Repentance is an ongoing act which involves a change in lifestyle, an indigenous advocate and theologian told members of the United Methodist Church taking part in an "Act of Repentance for Indigenous People."
"Keep on repenting. It's something that involves a change in lifestyle, a change in our whole way of being," said the Rev. George E. Tinker, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a citizen of the Osage Nation.
"If we're going live in harmony and balance we've got to give up some things that Americans hold dear. It's hard to be in harmony and balance when you're constantly competing to see who can get the most riches out of the world."
Tinker's comments during a worship service came last week as more than 1,000 delegates of the UMC gathered in Tampa, Fla. for the denomination's quadrennial legislative conference.
During his speech at the two-hour long event, which also featured some music spoken in indigenous languages and speakers from the United Methodist Church, Tinker mentioned churches that were a part of European colonization in which indigenous people were killed and had their lands taken from them and given to white people.
He said he respected the United Methodist Church for starting this process of repentance.
"My friends – there's a lot of history to be owned. There's a lot of this stuff that has yet to be learned and it's being concealed from you. You have to do the work now to dig it up, spade the ground and make fertile soil for the seed of the gospel to grow," he said.
"That's your job now. Together. All of us repenting. All of us restoring balance to the world. It's not just about making disciples for Jesus Christ. It really is about transforming the world."