“Reconciliation” definition: the restoration of friendly relations; the action of making one view of belief compatible with another.
I heard a statement that made me sit back and think. It was from an Indigenous person who was being interviewed on a talk show. The host made the comment about what churches could do to help with reconciliation efforts.
The answer was, “well reconciliation means that there was a good relationship there to begin with.”
Totally true! She went on to say that the Europeans, settlers and government, churches and schools came into the land with a superior attitude of what should and will be done. Then they forced “their” ways onto the native people.
There was no good relationship ever to start with, period. It sure does not seem that there was a lot of discussion to find out who the Natives were, what they believed and why. Had those steps happened, we might be ready to talk “reconciliation” instead we are dancing around a word that is being thrown around like a hot potato. No one seems to know how to be “reconciled” mainly because there is no relationship which needs to be restored!
We are instead on the cusp of a new era, the era of learning, to proceeding with a new friendship. New friendships need to be nurtured, questions asked, stories shared, time needs to be spent and conversations need to happen. Perhaps we should make it a point to learn more about the Indigenous people and sit and talk, ask ourselves if we can learn anything, offer to help them in tangible ways: for example, lobbying for clean drinking water in many cases.
I heard the above talk show statement after my friend and I had decided to go to a Woman’s Christian Indigenous Conference a couple weeks ago. We had checked first with a speaker we know and made sure we would be welcome. We wanted to be available to help if we could, pray for sure and see what we could learn. My friend felt compelled at one point to go and watch the children in the playroom, enabling the moms to listen and be healed instead of worrying about their children.
I found myself literally taken back to “church”. Everyone had their Bible and was looking up scripture, it has been a long time since I heard the rustling of pages being turned. So many now in my church use their phones instead of the actual book, but then how easy it is to get lost on your phone after that…
The power and presence of God in that room, which was huge and at least three quarters full, was tangible. From the outset of the music, the testimonies, the teaching – my friend and I were spectators to a culture that did not need anything we had, in fact, they had so much to teach us!
The teachings were “real” issues: trauma, sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol, prayer, God and the love of Jesus, jealousy, rejection, persecution, how to avoid difficult situations that we put “ourselves” in (ie: spending money unwisely). The testimonies from some of the ladies broke my heart at the pain and trauma they had endured and lived through. My spirit soared with them at the freedom they now walk in. I have never seen so many female pastors in one room and they poured themselves out for the sake of their sisters. These ladies loved each other.
My opinion and mine only was that for a lot of North American churches, many people get saved and hold onto a “get out of hell free” card and are quite content to sit back and watch life go by because they are safe. Now please, hear me on this, I know of churches and people that are NOT like this, but I also know churches and people that are. I am not judging “you”, I am making a statement on a general level to try to describe the difference in the 2 cultures.
As I observed the ladies at this conference, I realized their faith was so strong because they needed God NOW because they needed help in the “hell” many had lived in or were still living in. God was so real, and the freedom that these ladies exhibited, the miraculous healing so many of them had received, and their evident joy was mind boggling. These ladies believed in a miracle working God, they have seen it, they are proof and they are living it.
I came home humbled for the privilege of being able to attend, at what I had witnessed and the craving for more, more of their contagious spirit, more of their power, more of their bravery for conquering the demons that had held them down, more of their learning and definitely more of their worship.
There are two conferences hosted by the same group coming up in April. A Men’s Conference April 8-9 and a Women’s Conference April 22-23 both will be held in Valleyview – see posters.