Day 13: Colonizing Christianity

{DISCLAIMER: These reflections are solely my reflections from my journey as a Potawatomi woman. They do not reflect the journey or stories of every indigenous person, and it should not be assumed that every indigenous person has the same experiences. Thank you for joining me here. May we grow toward unity together.}

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People living under capitalism find it very hard to know their own center and to live from within it.

–Richard Rohr, Simplicity

If we could step out of modern day America, back to what once was, what would we find, feel, believe about ourselves, each other, this earth?

If we could think about getting the things we need not by buying them but trading, sharing, foraging, what would that feel like, look like?

Maybe we begin stepping closer back to the center of ourselves, like Richard writes.

If we imagine that the land can actually heal us, speak to us, remind us of who we are, what would we believe about our every action and their consequences?

The world of colonized Christianity has taken away that ability to imagine and then to recognize that another kind of living is also a true reality.

The world of colonized Christianity has created a bubble  in which things must be fought for, earned, bought at a high price. It has created a bubble in which those who are on the “inside” are against those on the “outside,” and the fight for our lives is the fight for who gets to go to Heaven, who goes to Hell, and how those souls can be won over while we’re here.

I spent so many hours of my childhood crying over the lost souls of my lost friends. Instead of seeing their humanity, I was taught to see the taint in their hearts, and somehow because of that was taught to believe that, though my soul was tainted too, it was at least saved. I was at least part of the in-group, and I had to reach out of that to help the out-group without becoming like them, without succumbing to their darkness.

Does this sound crazy to anyone else out there?

My friends, this is colonized Christianity. This is what happens inside of us after years of Sunday School lessons, after years of sermons in which God is described as a patriarchal God, a judge with a gavel– after all of that, we become people who see everything as us/them, and it’s based in fear.

So my work today is to decolonize my Christianity. And that is no small task.

I believe it will take the rest of my life, and many who have gone before me spent their entire lives doing it, too. I want to follow in their footsteps. I want to walk the way they walked. I want to break down the ideas of us/them, in/out. I want to see the world more wholly, and I want to walk my own journey outside the confines of colonization.

In America today, that’s difficult. Things are hostile, and walking into a church every Sunday is, honestly, very difficult. So I walk in the tension. We are constantly called to walk in the tension.

But as we walk, we have to realize that our equilibrium is off, and every day that I decolonize my faith, every day that I learn more about my Potawatomi culture and apply that lens to my Christianity, I am trying to recenter myself.

And that is difficult work, indeed.

May we do it together, friends, no matter what culture we’re from, for the sake of all of us.


 

My book, #gloryhappening, is out now!

Here’s what people are saying about it:

 

“Stop. Take a deep breath and pour a cup of coffee. This is the kind of book you will want to sit with for a while, the kind you will return to again and again. With the insights of a prophet and the attention of a poet, Kaitlin Curtice invites the reader to see the world fresh, in all its everyday glory. You will never look at a sink of dishes, a mound of dough, a game of Rummy, or the family dog the same way again. “Glory Happening” is a stunner of a debut, every sentence a feast for the senses. By the time you reach the last page, you will have kicked off your shoes, knowing you tread on holy ground.”
– Rachel Held Evans, author of SEARCHING FOR SUNDAY and A YEAR OF BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD
“Kaitlin B. Curtice is a young, Native American Christian mystic who portrays the sacredness of the human condition in everyday language through her writing. Her use of poetic prayers and stories in Glory Happening inspires us to find the divine in every aspect of life, and gifts us with the opportunity to embrace and mirror the gracious reality of God and glory in our midst.”
– Fr. Richard Rohr, Founder, Center for Action and Contemplation, Author, THE NAKED NOW and FALLING UPWARD

 

 

 

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