Kidwell, Noley and Tinker have put together one of the better texts
on Native American theology. The number of different perspectives
that could be covered almost makes this an impossible task. Unlike
many texts which present all Native American religious as being the
same, or other texts that focus solely on one tribe or culture, this
text gives an excellent overview of the differences between many
types of groups.
The topics, themselves, are interesting, including chapters on
hermeneutics, creation, deity, Christology, Theological Anthropology,
sin and ethics, trickster, land and eschatology. Each chapter
presents a rather strong analysis of the views of various tribes.
While some major tribes are neglected, generally, the authors do a
pretty good job of representing the tribes that are covered. For the
serious student of the study of religions, this text is an excellent
choice. For the person who wants to better understand her or his own
religion, this is also an excellent choice. It is probably not so
good for one who is not a serious scholar, nor is it a text for one
who is interested in a particular version of Native American
religion. It is a thought-provoking text that causes one to reassess
one's own ideas on religion and society. Because it does skip from
one tribe or cultural group to another, it is at times necessary to
rethink what one has read and to whom does it apply. Still, I would
highly recommend this text. It was interesting and fun to read.
It will make you think.
The Rev. Dr. Richard B. Gilbert,
Executive Director, The World Pastoral Care Center