Richard Twiss on “Another Path of Jesus”Posted: October 9, 2012
From the latest issue of Leadership Journal comes a piece I edited by Richard Twiss, a prominent Native spiritual leader and theologian. Twiss (a Sicangu Lakota Oyate, of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota) discusses the relationship of his Native heritage on his spirituality and theology, and some of the many difficulties that white paternalism brings with the gospel.
When Jesus came into my life and overwhelmed me with his love, I wanted nothing more than simply to follow him. I began a life of transformation because he rescued me from a life of addiction, abuse, self-destruction, and likely from a premature death. I longed for the same transformation for our people. Yet I found myself tripping over the cultural trappings of American Christianity. Following the ways of Jesus seemed one thing; becoming a white Christian quite another.
Yet, in spite of all of this, I find in Jesus the possibility for forgiveness, reconciliation, and the path toward Shalom alongside my fellow human beings. We are all ikce wicasa “common human persons” on this road, and Jesus shows us there is always hope for redemption.
I’ve had the opportunity to interact with Richard over the course of this piece, and hear him speak in Portland, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis. His commitment to Christ’s work of healing, forgiveness, and racial/social reconciliation is humble and well articulated. We desperately need more theologians like Richard to actively question the flawed cultural trappings of euro-centric Christian theology, while fully committed to the path of Jesus. He’s been influential in expanding my thinking, worship, and commitment to seeking mentors outside of the Christian mainstream.