From the introduction of Randy Woodley’s May 2019 Sojourners Magazine piece “The Fullness Thereof.”
CHANGE YOUR LENSES, please. Okay, maybe you can’t simply change lenses right now, but would you at least notice the lenses you are currently wearing? If you are like, say, 99.9 percent of us in the U.S., you have been influenced by a very particular set of perspectives that interpret life from an Enlightenment-bound Western worldview.
All of our lenses have various perspectival tints, but Western worldviews seem to have several in common, including the foundational influence of Platonic dualism, inherited from the Greeks. This particular influence absolutizes the realm of the abstract (spirit, soul, mind) and reduces the importance of the concrete realm (earth, body, material), disengaging them from one another. In dualistic thinking, we are no longer an existing whole. Continue reading
By Joshua Grace, originally posted at Red Letter Christians
I’m a Polish-American settler. I didn’t choose the conditions of my birth or my original family. However, I do choose to actively undermine the systems and lies beneath those conditions of various levels of privilege.
Ignorance of our nation’s history, and the systems that our national narrative myth supports, only perpetuate injustice and maintain roadblocks to our greater healing. I was fortunate that in the process, my own Western worldview got challenged and I realized it needed to be overcome. I could not and probably would not have put the work in without supportive community — the Indigenous friends, teachers, and relatives who offered a healing sense of belonging. Continue reading
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, homily at Day House Catholic Worker on March 24, 2019
Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
It took me a while to get my hands deep enough into this Gospel to feel the unsettling force. At first, the reading seemed simple. The disciples ask Jesus about current events in their time, about people who had been killed, and asked if it was their own fault. Jesus declares with clarity, “NO! But if you don’t turn away from sin, it will happen to you.” This logic didn’t seem quite right to me.
Reading the text within a circle of community earlier this week, allowed the current events of Jesus’ time to morph into our own. Continue reading
By Randy Woodley, re-posted with permission from the Ethnic Space and Faith blog
There are stark differences between the worldviews of Indigenous peoples and those whose worldviews developed with the influence of Western Europe. The “age of discovery” brought the Europeans to our Indigenous shores. Many of those theologians and discoverers attributed their discoveries to God and then immediately acted in the most ungodly manner. I am willing to concede that the Creator had a hand in the meeting of the two worlds but I think it has been largely misinterpreted by the Western nations and Western religious bodies. These so called “discoveries” created not only wealth by extraction in previously co-sustained Indigenous lands, labor and resources, but they also created perverted national myths and twisted theological accounts of conquest. These myths have continued to be told time and time again, and with each generation they are reified, built upon and codified into our society’s collective mythologies and memories. Continue reading
From Randy Woodley in Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision (2012):
Humans have moved recently from tertiary consumers to becoming primary consumers. Such change is beyond the earth’s natural cycles and recharge rates, creating imbalance and disharmony on the whole planet. In order to restore balance, the earth is being forced to “consume” the primary consumer, moving her temporarily to confront humanity with the only defense she has, namely, natural disasters. In a very real sense, the top of the food chain is now the earth herself.
By Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley (photo right),a Keetoowah Cherokee teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian
*This piece was originally posted at HuffPost.
Full disclosure: I am a committed peace activist who often hunts for his food and has valid concealed carry permits recognized in 36 states. I have never been a member of the NRA.
I won’t take the time here to explain the details above except to say they are deeply held, carefully thought through convictions. Hopefully, my disclosure causes some cognitive dissonance. Because I do not believe the issue of violence in our country is going to be resolved by advocating the talking points of either extreme, it may be helpful to create a sense of disequilibrium. I believe the problem of gun violence in America can be effectively addressed by looking deeply at all perspectives and by finding meaningful and practical compromise through a renewed sense of spirituality.
Randy and students at Eloheh Farm. Credit: Patricia McSherry
By Randy Woodley
As a follower of Jesus from a Keetoowah Indian heritage, my “canon” consists of Scripture, creation, and the “Native American Old Testament” (God’s revelation to Native People through generations of culture and tradition.) Continue reading