As an Indigenous woman I have been, like many of my people, a project of spiritual imperialism – conversion of souls by not-so-good intentioned Christianis for good and not so good poorly thought out and not very Christian reasons. And, I have personally, embraced Christianity as my “way to make it through the night”. Christianity is, as a result, of my personal history, my choice.
My adopted father was a Catholic liberation theologian type of fellow very involved in politics and supported women’s right to choose, sex education in the schools, the farmand mine workers and a whole lot of other folks struggling for justice. I have had the recent unpleasant experience of having someone at a song circle come up to me and tell me that I “could have a complete set of words for that song [the one I'd just song] that doesn’t have the word Jesus or God in it”.
First we are told what to worship and now we are told what not to worship. In my life it has been people of faith who have I have been guided and inpressed by. Their fatih giving them the courage to stand up for justice; to walk the walk. The fruits of the spirit, the seven grandfathers, the blessings and the virtues are all the same: love, respect, honesty, humility, courage, patience and kindness.
In my own healing journey my friends in community of CPT have been my “rock” as have my friends in spirit through the years.
Below is the challenge sent out to the Mennonite World Conference in 1984 which lead to the formation of CPT.
“In 1984, Ron Sider challenged the Mennonite World Conference in Strasbourg, France with these words:
“Over the past 450 years of martyrdom, immigration and missionary proclamation, the God of shalom has been preparing us Anabaptists for a late twentieth-century rendezvous with history. The next twenty years will be the most dangerous—and perhaps the most vicious and violent—in human history. If we are ready to embrace the cross, God’s reconciling people will profoundly impact the course of world history . . . This could be our finest hour. Never has the world needed our message more. Never has it been more open. Now is the time to risk everything for our belief that Jesus is the way to peace. If we still believe it, now is the time to live what we have spoken.
“We must take up our cross and follow Jesus to Golgotha. We must be prepared to die by the thousands. Those who believed in peace through the sword have not hesitated to die. Proudly, courageously, they gave their lives. Again and again, they sacrificed bright futures to the tragic illusion that one more righteous crusade would bring peace in their time, and they laid down their lives by the millions.
“Unless we . . . are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic vigorous new exploits for peace and justice, we should sadly confess that we never really meant what we said, and we dare never whisper another word about pacifism to our sisters and brothers in those desperate lands filled with injustice. Unless we are ready to die developing new nonviolent attempts to reduce conflict, we should confess that we never really meant that the cross was an alternative to the sword . . .”
To continue with how this is presented on the website: ….. “Thus, Sider’s call contributed to vigorous conversations in churches across North America. In 1986, these discussions culminated in a late fall gathering at the suburban Chicago retreat center owned by the Society of the Divine Word in Techny. God granted a spirit of unity to the gathering of 100 persons and a call went out for the formation of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT.) Representative denominations appointed a steering committee to hammer out basic directions and invited Gene Stoltzfus to begin work as the first staff person in 1988.”
We’re leaving in about 20 minutes for Grassy Narrows. We’ll be there until the 20th of August. Follow the team and send prayers and blessings for us all as we work as allies for justice. And, please check out Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Peace and love, in the Light on the Red Path,