Friday, 13 March 2009

Struggles, questions about culture and Christianity and religion and such

August 10 email

Sometimes I really wonder about “dreams” and “visions” and such…. How to know when they are really of God? I’m tending more and more to just wanting to take life a day, a moment at a time and look around and see what God is doing then and there and how He might want me participating in HIS work… I’m kind of tired of getting all excited, “expecting great things”… Wondering if that is really what God wants for us after all… “Man plans, but God’s purposes prevail” as it says in Proverbs. I am thinking more and more that maybe all our programs and plans and stuff are not HIS way of doing things… that maybe all these “vision statements” and such are more of “man’s way” than “God’s way.”

At our city's summer festival this week there was a lot more participation by the local native people… they set up an “Aboriginal village” in the park with teepees, arts and crafts, native foods etc., and the first night of of the festival they put on native dancing, singing, poetry, etc. It was so awesome. Two Cree women (one of whom lives here, she is half Cree and half Carrier, and is a Christian) and a west-coast native woman sang some songs together. They sang this one song that they wrote to Creator (Gitchee Manitou) thanking Him for their parents and grandparents and for His Wisdom and all that… it was in Cree, but that didn’t matter, because the Spirit was so strong….

I have been reading the Tribes of Christ emails with great interest. Some things I can accept easily, other things I am not so sure about. Most of the people who write seem to come from tribes (US) where, according to what they write, there was strong belief in Creator and leadership was very much a shared thing, etc… but that is not what I know about traditional native beliefs from my experience… some tribes were such a hierarchical society, there was so much emphasis on wealth and position… and the really strong belief in spirits in all the animals, and all the slavery etc… and so much “curses” and all… it has really had an effect on our own family… so when I hear these other native people talking about how they are able to integrate their traditional beliefs so easily and how even before the white man came they had belief in ONE God/Creator and in Creator-Spirit and in Creator-Son… well, I don’t know what to think of that…

I know that different tribes did not all believe the same thing, and did not all get along perfectly (no matter what people seem to think), and so on. Another thing is that I see native people embracing their cultures so happily ( and other nationalities doing that too) and I find it really hard for myself, because I feel like I have no nationality/ culture to be proud of. And you know, the native people are trying to figure out how their traditional spirituality fits in with Christian teaching and all, and me, I am feeling like all my “traditions” are at the same time being stripped away, and that the way “my people” worshiped and believed must have been really WRONG, the more I see how they jammed it on other people and ruined their lives (like my hubby is still full of so much angers against “Christianity” and “those Christians” who sent him to residential school and all) –

and the more I learn from the Word the more I see how little what we have known as “church” and “Christianity” (as we know it) really relates to the New Testament example and the teachings and life of Jesus Himself. So I wonder, what does this all mean? It kind of reminds me of “de-schooling” when one quits the public school system and seeks a more genuine lifestyle of learning and education… I went through that and know how “lost” I felt at first… guess that’s kind of where I am right now… I still “go to church” to gather with God’s people, but I am not “involved” in the program-type ways I used to be… oh… I just don’t seem to have words for it….

I am experiencing this growing “draw” to fellowship with native people, although I don’t seem to have a lot of opportunities here… yet … anyway…

What you said about people running churches like a business… that is the way of our world, isn’t it, so much… and yet there is a definite change in the air, the Spirit is moving… after our church’s “annual general meeting” I feel like maybe what we need to do is sell the land, pay off the debts, maybe even cancel the lease on the current building we’re using… dismantle the system… maybe even let the pastor go back to building houses (well, Paul made tents!)…

And today in service… well, something is really happening… we’ve lost our long-time “worship/ music pastor” a few weeks ago… and now people are just getting together, bringing their guitars and stuff, jamming together… singing “old-time” choruses that are easy to play and sing… lots of people getting up and giving testimonies, scriptures, words from the Lord (unheard of, pretty much, in this church)… and the pastor really came down really, really firmly today that the gossip and complaining about each other and unforgiveness etc has GOT to end… well!

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