Words from the Wise   2 comments

Transformation in Religion-Kandis Twa

As of late I have been a wee bit obsessed with speeches. Listening to them and reading them rather than making them-except maybe to my husband 🙂 .  One of the most beautiful orations I have come across was made by a Native American named Red Jacket.  The original context of his speech was in 1805 (before teleprompters and professional speech writers), his job was to speak for his nation in land and religious negotiations with the United States just after their victory in the Revolutionary War. This was the time of great orations by George Washington and Samuel Adams (which I find so stirring even though I am a Canadian and know very little about American history), and this man’s words, I believe held their own in mighty company at an amazing time in history.  Now fast forward to 2011-I share part of this particular speech in the context of today as we see humanity on the brink of great changes.  Most ostensibly we see rapid and dramatic changes occurring in the financial markets around the world. All the old systems are starting to crumble so they can be rebuilt at a higher level. These changes are also occurring in our old structure of religion. Dogma is being questioned and people are remembering that divinity is within. All of this is cause for great celebration and leads me back to Red Jacket and his speech “Religion for the White Man and the Red”. They were words spoken so long ago that I find nevertheless timely and reflective of what many people are recognizing as misconceptions about the old religious guard.

“…Brother, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind; and, if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say you are right and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a Book. If it was intended for us, as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us, and not only to us, but why did He not give our forefathers the knowledge of that Book with the means to understand it rightly.

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?

Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other and to be united. We never quarrel about religion…”

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2 responses to “Words from the Wise

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  1. wow, Red Jacket really nails it. We all need to be very concerned when someone or some group claims to own “the truth”.

  2. Thanks Rich,
    I thought this would resonate with you in the context of your “God” as opposed to “god” discussion (http://rgvreeland.com/2011/08/07/if-god-loves-us-why-do-people-suffer/).
    It is no surprise to me that people are uncomfortable with the word “God”-it was long associated with a very strict power-over dynamic that thankfully is really starting to change. I have a good friend who uses the word “Bob” instead of God. I believe we can use whatever term honors that which is greater than ourselves-“Bob” will get the message 🙂

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