History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees

History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees

James Mooney (from Wikipedia.org) In reading various books on the history of the Cherokee people I kept hearing one name mentioned repeatedly: James Mooney. So, I bought his book. =) Mooney was a first-generation Irish American who grew up on the stories of the old country. As a teenage in the mid-1800’s he started to memorize the names of all the Native American tribes in the North America. This led to a job with the newly formed Bureau of American Ethnology. From that point one Mooney would dedicate his life to recording the stories of the Cherokees and other Native American tribes across the country. His first book, The Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee, was published in 1891. Nine years later in 1900 his masterpiece Myths of the Cherokee was released. The first half of this book is devoted to telling the history of the Cherokees from their first contact with European explorers in the 1500’s to the end of the nineteenth century. History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees by James Mooney In order to gain the information necessary for these books, Mooney spent years living among the Cherokees. Most of the time he was in North Carolina and Georgia among the Eastern Band of Cherokees, which were those people who remained in the ancestral land after the Trail of Tears (1838-1839). However, he did make a few visits to Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma (then Indian Territory) to collaborate the stories he was hearing in the east. On a personal level, it was awesome to hear the stories my ancestors would have told each other. Stories about...
The Vibe or Spirit of the Land

The Vibe or Spirit of the Land

“You can feel the youthfulness of the land. It’s like a child full of energy and unpredictability.” Those were my words as we walked through the woods a stone throw from the Sawtooth Wilderness. The two of us had left the trail a while back and were picking our way along a ridge north of Pettit Lake. Our conversation during this hike was wide ranging, but the land was front and center for most of it. Though it is easy to miss, the land around us has a vibe or spirit that telegraphs its character to those who listen. The Sawtooth Mountains, for example, sends a vibe of youthful energy. It is a young range with unpredictable mood swings – going from burning hot days to freezing cold nights to perhaps a lightening storm or two. The Ozark mountains where I spend my childhood telegraphs a different vibe. They are an old range full of history and stories. Every nook and hollow within the range has a story to tell. The few times I’ve visited the Appalachian Mountains I’ve felt a similar vibe though I have not had the honor of listening to their voices as much as I would like. Years ago when I first came to Idaho I worked in the high mountain deserts in the far south-west of the state. Deep canyons cut through the deserts like wrinkles on an aged face. The desert is a shy place, hiding its secrets from visitors. Only those who slow down and watch are given a glimpse into the deep mysteries of the desert. Cities and town also give...
Connecting With the Soul of the Reader

Connecting With the Soul of the Reader

Every author’s dream is to craft something that connects with the soul of the reader, transporting them into a realm beyond the black and white letters on the page. This type of experience is rare – for both the author and the reader. Hence why it is so powerful when it happens. This past Monday I had the honor of experiencing such an event for the first time as an author. I was sharing a chapter from my newest book with a local writers group when the air in the room began to change. The emotions and atmosphere shifted, moving the five of us on to a different plane of existence. It was quite simply amazing and humbling. wow…. perhaps one day I will be able to share this chapter with you all (hopefully in the form of a new book!!). In the meantime, thanks again for your support and prayers. May blessings pour down on you all....
Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling

Born in Florence at the beginning of the Italian Renaissance on March 6, 1475 when “Mercury and Venus were in the house of Jupiter,” [1] Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni seemed destined to become a famous in the arts. And as fortune had it, he was able to study at the famed Garden of San Marco started by the famous patron of the arts, Lorenzo de’ Medici.[2] Michelangelo’s skill as a sculptor soon became apparent with him creating “two extraordinary bas-reliefs, the Madonna of the Steps and the Battle of the Centaurs”[3] by the age of fifteen or sixteen as noted by Thomas Cahill. However it wasn’t sculpting that would propel him into the realm of the uber famous, but rather it would be his skill with a paint brush that would set him apart. The canvas for his art, as the fates would have it, was a box-shaped chapel in Rome whose foundation was laid a mere two years before his birth.[4] The journey from sculptor to painter was not an easy one for Michelangelo. Rather it was a journey full of political upheavals, family drama, personal rivalry, and four long years perched on a scaffold bend backward staring at a ceiling. In his book Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling, Ross King weaves these complex issues together into a single story showing how Pope Julius II pushed Michelangelo beyond his comfort zone and into the history books. Like most people I had heard about Michelangelo’s paintings on the vault of the Sistine Chapel and even seen replicates of famed Creation of Adam fresco. However my knowledge of these...
Experience vs. Theology: A False Dichotomy

Experience vs. Theology: A False Dichotomy

Imagine that I never talked to my wife of 16-years. No sharing of dreams, passions, likes or dislikes. Nothing. Knowing that talking could lead to miscommunication, I, instead, choose to  experience her presence through snuggling up next to her or simply by being in the same room. After all, I reason, experiencing her presence is more life changing than any conversation could be. Or so goes the common thought when it comes to God. Over and over again well-intention people pit experience against theology with a bias towards one or the other. To do this is to reduce the fullness of God, placing him inside a self-defined box where he ceases to be who he really is. Theology, contrary to popular culture, isn’t having information about God or holding to the right doctrine. Simply put, theology is the study of God – meaning that we are dong theology every time we think about Jesus, talk about Jesus, read the Scriptures, ponder the deep meanings of life, etc.  Stanley Grenz & John Franke defined theology in their book Beyond Foundationalism as the “ongoing conversation among those whom the God of the Bible has encountered in Jesus Christ.” Accordingly I love theology as it brings me closer to Jesus while also giving me a glimpse into the different facets of him. Experience, similar to theology, is another way of knowing God. Which is to say that it is a way for us to emotionally encounter the living God who actively seeks us out. Experience in this way is more than simply having a charismatic phenomena happen in, through or around you. Sadly,...
Defining Healing: A Review of Rick Richardson’s book “Experiencing Healing Prayer”

Defining Healing: A Review of Rick Richardson’s book “Experiencing Healing Prayer”

The book “Experiencing Healing Prayer” was written out of Rick Richardson’s experience as an Anglican priest helping people find healing for the soul. Rick’s own personal journey in inner healing started when he told a friend about a recurring dream about a man coming at him with a knife. His friend suggested that they pray about Rick’s relationship with the gentleman in his dream.  When they did this, Rick experienced “the healing touch of God and the blazing light of his wisdom” (page 13). That day marked a turning moment in Rick’s life as it was the start of a journey helping others experiences the healing power of Jesus. The book’s seventeen chapters can be broken into seven major sections with each part focused on a different subtopic of soul healing. The first section (Ch. 1-3) serves as an introduction to inner soul healing. From there the remaining chapters are split among the six signposts Rick proposes as guides “along the way on the healing journey” (page 33). The first signpost or second selection of the book (Ch. 4-6) is focused on God’s presence and hearing “God’s still small voice” (page 46). The third selection (Ch. 7) talks about gender identity and replaying our “diseased images and memoires” with “healed and transformed images” (page 89). Chapters 8-9 make up the fourth selection or third signpost with an emphasis renouncing unreal identities and embracing an identity rooted in Jesus. The fifth selection (Ch. 10-14) tries to get to the “roots of pain and problems, not just the fruits or symptoms” (page 12). This is quickly followed by the sixth selection...