Comment: “We live in a time of confusion …”




America in the mid 1800s was a brutal place, both for the wave of American settlers moving to new land, and for the native Americans already living there and fighting both the invaders and other tribes. The tally of battles, raids and utter chaos on both sides is staggering, history yet again showing us how bad things can get between people where territory is concerned.

A well-known figure from that era was Quanah Parker. His father was a native American and his mother was a European-American girl, abducted in a raiding party, called Cynthia Anne Parker. Quanah was a war leader of the Kwahadi band of the the Comanche Nation, a tribe that had dominated for a long time.

The Comanche were wild and nomadic; they had a fighting and raiding range of about 400 miles, which for the time was massive. One of the things that enabled their rise was the use of horses. The Spanish mastery of horses, and the huge culture of breeding horses and breaking them was absorbed into Comanche culture; they saw it and used it. Quanah Parker has been depicted riding one of his stallions bare-chested, with a war bonnet of eagle feathers, face painted, hair braided and a bow made from animal sinew. At the time, it would have been a real problem seeing him ride into your town.

Why does this matter? Well, Quanah Parker is also known, and criticised by some, for later becoming a rancher and adopting some European-American ways of life, for letting go of some of his own historic culture, dress, speech and more, although he always kept his braids. The horseback warrior changed; to some, he sold out.

We live in a time of confusion, of fluidity, of people searching for identity in a tide of shifting culture that says “This is it, this is who you need to be to be understood and accepted”. So how do we navigate it? Should we be the mounted warrior with a war bonnet, or blend in and assimilate as best we can?

For me, there is a different culture, a different set of codes or patterns to live by. Found in the Bible is the fruit of the spirit; things that will direct me towards living well, and living with my creator. These might feel like passive, defensive things, but when lived out correctly, you’ll be a warrior, with or without the eagle feathers.

Main photo credit: Fred Moon via Unsplash

Nathan Blackaby

Nathan is the CEO of Christian Vision for Men, a global men’s ministry. He loves skipping, boxing, riding motorbikes and his dog. He has lived in Brazil working with Teen Challenge and enjoys trying to keep his Portuguese going.

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