Magazines 2018 Jul - Aug We need to listen and learn

We need to listen and learn

01 July 2018 By Dorene Meyer

It seems that there are still many non-Indigenous Christians out there who feel white people need to go and reach, evangelize, save, rescue, help Indigenous people, pastors, churches, and communities.

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It seems that there are still many non-Indigenous Christians out there who feel white people need to go and reach, evangelize, save, rescue, help Indigenous people, pastors, churches, and communities.

Let’s get back to the truth as revealed in the Bible in teachings and in historical documentation. Everyone needs to hear the gospel message – the good news that Jesus paid the price for all of our sins and all we have to do is accept this free gift of salvation. When we accept, our sins are forgiven, we become the children of God and His Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, to direct us each day. When this happens, we instantly become missionaries, evangelists, teachers, leaders, etc. because the Holy Spirit is in us.

Dorene Meyer lives in Norway House and joins us for this guest blog.

Non-Indigenous people – and I write as one — need to open our eyes and see that there are strong Indigenous churches, pastors, ministries, leaders, communities, people who can teach us, help us, minister to us, evangelize us (and of course, teach, help, minister and evangelize their own people).

There are more Indigenous Christians per capita than in non-Indigenous populations in Canada. This is not an unreached people group. This is not a mission field. We all need to hear the good news individually, and when we receive that good news and the Holy Spirit is in us, we are all missionaries, evangelists, teachers, because the Great Commission was given to all believers. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16:15).

Sometimes, we love to set ourselves up as being something special, but we are all equal before God, our Creator. Yes, some people may be more gifted at speaking, teaching, evangelizing, leading, but, does it really have to be said in this enlightened age of ours? One people group does not speak, teach, evangelize, lead better than another people group.

So my fellow non-Indigenous Christians, let’s realize that it is not our job to fix, heal, empower, etc., any other people group. God, our Father, is the great healer. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the kind Shepherd, the Great Physician.

An example of something that is not helpful is to mail boxes of items to the First Nations communities without first asking people who live there. Think of it this way, if a First Nations group sent 200 boxes of items to the airport of your community, and the box was addressed to “The Town Council, Brampton, Ontario. Where would those boxes end up?”

Another unhelpful thing is to just come as a group uninvited to a First Nations community. Often these groups expect to use various venue (which may already be booked), stay in hotels (which may already be full) or people’s homes. You get my point.

The one thing I believe non-Indigenous people can do that would help the most is to educate ourselves, our children, and our nation. We need to stop what we’re doing and listen to our Christian Indigenous brothers and sisters. If we do that one thing alone for the next few generations, we will be the change that needs to happen.

Here are three specific ways you can “listen” and learn.

  1. Subscribe to Indigenous newspapers, follow Indigenous Facebook pages, and ask to be invited to Indigenous Facebook groups. But remember, your job (for the next couple of generations at least) is to listen and learn. So what this means practically is that you can “like” a post but think long and hard before commenting.
  2. Read books by Indigenous authors. I would suggest anything by Bill Jackson. Also an excellent book by Parry Stelter: A Word of Hope for my Aboriginal People. A third author I would suggest is Dr. Thomas McDonaldThe Black Book – Native Americans and the Christian Experience. 
  3. Get to know some Indigenous people. Not to “help,” but just to be friends.

There is no Indigenous Church. There is no Non-Indigenous Church. Christians tend to gather in groups that share the same language and geographic location and personal preferences in worship. But we are all one family. As it says in the Bible, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free.” Jesus, the Great Healer, has made us all one family.

Dorene Meyer is an author, teacher, mentor and publisher who lives in Norway House Cree Nation. Read Faith Today’s “Reconciliation” issue in Jan/Feb.

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