Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys

by Richard Twiss

I've heard said that one measure of a good college education is one that challenges your beliefs. I was expecting that for my daughter as I sent her off to college. What I didn't think about was how my beliefs might be challenged as she started sharing ideas (and books to read) with me. Richard Twiss was an activist, author, and, most importantly, a Lakota follower of Jesus. In Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys, he shows how Christian missionaries served (either knowingly or unknowingly) as agents of Western colonization in North America. Consequently, most Native Americans want nothing to do with the religion. Dr. Twiss* calls for a freeing of his people and Christianity from the legacy of colonization by contextualizing Christian worship and teaching within indigenous culture and worship forms. It's a controversial idea. When you change religion, how much of the old one should you leave behind? As one raised in a religious tradition that likes to emphasize correct doctrine, I'm always a bit uneasy when people start talking of more than superficial innovation. But then again, as Dr. Twiss points out, the Western tradition is steeped in centuries of European culture. Who could stand as judge on issues of whether drums (or pipe organs, for that matter) are appropriate to use in the worship of the true Creator? In the end, I was inclined to agree with Dr. Twiss, though I would be interested in hearing the arguments of his opponents. Whoever I end up siding with, this book would be a good one to have on my shelf.
* Richard Twiss earned a doctorate in missiology from Asbury Theological Seminary, but since he never bothered to get any of the intervening degrees after his high school diploma, he was not permitted to use the title. Since this blog is anything but scholarly, I figure I'm not under the same constraints. So there.

LibraryThing link


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