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The Fruit of Repentance

FruitofRepentance

Fruit of Repentance by Ramone Ramero

I am sharing this blogpost with permission from my new friend Ramone Romero, who lives in Japan. His prophetic art and words stir my heart toward the heart of Jesus. You can link to his blog-site Weeping Jeremiahs by clicking on the painting. –Terry M. Wildman

Here is his blog post…

A few weeks ago God gave me a dream at night:

I was in Native American lands. I was in the midst of a forest area, which was dry and like in winter-time. The trees were tall, grey, and had no branches or leaves. It was near to night.

I stopped at a wooden building that was like a shop for Native American souvenirs. The room was empty, however. While there I wanted to meet with the tribal elders. They came in and stood as if in a somewhat semi-circle line, facing me. I was drawn to them in my heart, and they gave their hearts to me and offered to include me in the tribe.

Then I had to go, but I would come back. My heart filled with love for them, and I wanted to come back to them. They had honored me with their love, and I wanted to honor them and love them back.

I was deeply moved by the dream, but didn’t write it down until a few weeks later when God reminded me of it. Again my heart was deeply stirred, so I prayed and asked God what it meant:

“The night is near for America; many who profess My name are as dead trees, as branches that have been removed because they do not abide in My love. Many are seeking ‘revival’ and practice ‘identificational repentance’ for the sake of land, but turn away from practicing My love.

I am sending My servants to repent to Native Americans for the way My people have treated them. Many have visited Native Americans in recent years to repent for past atrocities, but have then left instead of continuing relationship and becoming family with them. Many have repented only for the sake of ‘cleansing the land’ and ‘to bring revival,’ but have not stood with Native Americans in their needs, their troubles, and in their struggle to secure justice in America. In My name, many Christians have come to the house of prayer only for souvenirs – just to ‘get something’ from Natives and then leave them as abandoned and neglected as before.

Do not treat My beloved children as souvenirs!
Do not speak My name to them without giving My love to them!
Abide in My love for them: abide with them!”

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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Author's Updates

 

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Reconciliation and Culture – Part 2

Among many of those involved in Native ministry today there is a great debate over Native American culture and its place in the Christian faith. Some Natives are beginning to follow Jesus without abandoning their cultures. Richard Twiss, a Lakota follower of Jesus, has been helping many to find new freedom in their faith for this. In his book One Church Many Tribes he brings some much needed insight.

“Native culture, like all the cultures of man, reflects to some degree the attributes of our Creator Himself. It is in Christ that we find the ultimate fulfillment of His holy and sovereign purpose for us as a people. If He has a unique role for us to play or a contribution for us to make in the fulfilling of His purposes for our nation in these days, then as the Church we must reconsider the place in the evangelical mainstream in America that we give to Native expression. Yes, there does exist [in our Native cultures] idolatrous and sinful practices that must be repented of; but the Word of God does not call us to turn away from being who God made us—Native people. When we come to Christ as First Nations people, Jesus does not ask us to abandon our sin-stained culture in order to embrace someone else’s sinstained culture.”

First Nations cultures and world-views have much to offer the church in America and the rest of the world. There is much, in their Greco-Roman influenced worldview, that blinds westernized Christians to portions of scripture. Everything is interpreted though this filter and grid. Someone from another worldview can offer insight and understanding of scripture that others are blinded to. The church of America needs its Native Peoples to help it break out of its culturally limited perspectives.

Often Native culture is judged by its peripheral beliefs and practices, rather than by its core values. In my own Ojibwe culture the central values are reflected in what is called the “7 Grandfather’s Teachings”. These are Love, Respect, Wisdom, Honesty, Courage, Humility, and Truth. Traditionally our ceremonies were practiced as a reinforcement of these teachings. Other tribes share similar core beliefs. These ancient ways reflect the same values that Jesus taught. This is only one of many examples of the God given worth our Native cultures carry.

Reconciliation must also include repentance by those in the dominant society of the judgments that have been made against Native peoples and their cultures. Cultural expressions of dance and music should be encouraged and welcomed into churches.

In April of 2012 Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio opened their facilities and their hearts to allow some Native American Christian leaders come and speak to their faculty and students. They didn’t impose their agenda on us but encouraged us to open our hearts and tell our stories. No restrictions were placed on any cultural practices including the use of burning sage and cedar during prayer times. The three day gathering has resulted in a continuing conversation and in the intentional forming of friendships.

Gatherings like this give me hope for the future!

Miigwech Bizandowiyeg (thank you for listening).

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Author's Updates

 

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Reconciliation and Culture – Part 1

A friend of ours is honoring Jesus with a Native American Dance.

America’s early colonists were self-assured of their superiority, intellectually and culturally. This developed into a kind of ethnocentrism that frequently caricatured the Indians as bloodthirsty savages with no sense of right or wrong. Native culture was often mocked and ridiculed. They were looked down on and treated like children that needed to be disciplined and put in their place.

Early missionaries among the Puritans, steeped in their own European culture, often acted out the same condescending attitudes. Indian spiritual beliefs were judged as pagan and simplistic. They concluded that the only way Indians could truly be converted was if they became civilized first. That meant that Indians must become Puritans, in dress and language. In some cases Baptism was withheld until the Native candidate first dressed in civilized clothes, built a proper cabin, put up a fence and planted a garden. It was these Puritan Missionaries of New England that set the standard for future missions.

In the secular market pulp novels were written further reinforcing the negative stereotypes that had been developed. The Indian was characterized either as a savage or a romanticized tragic figure. In later generations movies made in Hollywood continued to infect the minds and hearts of millions of white Americans as Indians were further defamed and demeaned on the silver screen. This has only changed in the last twenty years where new movies have presented a more accurate account of this history. But the damage has already been done.

Even today there are younger generations whose minds have been shaped by the stereotypes in these films. In my own extended family one of my young nephews once asked me, “So are you part Indian and part human?” Where did he get the idea that Indians aren’t human?

These historic seeds have produced, especially among Christians, a harvest of suspicion and mistrust of Native cultural practices, in particular spiritual practices. I have personally encountered Christians who automatically associate being an Indian to being a witch or a Satan worshiper. These Christians encourage and often demand Native believers in Jesus to renounce all aspects of their Indian heritage. I know of two Indian friends, believers in Jesus, who were told by ministers to reject all their cultural ways. One was even told to renounce her Clan. Recently, when ministering in Michigan we met a young Native girl who was 8 years old. She had visited a local church where the other children told her that she was a “devil worshiper,” just because she is Native American.

The Bible never tells us to renounce our ethnic identities or our cultures. We can and should obviously renounce any forbidden practices, such as witchcraft or idolatry, which is found among all people groups. There is good and bad in every culture, and idolatry can disguise itself in many forms, including greed (Colossians 3:5).

Miigwech Bizandowiyeg (thank you for listening).

 

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Author's Updates

 

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Exposing the Works of Darkness

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because its leaders and the people of his day both failed to understand “the things that make for peace” or recognize “the time of [their] visitation.” Because of this they were not prepared for the judgment that was soon to come upon them. They interpreted the signs wrong!

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” —Luke 19:41-44 ESV

I am often asked, “Why bring up the past?” But, the fact remains; every time we quote the Bible we are bringing up the past—whether good or bad. I believe the problems we face in America today find their roots in our beginnings. If we can dig down to those roots I believe we have a chance to see judgment averted—or at least lessened. I am of the opinion that God’s judgments are, for the most part, him letting us reap what we have sown—which means he doesn’t intervene in that natural process. I believe that God has temporarily intervened many times in this nation to postpone judgment, but ultimately—if we don’t get to the roots—time may run out. If we don’t, as the scriptures warn, judge ourselves, then we will certainly fall under the judgment of God.

But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. —1 Corinthians 11:31- 32 ESV

If “judgment begins in the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17) then how much more important is it that the followers of Jesus in America see the truth about our past and begin to separate ourselves from the political and social attitudes that  allowed us to carry out so much damage in the name of God and Christ.

Rather than try to paint a “christian” foundation upon this nation, let us, rather cling to the light and “expose the works of darkness”.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:11 ESV

Miigwech Bizandowiyeg (thank you for listening).

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Author's Updates

 

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