fbpx

Pete Enns & The Bible for Normal People

Episode 185: Randy Woodley – Following Jesus as a Native Traditionalist

In this episode of The Bible for Normal People, Randy Woodley joins Pete and Jared to discuss the impact of dualistic thinking on theology and how Jesus can be accessed outside of scripture. Together they explore the following questions: 

  • What is Platonic dualism? 
  • What kind of impact does dualistic thinking have on theology? 
  • Why is “Indigenous theology” somewhat of an oxymoron? 
  • What role does the Bible play when we talk about Indigenous theology?
  • How does an understanding of “story” aid in the understanding of scripture? 
  • Can you be Jesus-y and not Christian?
  • Why might the Gospel not be considered “good news” for Indigenous people?
  • How can Jesus be accessed outside of scripture? 

Tweetables

Pithy, shareable, less-than-280-character statements from Randy Woodley you can share. 

  • “The Bible wasn’t written from a Western worldview, it was written as story. In fact, 90% of Scripture is story. If you don’t understand how to interpret story, you really don’t understand the Scriptures.” – Randy Woodley
  • “Christianity promised all these things: development, hope, etc., etc. But for Indigenous people, it only delivered oppression and death and bad news. It was the bad news of the Gospel.” – Randy Woodley
  • “I don’t even think Jesus wanted to start a religion. I think he wanted to start a movement in all religions and in all places, and I think if he would have started a religion, it would look nothing like Western Christianity.” – Randy Woodley
  • “[People] are trying to figure out how to hold on to God or even Jesus and shed the church, because the church has been more interested in Christianity than it has Jesus.” – Randy Woodley
  • “Christianity led us to Jesus, but we’re shedding Christianity and we’re following Jesus. I think you can be a Christian and follow Jesus. It’s very difficult.” – Randy Woodley
  • “If the church could stop being an organization and start being more of a community, I think we would be in pretty good shape.” – Randy Woodley

Mentioned in This Episode

Powered by RedCircle

Read the transcript

0:00

Pete: You’re listening to The Bible for Normal People, the only God-ordained podcast on the internet. I’m Pete Enns.

Jared: And I’m Jared Byas.

[Jaunty intro music]

Pete: Welcome, everybody, to this episode of the podcast, but before we get going, a couple of quick things. Jared, go!

Jared: Two quick things: The Evolution of Adam, we talked about this six-session series. T hat’s a hard thing to say, it’s a tongue twister.

Pete: Yeah, it is. How about six-part series?

Jared: Six session series. So, it came out last week! It’s now available to purchase. So, you can go to thebiblefornormalpeople.com/evolutionvideo. It’s still pay-what-you-can for just a few more days, and then it’s going to be $60 moving forward. So, go ahead and get it for that pay-what-you-can. And, again, it’s six sections of breaking down different parts of Pete’s book, The Evolution of Adam, it’s great for groups. So, if you are thinking about doing a book study or book group with other people, this would be a great place to start.

Pete: And it also coincides with the 10th anniversary release of The Evolution of Adam, which is redone, and it’s got an afterword at the end. So, check it out.

Jared: Absolutely. The second thing is – real quick – we’ve been dreaming at The Bible for Normal People for a while, our team-

Pete: Nightmares, huh?

Jared: Dreaming, not nightmares, dreaming. About the future and what it is that we want to

Pete: Like I said, nightmares.

Jared: What it is that we want to do in the future and how we want to help, how we want to be accessible to people. And so, we put together a campaign, we put together some ideas, we have some plans, and we’ll be talking about this more next week. Just wanted to pique your interest, put it on your radar. Next week, we’ll talk a little bit more about how you can help. So, we’ll also be posting about this on social media and have been for a few weeks. So, you can check that out. We tell some fun stories, talk about our past and how we met, and what we’re currently doing. We’ll be talking about what we want to be doing in the future. And then again, we’ll have a campaign where we hope that you can join in and help us out, but just stay tuned.

So, our podcast for today, we are going to have a podcast today.

Pete: Yeah, we are going to have a podcast and the topic is “Following Jesus as a Native Traditionalist,” and our guest is Randy Woodley.

Jared: Yeah. And Randy is Professor of Faith and Culture at Portland Seminary and has done a lot of research and studying on diversity, new church movements, eco-theology, post-colonial theology, and he’s Native American. So, it’s great to get an Indigenous perspective on some of this stuff.

Pete: You know, just a continual reminder to us about how, you know, people are diverse, theology is diverse, how we approach the Christian faith, for those of you who are into that, is also diverse. And we really want to represent that here at The Bible for Normal People. We think it’s a great thing to do.

Jared: Absolutely.

Pete: Yeah.

Jared: All right. Well, let’s get into this conversation.

[Music begins]

Randy: Christianity promised all these things: development, hope, etc., etc. But for Indigenous people, it only delivered oppression and death and bad news. It was the bad news of the Gospel. Jesus never became a Christian, by the way, and I don’t even think he wanted to start a religion. I think he wanted to start a movement. If he would have started a religion, it would look nothing like Western Christianity. If the church could stop being an organization and start being more of a community, I think we would be in pretty good shape.

[Music ends]

Jared: Well, welcome to the podcast, Randy. It’s great to have you.

Randy: Glad to be here with you guys.

Pete: Alrighty, awesome.

Jared: Absolutely. So, just talk about what you do. You do a diversity, you know, a diverse group of things. You talk about a lot of different stuff. So how would you describe what it is you do?

Randy: [Light laughter]

Very difficult. So, I do have a lot of interests, I guess. So, I’m a farmer-planter. My wife doesn’t like the term farmer much, she just told me yesterday. It’s she likes plant-tender or earth-tender, but that’s not easily identified. I think it’s because you get this paternalistic bit, you know, farmer, the opposite of a farmer is a farmer’s wife, I guess. So, she thinks farmer is too Western and white, I think. So, I gotta stop saying I’m a farmer. So let’s start with that I’m a planter, I guess we’ll do that and earth-tender. My wife and I do that together at a place in the coastal mountain foothills near Yamhill, Oregon, just outside of Portland, Oregon. I’m a professor, Distinguished Professor of Faith and Culture at Portland Seminary. I’m an author, I’m a speaker, I’m an activist. Yeah, I’ve been around, done a lot of things. I’m an old man now. I’m 65 and starting to be able to get life in perspective a bit, I hope. We do a lot of hosting of people, when it’s non-COVID days. Unfortunately, COVID has really put a crimp on our style of being hospitable and hosting schools and building a community, and so we’re waiting for all that to end so that we can get back to doing what we normally do and enjoy doing. And yeah, I think, you know, that’s it. I’ve got four kids. I’ve got five grandkids and another on the way and life is pretty good. It has its ups and downs, but I’m enjoying it.

5:05

Jared: Well, one of the things, let’s jump into this idea here around dualism and dualistic thinking, because it’s something you write a lot about, and I think it might have a kind of a foundational place for you and in a lot of your thinking and writing. So, what do you mean by that and how does it impact theology?

Randy: Well, that is a sort of a foundational place, thanks for asking. And, in fact, most of what I do, if not everything that I do, and my wife and I do is to convert people from a Western worldview to a more Indigenous worldview. The reason for that is because the West has developed a very dysfunctional, I would say, evil worldview over about a 3000-year period and it’s based on Platonic dualism. And Platonic dualism, of course Plato, everybody knows Plato was a Greek philosopher and a student of Socrates. We don’t really know a whole lot about what Socrates said, because we don’t know if his writings were Plato speaking for him or actually Socrates himself. Yeah, he, he started something, I’m sure it started somewhere before him. But he’s really the one who popularized this philosophy of dualism. And the Platonic dualism really is where you put more value in the ethereal world than the material world, or the spiritual, if you’re a spiritual person, or the mind, or the products of the mind, all of that more important than the physical realm, the bodies and earth and in the things that we can touch, the tangible things. And so, when you begin to do that, some really, really weird things develop over time.

Now, Plato taught that one of his students, Aristotle, ended up teaching a lot of it, not all of it, and then beginning to look differently in some things. And sometimes we call Aristotle the Father of Racism as a result, and I’ll explain why that took place, I believe. And then Aristotle’s student was Alexander the Great, who, I’m giving you a very quick rundown, then I’ll go back. Alexander the Great spread this form of thinking and philosophy around the world, when it began to die out in Europe, Western Europe, because it went Rome, and then Great Britain, and the great empires, of course. When it began to die out, they had a renaissance of Greek thinking, philosophy, art, architecture, etc., literature. And out of that Renaissance period, toward the end of that a couple things were born, the Enlightenment and the Reformation. And so, we have some direct lines of philosophers along the way that brought that both to the American shores in their thinking, and to our Founding Fathers. And the church has been plagued with it.

When that dualism was paired with Empire during the Constantinian Period, we really saw power take a place in the church through a number of things through hierarchy, their extreme categorization. Materialism is this weird thing that we have in America that’s sort of an oxymoron from dualism. We have this like high value for materialism, but low value for the material compared to the mind or the spirit. Really strange. Anyway, I’m kind of jumping around a lot here, but basically, what we end up with is a philosophy, a lifeway, a worldview, a perspective that says that the material world is not as important as ethereal world. And so, we can think the right things, but we don’t always have to do the right things. We can care for our minds, but we don’t always have to think of our- and we think of them as sacred and we spiritualize them and we care for our spirit, but we don’t always sacralize or make spiritual our bodies. And we are both, we are mind and body. We are spirit and body, or some people have a view of a tripartite human being, others, you know. But we’re all one, really, the whole package is one. I understand how you can separate these things in order to sort of get at the details, but you have to bring them back together to live in a full reality. I’ll stop there, and we can talk about that. Wherever you want.

Jared: Yeah, yeah. Well, let’s dive into that a little bit more and say, you know, how does that impact our theology, in terms of some of the conclusions we might be coming to that is maybe more influenced by this dualism than we think?

9:59

Randy: Well, the hierarchy, of course, is part of what the church adopted. And not just hierarchy in power and position, although I would argue Jesus taught against hierarchy. He said, you know, things like, “Don’t rule over each other the way the Gentiles do it,” you know, don’t do that, but serve one another. And we took that as a virtue, but not as a way of living. I would say that theologically, it has affected everything. Part of it is white supremacy because when you begin to create a dualism, and one thing has to be more important than the other, we are no longer whole being and a whole ecology, then we have to have people over other people. So, of course, whites can be over other people, men can be over women. And those kinds of hierarchies have entered the church and into our theologies to the point where only in the last, you know, oh, what would we say maybe half a century, have anyone but white men been theologizing or considered to be important theologians anyway. You know, things are beginning to change, of course, but we’re addicted to the kinds of things that make us comfortable, mostly because they feel normal. So, we’ve normalized white thinking, white theology, white culture, and I know there are more than one white cultures, but just sort of a way to generally speak about this.

And what’s seems normal seems important to us not to disrupt, we don’t want to disrupt the systems that have been set in place that would create an end to our homeostasis. We like to keep things the same, because of the safety, you know, the same paychecks come in, the people don’t get upset with one another, all those kinds of things. But right now, we’re living in a time, and I’m especially excited about this time, where our systems are being broken to pieces. And part of what we need to do is begin to think about, like, how do we repair those systems. But theologically, there’s so many things, you know, I mean, just the whole idea, the old adage is – “you’re so heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good.” The idea that we would even be concerned about heaven, that is beyond the realm that we live in right now more than how we are actually living today. And living today seems to be the most important thing on Jesus’s mind when he said, you know, hey, you know, “Tomorrow will take care of itself.” So yeah, I think that’s the greatest damage it’s done in our thinking is that, that theology becomes- and theology that’s not embodied- a disembodied theology becomes the most important thing to the church.

If you don’t believe me, I’m in higher education, check the paychecks of the people who are practical theologians as opposed to those who are “theologians,” and just the respect that they get and everything else, they’re considered to be more important. So, we’ve never learned to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after this great plague of dualism. And so, what we need to be about now is repairing those problems. And, of course, we have to admit them first, right?

Pete: Yeah, I guess we’re sort of in a period of transition, that probably will be a rather long one. And, you know, one of the areas that I mean, a big area you work in is Indigenous theology. I’m wondering if you can tie what you just said into that concern that you have? And what does it mean? And how, how does all this dualistic thinking, how do you address that through thinking in terms of Indigenous theology?

Randy: Yeah. Indigenous theology is somewhat of an oxymoron. It’s – and I’ll explain that – but it’s like walking on a wet sidewalk on banana peels. If you start to theologize, you do Indigenous theology, you’re gonna slip and fall back into a Western mode because everything that we know has been defined by the West in terms of the categories in which we do theology. And so, it’s a very slippery experience and I’ve, believe me, I’ve had my falls.

In terms of theology and Native American theology and Indigenous theology, it’s not about what you believe. So, there are all these core beliefs, evangelicals and others have, you know, their core belief system, right? So, we don’t have that in the indigenous world. We, if you ask elders, and I’ve actually done this a number of times to test it out, and ask them what they believe, they’ll start telling you what they do. So, what you do, it’s what you believe.

14:58

You’ll never see, even like traditional Native ceremonies and people belong to, whether it’s the Native American church or the Shaker church, or the Peyote church, or the neighboring Peyote church, or sweat lodge or anything, whatever it is that you’re involved in, you’ll never see people saying, you know, you can be a member of this if you believe like us.

[Light laughter]

Because you are judged on what you do, not what you believe, in that whole system of doctrine of orthodoxy over orthopraxis is based on that dualism, so that we think it’s more important to have the correct beliefs than have the correct actions and even more foolish to believe that the correct beliefs will lead us to correct actions. History’s proven that over and over again, that that isn’t necessarily so.

Jared: I have to say this up front, too. So, I’m Native American, I’m Choctaw, and it’s been quite infuriating to me to try to access, you know, sort of Choctaw spirituality because it’s been so Christianized. And even today, like I get our newsletter every month or whatever, the Biskinik, it’s always Christianized. Like, we have a Chaplain’s Corner and it just, yeah, it infuriates me. But beyond that, so whenever I asked this question, that’s kind of what I have in my mind is my own frustrations with this. But what role does the Bible play when we talk about Indigenous theology? Because again, I can’t imagine it within my tradition within the Choctaw tradition, there’s this block for the last 200 years where there isn’t really access to the Bible, except via the missionary’s way of westernizing and kind of colonizing the culture. So, how do you navigate the Bible when you talk about Indigenous theology?

Randy: Well, that’s a really deep question, Jared. First, let me say halito achukma, wishing you peace in Choctaw. My wife’s mother was an Oklahoma Choctaw.

Jared: Oh, excellent.

Randy: Yeah, yeah.

Pete: I’m German in case anybody cares. I feel left out here. Anyway, go ahead.

Randy: [Laughter]

Pete: I’m part of the problem. Let’s put it that way. I’m part of the dualistic problem. I almost single handedly invented the dualistic problem, my people, so.

Jared: [Laughter]

Pete: Okay, anyway, not to interrupt. Go ahead.

Randy: No, we’re gonna be kind here.

Pete: [Laughter]

So, yeah, you know, mission came as a colonizing force, right? And it’s still done by and large, through a colonized lens. And so, the missionaries, of which I’ve been a missionary oppressor myself, to Indigenous people, by the way, in Alaska. When the missionaries came under, you know, you started with the Doctrine of Discovery, which was a Christian doctrine, which basically said, you know, white folks have the right to rule the land and Indigenous people are not quite people. And then, you know, you had basically that, white supremacy, and that colonizing Western colonizing worldview embedded within all the systems of America. Privilege to the white landowning or wealthier male, and those have never been taken out of the system. I mean, those are still part of the mores. We might have different language now and then, but just because we say different things, and back to that dualism, again, doesn’t mean we actually do different things.

So, when the missionaries came to our people, they were doing what they thought was right, which is what missionaries always do, right? They do what they think is right, even though it might be the wrong thing, because they have a Western white supremacist worldview. And so, we already had a way of transmitting stories, oral tradition. And I’m probably among the minority among my friends, Bible scholarly friends who don’t believe that we should have ever had the Bible translated in our Native languages because we already had a way of communicating those stories. And our understanding of how to interpret story is much closer, I believe, to the pre-colonial and Hebraic worldview, and the purpose for telling stories. But the Bible was handed to us in the same way it was the West in a very controlled, Western, male, white, sort of magic, want to call it the magic book theory that all the council’s in all the ages had everything right. And then it all came to us and we’re supposed to interpret it through a Western worldview.

19:50

The Bible wasn’t written from a Western worldview. It was written as story. In fact, 90% of scripture, my Bible scholar friends tell me, is story. And so, if you don’t understand how to interpret story, you really don’t understand the scriptures. And if you don’t understand the sort of a pre-colonial worldview, because Jesus was not a colonized person, I think he was pretty decolonized in his approach, then you really, I don’t think, know how to interpret that. And so, in some ways, a very westernized white male worldview, someone interpreting scripture might be the least qualified to understand what the scriptures are about. And so, our people, though, our Indigenous people have fallen in line with that same idea, and said, “Oh, these are the experts. These are the people who…” and I’m not against, you know, criticism of all kinds, right. So form criticism, historic criticism, literary criticism, etc., etc., We need all of that, we need contextualism, we need all of this sort of stuff. But our people came to believe it as these are the experts, they understand it, they’re going to tell us what to believe. And they’re going to theologize from the scriptures and then we take the theology and then we apply it to our life, even though it doesn’t fit our culture, we apply it to our lives and so that theologizing of a misunderstanding of the stories has not only led our people down the wrong path, but non-indigenous people as well. And unfortunately for us, because we just don’t do Western culture well, I always say that our churches are a poor imitation of a bad model.

Pete: Well, I mean, Randy, that that leads to a question – how can an Indigenous people be Christian, living in a western world? You know, we have, there’s all this baggage behind this historically, of, you know, the white man is the expert, and you’re sort of less than human and we’re going to give you truth, and you have to adopt these structures, this dualistic way of thinking. How does it work, then? Or can it work?

Randy: Yeah. Well, I don’t know. Do people really want to be Christian anymore?

Pete: Well, that’s the question I’m asking. I mean, maybe that’s part of the solution. Maybe it’s not being Christian, especially because of the baggage. Can you be Jesus-y and not Christian?

Randy: Yes.

Pete: Okay.

Randy: So, you know, Christianity promised a lot of things and what it really brought was a, and we’d like to say, “Oh, well, when you take it down to its pure form,” but it’s never given in its pure form, right?

Pete: [Laughter]

Randy: It’s always got cultural baggage. And so, Christianity promised all these things, development, hope, etc., etc. But for Indigenous people, it only delivered oppression and death and, you know, bad news. It was the bad news of the Gospel. And my friend Richard Twist used to say, you know, the message from the missionaries was, “Jesus loves you, but it doesn’t really like you,” for Indigenous people.

Pete: Yeah, yeah.

Randy: I think if we can separate Christianity, from Jesus, Jesus never became a Christian, by the way-

Jared: Blasphemy.

Randy: I don’t even think he wanted to start a religion. I think he wanted to start a movement in all religions, and in all places, and I think if he would have started a religion, it would look nothing like Western Christianity. So probably a dozen years or so ago, my wife and I just decided we’re no longer Christians. We, you know, Christianity led us to Jesus, but we’re shedding Christianity and we’re following Jesus. So, we call ourselves Native traditionalists who follow Jesus. That’s how we refer to ourselves as and I think, probably 60-70% of the students who are in seminary that I come in contact with, are probably there for existential reasons. And they’re probably like many of your viewers, they are trying to figure out how to hold on to God or even Jesus and shed the church, because the church has been more interested in Christianity than it has Jesus.

Jared: Yeah, it reminds me of Kierkegaard has a quote that I might misquote here, but he says, “It’s interesting in Christendom, in order to be Christian, one must cease to be Christian.”

Pete: Hmm.

Randy: Well, I think you can be a Christian and follow Jesus. It’s very difficult.

Pete: Well, I think, you know, a lot of young people, Western young people, because you know, I teach in a college and Jared does too. I think they would echo some of that because I think it may have taken much longer and be for different reasons.

24:48

But I just know too many young people who have gotten a little bit tired with the Christian trappings. And especially the, you know, the connections with the political world over the last, you know, not just four years or eight years, but you know, for a very long time in America at least. And I think they’re looking for something very similar. I know a lot of young people who are like clinging to Jesus, but saying, “My church isn’t helping me here. My Church wants to more enculturate me for something else.” And I just think maybe there are others in this Western world that are sort of way ahead of that game and sort of seeing the problems earlier on because they’ve suffered as a result of them. And most white Westerners haven’t really suffered because of the Christian faith. Not in the same way at least.

Randy: If you look at the Native church, we’re probably the canary in the coal mine, you know? We are in a lot of ways in terms of what’s happening in the world right now, but it sort of hits us. You know, like they say, we’ll just put in different terms. When the white folks have a cough, Native folks have pneumonia, right? We experienced the worst of society before everybody else. So, we are like a canary in the coal mine. And I think there are more expressions of a more liberative Christianity, there are also some that are still trying to hold on to it and that’s fine. I respect people for however they want to believe. We do need communities. I mean, that’s the one thing about the church, if the church could stop being an organization and start being more of a community, I think we would be in pretty good shape.

Jared: So, then, I’m going to dig a little bit further on this question of the Bible because, you know, as a Native traditionalist who follows Jesus, how do you access Jesus? Is it through the scriptures? Is it through like, what are ways in which you would say that you identify with Jesus or have connection to Jesus?

Randy: So, let me share a story with you if I can. And I think it’ll get the point across, and I’ll make it very quick. I won’t take up all the time with the story. But my wife and I were speaking up at Hayward, Wisconsin at the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation at YWAM base and they hadn’t received permission to be there, we found out. So, we needed permission to be teachers up there from the local spiritual people. So, we found the right guy. We went and got a gift basket together. We took it to him, told him what we wanted to do. He talked to us for a couple hours. He taught us a lot of stories, different things. But one of the things he kept saying, and he probably talked for an hour and a half at least. He kept saying, “My uncle was a great medicine man around here, he trained most of the medicine people, but he would always tell me, ‘Don’t disrespect Jesus, because I talk to him and He’s a Great Spirit.’” And so, you know, he kept telling another story and then he’d interrupt and he’d say, “My uncle, remember, told me, ‘Jesus is a great spirit. I talked to him. Don’t ever disrespect him.’” And so, after saying that seven or eight times, at the very end, he came back to that story. And he said, you know, and so I asked my uncle one time, “Uncle, where did you learn about Jesus?” And he said, “Well, you know, I talked to him, I taught you.” And he said, “Yeah, but did you learn from the priest or boarding school or Bible?” He said, “No, I told you, I talked to him.” He said, “Yeah, but how do you know all these things that he did?” He goes, “Well, he talks back.”

Pete: Yeah. Okay.

Randy: As Native people, we don’t have trouble understanding the spirit world.

Pete: Right.

Randy: We understand that as part of all of reality. I don’t have to open up my Bible and conjure Jesus, he’s already around us. God is, in my understanding, at least what the scriptures say, is that Jesus is the Creator. And so, he had what we call the efficacy of creation, nothing was made that was made unless he made it. And so, Jesus or Creator, if you will, is in everything. His spirit is in everything. And so, I can go outside and look at the sky and access Jesus, I can look at my own hands and access Jesus. I can look, you know, I can open the Bible and read a story and access Jesus. But the problem is not accessing Jesus, the problem is believing that, that there’s a non-controlled way that I have to do this. And so, if I will just let myself be open to Jesus, the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, if you will, you can use whatever language you want, then He will lead me in the right way. Or She will lead me in the right way perhaps, the Spirit.

Pete: Or just say The Spirit, right? We have a genderless language; we can just say the Spirit and not commit, right, to male or female. Yeah, you know, that’s so interesting that the Western world, what you’re just saying, the Western world, one of its really bad things is not having much room for spiritual reality.

30:05

Which is a little ironic, isn’t it? Because if you have this dualistic thing, you have the ethereal is, you know, I guess, the mind rather, is everything in the ethereal but not the material. But here’s an example of almost the opposite, that you’ve so deconstructed the spiritual in favor of the material, in some sense, that it’s not really an active thing. It all has to flow through the mind somehow, but not the spiritual. I find that very, very interesting. And yeah, I don’t know, what do you do with that? It’s hard to function as spiritually active in a culture that is like screaming that at you all the time.

Randy: Yeah. The Western mind is, you know, like, in church is, you know, twisted three ways to Sunday. I don’t know, it’s, you know, it’s this emphasis on the Spirit. But I think what takes over is the Spirit becomes subject to me, as in that’s the hierarchy kicking in, right?

Pete: Right.

Randy: That’s why we like things that are built by humans and we like our churches that are, you know, more than being out in nature. And although we go out in nature, and we go, “I felt so close to God!” You know, but like, that’s where we’re supposed to live, right? And then we come in for our shelter. Because what we do is we begin, the closer we get to creation, the more we get to see like God at work, the wonders, the miracles that are taking place, I mean, you can do the same thing with a microscope, but just for a sort of a larger mega view, to look out and to see the seasons changing, and the magic of all of that, and in who is behind all this, you know, and that very Creator wants to make God’s self be real to me and that’s an incredible thing, I mean, to, to feel like, wow, you know, myself and every other person and every other thing on the planet is important to the Creator.

Jared: So, as people are, we’ve kind of talked about a lot of maybe our listeners wrestling with how to make their faith their own in a new way, kind of sloughing off, maybe a lot of the baggage that they no longer hold to, what would be some words of wisdom, or ways of thinking that might be helpful to people who are on that path and they’re kind of in that messy middle? Where they’re in the wilderness of, they’ve kind of left something that maybe was comfortable, but at the same time, harmful and unhelpful, but they can’t yet see what’s ahead.

Randy: Yeah, you know, one of the ways that we remind ourselves of who we are and who Creator is, is through ceremony. And I know there, there are different ceremonies that are communal, that go on at different places, if you can become involved in those, I know a lot of people have gone to like Eastern Orthodoxy and other highly ceremonial Episcopal churches and others that are highly ceremonial, and then they, but they also, you know, complain about it not being as personalized or whatever but – and then, you also have to have your own ceremony. And, you know, even though we need to be a part of a group, we also need to sort of have our own personal ways of connecting and reminding us that we are connected or to, for me, to Jesus. And so, everybody is Indigenous from somewhere, somewhere in their DNA. Probably most of those people, you know, that we said were, you know, pagans and idolaters, and all those. There’s probably a lot of that wasn’t true, because that’s exactly what they said about our people. And that wasn’t true.

So, how do you get in touch with your own spirituality? Say, if you’re Celtic, you know, Celtic mystics and spirituality and Celtic ceremony. Nordic, you know, there’s always things going on at the equinox and things. And, I don’t know, you know, there’s a line that you have to sort of, like look for, but maybe not draw it before you get involved of like, you know, what is really going into, you know, something that is anti-Christ? No, you don’t know until get there. And you know, it’s not like, once you, once you go there, you can never get out, it’s sort of like, you know, I need to know, like, what was good about my Indigenous culture that I come from? If I know and then because of what’s in your blood, you sort of have a right to it, right? Although, you know, we can’t just like start doing stuff because that’s what the Druids did or something like that.

34:53

We, hopefully there’s people around who have been trained in those things and, and I know it sounds like very much like I’m saying, you know, go back to, “pagan worship”. That’s not what I’m talking about, but I’m talking about that there’s probably a lot of forms that can be used for each of us to contact Creator. It’s sort of like, you know, that’s the thing of faith, you have to step out in faith and go, “Jesus, will you meet me here?” And I think people will be surprised.

Pete: It’s hard to find the solutions in the same places that caused the problems. You have to branch out a little bit and look outside of your horizons, maybe.

Randy: Yeah, and there are lots of groups that, you know, maybe the group gets together and says, “Hey, we’re a group of whatever exvangelicals or whatever that we are, and, and let’s do something different together, we all agree to do it. And we all agree to have our open hearts and honesty. And let’s do it.” Like, you know, we’ve been doing talking circles for years and years. You know, we don’t own the truth, Native Americans, you know, that you sit in a circle and you share your hearts and you ask for prayer and you ask for, you might somebody might sing a song or share from their heart or, you know, those kinds of intimate settings. I think you can meet God and a lot of different places in a lot of different ways. But we’ve got to experiment and I’m not afraid of that, you know, I think that God is much bigger than my fear.

Pete: Right. Well, listen, Randy, that’s a great way to end our time together. I think, you know, fear is what maybe drives a lot of the resistance, but we both want to thank you for just taking the time and sharing your wisdom with us and for helping us to explore things from, you know, for what a lot of our listeners is a very different point of view and one I know they’re gonna find enriching.

Randy: Yeah and, you know, people can, if they have questions, they can email me, so I’m easy to get ahold of.

Pete: Okay. Well, are you sure? What’s your address? I’m just kidding. Don’t give it to me. Yeah, yeah, we’re okay. Yeah. No, not at all. No, we definitely are kidding. You’ll, get one out of a 10,000 people who are like okay. Yeah, we don’t need that. So anyway, thanks so much, Randy. Thanks for being with us.

Randy: All right. Great to be here.

[Music begins]

Stephanie: You just made it through another entire episode of The Bible for Normal People. Well done to you, and well done to everyone who supports us by rating the podcast, leaving us a review, or telling others about our show. We are especially grateful for our Producer’s Group who support us over on Patreon. They are the reason we are able to keep bringing podcasts and other content to you. If you would like to help support the podcast, head over to patreon.com/thebiblefornormalpeople where for as little as $3/month, you can receive bonus material, be a part of an online community, get course discounts, and much more. We couldn’t do what we do without your support.

Dave: Our show is produced by Stephanie Speight; Audio Engineer, Dave Gerhart; Creative Director, Tessa Stultz; and Web Developer, Nick Striegel. For Pete, Jared, and the entire Bible for Normal People team – thanks for listening.

[Music ends]

[END OF RECORDED MATERIAL]

Get smarter about the Bible and stuff.

Get insider updates + articles + podcast + more.

* indicates required
More Episodes...
Ecclesiastes with Pete Enns

Ecclesiastes with Pete Enns

June 11, 2018

In this episode, Pete takes us into the somber book of Ecclesiastes. He cautions us against an optimistic reading as the author intends to question everything — even God Himself. It’s a book that’s not for the faint of heart (or for the new Believer) as you need to have weathered the storms of faith to fully appreciate the tough questions being asked . . . and ultimately, the hope found within!