In this special summer issue of World At Your Door, we bring you some of our most eclectic pieces from our latest 2016 mosaic magazine. CBM Executive Director Terry Smith marks that this issue of mosaic “is a clarion call to our Canadian Baptist church family to become other. We, who have been reconciled to God, have been entrusted with the mandate of being reconcilers, (2 Cor. 5:18), bringing together that which was previously separated, uniting divided pieces of the fabric of God’s plan. But too often, our refusal to ‘become something other’, to be totally changed, is, in itself, our greatest obstacle to the restoration of ruptured relations”.
We are all learning to become the “other”, whether we are speaking of race relations, identity, or culture. It is God’s work being done to reconcile and restore our brokenness and history – keep reading for more insight into how it is being done in our country!
By Mark Buchanan, CBM’s Global Ambassador. He is also the author of Your God is Too Sade, Things Unseen, The Holy Wild, The Rest of God, Hidden in Plain Sight, and Spiritual Rhythm.
Then I met Tal. Tal James is Penelekut, a band from an island close to Duncan. Tal had, in his early 20s, become a Christian. Today he works with North American Indigenous Missions, a mission agency dedicated to sharing the gospel - in all its dimensions - with First peoples. Tal has become a good friend. He has let me ask, and patiently answered, many stupid questions. He has taught me much about his culture, and helped me get past my uninformed reactions to indigenous practices, places, legends, artifacts - powwows, sweet grass ceremonies, totem poles, long houses, wampum, thunderbird stories - things I once knew nothing about, but held opinions and made judgments about anyhow. And sometimes Tal, along with his German wife Christina, have gently but firmly rebuked me for my subtle but clear racism. An example will help.
By Rev. Denise Gillard
IN MY ROLE AS A PASTOR AND EXECUTIVE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of The HopeWorks Connection, a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth through the performing arts, academics and relieving poverty, I have been working with racialized children and youth and the people who love them for over 30 years. It is in this setting I have called youth to live and move and claim their being in the context of a church that many times fails to address or otherwise admit to the complex and challenging realities they face, most especially when it comes to dealing with racism. The subject of racism is a touchy one for Canadians as a whole, taboo for the Christian community and therefore, in the church the intricate psychological, sociological, cultural and spiritual dynamics of their stories are silenced.
By Jonathan Beers, Lead Pastor at Northern Cross Community Church. Living in the North, in Goose Bay, Labrador, one of the groups our church interacts with on a regular basis is the Aboriginal community. Meet Susanne.
Jonathan: Can you share a little of what your life is like on a daily basis?
Susanne: Life here is some good and some bad. It’s not always easy. Sometimes you are just hungry and need something to eat…sometimes you just try and find a dry place so sometimes I stay with my aunt or cousins and sometimes I don’t know where I am going to stay, but that’s ok, it usually works out.
J: What is a question that you would like to ask God?
S: I wonder sometimes why life can be so hard…I trust God, I do, I know he’s there. But sometimes I wonder. I don’t always feel him as close as I’d like, but when I do, I know he’s there walking with me each day. I know whether it’s a good day or not, he is there and that helps. I try to believe in what God tells me every day, but it’s not always easy.
J: What is one of your biggest challenges that you face day to day?
S: People think they know you. They see you around town, how you dress and assume they know you. The truth is there is more to people than you think…you know, it’s seeing past how someone looks to who they really are…not thinking you know that person all figured out when you don’t, that’s really important to me…sometimes as Innu we need to be reminded that we come from a good history. Traditions and family are important and it’s important to always remember that every day.
J: What do you think about Northern Cross Community Church?
S: The people at church I call friends. As Innu, we are taught to share with those around us. They practice that and remind me that God loves me, and I need to be reminded of that a lot. I know I can go there and get water or food, but most of all I know they will listen and that is really important to me. When I was very upset one day the Pastor told me that God is with me, that Jesus’ love is deeper than any trouble I might have, that gave me hope. Everybody needs hope, every day to get them through.