In June 2021, I wrote a series called Setting our Stories Straight. It looked at some of the false narratives Christians told to underpin European imperialism and colonization, including the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, the myths of Christendom and Progress, and damaging ways of understanding such biblical ideas as election, humanity’s vocation to exercise ‘dominion’ over the earth, and the universality of God. But, as I wrote at the time, that was only a first step: Repudiating harm is not the same as promoting good. To paraphrase the famed words of Civil Rights activist Angela Davis: In a colonial society, it is not enough to repudiate colonialism, we must be anti-colonial, or in the popular terminology, we must be decolonizing.
This current series, which I’ve called Pathways of Peace, is an attempt to begin that next step. It is all about listening to Indigenous perspectives from across North America and looking for areas of common ground, areas where Indigenous beliefs connect with Christian theology. The point is not to (mis)appropriate the Indigenous cultures of this continent, but to use their values and tools as a mirror by which we as Christians might re-examine our own traditions, and if necessary, read them against themselves in order to tell better, more representative and faithful versions of our stories.
- Pathways of Peace: Towards a Decolonizing Theology
- Christianity and the West Gone Wrong: How Did We Get Here? (and How Can We Make It Right?)
Perspectives & Values:
- Standing for Shalom: Peace as the Heart of God
- Faith: Following the Pathway of Peace
- ‘All Our Relations’: Christianity and the ‘Community of Creation’
- In Everything Give Thanks: On Gratitude, Respect, Reciprocity, and Generosity
- Walk Humbly
- Subverting Expectation: Humour, Tricksters, and Transformation
- Wisdom and Generativity: Personal Vocation in Indigenous Traditions
Tools for Embodying Values:
Please note: This is not an exercise in Indigenous theology; I am not Indigenous. This is not an exercise in Reconciliation; Reconciliation can only be done in humble partnership with Indigenous peoples. What it is is an attempt to start doing the work we — the settler Church — need to do before we can engage in Reconciliation efforts healthily. It is by no means intended to be a ‘last word’ on anything, but a beginning. Because we have a long, long way to go.
I acknowledge that the land on which I write is the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabeg peoples, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Anishinbaabeg and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. This territory is also covered by the Toronto Purchase. Today, Toronto is home to many Indigenous people from across the continent known as Turtle Island.