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)

Zacchaeus: Discipleship as Reparation

by Ched Myers
(BCM ENews, October, 2022)

Luke’s middle part (roughly chapters 9-19) is called by scholars the “Special Section” because it mostly consists of uniquely Lukan material. The backbone of this sequence’s architecture is a remarkable series of stories about rich men.  They articulate a searing critique of “Affluenza,” but culminate in the surprising tale of Zaccheaus—a rich man who is healed through the practice of reparation. This gospel text for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost is proximate this year to All Hallow’s Eve—appropriately scary for those of us who live with class and economic privileges. Continue reading “Zacchaeus: Discipleship as Reparation”

The Church Must Change its Thinking about Indigenous Peoples:  An Interview with Harry Lafond on what it means to be both Cree and Catholic.

by Elaine Enns and Ched Myers

Sojourners, August 2022, pp 32-37

In April [2022], Pope Francis made a long-awaited apology to a Canadian delegation of Inuit, First Nations, and Metis leaders at the Vatican for the “deplorable” violations children suffered at Catholic-run Indian Res­idential Schools for more than a cen­tury. The pope committed to come to Canada in late July to make his confes­sion personally to residential school survivors and their descendants for “the abuse and disrespect for your identity, your culture, and even your spiritual values.”
In this historic apology, Pope Francis stated, “Clearly, the content of the faith cannot be transmitted in a way contrary to the faith itself.”
This watershed moment comes 25 years after Harry Lafond-a Catholic and then-chief of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatch­ewan -raised issues of Indigenous faith and culture in a historic audience with Pope John Paul II during the Vatican’s 1997 Synod of the Americas. An educator and Catholic deacon, Lafond and his ancestors have a long history of building bridges between settler and Indigenous communities.

Full Article:  The Church Must Change its Thinking about Indigenous Peoples (link) SKU: E22-1-F

Nature Against Empire: Exodus Plagues, Climate Crisis and Hard Heartedness

Direction V49 no.1 (2020)

The realities of climate chaos hit me personally and hard in December 2017 with the Thomas Fire. California’s largest wildfire to that date, scorching 80 percent of our Ventura River watershed, it was an apocalyptic unveiling, the kind shared by survivors of hurricanes the same year in Houston (Harvey) and Puerto Rico (Maria).

Continue reading “Nature Against Empire: Exodus Plagues, Climate Crisis and Hard Heartedness”