One Church Many Tribes, by Richard Twiss, 2000, Regal Books

There is variety in the pages of this book, which is part sociological, part historical, part persuasive, part visionary, part informational, part problem-identifying, and part victorious in Christ! As the text relates tales of people’s experiences, the necessity of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and developments in the relationship between Native American believers and the established denominations in the U.S., Mr. Twiss wants believers to open their eyes to the unity of the Body of Christ in the face of its diversity. I have personal reasons for liking this book, not the least of which is that Mike is constantly traveling to refreshing areas where the Body of Christ is NOT attempting to express itself in the standard U.S. church mold. This is important in the modern-day life of Native Americans, who were or are so often told to drop their culture if they want to believe in Christ; Twiss pointedly discusses that any part of a culture that is not anti-Christ can be redeemed and used as a vehicle for praise and worship. Example: page 49, “500 Years of Bad Haircuts” “When the heart is flooded with racial, cultural, ideological, or denominational strife, there is little room in the heart to hold love, honor, respect, and admiration for those who are different from us; we certainly find it difficult to recognize and admit our need for them. Yet perhaps at no other time in history have so many sensed an undeniable call from the heart of God to the entire Body of Christ to unite together across denominational, racial and ideological lines. Indeed, I believe there is a prophetic call from the heart of God to the Anglo church in America to recognize its historical and continued racism and indifference toward its Native brethren—and to make amends.” Pages 100, 101, “A Native Worldview” “The Bible is replete with admonitions and commands to see ourselves and live our lives as connected members of the Body of Christ. Our personal lives as followers of the Jesus Way should reflect a quality of love and unity seen only among God’s people. Jesus said, ‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’ (John 13:35, NIV). “I believe this is a significant and powerful point of view that, if subscribed to, would strengthen our Christian experience as the Body of Christ. So often our provincial allegiance is to our denomination, tradition or local church. When this becomes out of balance or extreme, we miss out on the fact—and huge blessing—that we are part of something much bigger. “Our greatest strength as the Body of Christ lies in the fact that though we are different individuals, we are one in Him. We must regain what Natives have never lost: the understanding that our togetherness is more important than our individuality, that we are members one with another.” Pros: Anyone even remotely interested in Native American or other indigenous issues will enjoy this book and its passion to heal old wounds that prevent believers from every corner of the U.S. and world from actively ministering together in our Life in Christ. Also, though the book is told from a Native American perspective, which in itself is a welcomed difference, the issues examined have much wider-reaching impact and application. Cons: Mr. Twiss has the usual ax to grind about Whites’ downside, their mistreatment of Native Americans, and their need to somehow bring together their times of worship with that of Natives. The book is also a little heavy on its coverage of the reconciliation movement without a paper trail as to whether this is just one more emotional experience people clamor to have in church or a true and lasting moving of mountains. [rating:3.5/5]

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