Indigenous Wisdom Re-Schooling Christian Vision

LilyFrom the Center For Babaylan Studies, this webinar is live tomorrow at 2pmEST. Click here to register!

Is it possible to learn from indigenous wisdom and practice across the globe and then re-read the biblical writings with an eye to the indigenous traces not entirely erased there? Or is going back to indigenous ways the same as going back to superstitious belief? Does following Jesus mean forsaking all other ancestral ways? This webinar will walk through the scriptural tradition to explore a possibility of calling Christianity to depth-work in recovering some of its own indigenous, anti-imperial roots.

Climate Crisis in our time is a Voice of the land and waters demanding an urgent hearing. For Christians of most persuasions the challenge is stark. Five hundred years of European Christian settler colonialism has given birth to white supremacy and modern economy destroying Earth and Her peoples. Many would say the Christian tradition has authored so much indigenous genocide, enslavement and sexual violence over its 2000-year history that it should be abandoned altogether. There is certainly reason to take such an admonition seriously. But is it also possible to learn from indigenous wisdom and practice across the globe and then re-read the biblical writings with an eye to the indigenous traces not entirely erased when scribes first penned the texts in service of oppressive kings? Taking this kind of approach, however, generates for many committed Christians a conundrum. “Isn’t going back to indigenous ways the same as going back to superstitious belief? Aren’t babaylan rituals trafficking in evil spirits and demonic practices? Isn’t Jesus the only way?” This webinar will walk through the scriptural tradition examining all of these questions. Come and explore a possibility of calling Christianity to depth-work in recovering some of its own indigenous, anti-imperial roots.

About the Speakers:

Jim and Lily are a husband-and-wife team for nearly two decades pushing into deeper responsiveness to indigenous spirituality and struggle in the US and the Philippines, in connection with the Center for Babaylan Studies and numerous other organizations.

Jim has lived for 35 years as a settler on Three Fires land in inner city Detroit, currently teaching as Professor of Social Ethics at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and lecturing in Intercultural Communication Studies at the University of Oakland (Michigan). He holds a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago, is the author of five books including Political Spirituality for a Century of Water Wars: The Angel of the Jordan Meets the Trickster of Detroit; Shamanism, Racism, and Hip-Hop Culture: Essays on White Supremacy and Black Subversion; and White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity. He is an artist on the spoken-word poetry scene and an activist in the struggle against water shutoffs. Preferred pronouns are he, him.

Lily is a native of Pampanga, Philippines, the traditional homeland of the Ayta people. She is an Associate Professor of Culture and Communication at the Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She holds an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in Communication and teaches courses in multiculturalism, cultural theory, and the politics of representation, all from an ecological and indigenous perspective. She is the author of Between the Homeland and Diaspora: The Politics of Theorizing Filipino and Filipino American Identities and lead editor of Back from the Crocodile’s Belly: Philippine Babaylan Studies and the Struggle for Indigenous Memory. She is currently working on a co-edited volume, titled, De-colonizing Eco-theology: Indigenous and Subaltern Challenges. Preferred pronouns are she, her.

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