Aventuras con Religión


Hot and sunny in Lima todos los días. Day before yesterday I wandered around the sun-baked streets of Miraflores until I found Huaca Pucllana, a very large pre-Incan mound. That’s really all it is, a mound, but it was nice to have found it anyway without consulting anything except my confidence that I would run into it through the grace of dios. Speaking of the latter, I had an interesting adventure yesterday with religion. A friend of a friend of mine, Roxanna, who I had chatted with most of the night a few nights ago, took me 2 hours outside of the city today, to Ventanilla, to her church to get me converted. Now, let me tell you first of all that I had no idea where she and her friend Manuel were taking me. We had agreed to meet up this morning, and I had some vague idea that we were going to go out dancing somewhere eventually. We get on this old reconverted school bus and drive through the heat of the early afternoon out to where the sand dunes are. We finally get off the bus and step into a church. I’m thinking, ok, I’m going into a church, this is kind of weird, I thought we were going to the beach or something. Some biblical looking Peruanos in white button down shirts led me upstairs and sat me down at a table in a room filled with ladies in nun-outfits. Then another biblical looking dude in a beige tunic sat down and began speaking to me, solely in rapid-fire Spanish of course (translated at times by Roxanna in slightly less rapid-fire Spanish (it was rather touching to see that she thought this might help)), about his beliefs in God. Thus commenced an hour-long kind-of dialogue in Spanish regarding his beliefs and mine.
It was actually quite intriguing, he was telling me about how his church believes that the Incans knew of the Ten Commandments before the conquistadores ever trampled Incan turf bearing the ‘good news’ and greed for gold, that in fact in Isaiah 2 there is a reference to Macchu Piccu. Which couples with another interesting facet of religion here in general: the Catholicism is mixed overtly with the native religion of the Incas, and there is not seen to be a contradiction in this, which is refreshing.
Anyway, so we had a pretty deep talk about God and stuff while I ate some good lomo saltado cooked by a matronly looking lady in a nun outfit and drank Inca Kola. I told the biblical looking dude in the beige tunic that I believe that god is in everyone and to know of this god is ultimately a solitary internal affair, a matter of cultivating consciousness so to speak, beyond laws and language and logical comprehension. We agreed pretty much on matters of the spirit, but then it always came down to their ten laws that they have based on the old testament (including maintenance of the Sabbath on Saturday), and how it was only through following these commandments that one could be one with santos. I was given a copy of said commandments and told that I held promise as a minister or prophet of “el señor.” Then we went downstairs to the church which was now in session. I was introduced in front of the congregation, and then they played some Andino music about Jesus, which was actually quite beautiful, and some ladies in nun outfits danced around with the spirit.
Yes, I call the kind of tourism that I undergo the tourism of the happenstance. Events sprung from the unknown are what I have come to see.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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