Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Native American Christianity in the News

Here are three recent interesting stories about the intersections of Christianity and Native American spirituality that caught my eye. The first, and I think most important, is from Sojourners Magazine. Titled "Christ and Whose Culture?" and written by Kent Annan, the article discusses the work of Richard Twiss (Rosebud/Lakota Sioux) and his colleagues, who try to show perplexed/challenged Native Christians that they can follow Christ without giving up their traditional beliefs and practicies. (After all, Jesus wasn't white!)

Since his mystical encounter with Jesus and conversion in his early 20s, Twiss has not always found it easy to stand with his people. When he first started following Jesus, he felt forced to choose between being a Christian (“cut my hair and reject my Native American culture and spirituality to join the white evangelical church”) or a Native American.

But now he is part of a group of Native American evangelical theologians who reject this either/or as a false choice. In 2000, he and seven colleagues formed the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) to nurture theology and ministry that is “clearly evangelical yet fully contextual in its approach.”

The next two articles are both from Episcopal Life Online. The first discusses Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's visit to the 33rd annual Convocation (convention) of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland earlier this month and their upcoming election of a new bishop.

The second is about what may perhaps be a more important issue, but is in Canada so alas I don't pay as much attention. The headline says it all, but I do recommend a read: "Anglicans mark first anniversary of government apology for residential schools abuse."

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