Friday, November 30, 2007

Fantasy Kit house: Loq-kit

It's an idea and not reality yet, but by the time I buy land this may be the reality I'm looking for, the Loq-kit house. It's like the Sears-Roebuck kit house remade for the 21st century. This era it would be the IKEA kit house without the allen wrenches.
hat tip: Inhabitat
See more posts on houses.

How to build a warm home in North Dakota a thousand years ago

The Hidatsa and Mandan tribes lived on the Knife River in North Dakota. They didn't live in teepees in the winter. They lived in awesome earthlodges. Take a virtual tour or make a trip to the Knife River National Park.
See other posts on native americans, houses and conservation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More in Indian nation sovereignty

In yesterday's post I admitted I'm a clueless blogger on the topic of Mashantucket sovereignty and the National Labor Relations Board. Today, I found Rob at Blue Corn Comics, who I've linked to recently, has a ton of information on tribal sovereignty. Read and learn.

See my other posts on native americans and human rights.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sovereignty denied at Mashantucket

If the U.S. truly recognizes the sovereignty of the tribes in its midst can it draw limits? Of course. The U.S. would not cut off its nose to save its face. For example, sovereignty does not mean that a tribe can invite jihadists to set up terrorist training camps on their reservations. In such a scenario, the U.S. would usurp tribal sovereignty to protect its interests. Neither can a tribe make laws legalizing that which the U.S. declares illegal. Hence, gaming could not be stopped on reservations if the states already have legalized gambling. But what of worker unions? Can a tribe declare illegal what the state considers legal? Some tribes already have unions in their casinos. The Mashantucket Pequots, owners of Foxwoods Casino opposed a union vote by its dealers. The National Labor Relations Board told them they had to let the vote go forward. A majority of dealers subsequently voted to form a union. Does this sovereign nation have to recognize them? I think those dissatisfied could organize and get concessions by wild cat strikes. One such strike last year didn't succeed. But the tribe needs the dealers. I'm sure the dealers could force the tribe to talk without having the federal government stomp on the tribe's sovereignty. I think the NLRB was wrong. Forcing them to legalize something non-criminal/morally neutral that the tribe doesn't want to is an overstepping of the tribe's sovereignty. But I'm just a clueless blogger.

see more of my posts on native americans and human rights.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Top 10 posts Thanksgiving week 2007

Welcome to this week's Top 10.
I've been too busy to blog lately, but I've still had time to read the feeds. If you'd like to see what i find interesting other than these top 10, look at the top of the blog or click here.
And without further ado...
I have a few selections from in this category.
Subheading: Conversion
Guy Muse has two of importance this week. Follow up on new converts is essential.
A first person account of joining a church from the St. Paul's blog.
Sociologist Bradley Wright compares the NYT map of megachurches with population density.
Subheading Missions
Guy follows up this week with shared lessons on starting a church planting movement.
Subheading Charismata
In memoriam of John Wimber who went to heaven 10 years ago.
Subheading Theology
J.P. Moreland warns against replacing the power of God with Bibliolatry.

Native Americans
Indigenous names leave their mark all over the U.S. Yet Americans still think it's not a problem to use Indian images and caricatures as mascots.

A challenging analysis of how Daniel and his friends chose compromise wisely.

Cleaning up oil spills with human hair mats that grow mushrooms.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Do you know your american indian history?

Here are some questions to ponder today. You'll have to go to the Blue Corn Comics page to get the answers.
Quiz: Know Your Natives
13 Questions to Test Your Knowledge of Native Americans

1. How many federally recognized tribes are there in the United States?
2. Who wrote

The present King of Great Britain...has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers; the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

3. Whose portrait is being carved in a mountain taller than Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota?
4. Which American woman has the most school buildings and monuments named after her?
5. Which two "Latin" countries have an indigenous majority?
6. What was actress Maria Cruz's most famous role?
7. How did Christopher Columbus punish Indians who didn't pay tribute on time?
8. Which three of the following plants are not Native American in origin?

avocados, bananas, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, papayas, potatoes, sugarcane, tomatoes, zucchini

9. What was George Washington's Indian nickname? (Hint: The initials were T.D.)
10. Which ten sports did Native people invent? (Hint: Archery isn't one of them.)
11. Which US state has the smallest Native population?
12. What were the Indians' three greatest architectural achievements?
13. When and where was the first treaty signed between Indians and Europeans? (Hint: Name the century and the area of the "New World.")

see more posts on history and Native americans.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Facts

Rob who I've linked to yesterday, left a comment with a link to an amazing resource on Thanksgiving myths and facts at his other website, Blue Corn Comics. Here is a taste.
* Only 35 of the 102 colonists aboard the Mayflower were Pilgrims. Others were fortune-seekers fleeing the depression in Europe or indentured servants.
* The colonists were supposed to join the tobacco plantations in Virginia. They landed in Massachusetts because of a storm or a navigation error, or perhaps because the leaders hijacked the expedition.
* The colonists didn't hack a home out of virgin wilderness, they settled on the already cleared land of Squanto's decimated village, Patuxet. Some of them took the Indians' belongings and even dug up their graves.
* The colonists didn't introduce the idea of celebrating the autumn harvest. The Eastern Indians had held such celebrations for centuries.
* The first Indian-Pilgrim get-together was merely a feast, not a true "thanksgiving," a particular kind of religious observance. The first real Calvinist Thanksgiving occurred in the summer of 1623, when the colonists declared a Thanksgiving holiday after rain saved their crops.
* Thanksgiving wasn't a national holiday until Lincoln made it one to spur patriotism during the Civil War. The Pilgrims weren't included in the tradition until the 1890s.
* Seventeen years after Squanto welcomed the Mayflower's Pilgrims, these Englishmen and their Indian allies burned a Pequot village on the Mystic River in Connecticut while its inhabitants slept.
Tomorrow, let us thank the original inhabitants of this land for their generosity toward the illegal immigrants from England.

See more posts on native Americans and history.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

King Philip's War

More information on King Philip's War from the Kansas City Star. Bloodier than the Civil War, 1/3 New England towns burned, many surviving Indians enslaved... Hat Tip: Newspaper Rock.

But then came King Philip’s War, when things fell apart. What went wrong?

What I saw in doing this book was how much the personal commitment of the leaders matters. Diplomacy is hard work, especially when there are such cultural differences. The tragedy of the story is that with the second generation, they lose that appreciation so quickly.

King Philip’s War is the war that American history has forgotten. We start with the Pilgrims and in most histories leapfrog to the American Revolution. New England had changed radically in 55 years. As more and more English survived, land became a big part of this. Land had gone into English hands in a huge way. From the native perspective, they said, “What good was this alliance? We’ve lost our birthright.” And with the leaders not liking each other much, it leads to war.

This was an extraordinarily brutal conflict when you look at the percentage of the populations killed, more than twice as bloody as the Civil War.

You can say the English won, but one-third of the towns in New England were burned and abandoned, and they would pay for the war for decades. Until then they had remarkable independence from the mother country, but afterward they had to throw themselves on the mercy of England. You could say this created the tensions that would erupt 100 years later in the American Revolution.

For Indians who were not killed or forced to leave the region, many were captured and crowded on ships, sent to the West Indies and sold as slaves.

read more posts on Native Americans and history.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Squanto aka Tisquantum

Squanto ended up on an English ship in 1605, either bribed or kidnapped. Several tribes' members were kidnapped also by Thomas Hunt who then tried to sell them in Spain. Friars interrupted the sale and eventually ended up serving as a slave or indentured servant in England for 9 years under Ferdinando Gorges then John Slaney. Gorges was a principal of the Plymouth company. Slaney was the principal of the Newfoundland Company. In 1619 he made it back to the Massachusetts Bay area, finding his people wiped out. His services as a trade intermediary were necessary as trade dried up after the kidnappings. The Pilgrims arrived on his tribe's abandoned area in 1620. Squanto was living with the Wampanoag at the time and their chief Massasoit who used Squanto as an ambassador. Squanto enjoyed his influence too much and used it for personal gain among the Indians. He tried to trick the Pilgrims into military maneuvers against other tribes to prove his influence. His deceit was exposed and Massasoit demanded his life. But another ship of colonists appeared at the last hour and the Pilgrims were distracted and Squanto became needed again. Later, Squanto got a fever and started bleeding form the nose. He knew he was going to die. He asked Governor Bradford to pray for him that he might go to the English God's heaven. He left a legacy of peace between Pilgrim's and Wampanoag that lasted 50 years. Sources:, and

more posts on native Americans, history, and faith.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Top 10 posts Nov 10-17

Here are my top picks for this week. As always, you can subscribe to my shared feed to see these through the week. Each highlighted header links to all my other posts on that topic.

Native Americans
Newspaper Rock points out that not everyone thinks Oklahoma's statehood was a good thing, especially those Indians who were forced to move there as a designated Indian land. Quotes and notes from marchers are included. One quote,
"A start would be to remove the annual land run celebrations, in which various lands assigned to American Indians were opened for white settlement... It's demeaning to American Indians for that to be re-enacted annually,” she said. "I just tell my children go sit in the middle of the lawn and let the kids run over you because that's what happened to us.”
Abortion/ Politics
Randy Alcorn, whose books I've enjoyed, makes his first political post endorsing Huck.

Pro-Life with Christ has shown support for Ron Paul but they included a Huckabee article this week. Of interest to me is this quote, "As governor, Huckabee actively promoted the right to home-school..." Of course, he is pro-life, with caveats. A big bonus on the Pro-Life front as reported at Pro-Life with Christ is that Colorado's supreme court is allowing a ballot on the personhood of embryos.

I never knew the Orthodox church celebrates communion with leavened bread intentionally. Thanks Orthodox Thoughts.

UConn sociology professor Bradley Wright is analyzing the Willow Creek's reveal study. From that study Willow concluded they weren't making disciples. He puts on his Sociologist hat and breaks it down over several posts.

C. Michael Patton continues his divorce and the Christian discussion.

Apologetics can only help someone believe "that" but not believe "in." Thanks A-Team.

Rod Decker has a proposal for a Wednesday crucifixion of Christ..

When do missionaries know they've done enough to move on? Guy Muse has some answers and questions.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ghost Dance: Part 2

Of course the right to freedom of religion didn't apply to native americans when it made white americans uncomfortable. The Ghost dance gave many tribes a sense of hope and power. Whites only saw it as a prelude to war. They never bothered to ask. It's practice precipitated the massacre at Wounded Knee. Here is a 6 minute documentary.

see more posts on human rights and native americans

the Ghost Dance

I first heard of the Ghost Dance when I listened to the Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge, see my short review. If you don't want to read much this music video gives a summary.

see more Native American posts

Friday, November 16, 2007

great modern floor plan

This house has a great floorplan. It's exterior may be too modern for many, but I really like it. The blog if its construction is called From the Ground Up.

more posts on houses.

Handsome Lake: American Indian spiritual leader

I first heard of Handsome Lake from Dan who commented earlier. Thanks Dan. Please see his comment for some anecdotal information on Handsome Lake's continued influence.

Handsome Lake was an alcoholic Iroquois Indian who was dying from his alcoholism when he received visions in 1799 from three spiritual messengers warning him away from alcohol. So he quit the booze and got healthy. He started to preach among his people. He preached a repentance from alcohol and witchcraft. He eventually came up with the Code of Handsome Lake which forbade "drunkenness, witchcraft, sexual promiscuity, wife beating, quarreling, and gambling." More detail here,
Handsome Lake's vision defined the sins which the Indians had to forgo, including belief in witchcraft, in love magic, in abortion, and in drunkenness. His concern about sin and salvation were not taken from concepts based on Christian theology of original sin or being saved through faith in Jesus, but they addressed the personal weaknesses which had to be overcome to solve Indian shortcomings and to make for more wholesome individuals. Salvation in the new "Religion of Handsome Lake" would come from avoiding the sins he had enunciated, but it also involved the necessity for observing traditional Indian ceremonies.

A second vision followed for Handsome Lake, and this one, which involved social concerns, included:

1. Temperance: The avoidance of family quarrels and the mistreatment of children Here the family rather than the clan was stressed, and this was a break from the old matrilineal rule of the oldest clan female over the extended members of a clan. Clan was thus being downgraded in favor of the family consisting of the husband, wife, and children.

2. Peace and Social Unity: Whereas the teachings of Jesus spoke to the white man, the teachings of Handsome Lake applied to Indians. To be rejected were the centralization of police powers, the private profit motive, social ills such as gambling, drunkenness, dancing, promiscuity.

3. The Preservation of Tribal Lands: It was permissible to sell Reservation lands just so long as the larger Reservation could be increased in size.

4. There Should Be Schooling in English: English should be learned at the Quaker schools to help protect the tribes in the future against white lawyers and government officials. White ways should be learned so as to improve Indian life. Indian society must be transformed from a male hunting and woman farming society into one of male farming and female housekeeping. Nevertheless Indian society must keep to its own ways without acculturation to white standards. There must be an autonomous Reservation community using white technology but retaining Indian identity.

5. There was to be a renewal of traditional domestic morality. Sons were to obey their father, mothers were not to interfere with their daughters' marriages. There was to be a sanctity of the husband-wife relationship—with no divorce. Again, this was a break with the old clan organization of relationships.
[It's interesting to me that abortion was an issue 200 years ago.]
His preaching was successful on many levels,
The rise of Handsome Lake's religion was more successful than most religions during that time, apparently because his code combined traditional Iroquois religion with white Christian values. It stressed survival without the sacrifice of the Iroquois identity, and recognized the realistic need to make adjustments in order to survive in their changing world. The Code of Handsome Lake, published around 1850, played a significant role in the preservation of the Iroquois cultural heritage and was popular throughout the Iroquois nations in Canada and in the United States. Handsome Lake, referred to as Sedwa'gowa'ne, "Our Great Teacher, " died on August 10, 1815, at the Onondaga Reservation. His religious beliefs were carried on by Blacksnake and other disciples, and his teachings remain a compelling force among the Iroquois.
He was opposed by Christian missionaries among the Iroquois but not the Quakers. He didn't think Indian conversions to Christ were a bad thing, but compatible with his revelation. His problem with witchcraft led to an execution of an Indian woman which put him in everyone's doghouse. Handsome Lake's Code was became the Longhouse Religion which currently has 5000 members. Handsome Lake's Code has a story of Jesus, which doesn't qualify as orthodox by mainstream Christianity.
See more posts on native Americans, abortion, church and history.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gabions/rock bales

Have you ever seen rocks baled up in wire mesh and wondered what they were called? I learned the answer today...gabions. I want to know if they would make economical exterior siding?

Michael Medved: Denier of American Indian Holocaust

I only stumbled across his denial today. It was written this past September. Sadly, there are many supporters of his position among the commentors. He must have his own personal definition of genocide that has no dependence on reality. I guess not enough cultures were completely destroyed. Perhaps not enough human rights were denied to tribes. Perhaps not enough good land was taken. Perhaps the land exchanged wasn't bad enough. Perhaps not enough buffalo were killed to create famine. Perhaps too much promised food was delivered to tribes in exchange for peace and land. Perhaps not enough children were taken from their parents and put in boarding schools that shamed their cultures. Perhaps he hasn't been reading my blog where I write too much about genocide, human rights, and native Americans. Tribal Butterfly has a response from NDN News. NDN News has genocide article in small type. It's a painful read on the eyes and on the conscience. Some more information can be found at the American Indian Genocide Museum.
This United Nations' definition of genocide can be found at the National Holocaust Museum.
On December 9, 1948, in the shadow of the Holocaust and in no small part due to the tireless efforts of Lemkin himself, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention establishes "genocide” as an international crime, which signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish.” It defines genocide as:

[G]enocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
I refer this long quote from the US Holocaust Museum. The link is an article about Mr. Lemkin who coined and defined genocide.
In his unpublished writings Lemkin also focussed on aspects of genocide that he considered were perpetrated by the English, French, and post-independence Americans, that constitute a comprehensive historical process over a number of centuries, including deep into the nineteenth century: dispossessing indigenous peoples of their land (with or without permission of central authorities), kidnapping, enslavement, removal and deportation often involving forced marches, removal or stealing of children, disease through overcrowding on reservations with inadequate food and medicine, self-destruction brought on by introduction and sale of liquor, curtailing and deprivation of legal rights, cultural genocide (as in re-education of children in boarding schools, cutting off of braids, forbidding of native languages, prohibitions on Indian culture and banning of religious ceremonies, forcing children to become Christians), mass death.

Lemkin links slavery with cultural genocide: “slavery may be called cultural genocide par excellence. It is the most effective and thorough method of destroying a culture, and of de-socializing human beings”. Lemkin here refers to slavery in New England with captives taken in the Pequot War, in Massachusetts, New Plymouth, and Connecticut; also slavery in the mid seventeenth century of Indians in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. Lemkin observes that armed conflict always arose “when colonization took place”, though New Plymouth and Massachusetts were saved from conflict only because smallpox and measles had wrought such havoc that the Indian population was greatly reduced.

Lemkin makes a distinction between “cultural change” and “cultural genocide”. The Indians were forced to accept, after the loss of their hunting grounds, “the economic and social system of the white man”, and such may be referred to as “cultural change” of a “radical and perhaps inhumane type (considering the misery of the generations undergoing the change)”. Such severe cultural change only “becomes cultural genocide (and physical genocide)” when no adequate measures were taken to facilitate the charge from nomadic to agricultural life, with the Indians through cession and warfare being left “landless and foodless”.

Even when, however, Indian peoples were already “agriculturalized”, as with the five Southern tribes, there was “forcible removal to western territory under deplorable conditions”, which was both “cultural and physical genocide”: “There was here no question of purchasing uncultivated land and of ‘civilizing’ the Indian. The only intent was the expulsion of the Indian to make room for whites.”

In an unpublished essay on “Cultural Genocide Against Plains Indians”, Lemkin refers to the use of “concentration camps” as part of the white attempts to defeat them, which also included starvation and systematic slaughtering of food sources like the buffalo. The deployment of the term “concentration camps” is interesting if we think of Hannah Arendt’s contention that a distinguishing feature of twentieth century totalitarianisms, of the Nazis and Stalin’s Russia, is the presence not just of the detention but the concentration camp; in the concentration camp, Arendt passionately argued, an attack is made on the existential conditions for human life: “a present in which to think, a space in which to act”, an enforced denial of the spatial and temporal requirements of freedom.19 For Arendt, the concentration camp represented an unprecedented attack on human freedom in modernity, an unprecedented total dominion over human life. For Lemkin, it would appear from such references to North American colonization, concentration camps and their constituent total dominion were a recurring feature of historical genocide, including the history of Western colonialism.

Lemkin’s unpublished essays and notes present harrowing reading. Such is particularly so in Lemkin’s evocation of the forced removal and deportations of Indians, who always mourned the loss of their homelands. Lemkin refers, for example, to the deportation of the Cherokee from Georgia. The Choctaw deportation of the early 1830s involved great suffering, including a deportation insisted on by the authorities in winter, with Lemkin commenting: “I do not understand why they were not made to leave in the spring or summer.” Many deportees, poorly clad, died from exposure, demoralization, and cholera. Lemkin points out that the Choctaw were deeply soil-bound and unwilling to emigrate. In the Creek removal, warrior prisoners were chained together in a ninety mile march, the warriors followed by the old and infirm, in intense heat, with infectious diseases rampant; the sick were transported on overcrowded boats. There was destitution and misery. Lemkin observes that physical genocide was carried out on the remaining Creeks; while the Creek warriors were enlisted for service against the Seminole, their families remained East in “concentration camps”: again the use of a term usually associated with the kind of twentieth century phenomenon Lemkin himself studied at length.
Perhaps if Mr. Medved read some of this work, he'd recant?

update Dec. 2007. More education for Medved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Andrew Sullivan and Divorce

Welcome Daily Dish readers. Andrew noted this blog here with a hat tip, thank you Mr. Sullivan. The post can be found in the top 10 blog posts of the week. I don't normally talk about marriage, but usually about church culture and history and conservation. November is National American Indian History Month, so I'm sharing what I learn this month. Thanks for dropping by. The top 10 blog posts of the week are culled from the shared feeds section above.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mohican Indians of Stockbridge and John Sergeant

Today's post for National American Indian Heritage Month is about the Mohican Indians, their travels and travails and the missionary who worked among them, John Sergeant, who was a mentor to David Brainerd. Sergeant's son was also involved in the Brotherton movement. Here is part of the history from the Stockbridge-Munsee community.
European Christians with missionary zeal also entered Native villages for the purpose of converting the people from their traditional spiritual practices to Christianity. Some Native people, noting that the Europeans seemed to be prospering in this new land, felt that perhaps the Europeans' God was more powerful, and agreed to be missionized. In 1734, a missionary named John Sergeant came to live with the Mohicans in their village of Wnahktukuk. He earnestly preached the Christian religion, baptized those who accepted his teaching, and gave them Christian names such as John, Rebekah, Timothy, Mary and Abraham.

In 1738, the Mohicans gave John Sergeant permission to start a mission in the village. Eventually, the European inhabitants gave this place the name "Stockbridge," after a village in England. It was located on the Housatonic River near a great meadow bounded by the beautiful Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts. In this mission village, a church and school were built. The Mohicans, we well as other Native people who relocated there, became known as the "Stockbridge Indians."
The Mohicans made a political and religious decision.

Ronkapot, chief of the Mahicans of Massachusetts, came to a hard decision. Since he could not hope to defeat the white invaders who were pressing on his lands, he would join them. His tribe would become Christians. In 1734, he asked for missionaries.

After negotiations, the Puritans responded by sending John Sergeant. John took a deep interest in the fortunes of this declining tribe who needed much more than spiritual assistance. One of his first efforts was to open a school for their children. When he returned east to complete his own education, he took two Mahicans with him to further theirs.

Then the Yale graduate returned to work among the Indians. At that time they lived as two bands many miles apart. He and his assistant Timothy Woodbridge were exhausted traveling between them. He suggested the two groups unite in a central location. In this way they founded Stockbridge, Massachusetts and he built the first house there.
In modern thought, Sergeant is not considered the ideal candidate for missions.
To Sergeant, the American Indians were "a very miserable and
degenerate Part" of the human race, who had "their own foolish,
barbarous, and wicked Custom," knew "nothing like Government
among themselves," and had "an Aversion to every Thing that restrains
their Liberty." He became convinced, as other missionaries did,
that missionary efforts would be fruitless unless the Indians
became reasonably "civilized" and learned English. Nor, he believed,
would the American-Indian children placed in unsupervised English
families improve their moral or social fortunes.
However, his church grew. "During his fourteen years at Stockbridge, the Indian population
increased from less than 50 to 218, 129 of whom he had baptized." But the Revolutionary War changed everything for the native Americans. From the Stockbridge-Munsee history.
It became apparent after the Revolutionary War, with their numbers greatly reduced and intruders (called "settlers") using unscrupulous means to gain title to the land, that the Stockbridge Mohican people were not welcome in their own Christian village any longer. The Oneida, who had also fought for the colonists in the war, offered them a portion of their rich farmland and forest. The Stockbridge Mohican accepted the invitation and moved to New Stockbridge, near Oneida Lake, in the mid-1780's. Again they cleared forests and built farms. A school, church, and sawmill were built. The tribe flourished under the leadership of Joseph Quinney and his counselors.
This migration was part of the Brotherton movement, partly led by Samson Occom, but also partly led spiritually by Sergeant's son, also named John.
John and Abigail Sergeant had had three children. Their daughter,
Electa, the first white child born in Stockbridge, married Colonel
Mark Hopkins. Their elder son, Erastus, became the first physician
in Stockbridge, and the younger son, John Sergeant, Jr., only
two when his father died, studied at Princeton for two years,
was ordained to the Congregational ministry, and in 1775 took
charge of the Indian congregation in Stockbridge. In 1786 the
Housatonic Indians moved to New Stockbridge, New York, where
the Indians formed two factions. One group invited John Sergeant,
Jr., to become its pastor, while the other retained Sampson Occum
as its pastor. After Occum's death, the two groups united under
Sergeant, who divided his time between New and Old Stockbridge,
where his family lived.
As can be expected, spreading whites wanted that land too. Eventually the Mohicans ended up in Wisconsin and founded another town, naming it Stockbridge. Please read the Stockbridge-Munsee history for the entire story. The tribe has survived despite losing almost all of their land. They are thriving now with a casino business and employing many in the community around them.

see more posts on native Americans, church, and missionaries.

David Zeisberger, missionary to Native Americans

November is National American Indian Heritage Month.
This blogger's interest lies in the intersection of the church and the world. Hence, some posts this month are about Europeans who brought the gospel and lived the gospel among American Indians. The Moravian, David Zeisberger, was one such person. He came to Pennsylvania from Moravia and helped found Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1739. He was invited to live among the Mohawk tribe in 1745 and he became fluent in their language Iroquoian as well as Algonquian. He wrote grammars and dictionaries as well as Christian literature and hymns in those languages. Wikipedia reports
He worked among the Lenape (Delaware) of Pennsylvania, coming into conflict with British authorities over his advocacy of Natives' rights and his ongoing efforts to establish white and native Moravian communities in southern Ohio. His relations with British authorities worsened during the American Revolutionary War and in 1781 he was arrested and held at Fort Detroit. While he was imprisoned, about 100 of his Native converts in Ohio were murdered by Pennsylvania militiamen, an event known as the Gnadenhutten Massacre.
I noted that massacre here. It seems that Zeisberger had identified with the Indians and saw them as possessing natural rights, unlike the English and colonists who mostly considered Indians pests to be exterminated like the wolves. Zeisberger led a group like Moses through the wilderness, avoiding the greedy Americans and suspicious English.
The pressure exerted by white settlers in the Susquehanna valley began to make life difficult for the Moravian Indians there, and an invitation from Netawatwees (King Newcomer), chief of the Unami Delawares, led to the removal of the Indians from Friedenshütten and a nearby colony to the Muskingum (Tuscarawas) valley. There, at Schœnbrunn (near Gnadenhutten, Ohio) in 1772, Zeisberger founded a new settlement, and several other communities subsequently were established. During the American revolution he attempted to have the Moravian Indians and their Delaware neighbours maintain a passive stance, but he and his converts came under the suspicion of all the belligerents and many lost their lives [see Glikhikan*]. In 1781 the Schœnbrunn colony was forcibly removed by a large war party accompanied by British Indian agent Matthew Elliott, and over the next year or so the converts were dispersed along the shores of Lake Erie. Zeisberger was taken to Detroit, questioned by British commandant Arent Schuyler DePeyster*, and released. He gathered a number of his scattered converts and, with the commandant’s assistance, set up a temporary settlement north of Detroit at New Gnadenhütten (Mount Clemens, Mich.). In 1786, prompted by news that the Americans had set aside land in the Muskingum valley for the Moravian Indians, he led the community back in that direction. Local Delawares, however, warned against settling on the reserved lands, and Zeisberger took the colonists closer to Lake Erie, where they founded New Salem (near Milan, Ohio).
See also,
During the Pontiac war he took charge of the Moravian Indians, and after the peace accompanied them to Wyalusing, Bradford County, Pennsylvania In 1767 he established a mission among the Monsey-Delawares on Alleghany river, and three years later he began Friedenstadt, on the Beaver. His first visit to Ohio was made in 1771, and a year later he organized the mission on the Muskingum, where he was joined by the converts from Pennsylvania. Early in the Revolution the Delawares were accused of favoring" the American side, and the converts were forced to leave their towns and come within the British lines. After being moved from place to place they were finally settled on Thames river in Canada.
For a while things were good and the Christian Indians were contributing to society.
In 1788 the community contained 164 people, about one-third of the number who had lived in the Muskingum villages before the revolution, and war was still a threat. A confederacy of Indian tribes in the region south of the Great Lakes had been formed to block the advance of American settlement [see Michikinakoua], and the resulting clashes between Indians and whites led in 1791 to the evacuation of New Salem by its residents. Seeking refuge in British territory, they crossed the Detroit River and formed a temporary village near present-day Amherstburg, Ont. For Zeisberger it was essential that his converts live apart from the threats and temptations of white society, and early in 1792 he secured permission to found a settlement along the La Tranche (Thames) River. There, not far from modern Thamesville, they ceased their wanderings. Under his guidance the new colony of Schœnfeldt, or Fairfield as it was known in English, began to flourish. Thirty-eight lots were laid out for a village, and a meeting-house, schools, and barns were built. Corn, wheat, and vegetables were grown, cattle raised, bees kept, maple sugar produced, and salt and oil obtained from springs nearby. Lieutenant Governor Simcoe and his suite were entertained at Fairfield in February 1793, and although Simcoe reproved the missionaries for having too close ties with Moravian headquarters in Bethlehem, Pa, in July more than 50,000 acres were granted to the colony. By 1798, some 2,000 bushels of com were being sold annually to the North West Company and 5,000 pounds of maple sugar were being produced.
Unfortunately, whites expanded into their area, which they had improved, and desired it, a desire that was not resistible. The world not only encroached on their land but also in their hearts. Zeisberger shared a concern for their souls that all pastors do.
Zeisberger’s life at Fairfield was not without difficulties, however. Whites who came to settle in the vicinity coveted the land and, he wrote, “if they could drive us away from here . . . would do so gladly.” Passing war parties urged converts to join in the fight to save Indian lands south of Lake Erie. Traders and neighbours, white, Indian, and black, tempted them with liquor. They found it hard, moreover, to give up ancestral beliefs and customs and were frequently perplexed by their adopted religion. Often individuals had to be sent away from the community, the ultimate disciplinary measure. In many cases they returned and made further attempts to adapt to the required standards, but unconverted family and friends continued urging them to come back to the old ways. Zeisberger’s diary contains frequent references to “backslidings and transgressions” among “the brethren” and to the “dark heathenism” of their Ojibwa neighbours, who came begging for food but resisted conversion. By the end of 1793 there were 159 Indians in the community; four years later the number had risen only to 172.

The amazing part is the group survived after Zeisberger, despite a razing of the village by American Army.
A new colony, Goshen, was begun not far from the former settlements on the Muskingum, and there Zeisberger spent the final decade of his life, haunted by a sense of failure. In fact, although he had not made vast numbers of converts he left a valuable legacy. Over the years he had produced extensive writings on the Delaware and Onondaga languages, which remain basic to their study, and his personal and official journals are an important source for the history of the tribes among whom he spent more than 60 years of his life. Fairfield was razed by the Americans during the War of 1812 but was rebuilt across the Thames as New Fairfield, and the Moravian mission continued there until 1903. Descendants of Zeisberger’s converts still live on the remainder of the lands, now known as the Moravian Indian Reserve.
New Fairfield was also called Moraviantown.
A splinter group of several hundred Lenape in the Colonies had accepted the teachings of German missionaries called Moravians. A pacifist order intent on establishing self-sufficient Christian communities among the native peoples, the Moravians were frequently unable to protect their converts. In 1782, a mob of settlers massacred 90 Lenape Christians, 34 of them children, in Gnadenhutten, Ohio.

The fearful survivors moved north. These Lenape converts eventually settled along the Thames River, in the thumb of Southwest Ontario that juts between Lakes Huron and Erie. They named their settlement Moraviantown.

Today the two-square-mile reservation is a sleepy place of gravel roads, cornfields and modest one-story homes, population 400. A collection of simple tribal buildings is clustered around a crossroads, including a day care center with a colorful mural featuring Delaware words of inspiration.

On one end of town, a hulking church with peeling white paint stands as a remembrance of the town's Christian history.

The Moravian missionaries were strict in their worship and lifestyle, but they had some progressive ideas. They encouraged the translation of sermons and hymns into Delaware and wrote the first dictionary for what had been until then only a spoken language.

The Moravians eventually died off, but the Anglicans who replaced them were similarly interested in the language. This encouragement helped maintain the Delaware language in Moraviantown even as many other native traditions slipped away.

There were families who retained the language, and others who passed the knowledge of herbal healing on to their children. There were families who still danced and prayed to the Creator, usually in their homes. Many children recall parents or grandparents huddled around the kitchen table at night, speaking of the traditions in Delaware...Huff remembers singing Christian hymns at Lenape wakes into the wee hours and struggling to learn English when government teachers came to the reservation.

See more on native Americans and missionaries.

Monday, November 12, 2007

John Eliot: Apostle to the Indians

My next nightstand book is The History of Missions by Stephen Neill, an Anglican who worked for many years in India. I skimmed the book for any information on missions among Native Americans. I came across John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians. He came to Boston in 1631, a year after its founding, and pastored a new church in Roxbury. He was creative and ahead of his time, like some Spanish priests in Mexico. Instead of trying to bring Indians into his meetinghouse, he spent time learning the Algonquian language, through a bilingual child who lived with his family. He learned the language enough to preach in a chieftain's wigwam and invited him back to teach more. He translated the Bible and it became the first Bible printed in the colonies. He eventually made converts and formed "Praying Indian" villages. Check out the rules they agreed to live by here. Things ended tragically for these villages of converts when King Philip's war broke out. the praying Indians were not trusted by the English, who's religion they converted to, or the natives in alliance with King Philip, who's religion they left. Here is one sad account.
By August 30, 1675, the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Colony, in response to public demand, disbanded all Praying Indian companies, confined these Christian Indians to the Old Praying Indian towns, and restricted their travel to within one mile of the center of those towns and only then when in the company of an Englishman. If a Native American broke these rules, he could be arrested or shot on sight. Most Englishmen were unwilling to reside in these towns because of the prejudice directed toward any Englishman supporting the Praying Indian cause.

Christian Indians were caught between two warring factions: the English and the hostile tribes fighting with King Philip. They pledged their loyalty to the English who refused to trust them and, at the same time, faced the enmity of their own people. Their loyalty was rewarded with such public hatred toward them that in August, 1675, the General Council in Boston began to consider removing the Praying Indians to Deer Island in Boston Harbor. Finally, in October, 1675, the order passed for removal; by December of that year, there were over 500 Christian Indians confined to the island. "The enmity, jealousy, and clamors of some people against them put the magistracy upon a kind of necessity to send them all to the Island...." where they "... lived chiefly upon clams and shell-fish, that they digged out of the sand, at low water; the Island was bleak and cold, their wigwams poor and mean, their clothes few and thin; some little corn they had of their own, which the Council ordered to be fetched from their plantations, and conveyed to them by little and little...."

There they stayed until released in 1677, but the world to which they returned was totally changed. The English had defeated the warring tribes,leaving the Native Americans strangers in their own homeland.
Some more from the Historical Society of Natick Mass.
The prosperity of the village was destroyed when King Philip, son of the chief, Massasoit, attacked the white settlers causing such fear among them that in 1675 the Indians were restricted to their villages, which made it difficult for them to farm or to tend their livestock. In October of that year, over Eliot's protests, the General Court ordered the Natick Indians sent to Deer Island. Many Indians did not survive the lack of food and the cold and those who returned seven months later found their homes destroyed.

The Praying Indians did not flourish after their return to Natick and Eliot died in 1690. An Indian named Takawampbait had been ordained by Eliot and he carried on until his death in 1716. Two other Indians preached before the New England Company sent first Rev. Oliver Peabody and later Stephen Badger to fill the Indian church pulpit.

The land in the Natick Plantation was held in common by the Indians until 1719 when twenty men were named as Proprietors to oversee any division of land. Eliot had given the Indians their form of government and they held their own town meetings and elected their own officials. However, they were under the Guardianship of the Court and had to have permission to sell land.
Here is even more sad information.
The start of King Philip's War on June 20, 1675 -- initiated by Pometacom, Great Sachem of the Wampanoag Federation -- marked the demise of the Praying Towns in northeastern Connecticut. Anti-Indian sentiment raged throughout central New England. Nipmuc elders, women and children may have fled to safety in the Praying Town at Okommakamesit or with other tribes; or, they may have been among the nearly 400 Indians (whose able-bodied men were drawn into the war) who were left on Long Island to suffer from lack of adequate food and shelter.
There is a bounty of links and info here. I'm happy to report that the Praying Indians of Natick have resumed annual powwows.

see more posts on missions, missionaries and native americans.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Iwo Jima, Ira Hayes, flag raiser, Pima Indian, non-citizen

This is my Veteran's day post during National Indian Heritage Month.
As reported at the Department of Defence's page in honor of Native American Heritage Month in 2002.
Image from a page dedicated to Ira Hayes at Arlington Cemetery, where he is buried.
Ira Hamilton Hayes is a full blood Pima Indian and was born in Sacaton, Arizona, on the Pima Reservation on Jan 12, 1923. His parents Joe E. and Nancy W. Hayes were both farming people. When he enlisted in the Marine Corps, he had hardly ever been off the Reservation. His Chief told him to be an "Honorable Warrior" and bring honor upon his family. Ira was a dedicated Marine. Quiet and steady, he was admired by his fellow Marines who fought alongside him in three Pacific battles.
Ira Hayes was a noted World War ll hero. Although he had a normal childhood on his reservation, his life changed dramatically when war broke out and he joined the Marine Corps. After he completed courses under the U.S. Marine Corps Parachutist School at San Diego, California. He was lovingly dubbed "Chief Falling Cloud." Ira Hayes was assigned to a parachute battalion of the fleet Marine Force.

By the beginning of 1945, he was part of the American invasion force that attacked the Japanese stronghold of Iwo Jima. On Feb. 23, 1945 to signal the end of Japanese control, Hayes and five other's raised the U. S. flag atop Mount Suribuchi on the island of Iwo Jima. Three of the six men were killed while raising the flag. This heroic act was photographed by Joe Rosenthal, and it transformed Ira Hayes' life for ever. Subsequently a commemorative postage stamp was created as well as bronze statue in Washington DC.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the brave survivors of the flag raising back to the United States to aid a war bond drive. At the White House, President Truman told Ira, "You are an American hero." But Ira didn't feel pride. As he later lamented, "How could I feel like a hero when only five men in my platoon of 45 survived, when only 27 men in my company of 250 managed to escape death or injury?" Later, they were shuttled from one city to another for publicity purposes with questionable sincerity on the part of the American military. Ira Hayes asked to be sent back to the front lines, stating that "sometimes I wish that guy had never made that picture".

The Bond Tour was an ordeal for Ira. He couldn't understand or accept the adulation . . . "It was supposed to be soft duty, but I couldn't take it. Everywhere we went people shoved drinks in our hands and said 'You're a Hero!' We knew we hadn't done that much but you couldn't tell them that."
At the conclusion of World War II Ira went back to the reservation attempting to lead an anonymous life. But it didn't turn out that way . . . "I kept getting hundreds of letters. And people would drive through the reservation, walk up to me and ask, 'Are you the Indian who raised the flag on Iwo Jima"

Ira tried to drown his "Conflict of Honor" with alcohol. Arrested as drunk and disorderly, his pain was clear . . . "I was sick. I guess I was about to crack up thinking about all my good buddies. They were better men than me and they're not coming back. Much less back to the White House, like me."

He was never able to get his life back in balance again. Ira Hayes died of exposure at the age of thirty-three on Jan, 24th 1955. He was memoralized by the Pima people and characterized as "a hero to everyone but himself". He is buried in Arlington Cemetery. He never married.

The story is recounted as a tragedy here. Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan sang about Ira. They didn't write the lyrics which they are powerful even without their gifts.

His home community at the Gila River has a website.

See other posts on World War 2 and native americans.

Top 10 posts of Nov 5-11, 2007

My blog posts on similar topics can be found by clicking the header.
There's always a conservation post worth noting, and this one is its own Top 10 list.
Christianity Today offers an holistic approach for development missions from beginning to exit.
Mark Driscoll makes a confession.
Michael Patton is a pastor who has repented of his seminary ignorance. He asks rhetorically, Is Divorce ever good?
There hasn't been a week yet where Ben Witherington hasn't had a stand out post. This week's is the Word as Sacrament.
My invitation to speak at GodblogCon in Vegas must have gotten lost in the mail...There were several who reported on it. This report from the Stand to Reason blog on LaShawn Barber's talk is good advice for God bloggers.
Mainline Pastor Eli Dorman swims against the tide he's in and proclaims the Dark Side of Inclusivism.
It's nice to see more Christian bloggers condemning torture, One by John Mark Reynolds and one by Joe Carter (Joe also had one last year). My two older ones are here and here.
The twin picked for abortion survived and the parents are glad.
A brief history of Veteran's Day at Joe's Jottings.

Information on Joseph Smith founder of Mormonism

Came across a new site today called SmithBusters. Lots of information here. I have plenty of other links and stories on Mormonism and apologetics.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Brotherton/Brothertown Movement - American Indian History

Today, I read a children's history of local Indian (Pequot/Mohegan) history and came across a fact I never knew. The book I read is The Pequots by Shirlee P. Newman. I think I need a job like hers, writing brief histories. The new history to me is about the Brothertons. Not mentioned at Accessgeneaology is the Christian faith that united these diverse tribes members, but a simple history is given.
The name of two distinct bands, each formed of remnants of various Algonquian tribes. The best-known band was composed of individuals of the Mahican, Wappinger, Mohegan, Pequot, Narraganset, etc., of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and of the Montauk and others from Long Island, who settled in 1788 on land given them by the Oneida at the present Marshall, Oneida county, N. Y., near the settlement then occupied by the Stockbridge. Those of New England were mainly from Farnington, Stonington, Groton, Mohegan, and Niantic (Lynne), in Connecticut, and from Charlestown in Rhode Island. They all went under the leadership of Samson Occum the Indian minister, and on arriving in Oneida county called their settlement Brotherton. As their dialects were different they adopted the English language. They numbered 250 in 1791. In 1833 they removed to Wisconsin with the Oneida and Stockbridge and settled on the east side of Winnebago lake, in Calumet county, where they soon after abandoned their tribal relations and became citizens, together with the other emigrant tribes settled near Green Bay. They are called Wapanachki, "eastern people," by the neighboring Algonquian tribes.
One of the tribes came from Stockbridge where David Brainerd tried to make converts. The Mashantucket Pequots have a timeline showing that between 1785 and 1810 up to half of the tribe departed to join these Brothertons. Up to a fourth of the Mohegans left and joined the Brothertons. The group still retains their identity and have a website. This site mentions the Christian identity of their ancestors. Here is their own summary.
The Brothertown (Brotherton) are descendants of the Pequot and Mohegan (Algonquin-speaking) tribes in southern New England. They became a tribe in 1769 when seven Christian and English-speaking communities organized and moved to land in upstate New York. They cleared the land, planted fields and built houses while under intense pressure to again move west. The Brothertown joined their neighbors, the Oneida and the Stockbridge, and planned a move to Wisconsin. The Brothertown purchased land near Kaukauna which the United States government exchanged for the land called Brothertown Township in Calumet County. Five groups of Brothertown arrived in Wisconsin on ships at the port of Green Bay between 1831 and 1836. Upon arrival, the Brothertown cleared land and began farming after building a church near Jericho. Today, the Brothertown remain a culturally distinct Indian community with the largest concentration residing in the Fond du Lac area.
More history can be found here and wiki. Perhaps I can track down this unpublished manuscript at the Pequot Research Library by Kevin McBride called "Desirous to Improve After the European Manner: The Mashantucket Pequots and the Brotherton Movement" 1996. These people were not dummies. Their founders were contributors to early Native American literature.
Occum, a founder of the Brotherton movement, a Christian Indian community in New York, produced a hymnal, Choice Collection, that was precedent setting in its inclusiveness. Little known by the twentieth century, it was both popular and influential in the eighteenth century. The appearance in one volume of English, American, Anglican, dissenting, Methodist, and Baptist hymns make it "one of the first interdenominational American hymnals" (54). After an examination of the whole hymnal "as a pioneering work of American Indian literature and American religion," (70) Brooks turns to a close examination of Occum's own writing, his hymn "Throughout the Savior's Life We Trace" and five other poems written by him during the 1770s, establishing him as "the first Native American to write and publish poetry in English" (74).
There is a collection of his writings, The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Literature and Leadership in Eighteenth-Century Native America. Interestingly, he was a major fundraiser for and founder of Dartmouth College. Dartmouth was not founded for rich white kids but for Native Americans according to this summary from the Mohegan tribe.
Born in a wigwam on Mohegan land, Samson Occum (1723-1792) was one of the first ordained Christian Indian ministers. Occum's popularity as an eloquent teacher and spiritual leader grew with Indians over a large part of New England. To accommodate this interest, he decided to form a New England Christian Indian School. The church sent him to England to raise funds, where he collected eleven thousand pounds from wealthy patrons, such as the Earl of Dartmouth and King George. When he returned however, he found his family destitute and his school moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where it became Dartmouth College.

This disappointment was followed by the Connecticut Colony's ruling that the Mohegans would not be compensated for land they sold to the colony. The colony then backed an unpopular candidate for Mohegan Sachemship. This led the Mohegans to decide that no Sachem was better than a colonial puppet. With the Tribe increasingly penniless and powerless, Occum accepted an invitation for his group to resettle with the upstate New York Oneida. He hoped their new home in Brothertown, New York would free them from additional disappointment. His legacy for the Mohegan people who remained in Connecticut was a reputation for being Christianized, which helped them avoid later relocation.
A good summary is made at the Pequot Museum.
In a twenty-year span from 1780 to 1800, the Native population in southern New England fell by as much as half -- not as a result of war or disease, but as a result of a religious movement called the Brotherton Migration.

The movement grew from the missionary work of Samson Occum, a Mohegan Indian and Methodist minister whose teachings blended Christian faith with practical strategies to ensure his people's survival. In the 1770s, Occum had begun promoting a plan to establish self-sufficient Native farming communities removed from the vices of white society. Residents of these new towns would live by Christian principles, including temperance and a strong work ethic.

The Impact of Occum’s Message
“Occum absolutely recognized that staying in New England surrounded by Europeans would be the death of Native culture,” says Dr. Kevin McBride of the University of Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. “He wanted his people to prosper, and he wanted them to leave the area and establish themselves further to the west along the frontier.”

The frontier in Occum's time was western New York State, where the Oneida Indians donated more than 6,000 acres for the new Brotherton settlement. The community became firmly established with a group of settlers who arrived in 1784. In the years following the Revolutionary War, reservations throughout New England began to empty out as the migration to Brotherton got underway.

“Half to three quarters of the Pequots at Mashantucket left,” says Dr. McBride. “All of Indiantown abandoned the reservation, and a good half of the other farmsteads were abandoned as well.”

Over the 45 years following the first settlement, emigrants to Brothertown included Mashantucket and Pawcatuck Pequots, Narragansetts, Eastern and Western Niantics, Mohegans, Montauks, and Tunxis.

While a small and weakened Pequot tribe struggled to hold on at Mashantucket in the decades ahead, even the Brothertons hundreds of miles to the west could not escape the demand of whites for Indian land. Forced to migrate yet again by a growing wave of American settlers, the Brotherton Indians moved west to Wisconsin in the 1830s, where their descendants still live today.
See also a short wiki entry.
Joseph Johnson was a Mohegan Christian preacher who helped found the Brotherton. There is a book of his letters and writings called To Do Good to My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson, 1751-1776.
When the tribes had to leave Oneida land, some went south to New Jersey. A British author wrote a book on that group called Brotherton. I can't find much more on the web about this movement's beliefs. I'll have to read some books.
Read more on native americans and church.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Church as the locker room

Here is a rough sketch of church with a more contemporary metaphor in American culture. I am only talking about metaphor as a means to communicate with culture without compromising the reality of church that the metaphor points to. Please comment and add input.

I’ve been thinking about my American culture. Sports is the recipient of a lot of American brain space and wallets and entertainment. Sheep herding, in contrast is not.
2 Timothy 2:5, Paul makes a rare Biblical reference to athletes, Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. (HCSV), in addition to references to soldiers and farmers. There already is a Salvation Army. What would church look like if presented as a team instead of a herd? And how would that be conveyed?

I’m not claiming to be the first with this idea, nor the last. But I am not personally familiar with it and so I’m playing with it in my mind. Do Americans understand what a shepherd does? Do Americans understand what a coach does? Church leaders in America don’t regularly refer to themselves as shepherds, but by that Latin word for shepherd, pastor. Hence, the metaphor is lost and the word carries its own baggage. But is the load carried by the word “coach,” as applied in church, minimal?

Try this on for size.
The assistant coach (pastor) inspires the team (congregation) in the locker room (sanctuary) before they go out on the field (the world). The coach reviews the strategy in the playbook (Bible). The head coach is Jesus. Everyone is taught how to understand the head coach’s plays for themselves. There perhaps could be other staff coaches who have specialized fields. Perhaps smaller huddles could happen in the locker room and on the field through the week, as seen in my other church proposal based on Nehemiah 8 (a, b, c, d).

The concern
Where does awe and worship fit in?
Teams have “fight” songs. Worship in song is not a problem. I think awe comes from a presentation of Jesus as champion. He succeeded. He won. He used the most brilliant play because he was supported by the most powerful God.

Welcome to a church named The Huddle, or The Locker Room, or Team Jesus...

See some other thoughts on church and missions.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Missionary to American Indians: David Brainerd

It's National American Indian Heritage Month and I blog about the church's interaction with the world. Here is one intersection, the life of David Brainerd. In 1743, the Connecticut native devoted himself to missionary work among the Indians. He first headed up to Stockbridge, Mass. and from there to an Indian village, Kaunaumeek, an Indian settlement about 20 miles west. He learned their language and preached to them. His efforts were spiritually fruitless for a year. He did manage to convince the tribe to move to Stockbridge. He moved on to preach among the Indians on Montauk Long Island. Then he preached among the Delaware Indians in New Jersey. It was in Crossweeksung that he saw converts. Brainerd wrote, "I preached from John 14:1-6; the divine presence seemed to be in the assembly; numbers were affected with divine truth; how great is the change lately made upon numbers of the Indians, who not many months ago were thoughtless and averse to Christianity, and how astonishing is that grace which has made this see those who were very recently savage pagans and Idolaters, having no hope, and without God in the world, now filled with a sense of divine love and grace, and worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth as numbers here appear to do, and to see them so tender and humble, as well as lively, fervent, and devout in the divine service" (Abridged Diary, Baker, pp. 178-179). quoted in LovVOM blog. There is a great summary of this small revival at Heavenly Worldliness, which has a good biography series. There is also a great state of the union in Brainerd's time in relation to Brainerd's work at Brian's blog.

see other posts on native Americans, history, missionaries, and missions.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Clash of European and Native cultures: In the Hands of the Great Spirit

This quote from Jake Page's book In the Hands of the Great Spirit agrees with the thesis of Kiernan in Blood and Soil, that in the European eyes, farming was civilized, hunting and gathering was savage. Of course, as the Europeans encroached on Native american farms, they forced them to resort to hunting and gathering, causing an ever condemning feedback loop. As Page notes, there were other cultural issues on the Indian side, especially gender roles. Another difficulty white Americans had was the communal methods of the Indians which morphed into accusations of Soviet communism after WW1.
Meanwhile, the Indian policy favored by George Washington was that of Henry Knox, his secretary of war. Knox called for making treaties with the tribes that would result in opening the lands of the Northwest to settlers, but the treaties were to be made fairly and squarely – “honorably,” to use the contemporary word. Expansion with honor. This can be made to sound utterly cynical, especially since Washington himself had been a considerable speculator in the lands in question. It was championed by Thomas Jefferson, also in Washington’s cabinet, who wrote both the line about merciless savages in the Declaration and, later, “I believe the Indian to be in body and mind equal to the white man.” These evidently irreconcilable views were shared by most of the Founding Fathers and they were reconciled through the concept held by many at the time that so long as Indians remained “hunters” they could not coexist with yeomen farmers. Even this seems cynical, or at least deliberately disingenuous, given the well-known fact (in those days) that virtually all the Indians east of the Mississippi River (and many to the west of it) were villagers engaged in farming. But one’s way of life was categorized by what the men did, not women. Indian women did the farming. Men hunted (or fought). Until the men settled down to till the earth on normal-sized plots of ground, they were still hunters – savages, uncivilized. Washington, Jefferson, and the others had every confidence that Indian men could be civilized, turned into yeomen, and then they would simply not need so much territory and would happily cede it to the United States… However, as historian Michael Green has pointed out, forcing Indian men to to be tillers of the soil was not merely a humiliation of proud men whose culture called on them to hunt and make war; it went against the entire spiritual plan of the universe. It was women who were in tune with the spiritual world of plants, not men, Changing these gender roles was an outright defiance of the spirit world and a recipe for catastrophe. Not surprisingly, few tribes bought into the new scheme. (230)
See other posts on Native americans, history, and book reports.

Monday, November 05, 2007

the American Indian Movement (NAIHM)

Think the Black Panthers but composed of American Indians. They both burst on the scene in 1968. A.I.M. was committed to protecting the rights of American Indians at first in Minneapolis, then across the country. They confronted U.S. authorities at Wounded Knee, a story told well in the book I recently reviewed, The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge. They also occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. This story recounted below from Wikipedia is so similar to that of Eldredge Cleaver, see interview links, and the Black Panthers.
Prior to the founding in July of 1968, some of the founding members of AIM had experienced years of discrimination from a dominant society. Not feeling a part of white culture or an association with their Ojibwa heritage, several acted out in ways deemed anti-social and illegal by both societies. These actions would result in time served in the Minnesota penal system. It is here that ideologies would emerge that would define the initial course of AIM. Clyde Bellecourt would be introduced to Eddie Benton Banai while incarcerated, and a reintroduction to his Indian lineage would result. "The founders and leaders of AIM appear to have undergone some kind of ideological conversion experience which enabled them to accept their Indianness".[2] It was at this time that C. Bellecourt accepted the fact that "he wasn't the dirty Indian he's been told he was by White students at school, where he went through all that racism and hatred".[3] This is related through Vernon Bellecourt who not only spent time in the penal system, but had failed to fully adjust to life as an outsider in a discriminating culture. His brother Clyde instilled pride and a sense of direction to Vernon, who ultimately became an early leader to the cause of AIM. This new ideology would become paramount to the future course of AIM and its leadership.

AIM has been active in opposing the use of indigenous caricatures as mascots for sports teams, such as the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins, organizing protests at World Series and Super Bowl games involving those teams.

AIM has been committed to improving the conditions that face Native peoples. AIM has founded institutions to address those needs including the Heart of The Earth School, Little Earth Housing, International Indian Treaty Council, AIM StreetMedics, American Indian Opportunities and Industrialization Center (one of the largest Indian job training programs), KILI radio, and Indian Legal Rights Centers.
I don't want to take away from National American Indian Heritage Month by talking about the Black Panthers. The late 60's were a time in American History for the oppressed to rise up demand equal treatment. It was a time of frustration with unfulfilled promises from the dominant culture. Both groups did wrong things, but they achieved their goal for respect as human beings and as distinct but equal cultures. 
See more on the African-american experience and Native American posts as well as history and human rights in general.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Top 10 blog posts Oct 28-Nov 3

Since not every reader visits this blog and notices the shared feeds section at the top, I'd like to share some of my favorites of the past week.

1-At An Evangelical Dialogue on Evolution, Steve Martin attempts to define the nuances of the word "evolution" to his fellow Christians. He begins
Much of the confusion in the evolution debate lies in the meaning of the word “evolution”. Since it can have several different meanings, and even the scientific definition of evolution can include several distinct components, it is not surprising that many confusing and confused arguments are articulated. Certainly the conversation is very difficult when conversation partners discussing evolution do not share the same definition, conflate several of the definitions, or elevate one component of evolution to be descriptive of the whole.
2-At Evolution News and Views, Catholic evolution proponent and professor at Brown U. Ken Miller is challenged for claiming to much. The post begins,
Ken Miller was recently quoted in a campus news article saying, “We have the fossils. … We win." Professor Miller’s logical fallacy was pointed out years ago by those who attempted to clarify reasoning in paleontology, systematics, and evolutionary biology, and it led some scientists (like Colin Patterson) to the conclusion that a paleontological pattern may support or falsify an evolutionary hypothesis, but it can never absolutely prove one (i.e. fossils can’t make Darwinism positively “win”).

3- Guy Muse posted two fantastic pieces on church planting. The first one, Effective Church Planting, got me to fast this week. "Prayer and fasting should be a regular practice. It should not be an occasional thing." The second post is his reflections and hopes on what a church planting movement will look like in his city. His conclusion is intense.
The Church in Latin America is indeed exploding in growth, but it is not along the same lines as the Asia CPMs. I have a strong sense that God is up to something truly remarkable in bringing about His Kingdom here, but have yet to decipher the mystery of all that God is up to in our midst. All we have so far are clues, hints, hope, anticipation, and faith that God is up to something really BIG!

What will CPM look like in Latin America? Only God knows. But in the mean time we are asking God for 500,000 new disciples in the coming five years in Guayas. We understand our task as making disciples. His to build His Church in whatever forms it may be expressed.

How many new disciples are you praying for?

Will you pray with us--I mean not just read this--but really pray for a continent wide spiritual awakening and revival and a massive bringing in of the harvest in Latin America?

4- The Native blog notes an apology from local morning radio shock jocks for blaming local Indian high suicide rates on incest.

Wednesday (Halloween)
5- Funny puns from Ben Witherington.
6- Don't miss this post. Macabre pumpkin carvings inspired from the Bible at Mayfly. If you don't know your Old Testament fiends very well, you might have to look up Sisera and Eglon. Very, very funny.

7- The bent blog ponders the rise in Oil prices and the hopeful rise in bicycle commuting and the options available to cyclists.

8- Zero energy house exibit A: The ASAP house as presented at Inhabitat. At the ASAP website, there was an email address for the architect, but it bounced back to me, YMMV.
9- Zero energy house exhibit B: ZeroHouse as presented at Jetson Green.

10-Ajith Fernando, who I heard speak at Urbana 1987, writes at Christianity Today about the need to get back to the priority of Evangelism. He tells of his organization's refusal of more relief funding in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami in order to return to evangelism over relief.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Native Americans and the 1776 revolution: In the Hands of the Great Spirit

I must confess, I am a Christian American who is not a fan of the American Revolution. I don't believe that Romans 13 gives Christians license to revolt due to taxes. As Jake Page notes in his book, In the Hands of the Great Spirit, the revolution was bad for the invaded people.
But for the Indians, the American Revolution was an unmitigated catastrophe of incalculable proportion. By July 1776, the handwriting was not just on the wall; it was inscribed clearly in that most quoted American document, the Declaration of Independence. There, in enumerating the sins of the British in the person of King George III, the document points t the tyrant’s effort “to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.” This clause is rarely quoted these days at Fourth of July celebrations. It seems to have been mostly unsubstantiated rumors that the British were inciting both the southern tribes and the black slaves to rise up against the rebellious American colonials. It signals a larger truth, that one of the main roles the Indians would play in the Revolution was that of propaganda pawns, with each side rallying its energies and forces by accusing the other side of colluding with merciless savages. (226)
There is an endnote here. I'm a big reader of footnotes and endnotes. I can empathize with Page's feelings.
I feel obliged to confess that with this chapter, the story of the American Indians heads so far “south” that chronicling it up to the middle of the twentieth century became the most depressing research and writing assignment I have ever taken on. (445)
A friend shared an anecdote from a talk he heard by apologist Norm Geisler when he also pointed out the unChristian revolt of America. The talk occurred in early July, so someone from the audience asked Geisler what he makes of the 4th of July. Geisler's reply has been very helpful for me. He said he mourns the rape but celebrates the birth. Unfortunately, the burden of justice towards Native Americans falls on the shoulders of the new U.S. Government which subsequently failed to keep any treaty with the Indians for the next 130 years.

See more posts on native Americans, history, book reports, and human rights.