Truth Be Told

I am currently writing a book about the Doctrine of Discovery along with Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. There is a crowdfunding campaign to support the writing process with reward levels that includes SIGNED COPIES of the book once it is released! Click here for more information.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Doctrine of Discovery- A Buried Apology and an Empty Chair

Picture a chair, an empty chair. There are dozens, even hundreds, of them sitting on the stage behind the podium. At the microphone is a Native American elder. Hurting, trembling, shaking, but standing. Full of resolve. Sharing a story of the horrors of the abuse, neglect and trauma, experienced as a young child at an Indian boarding school. In front of this elder are hundreds, even thousands, of people. Native Americans, with their heads bowed in grief, sorrow, even panic, as their own memories of similar stories are triggered. African Americans, sitting silently, staring at the ground, as they recall stories of the trauma their ancestors endured as slaves, the free labor force of an emerging nations. Americans of European descent, sitting uncomfortably, even squirming. Their eyes are wide open and their hearts are pounding as they hear stories of a history they had spent a lifetime denying existed.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Problem with Systemic Racism...


They say a "watched pot never boils." But that's not entirely true. Of course a watched pot boils, it's just that intently watching a pot of water reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit is not an incredibly exciting way to spend your time. And so most people get bored or distracted and end up leaving before it ever reaches the boiling point.

The problem with systemic racism is that it is like a heat source that keeps a pot of water simmering at a constant 211 degrees. Extremely hot, but not quite boiling. Every once in a while the heat gets turned up just a tad. Like when a frightened white police officer in Ferguson MO shoots a young unarmed black man while his hands were in the air. Or a group of ignorant, overzealous college students create a banner for a football game that makes light of an act of genocide committed against Native Americans by the United States government.

And the water starts to boil.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The World Knows...

People know...

Not just Americans, but the entire globe.

People know that the founders didn't mean it then, nor does this nation mean it now. Sure the words were written down, and our leaders frequently point to them as evidence that we are good. But no one really meant them. They were merely a means to an end.

Back in 1776, when representatives from a bunch of colonies wrote the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," they did not literally mean ALL men.

But people know that.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Country Tis of Thee?

When we sing "My country tis of thee."  Who is "Thee?"  

It's God, right?

As a nation. As Christians. We believe that the United States of America exists because of God's blessing.

Why do we believe that God willed, sanctioned, even led 500 years of discovery, colonization, genocide, slavery, boarding schools, broken treaties, sexism, segregation and nuclear warfare? 

It's because of some Papal Bulls that were written in the 15th century known as the doctrine of discovery. At the most basic level, the Doctrine of Discovery is the Church in Europe saying to the nations of Europe, "Whatever lands you encounter that are not ruled by Christian rulers, those people are less than human and the land is yours for the taking." It was the Doctrine of Discovery that allowed Christopher Columbus to get lost at sea, land on a continent inhabited by millions, and claim to have discovered it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Without Exception

The other day I observed a Twitter exchange between Pope Francis and Miroslav Volf.

Pope Francis (‏@Pontifex) Tweeted:
“God does not reveal himself in strength or power, but in the weakness and fragility of a newborn babe.”

To which Miroslav Volf (‏@MiroslavVolf) replied:
“@Pontifex How true! And yet the babe grew and taught with power and authority, and the crucified one was raised from the dead in glory.”

Monday, June 9, 2014

Nurturing a New Conversation

Last week I was on a conference call with some colleagues from a Christian organization that I partner with. We were discussing an educational project we are working on regarding the long history of injustice against Native Americans by the United States government and the Christian church. During the discussion it became clear that some conversations needed to be facilitated with some native leaders in the area where I live on the Navajo reservation and then a face to face meeting would be necessary with other members of our team. I offered both to facilitate these conversations as well as to fly to the city where our face to face meetings would be held. The organization offered to cover the cost of my airline ticket, but asked, with some trepidation, if they would also be responsible to compensate me for my time as a consultant. I quickly assured them that I normally do not charge for work on projects such as these.
A few months ago I accepted an invitation to speak at a conference for a nationally known evangelical organization. The wanted me to speak about the Doctrine of Discovery and the history of injustice by our nation and the church against Native Americans. They were willing to help cover some of the travel expenses to get to the conference, but we're not able to pay an honorarium for speaking.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rethinking the Evangelical Fund Raising Model - Is CrowdFunding a more sustainable model for indigenous, minority and impoverished communities.

Yesterday I hosted a conversation in Portland with about 20 ministry partners titled "Rethinking the Evangelical Fundraising Model." Below is a direct link to a video I just posted to my Wirelesshogan YouTube page. In the video I discuss the model of Crowd Funding which is the current model I am using as I work to find a sustainable fundraising model both for my organization 5 Small Loaves as well as for other organizations and individuals from similar communities. This video is also part of a larger ongoing conversation titled "Rethinking the Evangelical Fund Raising Model."

I welcome your thoughts.

(I attempted to post this yesterday but the video did not embed correctly)


Friday, May 2, 2014

5 Small Loaves

In the Bible, there is a story of when Jesus was teaching a large crowd. At the conclusion of his teaching his disciples observed that it was late in the day, they were in a lonely place and the people were hungry with no food to eat. Jesus responded by telling them, "You feed them." The disciples immediately panicked and pointed out that doing so would be massively expensive, costing up to 8 months of a man’s wages. They also implied that they did not have enough money to make even a dent in that need. Undeterred, Jesus asked them what they did have. They went out and returned with a young boy who was willing to share his 5 small loaves and 2 little fish. Jesus took it, looked up to heaven, and GAVE THANKS! Then he just started passing out the food. And not only did more than 5,000 people eat to their heart's content, but afterwards the disciples picked up 12 baskets full of leftovers! (See Mark 6:30-44 and John 6:1-15)

Did you ever stop to wonder how the young boy who gave his lunch to Jesus felt? Can you imagine the exhilaration he must have had watching his 5 small loaves and 2 little fish feed a crowd of well over 5,000 people?  I bet he went home and told that story over and over and over again.  He probably felt like, as long as he was with Jesus, anything was possible.

One young boy who was willing to share his 5 small loaves (and 2 little fish) was all Jesus needed to meet the overwhelming needs of a very hungry crowd.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dancing with the Navajo

There they were, the shivering and barefooted pastors of the Global Discipleship Network, dancing around the living room of the retreat center we were meeting at on the Navajo Reservation. They had come for a time of retreat, training and fellowship. They arrived into Albuquerque from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Orlando, FL, the Dominican Republic, and the state of Indiana and then drove with me for nearly 3 hours to the high desert of the beautiful Southwest. It was December and our land was sleeping, in the midst of its second winter storm. Several inches of snow were on the ground and the night time temperatures were hovering around ZERO degrees. I was blessed and honored to welcome them to the land of my tribe, my clans and my family: the Navajo reservation.