Totem poles are an important part of the cultural heritage of the Native people of the Pacific Northwest. They are more than just beautiful art, they represent characters or stories or symbols about a village’s cultural beliefs. A totem pole may have an animal that embodies the ethos of that community – an eagle, a salmon, or a bear, for example.
Elders in the village would communicate the values to the younger generation using the totem pole. “We must be wise as an owl, cunning as a fox, strong as a bear, and as resourceful as a badger,” they would say.
As new people would come in to their community, the elders would tell them the story of the totem pole -- “The salmon on the pole – he doesn’t give up; he swims upstream even though it is difficult, until he reaches his goal. That is who we are: people who persevere and grow stronger through our struggle.”
The totem pole is an outward expression of what is “under the hood” – what drives a community.
We are in a conversation about what drives us. Last Sunday we talked about how love is the foundation of everything we do. This Sunday we are going to look at valuing simplicity. It turns out, it is simple to make things complex, but a complex task to make things simple. Keeping things simple is an important way of understanding our faith, of how we do life together, and even how we make financial decisions.