What a sublime experience.
Bill and I got to swap stories today.
“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness. ” - Alex Haley
"Story is the most natural way of enlarging and deepening our sense of reality, and then enlisting us as participants in it. Stories open doors to areas or aspects of life that we didn’t know were there, or had quit noticing out of over-familiarity, or supposed were out-of-bounds to us. They then welcome us in. Stories are verbal acts of hospitality." - Eugene Peterson | Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places
Bill is the ninth generation Kinte, direct descendant of Kunte Kinte. Someday I'll share, maybe in a future Orthopraxis lecture, why knowing Bill is a story come full circle for me. God had used the struggles of the Native Host Peoples and the African American experience during the early formative years of my ministry exposure and training. It is very special and humbling to me that I am able to build a relationship with Bill and others who are continuing the work of reconciliation and restoration in our land... for all peoples... for all of us who have experienced a dispossession of sorts.
What Did We Talk About?
Some things we chewed on today together:
- Doctrine of Discovery
- Native Americans/Host Peoples and the loss of land and identity.
- The Art of Remembering.
- Undoing trauma and releasing forgiveness.
If you know anything about Ekko Church, you know that these things matter in the sense that one of our primary goals is to create a place called "home". In order to Love, to be able to Hope, to experience Faith one has to first and foremost have the right environment. God created a garden before placing Adam and Eve in it. We often want to "disciple", we often want to "reach" our world but we must first recapture a sense of "home". This can only be done within and by the empowering "covenant" God offers through Jesus. This covenant then is worked out locally in each tribe that make up the Body of Christ. Anyways, because "home" is such an important focus for me all things Land, Identity, Dispossession... matter.
"Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place." - Henri Nouwen
Sometimes I wonder if the American Church wants to experience greater fruitfulness in the future we may have to dig deeper into our past and reflect with more humility our practice - hopefully leading to more effective - repentance, restitution, and restoration.
Before reaching and "saving" the world, I wonder if we should consider more seriously what brokenness we've caused in our own land that inhibit us from being an effective witness around the world. We must continue to engage these issues of injustices past and present, suffer and struggle with/alongside our Host Peoples and their Nations and our African American brothers and sisters... and imagine a better future together.
I pray that my ministry will crossroads with the Host Peoples again as it did in the 90's and I pray that relationships like this one will develop richly under God's plan and care.
May God have mercy on America, the American Church, and may we humble ourselves before he humbles us for us.
Needless to say, this was a very rich and fulfilling conversation.
The Adventure Continues,
Some books I can recommend that may help understand points for intercession for our peoples, our future, our land.