He’s an older student and struggles with hearing the beat in Western music. The second week of guitar lessons I asked if he had much exposure to Navajo traditional music. The tell-tale signs were all there. “Yes,” he replied. His father still sings cultural songs while he works, and hums chants around the house.Also, this student attended some traditional “sings” (ceremonies) during his growing up years. Traditional music was his “heart” music.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. “One, two, three,” he counted mechanically, strumming as he said each digit, still unable to hear the difference between strong and weak beats in the music itself. We started to talk about the differences in music from a Western background and that from other systems. The student was fascinated! He shared with me that he was actually researching the subject this term, working on a paper discussing the use of traditional instruments in worship of the true God. Trust me. This is not an easy subject to talk about for many Native believers. There are so many associations to be overcome. The teachings of the past several generations of missionaries did not allow for the use of Native American music or instruments by a Christian.
Things are coming to a head in the Native world these days in the area of music. What will happen? What will God do? How best can we come alongside and help? We need your prayers as never before in regard to this area! May God grant wisdom, discernment, sensitivity, and humility to His Church among Native America. And may God grant us the same, along with a willingness to repent where we have been wrong in what we have taught in the past.
Term three begins November 9. We are working feverously to complete the self-study documents for accreditation, due November 16. I’m fighting to keep up with my World Religions class that I am taking on line from Columbia International University. Not doing all that well but still trying hard! Will not be teaching anything but music during third term.
I hear the Kick-off Kampout went well. Thanks for praying! Enjoy some photos of our fall conference below. We were blessed to hear from six of our alumni.