Hearing the voice of Indigenous People: we need to add something to our Theology to go forward in an Earth-friendly way.
The Right Rev. Mark MacDonald became the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop in 2007, after serving as bishop of Alaska for ten years.Before his ordination as a bishop, MacDonald was Canon Missioner for training in the Diocese of Minnesota. He is the board chair for Church Innovations, Inc., and a third order Franciscan.
The Anglican Church of Canada have highlighted the intersection of the environment and Indigenous rights as a place of particular struggle, with resource extraction and deforestation adding to poverty and stress, and disrupting communities that have lived in tune with the forest and its ways for generations.
Bishop Mark says the following:
“We need to evaluate the impact of the globalizing culture of finance and technology on the Church – in our spirituality, theology, and cosmology; The increasing alienation of human culture from the rest of Creation is a cruel paradox of the incredible advances of our knowledge in a technocratic age – the more we seem to learn, the deeper our alienation from the rest of life. This has caused a profound, lasting, and distorted perception of Creation among many Christian groups”.
“For many modern observers, it appears that we must add something to our theology to go forward in an earth-friendly way. I do not believe that this will solve the deep roots of our growing ecological alienation. Although adding something is certainly in order, discovering what we have lost is urgent. If I may say, Indigenous people, Christian and non-Christian, can help with this rediscovery. Their difficulties in modern times are directly related to their refusal to abandon traditional cosmologies, even as they update them with modern knowledge.”
Among Bishop MacDonald’s published works are:
- “Native American Youth Ministries,” co-authored with Dr. Carol Hampton and published in Resource Book for Ministries with Youth and Young Adults, the Episcopal Church Center, New York, NY, 1995
- “It’s in the Font: Sacramental connections between faith and environment,” Soundings, July 6, 1994, Vol. 16, No. 5
- A Strategy for Growth for the Episcopal Church: Joining Multiculturalism and Evangelism, Inter-Cultural Ministry Development, San José, Calif., 1994.
Bishop MacDonald has co-edited The Chant of Life: Inculturation and the People of the Land (Liturgical Studies IV), Church Publishing Company, 2003