Sunday, April 29, 2012


In the midst of the chaos of competing petitions and agendas, Friday night's Act of Repentance was a time to reflect deeply on the ways we have individually and collectively participated in the ongoing oppression of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples around the world. Professor George Tinker's powerful reflections on repentance as an ongoing spiritual discipline that is continually needed to bring balance to our lives and our world struck a deep chord within my soul. As a descendant of people who immigrated to this land and participated in taking it from others... as a person who continues to benefit from the dispossession of native peoples both here and abroad... as a person who is no longer at home in the land of Germany from which my great grandparents emigrated to the United States... how do I even go about making repentance in a way that has a chance of being authentic and real? Surely, much more is required than a mere apology that makes me feel better but leaves the current unjust status quo unchanged. As George Tinker powerfully reminded us, we do not have to do this repentance alone. The native peoples of this continent are willing to walk with those of us who have come from elsewhere to find the way that is truly just and balanced. This way will be difficult. It will be fraught with danger. If we are serious about such repentance, more will be needed than one single ritual act of repentance. True repentance will require hard work. It will lead us in ways that are confusing and sometimes frightening. It may even lead us in ways that are dangerous. But, is there any work worth doing that does not? Work that stands a real chance of bringing about reconciliation will not leave us unscathed. It cannot! At the end of the act of repentance, each of us picked up a stone. I chose one that was broken and rough as a sign of the confusion and anxiety that still surrounds my own work of repentance. I hope that in time that stone may become smoother. For the time being it serves as a reminder of the work that yet needs to be done.   Frank Wulf First Clergy Reserve Delegate

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