Aboriginal Christianity: The Way it Was Meant to Be
by Adrian Jacobs, 1998.
Find this book here.
One of the saddest parts of Western Christianity is that we have believed that Jesus can only come to the world through us. This kind of thinking, together with colonialism, has lead us to do some terrible things. In Canada alone, we have committed cultural genocide, outlawing Indigenous culture and forcing Christianity on this group of people.
As we critique history, we will quickly learn that we often inflate our understanding of God and His work in the world. Colonizing Westerners thought they were bringing God to a lost people. We hardly ever take the time to ask, In what ways is God already present where we are not?
Adrian Jacobs is Cayuga First Nation of the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. In this book, he works off of the premise that before Jesus, God could be known by Aboriginal peoples. As a Christian, Adrian explores what Christianity would have looked like if Jesus was introduced as Jesus (not as settler-Jesus) to Indigenous people. He shows how through creation, land, and tradition, God has already set the stage for all to accept Jesus.
Instead of receiving a Jesus who spoke into Aboriginal tradition, Indigenous people were stripped of their culture and forced to accept a Jesus presented to them by a church with a long history of injustice. If only it could have been different. But it wasn’t. So Adrian takes it upon himself to retrace that history and show what it could have looked like (and still can).
Adrian believes that Indigenous people need Jesus. Not western-Jesus but the real Jesus. He encourages western Christians to explore Indigenous traditions that will help them in their view of earth and faith.
This may not be an easy book to try to buy. But you can borrow it from CommonWord (link above).