Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Giving


I have had the great joy to be teaching for these past three weeks at Drew Theological School. Most of the students I have are pastors and the rest are in the ordination process. They come from several denominations and locations but work together like long established colleagues. I asked the class to present on an aspect of tribal culture (I am teaching a course on Native Spirituality and Christian Ministry). Delana (who is Cherokee and married to a Creek) and Carol paired up to talk about stewardship and giving. They used a talking circle, laying down the blanket, and a give away to talk about the value of generosity and giving among Indigenous people. When they demonstrated the blanket (often folks will collect for a person who needs money for surgery, a special need, family crisis etc.) they asked the rest of the class to make a contribution for the Native youth in the Diocese of North Dakota. They gave me the money which I only looked at much later. In five minutes they had collected 200 dollars.

Giving is an essential attribute among Indigenous people. We live our lives with a generosity of spirit and with a willingness to share what ever we have with others. I was touched beyond words by my students. We, as Native Christians, walk a very fine line between culture and church, tradition and faith and many struggle to find an authentic identity within the multiplicity of expectations. But for that moment, I realized that the only identity that is important to me is generosity. Giving, from the heart, no matter where I am and no matter how challenged I feel.

May we today be generous in every thing we do, since God has been and continues to be the source of all generosity and love.

2 comments:

the Webmaster said...

Bishop and Friend,

I am so grateful for your presence among us and for your Giving of your words and your Spirit on a daily basis. Your generous giving of yourself, to those of us who read your Blog, has been a role model for me. Thank you.

Thank you for your words, wisdom, leadership, and your prayers.

You continue to be in my prayers.

mamabishop said...

Thank you for the tender encouragement that I really needed today. Your words came at the very right time! Thanks for your prayers and comments. Blessings,
Carol