part 4 indigenous issues 28 june 2009
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Things we don’t talk about

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Part 4: Indigenous issues 28 June 2009. Things we don’t talk about. There are some things we just don’t talk about. Among these are: Religion and politics (just don’t go there please!) Environmental concerns (that’s for greenies)

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there are some things we just don t talk about
There are some things we just don’t talk about
  • Among these are:
    • Religion and politics (just don’t go there please!)
    • Environmental concerns (that’s for greenies)
    • The world of work and industrial relations(umm… unions and bosses)
    • War (a necessary evil?)
    • Asylum seekers (aka ‘illegal immigrants’)
    • Changing the world (oh so you are Miss Universe?)
    • Tax (yeah we pay too much)
    • Indigenous issues (tell me who they are again)
  • The intersection of these things with Christian faith just doesn’t seem to get traction among many Christian or non-Christian leaders


a cautionary word
A cautionary word
  • The views presented here are not intended to represent the views of Indigenous people.
  • They are the views and observations of one whitefella who acknowledges his own limited understanding.
  • While a lot of what is expressed here is based on experiences in remote communities, the same issues apply in other places, including in our own back yard
how would you describe your culture
How would you describe your culture?
  • What are the key characteristics?
  • What are the visible symbols of your culture?
  • What are some of the social norms of your culture?
  • What happens when people deviate from those norms?
  • Do not try to explain it by contrast with a different culture.
what is the gospel that jesus preached
What is the Gospel that Jesus preached?

LK 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed,

19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Good news… For the poorFor the prisoner

For the sick

For the oppressed

a mandate to love show mercy and justice and for reconciliation
A mandate to love, show mercy and justice and for reconciliation

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Mt 22:36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

MT 22:37 Jesus replied: " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.'

LK10:36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

LK 10:37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise.“

LK 11:42 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.

Good news… Reconciliation



this is a radical gospel
This is a radical gospel
  • It has the power to transform the lives of individuals, families and communities in any culture.
  • It has the power to:
    • Reconcile and restore relationships
    • Heal sickness
    • Overturn oppressive systems
    • Redeem prisoners
  • It is a gospel of transformative action, not just a belief system
  • Do we believe it?
when we think of missions
When we think of missions…
  • We mostly immediately think of overseas mission
  • This is in part a result of ignorance or ambivalence on the part of the mainstream church
  • It also reflects a false view that when missions ‘withdrew’ from remote Indigenous communities that the ‘job was done’
  • But unfortunately the job is far from done
  • And the gospel of Jesus still needs to be proclaimed, perhaps now more than ever.
so why can t they just get a job
So why can’t they just get a job…?

In order to get a job you need…

Why isn’t it valued?

Would you make your kids to go to school if it was totally foreign?

An education . But in order to get an education…

Maybe because education isn’t valued?

And what would you want to learn English for anyhow?

You need to go to school. But in order to go to school you need someone to send you.

So why wouldn’t they send you?

Oh… to get a job! But then who would want to work?

other important issues
Other important issues
  • Dispossession and a history of racism, conflict marginalisation, no recognition of culture and law
  • Language
  • Withdrawal of Christian missions
  • Health and chronic diseases
  • Cultural dominance of white Australians
  • Disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system
labelling indigenous people
Labelling Indigenous people
  • Don’t want to work
  • Drunks
  • Child abusers, violent
  • Handout mentality
  • Given houses and just wreck ‘em

While it would be nonsense to suggest that there are no ‘problems’ among Indigenous communities in any part of Australia, labelling or stereotyping people doesn’t help at all. Indeed, all it does is show a lack of understanding of the issues faced by the people we label. Worse still, it puts all those people in the same basket.

It also shows how little we understand our own culture.

three friends and a bag of money
Three friends and a bag of money

Me and my three friends went travelling…

our response
Our response
  • Avoid judgement (look first to the failures of our own culture before pointing the finger).
  • Let’s not ignore our First Australian brothers and sisters, rather, let’s advocate for them.
  • Take hold of our mandate to minister to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, supporting the few who do work in mission contexts.
  • Pray for Christian people to take on the challengeinstead of feeding at thetrough.