Naomi's Reviews > Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery

Pagans in the Promised Land by Steven T. Newcomb
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's review
Nov 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: current-events, history, non-fiction
Read from November 18 to December 14, 2011

The Unitarian Universalist Association has invited Steven Newcomb to make a major presentation at the Association's annual meeting June 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona. Here's hoping that Unitarian Universalist congregations will be buzzing with conversation about the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, the relationship with Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist history, concepts that are part and parcel of world view, ethics, and preferred figurative language and our relationships with indigenous peoples, inside and outside our congregations.

Newcomb makes a strong argument - one that I hope is familiar to students of Biblical history and American history, but which may be sharply and painfully new for some. Because he's addressing how our language carries beliefs and stories (and beliefs and stories become how we relate to one another), some will be challenged at the center of their sense of self. Take it slowly and read with a diverse community of others for multiple perspectives, time to adjust, and time to think through myths, what we know to be true, and how we speak, as well as the law.

This is a dense text, and the writing is for advanced students. Religious educators and other religious professionals will want to do some translating, focus on storied examples, and mix video and music into the conversation (including videos of Newcomb discussing the work at hand).

Great reading. For more of the religious context Newcomb discusses, check out Bruce Feiler's _America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story_. To appreciate more of the variety of cultures, civilizations, and ways of being before Columbus, check out Charles Mann's _1491_.
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