"Bishop MacDonald interviews Steven A. Darden, Navajo, a business owner, consultant and trainer who works with many tribal and non-tribal organizations across Indian Country. His perspective us founded upon the integration of his grandmother's traditional Navajo teaching and his own studies and experience in contemporary culture, including Christian culture. This interview took place in 2002, and was transcribed from a tape recording by Cynthia Lamb-Faust".
Interviewer Mark MacDonald was elected Episcopal Bishop of Alaska in 1997. He "brought 13 years' experience of ministry among predominantly Native congregations -- as regional vicar in Navajoland Area Mission and among the Ojibwe of Northern Minnesota. Additionally, he developed a thriving urban Indian mission in Portland, Oregon".
A discussion of traditional Navajo religion and spirituality and some of its connections to Christian beliefs.
The author, Episcopal Bishop of Alaska, describes the history of the churches with indigenous peoples ("Peoples of the Land") criticizing the church's participation in colonialism but also praising the church's advocacy for, and representation in, treaties "treaties that recognize the authority, sovereignty, and right to self-determination of the Peoples of the Land". "Though implicitly acknowledging the authority of the Peoples of the Land, the church[es] have almost completely denied the indigenous nations the formal possibility of recognizing catholicity in their churches. The Peoples of the Land have been assumed into someone else's local[e], in the name of loyalty to the Universal. The Peoples of the Land clearly have all the elements of nationhood that the United Nations and the World Court require .... For the most part, the authority of this and the freedom it implies is unacknowledged in the administrative life of the church. Even where nationhood has been acknowledged, the present system of church jurisdiction endorses the ongoing boundaries of colonialism, as they exist in the modern nation-state" (pp. 13-14).
The author, Episcopal bishop of Alaska, discusses the connection of Christianity and the environment. It is particularly apparent in the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist. The author reports the observation of one participant at a conference on baptism, saying: "Since one of the most fundamental elements of the sacraments -- water -- is also a critical environmental issue, why is it difficult to connect environmental awareness with Christian faith and life ? The answer to their problem was, as she said `in the font' (p. 14)." Speaking of Christ and the Eucharist the author says: "In the merged light of a Spring Equinox Sun and a Full Moon (this is how we determine the date of Easter) the Dawn of restored life rises. Jesus instructs us to take water and re-birth life; to take oil and heal; to take the grain and fruit of the earth and, by eating and drinking, restore what our First Parents lost by eating and drinking. The purpose and holiness of created life is revealed, as the Uncreated Light of Easter dawn mingle with the created light of a new morning (pp. 15-16)". "Let us approach the font and table to rediscover our authentic life and spirituality. Our discussions of Eucharist and baptism usually concern what we add to the elements by our prayers. It is at least as important to ask what is `uncovered' [in italics in text] in the water and in the bread. Our prayers are to illuminate the dimness of our spiritual sight, to uncover the elements in the beauty of their God-given holiness. In the water, we see the true nature and holiness of all water. In the bread and cup, we see the true holiness of all food. In this way, through Jesus, the elements of the Created life, this Environment, become the sacred vehicles that reveal a Living God".
"The title of this piece might suggest an essay about something that happened centuries ago. In fact, I want to describe something that is taking place now. Though it may seem absurd or amazing or both, it appears, at least from the perspective of the mainline church institutions that the Gospel is just now about to find its first real home in North America." "The influential Doctrine of Discovery, providing the basis for colonial expansion for over 500 years, presumes that civilization is not present if the institutions of western culture are not available. A land that is discovered without western institutions is considered "terra nullius", an uninhabited land, even if peoples and cultures are present". "Theologically, the Doctrine of Discovery has been the handmaid to the idolatrous assumption that God's presence has been confined to western civilization -- an idea that has all but destroyed the capacity of the major denominations to grow in indigenous communities". "Though colonialism limits the capacity of Westerners to see it, God's word has always had a vital and prophetic presence among the Peoples of the Land. In their diverse cultures and histories, we see constant suggestions of that presence, before, during, and after the arrival of the missionaries." "At the Sacred Circle of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples held in Pinawa, Man. [in August 2005], the first steps towards a church of the People of the Land of this Turtle Island (a number of tribes use this term to describe the Americas) were made. It is in this sense that I can say that we may be witnessing the birth of the first indigenous Anglican Church in North America -- a church that would hold that this land is sacred." "There is with these developments, a renewal of appreciation for the God-given authority that has always existed among the aboriginal nations. This authority, sometimes called sovereignty, is a direct repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery." "Aboriginal life -- true tribal life -- is ... a call to relational and interdependent identity with humanity and all of creation. This is a vision that is desperately needed by the peoples of our world". Bishop Macdonald outlines seven marks of a truly indigenous North America Church: "1. A robust awareness that God has, is, and will be present among the People of the Land. 2. A recognition that God has acted definitively in the survival of the Peoples of the Land .... 3. ... a related denunciation of the Doctrine of Discovery and an end to measuring aboriginal church development by Western models. 4. ... The churches of the West must do more than affirm the authority and validity of the First Nations as it relates to other Nations and States. They must recognize it among themselves. 5. The Spirit of God has and will develop leaders among the People of the Land. 6. The Land is sacred and a gift from God. We must recognize sacred place, history, and ecology. .... 7. The spiritual and moral authority of the aboriginal nations of the Americas, especially as they relate to their own, must shape the decision-making and the actual shape of these factors. This discernment must be both tribal and consensual, not imposed from above". "A Church for Turtle Island would call the whole Church to transformation. .... Once again, we would see that, perhaps more than anything else, the Gospel thrives on translation. Nothing is lost in translation; a new world is gained".
Author is Episcopal Bishop of Alaska and pastoral Bishop of Navajoland.
This article also published in June 2006 issue (vol. 4, no. 1) of "First Peoples Theology Journal", pp. 95-101.
80 reflections and appreciations on the life and career of Archbishop Michael Peers, Eleventh Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada (1986-2004), divided into 14 sections.
"This book celebrates the ministry of ... Michael Geoffrey Peers, the eleventh primate of our beloved church. It is a wonderful collection of memoirs happily offered by members of Michael's family, partners in parish ministry, colleagues in episcopal ministry, friends from around the Anglican Communion, and co-workers in the ecumenical movement. Together they are a profound testament to the sharpness of mind, generosity of spirit, and grace of demeanour for which Michael is held with such deep respect and genuine affection" -- Foreword.
Contents: Foreword dated 18 September 2014 / Fred J. Hiltz, Thirteenth Primate, Anglican Church of Canada -- List of Contributors -- 1. The Eleventh Primacy : Beginnings / Michael Ingham -- 2. Early Years : Baby Michael / Anne Latham -- Reluctant Athlete, Brilliant Mind / Babs Jeffrey -- Leaving the Boy Behind / Rod Freebairn-Smith -- Russian Comic / Betty Vogel -- Good Samaritan / Nevitt Maybee -- An Important Impression / Maylanne Maybee -- The Free Curate / John Fowler -- Eager Young Priest / Bill Wright -- 3. Canadian Family : How Me Met / Dorothy Peers -- Travelling with Dad / Valerie Peers -- Dad the Linguist / Richard Peers -- The Model of a Leader / Geoff Peers -- Travels with My Uncle / Jim Peers -- Heidelberg Redux / Richard B. Bradley -- 4. English Family : Visits to the Homeland / Charles Peers -- Heidelberg, Italy, and the British Connetion / Kate Welbbourne, Jim Peers, Mary Hawthorne -- 5. Friends : The Dark- Eyed Student / Adrienne Clarkson -- Of Slippers and Grace / Stephen Toope -- Love and Generosity / Stephen Kadaali -- Fear of Heights / Stephan von Cramon-Taubadel -- And You Took Me In / Emmanuel Tehindrazanararivelo -- Martinis and Dogs / Lisa Wallace Markesteyn -- Gift of God / Marie et Andre P. Asselin -- A Word about Dorothy / Patti Browning -- Don't Blame Me / Diane Maybee -- 6. Fellow Primates : Colleague and Friend / Desmond Tutu -- Unconditional Respect for All / Rowan Williams -- Tactician of Formidable Artistry / Richard Holloway -- Cool Moderation and Common Sense / Peter Carnley -- By My Side in Tough Times / Edmond L. Browning -- Diplomat and Reconciler / Frank Griswold -- 7. Episcopal Colleagues : Revelations of a Principal Secretary / Gordon Light -- A Prodigious Memory / David Crawley -- Thirty-One Nights in Our House / Arthur Peters -- 1998 Lambeth Conference / Robert H. Johnson -- A Well-Aimed Tomato / Douglas Hambidge -- Adventures in Asia/Pacific / Terry Brown -- The Grey Flannel Trousers / Eric Bays -- Reflections of a Prolocutor / Rodney Andrews -- Obergruppenfuhrer . Duncan Wallace -- 8. Ministry of Women : First Female Priest / Betty Garrett -- He Took a Chance on Me / Helena Houldcroft -- Hurrah for Michael / Lois Wilson -- There to Testify / Terry Finlay -- Life-Giving Testimony / Mary Tanner -- A Great Encourager / Patricia Bays -- Careful, Transparent, and Respectful / James Cowan -- 9. Cuba : Encouragement and Generosity / Leonel Abaroa-Bolona -- The Shampoo Problem / David Hamid -- 10. Ecumenical Work : An Historic Trip to the Soviet Union / Lois Wilson -- World Council of Churches / Konrad Raiser -- 1988 Lambeth Conference / Mary Tanner -- Three Hundred Black Cassocks / James Weisgerber -- Sister Church, Older Brother / Tom Ryan -- 11. Anglican-Lutheran Full Communion : We Danced ! / Telmor Sartison -- Late-Night Party / Alyson Barnett-Cowan -- A Study in Kindness / Michael Pryse -- 12. Apology to First Nations : More Than I Can Say / Michael Peers -- Response on Behalf of the Elders / Vi Smith -- A Momentous Occasion / Laverne Jacobs -- The Apology's Horizon / Mark MacDonald -- Sunlight / Ralph Goodale -- A Personal Tribute / Tom Morgan -- 13. The Style of the Man : Never Hand Him a Straight Line / Doug Tindal -- My Heart Image / Abigail Hamilton -- The Peanut Butter Sandwich / Terry Reilly -- Poker Face / Ansley Tucker -- No Money or Baboon / Ellie Johnson -- Empathy for Justice / Naim Ateek -- Where He Did Not Wish to Go / Peter Elliott -- Fisher of Men (and Fish) / Peter Lucas -- Probing Examiner / Trevor Powell -- Self-Effacing, Intensely Shy / Eric Beresford -- Be Seen, Not Heard / Alyson Barnett-Cowan -- Quiet, Irenic, Scholarly / Karen Evans -- I'm Going Where ? / Terry Reilly -- Not Flattering / David Pate -- If You Need It, Walk Away / David Opheim -- Figure It Out Yourself / Brian Bjerring -- Rum Runner / David Hamid -- Admirably Eccentric / Jim Peers -- Endless Vistas of Bother / Michael Thompson -- 14. An Assessment : Michael Peers: Legacy / Jim Boyles.
Today, a spiritual resilience in the churches, from Pentecostals to the Pope, is leading many to rethink major elements of the institutional ethos and practice of the past few centuries. We might call this a kind of 'waking up', a rediscovery of truth and new life in ancient paths. As we wake up, I would like to make a few suggestions for a conversation of renewal. Though far from perfect and much less than exhaustive, here are the elements that I believe should be a part of our theological agenda. If we move toward them, these would preclude the kind of practice that led to the churches' part in colonialism. From just war to active non-violence .... From the culture of money to non-possession .... From the dominion of creation to the eucharistic life .... From flirtation with wealth to life among the poor and marginalized .... From institutional membership to communion".