not born in Texas in the same way as they did those who were. In fact, I have even met some who considered anyone born north of the [Red River], such as in the [Texas Panhandle], to not actually be a true native-born son or daughter of the great state of Texas.

I even mentioned that I was having a hard time with that definition of a “Texan” in the review, but I have had my mind changed since then. For our Heavenly Father showed me that Mr. Wilder was basing it upon a person’s state of mind—not the state of their birth.

Yeah, I can be rather slow at times. For Mr. Wilder clearly said that himself (To be a Texan is more than a fortunate accident of birth. To be a Texan is a state of mind and a condition of the heart.), and I still didn’t get it.

He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he sends them wandering through a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards. {Job 12:23-25 NIV}

Quite obviously, I am not the only one who can be rather slow at times. For our Heavenly Father has been making it very clear that there is more going on in this world than what comes to meet our natural sight. Yet, far too many just don’t get it.

The reason why that is relative is that much of the stuff in Mr. Wilder’s book that most will find highly offensive is actually true. For Mexico generally has been a Godless cesspool of chaos and corruption ever since the Spanish conquered the [Aztecs].

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. {Romans 9:14-18 NIV}

No, it should not be thought that it is all their fault, but there can be no denying that many of Mr. Wilder’s observations about the Mexican culture are true. Anyone who has spent any time at all down there can testify to that if they have the courage to be perfectly honest about it.

This is true of more than just the Mexican culture, of course. For the same can be said of the whole of Central and South America—as well as many other nations around the world.

Talk about being slow, far too many do not understand that what our Heavenly Father actually says about some being created for glory and others being created for destruction is about their lives in this world—not eternity. For we, as in all of mankind, were (and will be) created to spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as heirs to all that is His in glory. Whether or not someone actually does so is entirely up to them, but none of us are given a choice about most of the circumstances of our daily lives in this world.

Yes, that appears to be incredibly unfair. That is, until eternity is considered. For it truly is as it is written: And behold, there are some [now] last who will be first [then], and there are some [now] first who will be last [then]. {Luke 13:30 AMP}

Hmm, in the Light of that, those born with silver spoons in their mouths could have more to howl about in regards to unfairness than those born into abject poverty. For our time in this world is as nothing in comparison to eternity.

Be assured that all of this is oh so very personal to me. For I have seen most of my efforts to succeed in this world go for naught while watching others live wonderful lives without even trying.

No, this is not to say that I have never done anything wrong. For there is much about my past that I am deeply ashamed of, but I can honestly say that most of those disastrous decisions certainly seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord—even the events [that seem accidental] are really ordered by Him. {Proverbs 16:33 AMP}

No, none of is meant to serve as an excuse for misbehavior. For we would do well to assume responsibility for all of our ungodliness until our Heavenly Father tells us otherwise.

On the other hand, we would also do well to accept that all that is good about our lives in this world is a gift of our Heavenly Father’s grace. For woe be it to all who want to believe that their success is by their own efforts, and that also applies to the nations of this world.

No, I cannot address what Mr. Wilder says about the United States of America being soon overrun by low-culture Mexicans, but I can see where it could happen. For we “Americans” sure are awfully proud of ourselves.

The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. {Isaiah 2:17 NIV}

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