Thursday, December 03, 2009

Double Rainbow: a missiology for the least of these

I’ve been really enjoying The Double Rainbow: James K Baxter, Ngati Hau and the Jerusalem Commune by John Newton. It’s beautifully written, an important study of what is quite a unique form of emerging church, commune’s in the 1970s.

Here’s part of the introduction.

“When Maori and pakeha do these things together, the double rainbow begins to shine.” The double rainbow is Baxter’s symbol for a mutually regenerative bicultural relationship … Pakeka culture’s material dominance was accompanied by an arrogance and ethnocentrism which left it spiritually impoverished. “The Maori is indeed the elder brother and the Pakeha the younger brother. But the [younger brother] has refused to learn from the [elder brother]. He has sat sullenly among his machines and account books, and wondered why his soul was full of bitter dust.”

The book explores Baxter’s forming of the community at Jerusalem. It describes the impact of Parihaka on Baxter and how it turned him toward Maori culture. So much of Baxter’s arrival at Jerusalem has echos of Luke 10:1-12, of Baxter arriving barefoot and throwing himself on the hospitality of the local Maori.

The book moves beyond Baxter’s death, describing the emphasis on the least of the these, nga mokai, the fatherless and nga raukore, the trees who have had their leaves stripped, and the place of relationships and love in the healing of broken people and mental illness. It is a totally unique story: a Pakeha community built on Maori terms.

A lot of my creativity and reading in the last month has been around Kiwi mission themes (Parihaka, local peace stories). I’ve found it energised and humbling. And perplexing. Why, when I’m moving to Australia, am I so challenged? Isn’t it a waste? Shouldn’t I be staying, continuing to thrive in this Kiwi soil? I have no answers, simply wanting to name my confusion.

Posted by steve at 11:32 AM

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