Lutherans are trained to approach texts through exegesis, criticism, commentaries, and Confessions. Cross-cultural ministry offers new approaches to study. The Medicine Wheel values a range of lessons. To illustrate this in 400 words is a challenge.
Rev. Frank Armistead
Circle of Life Native Ministry,
c/o 1459 Retallack St.
Regina, Saskatchewan S4T 2J3
Within a text, one aspect gains our attention. This is different from any other time. We think about this. We "turn the rock over" to see its underside, its complete nature. Once we relate top to bottom, we look through Creator, who is the point of Balance, the Center. This leads to an opposite, which also changes every time. We explore this opposite and its underside. We move around the wheel, comparing previous stories, lessons, opposites and undersides; remembering every journey made here. We seek Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Mental insights. We come as male and female; children, young adults, grandparents and elders.
John 12, a story of an honour dinner, pictures Jesus as rich and influential. I hear him say, "The poor you have always with you."
Of many questions I could ask, I choose, "Why?" This is a question of function. Judas finds one answer. I'll follow that path. The poor have needs. They prompt the rich to love kindness and do justice. They allow servanthood. Poverty functions as an industry. People grow rich servicing the poor.
An underside of function is dysfunction. The poor still suffer. They are prone to disease, to premature death. They are without resources to change circumstances. They are victims of oppression. They are also victims of servanthood. Hearing a sermon bemoaning Israel's ingratitude for manna, my response was, "Even if it comes from God, welfare is still dehumanizing." Harold Cardinal taught that every time you do something for an oppressed person, you take from them the ability to do it for themselves. How does one disentangle servanthood and patronage?
Is today's opposite, "The rich you have always with you." Is the opposite equality? Is the opposite servanthood from the poor to the rich? How would such opposites function, or dysfunction? What others are there? If poverty and richness are necessary to achieve balance, what is out of balance, and how do I address that?
With Creator at the Center, what is the Spirit (the essential being or unity) of wealth and poverty? Or its Emotion? Or the disease and cure? Or its wisdom?
We live in meditation. We move to another stone. This journey never ends.
-- Rev. Frank Armistead
Circle of Life Native Ministry
Harold Cardinal, The Unjust Society, The Tragedy of Canada's Indians
(M. G. Hurtig Ltd., Edmonton; 1969)