In an article that begins by describing how doing something as simple as lighting a smudging pot could risk imprisonment for North American aboriginal people, there’s a discussion about where the present relations between the First Nation people and Christian majority are today. Bishop Marc MacDonald, formerly of the Diocese of Alaska and now of the Anglican Church in Canada is featured.
When asked how the ancient tribal customs can be useful among modern Christians, and how the present church can show respect for the native people’s traditions, Myeengun Henry, a Chippewa elder, suggests:
“[…]Henry reminded the group to “know yourself and seek out who you are and your creation story. To be respectful is to know ourselves.’’[Bishop] MacDonald said respect is having a sense of awareness. “Become alert to what your heart is telling you. Be alert to the rhythms of your own life. If you are alert and things come your way, sit with them. Try to understand what it means,’’ he said. “God speaks to us in those ways.’’
“Create relationships, become a friend. Aboriginal people are really friendly, open,’’ said MacDonald, a 57-year-old father of three.
MacDonald said more people are expressing Christianity in their own indigenous way. In particular in Africa and in countries like India, “world Christianity is spontaneous, diverse and explosive.’’
MacDonald said the indigenous response to Christianity has been rapid in Africa, faster than any other time in history. Christianity has an opportunity to be revitalized, he said.”