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By W. Houston
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Apparently, the word Dega came into wide use in this guerilla army. In any case, it is during these years in the remote mountain jungles that this band of guerilla fighters forged the collectivity that came to North Carolina as a refugee group, referring to themselves by the name Dega. com - licensed to Chung Hua University - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-04 Chapter 2 MISSIONS AND CONVERSIONS and is not used in the highlands to this day. Dega are refugees, not highlanders. Dega would seem to be an indigenous term, but its origins and referent are uncertain.
God’s war against communism” emerges as a recurring trope in many of the CMA texts from the late 1950s onward. CMA texts frequently bemoan the active presence of Satan in the highlands. In early accounts he is typically identified in the depraved rituals of the savages and the gongs ringing eerily through the dark jungle night bereft of God’s light. ” But by repeatedly asserting their neutrality in the war, while simultaneously linking the military struggle with “God’s work,” they bequeath to Dega refugees an unstable image of the natural opposition between God and communism.
49 His empathetic acceptance of what he understands as “Jarai spirituality” is evident when he argues that the yang are like the angels of the Hebrew scriptures, mediators between man and God. ”50 Jarai rites and beliefs are inadequate, but they are not essentially fallacious. He strives to introduce Christianity by “converting their words” through the expansion of their meaning in light of Christian revelation—without losing their roots in traditional Jarai spirituality. He explains how he tries to “convert their rites” by slowly introducing Christian elements.