Would it surprise you to know that ancient Semitic constructs of biblical shalom have parallel constructs among other indigenous peoples, sometimes referred to as the Harmony Way? Shalom, like Harmony Way, is made up of numerous notions and values with the whole being much greater than the sum of its parts. Both are meant to be a way of living life in concrete ways that include more than all the terms found within the construct. They both set forth practical steps included within a vision for happiness and wellbeing. They both require specific action when the harmony or shalom is broken. They both have justice, restoration and continuous right living as their goal. And, perhaps most importantly, they both originate as the right path, being viewed as a gift from the Creator.
Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision suggests that viewing the shalom construct through indigenous eyes can encourage in people a new way to experience theology and also, provoke in them a fresh spiritual journey. In the past indigenous theological and spiritual views have been overlooked or considered to be outside the realm of mainstream theology but they are now providing challenges to the most fundamental theological constructs of the Christian Faith. Christians should give ear to what indigenous peoples have to say, especially in this day when Euro-western Christianity is so broken and fragmented.
Native Americans have been the recipients of American church mission longer than any other people in the world and having scrutinized the message and the messengers for centuries, have something to say. The perspective of this book is rooted in redemptive correction and in putting out a call for true partnership through the co-creation of, not just new theological ideas, but the creation of whole new theological systems.
Excerpt from Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision:
The Creator is calling us back to experience God’s love and care in the created world around us. The indigenous peoples of our own lands are the guides and theological interpreters of this too-long-awaited journey. Between my own mixed experiences as a child and having spent over half my adult life around indigenous communities, listening to indigenous elders, and so forth, I think I have found a kind of wisdom for living on this planet that transcends modernity’s purview. This book is an introduction that will begin to prepare western hearts and minds for a journey, hope fully from which one will find it difficult to return. My hope is that once we begin to live out shalom in the community of creation, we will not want to return. It is time for the people of the earth to return to creation. In doing so, we may find the heart of the Creator once again in our own hearts. -from Introduction
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