Remember Thy Neighbor

“There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it”

-Avett Brothers


“If you fail to see a problem,
Which I find hard to believe,
Or if you’re hanging on the branches,
Licking honey from the leaves,
You say: The hopelessness of living,
And the childishness of suicide,
It puts a call on my brother, that could never be destroyed”

– mewithoutYou


Recently I picked up a renew interested in modern day Native Americans. I want to know what’s happening. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day lives that we fail to see where we are in history, or where history has brought us. Whether that’s a on a personal, individual level, or in the grand scheme of things.

In my own life I feel it’s necessity to “check your pulse” once in while. To consider where I am, where I hope to be, what I want to do, what my life has become up to this moment, and perhaps even to consider how far I am from certain things. …for better or for worst. I feel like this is part of being a healthy adult.

In a similar fashion, once in a while I just want to know where history has brought us.

Racism is a foreign concept to me. As many times as someone could explain or some of the origins of it in this country, I simply can’t fathom it’s justification. I have to look at history to even have a concept of why it’s still around. And then when I do, I realize, just like so many other things, racism is only a suffers issue.

It seems like the modern media news is indulging its viewers with more and more propaganda of racism. Seemingly saying its bad, but then promoting it anyways. It’s like when an illusionist has you looking in one direction is preforming the actual trick in another direction.

I don’t understand the concept of racism, but I understand nullification. I understand being forgotten. I understand some people are just mean. I understand a Silent God. I understand pain.  These are things that transcend all cultures, races, up-bringing. These are area where I believe I can sit down and draw in the sand, without out right answering the religious “authorities”.
These are wounds I believe love can heal.

As I search around for some information about the current circumstances of some Native Americans, I came across a continuous mention of a place called “Pine Ridge” reservation.  After seeing it up pop up multiple times, I looked into it a little bit. The Lakota people. South Dakota.

The statistics were bad. I looked up videos, volunteer opportunities, ministries, blogs, whatever stories I could find. (For me this a normal form of study). And it’s only been a week since I’ve started searching through this, but I’m so taken with the stories the people tell. …beyond their words. There’s a culture of pride and of pain. There’s hopelessness and yet severely strong spirit calling for life. There’s smiles and agony. There’s beauty there. It’s like seeing the face of Jesus walking along the dirt paths of Israel.
That Jesus who said “foxes have holes, and eagles have nest, but the Son of Man has no place to rest his head.”  That Jesus who was tried from travel and sat down at the city’s well, while his disciples continued on into the city to find provisions.

The story is so familiar, I know it already. And yet, there is so much I do not know. There’s so much information I can’t find. There’s so much I wonder about.

So much of what I have found is some church that went there for about five days, did some physical labor, smiled at some people, and left feeling better about it all. …Mission trips? In America? What the hell I am missing? Why is this place like another world?  These people are our people. South Dakota is part of the United States of America. These people speak English, and yet a “one week” visit suffices as showing the love of God to our neighbor?

My husband and I have been blessed to have friends in many states, and even a few other countries. We visit those who are closeby when we can, and we keep in contact with those who are further way, because we love our friends. Although South Dakota in the lesser densely populated area, it’s not exactly nowheresville. So I can’t understand why I’m only finding things like “mission trips” to this area. It’s a little frustrating.

But somehow, I think this is a quintessential expression of what we have become in our modern convenience Christian world. Isolation. Scary isolation.

I remember asking a youth pastor, I knew, if he did activities with other churches in his town or other churches in his denomination. And I was astonished when he answered neither.

On one hand, I am worried. Another hand, I just want to go out there, and find out for myself. Do these people really believe themselves to be forgotten more than any other small town area? In a modern world like ours with internet, social media, podcast, telephones, cellphones, and…. mission trips?
I can’t stand the thought of it.

Yet, with the stories I’ve been able to dig up, I wonder if there is something to it. I wonder if there is a historical prejudice that has made these people sit in silence, even though the are our very own people.

I am not looking for social justice (as they call it). I’m looking for the body of Christ to be the body of Christ, and to make sure the needs of the saints are meet. To remember your brethren in prayer; to love one another.
But with so little information available, I wonder if this is happening or not?

The few videos I’ve watched speak of a sorrowful, isolated, people who want to live but have been told there is nothing for their future. I know that’s a lie. I’ve heard it before. I know who tells those lies, and it’s absolutely false.
Because of the severity of the circumstance I have heard of, I believe there is an equal or greater importance to these people. And I can’t stand the thought that they might not know. Would God send me to tell them? I don’t know yet. But they’re in my prayers, and I love them so dearly.

 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God  because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.  I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.
Philemon 1:4-7


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