More and more these days, newspaper headlines shout
out about people being shot, bombed, executed, and murdered. Children,
young adults and the elderly are not exempt from this tragedy.
As the late Dr. Wayne Dyer has written, there is a
spiritual solution for every problem.
Rev. Dr. Randy S. Woodley came to the Christian faith at age 19, He
learned to ignore his ethnic heritage because he was told it was “of the
flesh.” His experience is consistent with the colonial history of those
living in a land where the dominant culture is associated with one
particular faith tradition.
Euro-Americans contextualized their Christian faith so well (see, for
example, the White Jesus on the wall of First Church of Any Town, USA),
Euro-Americans became confused over what was faith and what was culture.
resulting mixture of Christianity and Euro-American civilization was the
all native religious ceremonies and many cultural practices be outlawed.
For almost 100 years, in the name of progress, American Indian children
were forced into government-sponsored, denominationally run boarding
schools where many were abused physically, sexually, emotionally and
spiritually, and where many of them died.
Americans knew the depths of degradation
have gone through at the hands of the U.S. Government and the Church,
they would be in profound disbelief that any Indian would ever become a
then there is the other reality of Indian life: Indians are normally
forgiving people and many really like Jesus in spite of the kind of
Christianity presented to them. Authentic traditional elders — the real
elders of the people — were tolerant and kind to everyone. They knew
there was only one God the Creator, call him what you will, to hear our
prayers. These elders were often much better at the practice of
Christian life, even without formal Christian training and dogma, than
the missionaries who tried to convert them.
missionaries did a real number on
by preventing them from expressing our devotion to Jesus through their
own cultures. Those who condemned their cultures simply taught them to
hate themselves and, in the end, to hate God for making them Indian.
Clearly, not all missionaries were evil. There have always been a few
people of faith who thought and acted in ways ahead of their time.
centuries of tragedy, America’s indigenous have a gift to offer the
West. As First Nations people learn to deconstruct the Western worldview
and bring their own unique perspective to the table, they find stark
differences between Indigenous and Western faith systems. The bottom
line being that a rigid Western worldview is essentially at odds with
the shalom-kingdom teachings of Jesus and, the parallel construct of the
harmony way found among Indigenous peoples.
gospel is about living out love and giving away power, especially among
the poor and marginalized. The Spirit of God affirms our unique
giftedness. The Western worldview left unchecked, may eventually destroy
the earth. Helping others to see shalom through the lens of an
Indigenous worldview will not only help heal our past, it can heal our
lives matter along with Red, White, Yellow and Brown. ALL LIVES MATTER.