Monday, March 11, 2019

Book Review - Rescuing the Gospel From the Cowboys

I was recently given the opportunity by InterVarsity Press to review a book they sent to me for review which I am only able to describe as, "eye-opening"; Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way. Today I am honored to share it with you and recommend it as well.

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way
Author - Richard Twiss
Publisher - InterVarsity Press

Favorite Features -
  • Clearly lays out how history has impacted Native People and made following Jesus difficult at the least.
  • Each chapter ends with a summary and discussion questions.
  • Challenges "white" believers to not see, "their" faith as the only right faith and encourages Native believers to see God, the Creator loves them and their culture.
InterVarsity Press says; "The gospel of Jesus has not always been good news for Native Americans. The history of North America is marred by atrocities committed against Native peoples. Indigenous cultures were erased in the name of Christianity. As a result, to this day, few Native Americans are followers of Jesus. However, despite the far-reaching effects of colonialism, some Natives have forged culturally authentic ways to follow the way of Jesus. In his final work, Richard Twiss provides a contextualized Indigenous expression of the Christian faith among the Native communities of North America. He surveys the painful, complicated history of Christian missions among Indigenous peoples and chronicles more hopeful visions of culturally contextual Native Christian faith. For Twiss, contextualization is not merely a formula or evangelistic strategy, but rather a relational process of theological and cultural reflection within a local community. Native leaders re-frame the gospel narrative in light of post-colonization, reincorporating traditional practices and rituals while critiquing and correcting the assumptions of American Christian mythologies. Twiss gives voice to the stories of Native followers of Jesus, with perspectives on theology and spirituality plus concrete models for intercultural ministry. Future generations of Native followers of Jesus, and those working cross-culturally with them, will be indebted to this work."

I love where Richard wrote; "These are stories of hope. They are stories which point to a better way of being united in Jesus while maintaining the beauty of cultural diversity. These stories reflect the work of the Holy Spirit who is inspiring and empowering Indigenous followers of Jesus, here and worldwide, to begin embracing the pain of our histories and to begin choosing a pat of healing and redemption."

Christianity is NOT the, "white man's religion". It is for all tribes and nations. When we continue on with the idea there is just one "right" way to worship God, we cause harm to people from these other tribes and nations. As Richard wrote; "The Creator is pleased when people from different tribes and nations worship Him. He delights when He hears many languages and sees many customs an d ways of being used to praise Him. We must be careful not to mix the true worship of the Creator with the old religions which do not honor Him. But at the same time, we must not be afraid to worship the Creator with all the unique beauty and gifts of our Native cultures.

Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys: A Native American Expression of the Jesus Way is absolutely a book well worth getting and reading - then talking about with your older grandchildren. While we certainly are not the ones who first caused damage to First Nation Peoples here in North America, we are able to be the generation who communicates by our words and our actions the truth of how God is pleased when all people worship Him..

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