I cannot tell you where you need to stand; I can certainly tell you where I am standing.
It was critical for me to study and seek to know the core of what makes our society today. This was a part of my calling. It was equally important for me to study how our world today is different from previous incarnations. Most importantly, it was critical for me to study the biblical world so I could understand the very soul of the people who wrote the Scriptures. It’s not as if I claim that what I have found is true for everyone, but it works for me. It brings me peace with the God who made me and calls me.
So I seek to share some of what I’ve seen in those studies. What you make of it is decided between you and God. I’ve done my best to see through the multitude of manifestations to see the soul of what makes our world today what we encounter. Our current society tends to act as if God is a strong monarch in the Western sense. The Bible portrays Him as a head of household, a nomad sheikh.
I’ve often said we cannot reconstruct the biblical world excerpt perhaps in our understanding. We have to build our own religion for our own context. For me, this means I tend to see God as the life-force that inhabits all that is around us. I suppose you can attribute that to Native American influence. I’ll offer the caveat that it’s a murky model to work from, since most American Indian scholars themselves admit that the various nations and tribes tend to be rather unique. There is no single source by which something is labeled “authentic” Native American.
One of the things that binds them together is the utter necessity of having your own unique connection to life. The nations are pretty competitive with each other, but have an instinct to share freely with genuine outsiders. Any hostility they hold for non-natives comes from the hostility they received first. Native Americans are rarely racist. They might be guarded, but are brutally honest when given the chance. These are generalities I’ve observed, having lived near or among American natives much of my life. Like most folks born in Oklahoma, I have some Indian DNA. I’ve had quite a few natives tell me it makes a difference; some even perceived it without my saying so. It’s not an obsession, just a part of who I am.
What saddens me most is how their various cultures have been nearly crushed under the steamroller of Anglo-Saxon arrogance and indifference. I doubt I could ever pretend to any kind of activism, but I hope some manifestation of Native American culture never dies from the earth. For me, it offers a winsome vision of something that defies description, a path to God that He laid for a people unlike any other. Sure, there are pagan elements I can’t swallow, but the overall image of the Creator appeals to me.
This is just another patch of the quilt of who I am.