Reviewer: Mary Hemlow
With all that the First Nations people have been through, the segregation, the residential school program, the disregard for their family ties and way of life and their current struggles with addiction, violence against women and racism, I have often thought how badly we each need Christ. That is why I was delighted to discover this book and even that there is a volume one somewhere.
John Capecci and Timothy Cage, authors of Living Proof: Telling Your Story to make a Difference wrote, “Be an advocate for the people and causes important to you, using the most powerful tool only you have - your personal stories.”
The book is a compilation of a wide variety of writing styles, each one distinguished by the authenticity of the author’s voice and the power of their experiences. Some are testimonies about what life was like before Jesus Christ and after. Unable to comment on each one separately, I’ll mention a few.
Sarah Beardy’s piece is a meditation on her struggle to marry her Christian values with her indigenous ones. She is able to do this by distinguishing the Eurocentric practices of the Christian church from Jesus and His simple purpose in coming to save the souls of everyone.
Thomas Michael McDonald illustrates the difference between the “nominal church” and the person of Jesus Christ. He contemplates the teachings of the New Testament which highlight Jesus as healer against the history of domination, cruelty and abuse carried out by said “church”. He argues that the nominal church was not the church of Jesus, but became a tool of Satan. He reminds the reader that Jesus was not a European, but a Middle Easterner and His message is for everyone.
Especially heart wrenching is the account of a fifteen year old, desperate for the love and some connection with his older, drug addicted half-brother, while living with and being cared for by his adopted mother.
Some are humorous, some are harrowing accounts of struggles with violence, addiction, living on the street and the hard-heartedness of health care providers. Uniquely, in each work the authentic voice of a person with hope can be heard, because of the Saviour who loves us all, in spite of the hurt we inflict upon each other.
Reviewer: Kelly Miller
This book was not at all what I expected it to be. While I was anticipating great stories of how God has worked in the lives of these indigenous authors, what I found was a collection of 30 brief and shallow testimonials and sermonettes written by First Nations authors.
Although some of the authors eluded to 'issues' and 'difficulties' they had in their lives, for the most part they were glossed over, which made their testimonials unimpactful. It would be very difficult for the average reader to connect with the author and their message. If the intention of the book is to speak to fellow First Nations friends and family, I don't feel as if the stories have enough meat in them to have any kind of significant influence.
I did find Thomas Michael McDonald's story, Conclusion, very interesting and agreed wholeheartedly with his statements about nominal Christianity. I wish he had gone one step further and shared what being 'born again' means, so that if any non-believers should read this works, they would understand the message of Christ.
This book could have great impact if the authors had bared their hearts and shared more deeply and specifically how faith in Christ has impacted and changed their lives. As it stands now, I am unsure whom this book is meant for and what their intention for it is.