Mission through being a receiver

I have just listened to yet another brilliant podcast on Homebrewed Christianity with Randy Woodley the “the Associate Professor of Faith and Culture and the Director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies at George Fox Seminary in Portland Oregon”. Randy is of Native American Indian origin and a Christian. This is a post which I responded with:
I personally developed an interest in Native American Spirituality about a year ago when I came across it in a book by Jerry Katz: ‘Essential writings on Non Duality’. A whole Chapter is devoted to Ohiyesa whose Charles Eastman - OhiyesaAnglicised name was Charles Alexander Eastman. Having involved and familiarised himself with the western culture Ohiyesa was able to articulate his spirituality in a comparative and understandable way … much like our brother Randy. What struck me is not how much we can teach the Indians but rather the opposite. My Kindle in this chapter is riddled with underlinings!
Here are some quotes from Ohiyesa:
The worship of the Great Mystery is silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking. It is silent, because all speech is of necessity feeble and imperfect … It is solitary, because we believe that God is nearer to us in solitude, and there are no priests authorized to come between us and our Maker. None can exhort or confess or in any way meddle with the religious experience of another. All of us are created children of God, and all stand erect, conscious of our divinity. Our faith cannot be formulated in creeds, nor forced upon any who are unwilling to receive it; hence there is no preaching, proselytizing, nor persecution, neither are there any scoffers or atheists. Our religion is an attitude of mind, not a dogma.
If you ask us, “What is silence?” we will answer, “It is the Great Mystery. The holy silence is God’s voice.” If you ask, “What are the fruits of silence?” we will answer, “They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.”
The elements and majestic forces in nature—lightning, wind, water, fire, and frost—are regarded with awe as spiritual powers, but always secondary and intermediate in character. We believe that the spirit pervades all creation and that every creature possesses a soul in some degree, though not necessarily a soul conscious of itself. The tree, the waterfall, the grizzly bear, each is an embodied Force, and as such an object of reverence.
We original Americans have generally been despised by our conquerors for our poverty and simplicity. They forget, perhaps, that our religion forbade the accumulation of wealth and the enjoyment of luxury. To us, as to other spiritually-minded people in every age and race, the love of possessions is a snare, and the burdens of a complex society a source of needless peril and temptation.
Prayer—the daily recognition of the Unseen and the Eternal— is our one inevitable duty. We Indian people have traditionally divided mind into two parts—the spiritual mind and the physical mind. The first—the spiritual mind—is concerned only with the essence of things, and it is this we seek to strengthen by spiritual prayer, during which the body is subdued by fasting and hardship. In this type of prayer there is no beseeching of favour or help.
But, in a broader sense, our whole life is prayer because every act of our life is, in a very real sense, a religious act. Our daily devotions are more important to us than food.
We wake at daybreak, put on our moccasins and step down to the water’s edge. Here we throw handfuls of clear, cold water into our face, or plunge in bodily. After the bath, we stand erect before the advancing dawn, facing the sun as it dances upon the horizon, and offer our unspoken prayer. Our mate may proceed or follow us in our devotions, but never accompanies us. Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone.

There is so much more but I would just make this point and I think Randy referred to the idea at the end.
Western Mission is often seen as a needing to have something to give. So often we think that if we accumulate (spiritually, intellectually, materially) we will ultimately have something to give away which validates this idea of mission. But maybe another idea which saves us from a domineering patronising type of goodness is not ‘accumulative’ but ‘kenotic*’ – we, emptied of self, go with nothing but our need to learn from the other – and Native American spirituality has a lot to teach US.
I have been also thinking if there is any biblical backing for this and remember right at the outset Jesus asked the lady at the well for something to drink – he initiated conversation with his own need. The disciples were to go out with nothing – depending on the goodness of others in so doing evoking the spirit of giving through those they were seeking to reach. On the road to Emmaeus Jesus was revealed at the point where they provided Jesus with the bread and the wine … similarly behind the closed doors when the disciples were afraid he asked them to give him Fish to eat – sure to prove He was not just an ethereal apparition – but maybe also to affirm this kenotic principle of offering need as the basis for God’s revelation. All a bit tenuous I know but I reckon there is a lot of mileage in seeing mission not so much as imparting information but rather as humble receiving and in so doing removing barriers of fear of proselytising and condescending giving thus building relationship through which God’s love can be realised.
* Kenotic is a from the Greek word Kenosein used only once in the New Testament refering to the self emptying of Jesus in coming from Heaven to Earth. (Philipians 2)