A Shaman Appeared in Ventura

By Ched Myers
(excerpt from Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments In Decolonization, 2018, pp190-194.)

A CRITICAL TASK for today’s church is to take up a “re-placed the­ology.” That is, to reclaim symbols of redemption that are Indigenous to the bioregion in which the church dwells, to remember the stories of the peoples of the land, and to sing anew its old songs. These can then be woven together with the symbols, stories and songs of biblical radicalism.
I live and work in Oak View, California, the Ventura River Watershed. This is traditional territory of the Chumash people, with stories that go back millennia. How might I transpose the history, culture and land­scape of the gospel story onto this context, so that I can become more attentive to, and literate in, the deep social history and ecology of each? The following is an effort to re-narrate Mark’s portrait of John the Baptist (r:1-9) amongst the Chumash in the mid-19th century. It is excerpted from a longer, fuller treatment of Mark’s prologue ( r: I -I 8).

Full Article: Myers A Shaman Appeared in Ventura (PDF)

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