Reconciliation: A Journey from Far to Near
In this first of two Timothy Series chapel messages, Ivanoff spoke from his own journey of understanding about the pain experienced by his people (Alaskan Eskimo) at the hands of the US government and, surprisingly, American missionaries. The indigenous Alaskans discovered that to become a Christian was to become an American. Cloaked in the message of salvation was the idea that the “savages” must be “civilized” and conformed to the American expression of Christianity. Discipleship was replaced with assimilation, and the local languages, customs, and even surnames were changed in the name of America’s imperialistic brand of Christianity. It is a tragic story shared by countless other indigenous peoples. The idea that Christianity, the “white man’s religion,” decimates local peoples has to be rewired. Yet, is this not the hostility that the cross of Christ put to death (Ephesians 2)? Alaskan Eskimos were once “far away” – literally, on the other side of the world from Jesus’ Palestine. Yet the blood of Christ has brought them near. The reconciling work of Christ now enables forgiveness and restoration.
Curtis serves as the Field Director for the Evangelical Covenant Churches of Alaska. He was raised in Alaska and has a deep desire to see people from this state come to know Jesus, for more laborers to be raised up to be sent out into the world to share God’s good news. Curtis is married to Kristi and they have three children. He enjoys fishing, photography, Oklahoma Sooner football and re-creating food dishes he sees on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.