Saturday, 22 May 2010

stepping stones or stumbling blocks?

May 22, 2010

Sometimes it is better to be a bit flexible rather than totally stuck to a schedule (no matter what the wise men say!) This morning for example...

I "should have" gone straight to my "focused time with Father" this morning. BUT...

I decided to check my email first (the entrepreneurial guru-types always say to leave that stuff till after your "work" is done!). As I did it, I was "feeling rather guilty" - and yet I was really okay with it at the same time! And - well, I ended up having a wonderful time with Father, reading the "Words from the Creator" as well as some other things posted on the daily Tribes of Christ e-group email. Some of the postings are perhaps more "traditional native beliefs/ connection to Creator and creation" understandings... and I was thinking, well, Father could probably use those as stepping stones of understanding for those He is drawing, those who are seeking Him.

Some folks might - okay, do! - think that stepping stones like that are actually dangerous, because the people on them might just stay there (or even fall off into something "worse, wrong, evil..."). But Father, You are in charge, and You know when stepping stones are helpful, and You are there, holding our hands and helping us find the way.

I decided to copy a couple or three of today's postings into my facebook notes, and share them with my friends... which I did, after actually getting to my more formal "time with Father in His word"! And then I thought more about this whole matter...

I read in Matthew 17:27 "However, so that we do not offend them..." and it occurred to me that while we aren't under the rules and regulations of the law or of religious tradition (yes! we're free!), maybe we still need to be careful about "offending" those who are still operating under them?

In chapter 18:6-7 we read, "whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling blocks come!"

I don't want to be a stumbling block - and I think that this is is one of those cases where we do need to avoid offending - when we deal with those still caught up in law-bound religion.

1 Corinthians 8:9 (and verses 10 to 13) follow up on this: "But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak."

And I was still thinking about this whole stepping stone or stumbling block thing, when I was trying to decide about posting some of the Tribes of Christ stuff to my Norma J Hill facebook page.

Some of the postings on Tribes of Christ are clearly "Christ-centered" - although I suppose that even those ones might be puzzling or even "offensive" to those who believe thier own (non-native) cultural ways are somehow definitively Christian and should be observed, while other cultural expressions should be suppressed.

Still, there are other postings on Tribes of Christ which are "apparently" less "Jesus-centered." I'm sure a lot of people (yes, mostly non-native) could quite easily construe those posting as "new-age" or "native religion."

Oddly, though, I can't picture my native friends, even those who are "anti-Christian" because of residential school and similar experience, being offended or even caused to stumble or led astray (except perhaps for a few who have really bought into, or been forced into, white-man-cultural-Christianity-religion.)

Actually, I think maybe some of the postings might be a stumbling block mainly to non-natives who are dabbling in new-agey type spirituality, as they might interpret the posting as new age spirituality, and feel that their beliefs are being verified by the postings. (New age and native spirituality are NOT the same...)

Most native people I know would understand the postings as being written by native people who are honestly exploring their understanding of and relationship with Creator - and, if they have already encountered Jesus, or at least been "taught" about Him, as trying to understand how traditonal beliefs and knowing Jesus are related, and where Jesus really stands in their spiritual experience.

(I also suspect that "knowing Jesus" - rather than just knowing about Him - and welcoming Him to the center or core of their lives, is easier for those who already (from their traditional beliefs) already understand Creator to be at the center, and who have accepted a life that is, in all aspects, bound up in and permeated by relationship with Creator. Sadly, however, in too many cases, we (non-natives) have presented native peoples with "knowledge of Jesus" that actually is a stumbling block, and in direct contradiction to their understanding of and life experience in, relationship with Creator.

Well, of course, many of us non-native people have also suffered from this "Jesus-teaching" which does not line up with our innate need for relationship with God; nor with the Jesus we read about in scripture, and who is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit when we are in relationship with God - the real Jesus who loves us and longs to be united with us in His love...

(Does anyone "get" what I am trying to say?) (And yes, this is particularly important to me because my husband - and children and grandchildren, and many, many relations - are native themselves. And I am part of their family and life. And I need to understand!)

(Papa?? Thank You...)

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