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Disciples Institutional Racism Towards Native Americans

June 15, 2015

Grace

“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and favor, and find help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16
The Inclusive Bible, 2007

Both Sharon Watkins and Pam Holt have reiterated to me the desire for me, on behalf of Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC), to express myself “with grace” towards Disciples regarding Disciples Institutional Racism towards Native Americans. When I have heard them say this, what I hear is that they do not want me, or Council members of Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC), to hold Disciples accountable for their complicity in supporting a polity, theology and culture of Institutional Racism towards Native Americans. It makes me feel that they would also like me to minimize the seriousness of the situation which exists today among Native communities across North America, and, to pretend like Sacred Hoop NAM is being supported by Disciples when it is obvious that Disciples have failed to share grace with Native Americans.

For several years now I have been having conversations with Sharon Watkins and other Disciples leaders regarding the disparity between Disciples theology, polity and culture and the denomination’s exclusion of Native Americans. I am also very much aware of the challenges that Disciples face in other aspects of its ministry and the limitations Sharon and Regional Ministers face in trying to make pro-active changes. However, not being direct about Disciples participation in racism towards Native Americans has gotten me, and Sacred Hoop NAM, nowhere. So I make no apologies for being forthright regarding Disciples Institutional Racism towards Native Americans.

There is much, much more I could add to this to emphasize the historical, theological and cultural aspects involved in the issue of Christian racism towards Native Americans. Believers of good heart and moral conscience cannot stand idly by and allow further acts of Institutional Racism towards Native Americans to go unchallenged, nor continue to settle for allowing the perpetuation of Disciples Institutional Racism towards Native Americans to thrive. Denying Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC), and other culturally competent Native American missional ministries, access to equitable resources for missional ministry is a flagrant example of Disciples Institutional Racism towards Native Americans and an issue which must be confronted openly, now.

Next Right Action

“It was not you who chose me; it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. Your fruit must endure, so that whatever you ask of Abba God in my name God will give you. This command I give you: that you love one another.”

John 15:16-17
The Inclusive Bible, 2007

What if Disciples make a sudden radical change in culture, polity and theology and begin to oppose Institutional Racism towards Native Americans in all its forms? What if Disciples proactively begin supporting Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC) and other culturally competent Native American missional ministries? What if it all goes right? Author Mindy Audlin believes it is possible for people to change their reality through changing their thoughts, feelings, and actions by opening themselves to God’s infinite love and possibilities.[xxiv]

One cultural value important to many Native Americans is that of generosity. Through the spirit of generosity a person has a willingness to make the needs of others equal to, if not greater, than their own needs. Sacred Hoop Native American Ministry (Disciples of Christ), without a doubt, represents the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) single best opportunity for building a lasting bridge between Native Americans and the denomination. Supporting Sacred Hoop will help to create generations of Native Americans who will be grateful for what Disciples have done for them. At a time when Disciples, as well as other Christian denominations, are declining Sacred Hoop offers a platform through which to reach out to millions of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. This is a win-win opportunity that may very well never come again.

Sacred Hoop NAM was established within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination to help bring Native Americans into the Disciples community while honoring Native American traditions and culture. Sacred Hoop was founded by Native and Non-Native supporters who are committed to making right the wrongs done by the denomination through empowering Native people’s with God’s love and grace. To accomplish this requires for believers of good heart to take right action, setting that good example for others to follow, in support of Sacred Hoop and to oppose Disciples Institutional Racism towards Native Americans forevermore.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination has much to offer Native Americans. For the most part Disciples have sought to be inclusive of others even at the expense of upsetting more radical elements within Christianity. Disciples are also generally tolerant towards variations of styles of worship specific to cultural norms. Disciples, again for the most part, are also willing to hear others position on issues without arbitrarily dismissing them based on differences. Partnering with Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC) is an opportunity to help grow the denomination and to bring a sense of immortality to the legacy of Disciples. Generations of Native Americans will look to Disciples with gratitude and honor for the good service Disciples have done. Disciples now have an historic opportunity to begin turning this tragedy around.

Will you join with Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC) and make this a reality?

Contacting Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC)
For more information about Sacred Hoop NAM (DOC) visit us at:
Facebook:  Sacred Hoop Native American Ministry
E-mail: sacredhooprw@gmail.com or Web Page: www.sacredhoopnam.org
Pastor Bill Running Wolf Davis, M.Div., MSW

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One Comment
  1. BARBARA ANN MITCHELL REXFORD permalink

    I’m so ashamed of these people who
    are racist.They are supposed to help
    all peoples. Native Americans have been
    used & abused.It’s time to give their land
    back to them & solve their many problems, that were caused hy the
    Europeas & our ancestors. SHAME ON
    US ALL, DAMMIT …

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