Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Often Asked of our Pastors

Can I be both traditional and Christian?


In one sense, this is an easy question to answer. Being a Christian does not change my Tribe, my clan, my ethnicity, or my ancestry. Becoming a Christian does not make me any less of a Native. But in another sense, the struggle to be Christian and Native is real. It raises questions about my identity. Who is God? Who am I? What makes me unique? How do I live my life? The answers to these questions can be hard to find, but we’d like to help you find them. We are Native Christians, and we’ve found peace, purpose, and identity in Jesus Christ. We encourage you to start your spiritual journey as you browse this website and start finding the answers to your important questions




What does the Lutheran Church believe about Usen?


Unen is the god of the creation myth. MYTH - all tradional religion Native Americans do refer to the creator god as a myth. It was a story that was told long ago by ancestors as an explanation to what they didn't understand and couldn't figure out: How was the world made? Natives, generations ago were very perceptive. They loved the land. They could see how nature worked and knew there must be a higher power that created this world. They didn't have - or if they did have - they lost the Bible truth as to how the world was created. Maybe they had never ever heard it. Maybe they heard it but rejected it. Maybe they heard it but forgot it and never passed it down to their children.... and in all those cases the result is the same: you must make something up that you can talk about to children and young people and put it into customs and culture changing it enough from other tribes so to call it "your own god, myth or tradition". Usen is a creator only god. There are elements that might have come from someone who had heard of the Triune God: Father - Creator, Son - Redeemer, Holy Spirit - Faith Strengthener once long before, but never was able to double check the Bible, so made up a story, a legend, a myth. Here is a link to a version (there are many different versions - also signifying that Usen is a myth) of the Apache Creation Myth. Lutheran Native Christians believe in the TRIUNE GOD - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - 3 persons in ONE GOD. IT is TOO GREAT for us to believe with our small minds. It can not be understood. It is only accepted through faith."Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." Romans 10:17. The Bible has all the facts and the Bible is God's Word. Lutherans believe Usen is a myth. The Apache word for the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit is: Bik’ehgo’ihi’ṉań




What is the difference between CULTURAL and TRADITIONAL Indigenous People?


Although there are many definitions for these two words, in Native American populations the difference is quite clear and important to define. It is true that through the ages, other ethnicities have not respected either the culture or traditions of various other ethnicic races. This is another topic for another time. For any Christian - and especially for Native Christians - the difference is important. CULTURE: is more appropriately defined by the unique behaviours and customs and lifestyle choices of a particular social, ethnic, or even age group, as well as the ways of living built up by a group. These are passed down from one generation to another.
TRADITION: is the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, myths, stories, often religious customs and beliefs, information, etc., from one generation to the next, often by carrying out specific practices in order to remember them and often only handed down by storytelling. In Native America, Native Christians specifically make a DIFFERENCE in these ways: CULTURE is what we all want to ensure is hung onto. Examples would be language, clothing styles, gardening skills, raising of animals in a certain manner, irrigantion, cooking of specific foods etc. TRADITION is the awesome things done every year or at every season. They can be wonderful to bond people together. All tradional practices that align with God's Word are adiaphora (meaning: things neither commanded nor forbidden by God. God says you may do them as long as you don't offend a weak Christian by doing them). HOWEVER - the part of tradions that are done EVEN THOUGH THEY CONFLICT WITH GOD'S WORD as clearly stated in Scripture - must be done away with. An example would be Medicine Men giving young girls power in the sunrise dance ceremony, or crown dancers becoming pure or sinfree when they put on the crowns and dance to chase away evil spirit. This goes against Scripture which says: - See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 - He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? Matthew 15:3 - Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; I Timothy 4:7 If you have further questions - please email us.





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Pastor Dan Rautenberg

Native American Mission

Field Coordinator

Apache  Christian Training School  (ACTS) Director