Thursday, September 21, 2006

Indigenous Indian Tells of the Gifts Her Community Has for All

In community there is no "I" only "We"

Nijhar Minz, a pastor from an indigenous group in India, took Bishop Eugenio Poma from Bolivia, when she washed his feet.

"We can't distinguish spirituality from theology and neither of those two, from ethics. It's how we live our lives," said Minz after washing the feet of Poma, seconded staff of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for Indigenous People. The theologian, who recently returned to her country after living most of her adult life in the United States said that in her community in North West India, the feet of any person entering a home are washed as a sign of hospitality.

Explaining the washing of feet she noted it is characteristic of all the people in the North West India who call themselves "tribal people". The welcome procedure is for all whether they are Christians, or not. She cited John's Gospel in this regard as carrying a special relevance for those people.

The second gift she spoke of is "an exceptional ability for community living". "It's actually the only way the Indian tribes dwell - being in community, not using the word 'I' but 'we'. We are never called to go out on our own, but to take others along with us. During that journey through life we go together and we share everything. Also the truth of Jesus Christ the savior."

A participant from Indonesia asked "Are you never competitive?" She said, "these are our ethics - we live together and lend each other a helping hand."

The third thing indigenous people contribute to the wider community, Rev. Minz noted, is the ability to express emotions. Typical for every village is a place where all can come together to celebrate life. And this happens, not only for special occasions, but each day. It helps to forget pain encountered in daily life and thereby to concentrate on music and dance.

Une indienne parle des dons de sa communauté pour l'ensemble des humains

Nijhar Minz, pasteure d'une communauté indigène en Inde, a vraiment surpris le bolivien Eugenio Poma lorsqu'elle a proposé de lui lavé les pieds. "Nous ne pouvons pas séparer la spiritualité de la théologie. Et aucun de ces deux de notre éthique. C'est ainsi que nous vivons nos vies." C'est ainsi qu'elle explique ce geste traditionnel d'hospitalité en chaque maison de sa communauté.

De la même façon, elle souligne la capacité de son peuple à vivre en communauté, "nous ne parlons jamais de 'je', seulement de 'nous'." La troisième chose que les communautés indigènes peuvent apporter à la communauté humaine, c'est aussi leur capacité à célébrer la vie ensemble.

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