Pentecost: Time for Transformation

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The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton

It’s been about six months since I have had the opportunity to contribute to my own blog, but I’ve been doing some important writing in other forums recently. As I turn again to more regular contributions to Greening Spirit, I thought it might be helpful to gather in one place the articles I’ve written elsewhere over the past year. It’s a little easier for me to refer those who ask about what I’ve been working on to this space as a single point of reference.

Over the last year, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on themes that are really very tightly braided together. These include: Indigenous environmental spirituality, leadership formation in the Episcopal Church, the historical forces of Christian neocolonialism, environmental justice, and the critical need for racial reconciliation within the Church and between the Church and Indigenous communities. Taken altogether, these themes constitute a common trajectory of the influence of dominant culture and the vital need to make a global cultural course correction. The Anthropocene era of species extinction and climate change on Earth and decline of the Church have a common foundation in the worldview and impact of colonialism that continues to drive dominant societies to justify war, oppression, and nationalism today.

Societies are subject to forces of cultural transformation through the processes of intellectual and spiritual development that are important hallmarks of the evolution of the human species. We change. Our societies change. Our understandings of the cosmos and the nature of the Earth and environmental dynamics have advanced exponentially over the last 50 years alone. Christianity (and the other Abrahamic faith traditions) must catch up or be left by the wayside of the greater human journey as maladaptive belief systems that have contributed to the deterioration of human relationship with Creation and between human communities. That said, I would observe that progressive expressions of the Abrahamic faiths absolutely exist, though the visionary voices of each are frequently drowned out by the minority, toxic versions that plague them. Unfortunately, the toxic versions are motivated by a common vision: totalitarianism. Such a worldview is in every way counter to the reality of diversity and counter to the values of any faith that believes in a God who created and loves that diversity. Human identity is discovered, revealed, and realized over a lifetime; our potential does not find culmination in imposed conformity but in cultivated authenticity.

The work that I have been doing has found voice at the generous invitation of several forums, and I am deeply grateful for their support. Through their friendship and allyship, I am able to share the links below. These materials are only a small and current part of the far larger history and contributions of Indigenous peoples in the Episcopal Church and in the world. My sincere hope is that these offerings will serve to support the ongoing dialog, growing awareness, and much needed transformation for greater mutual understanding and the vital, healing work of racial reconciliation.

Videos & Written Resources

Reflecting on the Guiding Principles of the Beloved Community (The Importance of Episcopal Church Global Partnerships) – Video Resource [29:39 minutes]: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/global-partnerships/digital-toolkit/?wchannelid=rinmnfx4ka&wmediaid=591mve3mgk

Native Voices: Speaking to the Church and the World – TEC Office of Indigenous Ministries – Video Resource [36:39 minutes]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEvcyMvlv0I

When Creation Is Sacred: restoring the Indigenous Jesus (Anglican Theological Review, Special issue on “All Things Hold Together: Intersections in Creation Care”, Volume 103 Issue 2, May 2021): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00033286211007421

The Cultural Conundrum of the Indigenous Christian (Racial Reconciliation Series, Episcopal Church column of September 30, 2021): https://www.episcopalchurch.org/racialreconciliation/the-cultural-conundrum-of-the-indigenous-christian/

Let Earth Be Heaven (Episcopal Church Foundation, Vital Practices; Caretakers of God’s Creation Series, March 2022): https://www.ecfvp.org/vestry-papers/article/994/let-earth-be-heaven

The Great Burning (The Living Church, Covenant weblog; Commentary, May 4, 2022): https://covenant.livingchurch.org/2022/05/04/the-great-burning/?fbclid=IwAR2QrrrpovFeVn4po6AeKNLtJV4htBCNfwNSEY9-h6Wg-rMOUObKZdfSOPA

P.S. – This is an older article I wrote for the Anglican Theological Review for their Fall 2010 Volume 92 • Number 4 issue; The Necessity of Native American Autonomy for Successful Partnerships: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/http://www.anglicantheologicalreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/taber-hamilton_92.4.pdf