Saturday, September 17, 2016

God's Provision

Toni and I are back at our Lydia Avenue home, resting up after a busy day. We've been over at the "new place," but there's no place to lay our heads there, so we're back at the house we're renting from Paul Anderson. We'll be living here and working there until October 1st. (Scroll back through a couple previous posts on this blog for a bit more about our upcoming move.)

Toni posted a couple pictures of the outside on her facebook. Here's one indoor view, from the kitchen (still to be worked on) toward the front door of the house. Yesterday and today we worked (with lots of help from our son Dan!) to remove gold 1970s era draperies and carpet from the living room/dining area (leaving the hardwood floor you see in the background). Toni worked fast at painting--she's got most of the living room done. I puttered around with little stuff: replacing 3 switches, pruning bushes, closing up small gaps at the bottom of the backyard fence and removing a cabinet that was closing off the kitchen. There's a lot more to do but we're glad to have gotten a start on it.

My sister-in-law wrote: So glad for God's provision for you. Looks like a very nice place. Now it's time to work and dream and make a house into a home. 

It is God's provision. There is work to be done--lots of work--but that doesn't take away the fact that God has provided this home. In fact, every home we've ever lived in has been a gift from the Lord. We will give thanks. As John Abel once said to me "God's provision is His estimate of our need." John said that to me when he came up the stairs to our first apartment. Read more about that here.)

The topic of God's providence has come up many times in this blog, most recently 16 months ago when we were wondering where we'd go next. I'm amazed at the way our Lord works. And so thankful.

from ...faith-is.html
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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Not My Desire

The life that God seems to have chosen for me is not the one that I would have chosen for myself. (I say "seems to have chosen" in this public forum. In my own heart and life I say that with more confidence.) My Lord, who knows me better than anyone else, has chosen to plant me in Roseville, a pleasant suburb of the Twin Cities. I would not personally have chosen this place to live. I'd have lived further south from here, down in St. Paul itself, nearer to where there are multiple ways of getting around besides driving, in a place where Toni and I could easily walk to stores or cafes or just jump on a bus. Up here, in Roseville, it's not practical to get around without a car. My compromise is to drive and park where I can get on a bus. That's what I've done many times this summer and will continue to do this fall. Still, it's a compromise. I'd rather just do it my way. (Insert tongue sticking out emoticon.)

God seems to be leading Toni and I to participate in a church that I wouldn't pick. There's nothing wrong with it. As far as "normal" churches go it has a lot to recommend it. But I wouldn't pick it because it's a pretty "normal" church: full of friendly people (on Sunday mornings at least), balancing "contemporary" and "traditional" music, pretty good preaching (the Lord has said something to me personally every week), various kinds of outreach programs, youth & children's stuff going on. I like both of the pastors. I met with one of them and we have a lot in common. Still, though, it's a pretty much run of the mill place. I'd probably pick something a lot smaller. Like a house church. (Another tongue out :p )

Some parts of this phase of my life are turning out much more "conventional" than I thought they would. I grew up in the suburbs and it looks like that's where I'll be for most of the rest of my life. I grew up in a pretty good suburban church and it looks like that's where we'll be. I imagined things would be different when we moved from the small town thing to the cities. I do get to keep my unconventional (for me) job, so that's one thing I can say is probably something I would pick myself, though it would have been completely unexpected until a little more than a year ago. But because I'm not picking these things, I expect God is at work in them, and I suspect that those very suburban things will turn out for God's glory. That's what I say, in faith.

Tomorrow I'll sing with the Roseville Covenant Church choir. That's also something I wouldn't have picked on my own. I had a sense, though, sitting in church a week ago, that it would be good to try it out. One of the things I've treasured about this time in my life is that I haven't needed to perform in front of audiences. And now I've volunteered to do it. I do really like the director. And, most inspiring, the choir of this church is the place where prayer ministry goes on.

Here's a pic I took of the choir praying for two choir members who have volunteered to lead after rehearsal prayer each Wednesday. Being part of a prayer group is something that I've been wanting, and I stumbled into it by saying "yes" to something I wasn't looking to do - that is, sing in the choir.

There's a spiritual principle in here somewhere, don't you think? God's best is often worked out in the midst of things that we wouldn't pick out ourselves.

Tomorrow we'll be singing this in the choir:
By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation's grand design,
In the lives of those who prove his faithfulness,
Who walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the pow'r of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God's own hand,
A place where peace and justice reign.

We will stand as children of the promise;
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward.
Till the race is finished and the work is done,
We'll walk by faith and not by sight.
Yup. OK. That's what I'll do. And I'll do it with the men and women God has chosen for me.

Here's a church choir singing what we'll sing tomorrow -- but our group is not just men.


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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Moving With God (again!)

Toni sent out a note to family earlier this week in the hope that several family members can help us move. If anyone reading this blog would like to come alongside and help us with this move, we'd love to see you.

Our official moving day (for the furniture) is Saturday, October 1, but there will be boxes and bins that we'll move on other days before that. We'll also be ripping up carpet, installing an egress window and doing a bunch of other things beginning when we get possession of 1479 Millwood in Roseville on September 15. We're hoping to get the lower level ready for renters by sometime in October. There is a lot to do!

This will be our 10th or 11th move since we were married in 1986. The plan is to stay at the new place in Roseville until we can't live on our own. I'm planning on living to and beyond 100 years old so it will hopefully be a very long time until the Lord calls us to move again.

Yes, the Lord. God is involved with this move. He's guiding it. He's being its superintendent. I have a sense for how He's doing that, and I can remember some moments and times of decision that He has led.

I say this with some boldness, even though I can't prove it--not to you--not even to myself. 

Back in early August I read something written by Oswald Chambers relating to conversation Jesus is had with his hand-picked inner circle of followers not too long before Jesus' death and resurrection. He said "Everything that is written by the prophets" about him was going about to come true.
"He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again" (Luke 18:32-33).
The part O.C. focuses on is the following verse
"The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about."
Just as the disciples could not understand just what Jesus was saying in that case, so it's true that we cannot fully grasp the purposes of God for our lives. O.C. doesn't conclude, as others might, that this inability to comprehend just why and how God is leading us means we should give up on knowing God's purpose. Instead, O.C. sees a spiritual principle in this. He writes:
The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea—no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him.
O.C. is speaking here about the work of the Holy Spirit. God works in our minds and in the circumstances of our lives, leading us, guiding us, giving us direction. Though there will always be a certain mystery and fallibility to hearing and understanding God's "voice," we can know enough to make decisions that honor and obey what he says.

I have seen God's hand leading me (and us) to make this move. I can describe many of the signs that have pointed to this conclusion. In the end, though, I won't be able to share all of it -- not on this blog and not even in person if we sat down to talk awhile. I would love to talk with you more about it, though, because I believe that as we share what God is doing in our lives, we can become more open to God's leading each time He calls.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Peace in Today's War

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).
In commenting on this passage, Oswald Chambers says:
Any one of the relationships our Lord mentions in this verse can compete with our relationship with Him. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself, but if that is the case, then, Jesus said, “[You] cannot be My disciple.” This does not mean that I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be entirely His.

(Click here to read the rest of today's My Utmost For His Highest.)
You and I live our lives in relationship with others, and in relationship with our own self. We are in relationship with our Lord too -- but when we start belonging to Jesus, the struggles and, dare I say it, the wars that we are involved in with our parents and spouses and children etc., and our stubborn or weak selves, can be understood and felt as a normal part of the fact that you and I do not belong to ourselves anymore. There is an alien presence guiding us that will always, in some ways, be at war with the situations and people that we live with -- including my very own me.

Jesus' words here, and the example of his sometimes unhappy relationship with his own family, are a gift to us, giving us peace in today's war.

Don't be discouraged when you face this conflict. It really is the normal part of a disciple's life in this fallen world. Look to the Lord and know you're not alone, even in the close, uncomfortable and conflicted relationships of your everyday life.

from http://utmost.org/his/

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Tested Faith

I woke up awhile ago and didn't get up right away. I wanted to keep sleeping but that wasn't going to happen so, after a half hour of lying there I got up, had a bite to eat, and now I've been in conversation with the Lord about the subject that was in my mind, the worry that was in my mind, and was keeping me awake. There's a particular step of faith that I'm taking these days that doesn't line up with my own desires in many ways -- and it's a big step that will influence many things going forward into the future. I can lie awake and find lots of things that are wrong with this step -- or I can get up for a bit and refresh myself by praying -- and then by focusing on the promises that I know about through the Word of God.

I trust you, Father God. You have led me so well up until now. I believe you will bring me through this test too. I will rely on you, not on my own understanding. Give me your peace. In Jesus' name.

(See today's My Utmost for His Highest - The Unsurpassed Intimacy of Tested Faith)

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hiatus

My blog has been going untended as I tend to other business and continue studies, especially, these days, reading about the founders of the United States. The ministry and faith that I have shared on this blog are intimately related to this history. Perhaps someday I'll write about what I'm learning. For now, back to reading on this day of rest.

The business I've been tending to is partly related to our upcoming closing on a house here in Roseville. Toni and I are thankful that we are able to get a loan for this house. We'll be able to afford the mortgage payments as we will be renting most of the house's the lower level to others, perhaps to students at Northwestern and Bethel, two Christian colleges that are located nearby.
One day at a time.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stop and Repent

"It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God;..."

The sentence above comes from today's My Utmost for His Highest reading.

Do you think it's true? Is it "very easy" to make God sad?

The sentence goes on: "...we do it," that is, we make the Holy Spirit sad, filling Him with sorrow and pain, "by despising the discipline of the Lord, or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us."

The Bible speaks of making God sad in Ephesians 4:30, where the Lord's focus is the way we behave in our relationships with other people. Oswald Chambers wisely connects and extends the idea of "grieving the Spirit" with the unhelpful and sinful way we can react when the God corrects us. Hebrews 12 verse 5 says: "do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him."

Do you know what it is to be "chastened" or "disciplined" by God? Have you experienced it? We can't know God's deepest care and love for us without it!

When we recognize God's correction and discipline in our lives, and responding to it by making changes, we learn how Good He is! But when we react like stubborn little children, or when we neglect personal times of being quiet enough to perceive the ways God is calling us to repent, or when we are too focused on what on other human beings think of us and our behavior, then we become more and more deaf and blind to the discipline and rebuke of the One who loves us more than we can ask or imagine.

"How deep the Father's love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure..." Our Father God, with the Son and Holy Spirit, -- our One God never turns His face away from us, but when we do spend time His presence, we can, at times, feel His grief. He is sad when we don't listen to the ways He would change us from the inside out.

Are you making God sad? Stop and repent. Tell the Lord that you want to experience his loving correction. Tell him to help you learn lessons that he's been trying to teach you over the past days, weeks, months or years. Rearrange your schedule so you can spend quiet time seeking His loving and corrective voice. Turn away from what "other people think" and allow God to guide you. Give Him your full attention. You will experience His joy.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gold, Silver, Wood, Clay

I recently encountered a question about Noah.

People debate about many things from the Bible. How do we work together?

Second Timothy chapter 2 is helpful in this conversation. At least that's what I think.

God bless you all, in Jesus' name.

----------------------------

Here's an answer I gave to the person who asked the question.
I believe that once we can see the person of Jesus as unique, in an absolutely universal way, that all our other questions and answers in regard to God and the Bible move to a secondary plane. Truth is that we'll never get clarity on some of those questions or answers.

Faith isn't something that comes out of any reasoning or understanding. It comes as we see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and say "I can't do or believe anything to help myself." Jesus knew this so he came into our world to save every confused person (like me). Once we're clear that Jesus is the center and everything and everyone else can only be seen in His Light, then we can go ahead and have stress free conversations about Biblical history.

If we don't get clear on Jesus first, then 2 Timothy 2:14 applies. Handling the word of truth accurately (2 Tim. 2:15) means keeping Jesus in the center. That's it. Everything else is of lesser value, and, in a sense, of optional understanding. 2 Tim. 20-21 speaks of this. We need to keep clear of the second order questions (everything but Jesus) until we're clear on the absolute grace and total mercy of God in Jesus Christ. Then we can go ahead and use those "wood and clay" vessels.
What do you think?

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Monday, July 11, 2016

1 down, 9 to go

posted in Heywood Garage driver room
Praise Jesus! He has shepherded me and others through a full year with no "responsible accidents." A responsible accident is hitting anything or anyone or having someone fall in your bus if it's determined that the driver could have avoided it. I got a pin and a certificate. No extra money. Ha!  ;)

Year #1 for me! I'm going for 5 years and then 10. I'm planning on staying with this job until I'm 70, one day at a time.

The safety manager asked me, this morning, as he does to all safe operators, "What's your secret?" The grace of God. Plus not letting myself be pushed to do anything unsafe. Plus amazingly heightened awareness. Once again, Praise Jesus! It means a lot to get through the first year. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunrise on Durphee

It's 5 AM on the last day of vacation.

Father God, I praise and thank you for the sweetness of this time away from the normal responsibilities of life. I praise you for the way you are leading us now to new adventures in trusting you and your ways. You, Jesus, are always our sunrise. Spirit, you always lead us forward. Thank you.

-----------------------

It's now just after 5:30 and I looked at the "My Utmost for His Highest" devotion for the day. It couldn't be more perfectly timed. http://utmost.org/the-spiritually-lazy-saint/



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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Vacation Joy (with Backstories)

Slightly revised from what was originally posted.

The Dahlin Cabin on Durphee Lake
I last wrote (on July 2) from my uncle Glen and aunt Betty's cabin on Big Sandy Lake in Minnesota. On Saturday I drove from there to another cabin, the one I've mentioned many times before on this blog over the years. It's about 10 miles south of Hayward, Wisconsin on Durphee Lake and been in my wife Toni's family for 50 years. Toni and I have been here for a week or more every year since the 1980s.

Grandkids & Grandparents
at the Durphee Lake cabin
Our kids love this place. So does Toni's whole extended family. This week we had up to 20 people here, but now all our kids and grandkids have gone home. It's very quiet, and the quiet has a charm of its own.

I'm very thankful for this time away: playing games, relaxing in the water and on the shore, enjoying the children and one another, and lots of good food. A couple of us got out on the sailboat a bit too -- that's one of my favorite things.

As this vacation time winds down I realize, once again, what a privilege it is for us to be able to be here. Many people don't have places to get away to, and many don't have families that they really want to be away with. Once again, I thank God for this time.

One thing I thought I'd be doing during this vacation was to continue study of some of the deeper things of God so I can do some writing. When I've been out for a couple short runs in the morning, I've have managed to listened to a couple more hours of the lectures I mentioned last Saturday. But when it came to reading, I got sidetracked by a book with an extremely provocative title. 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End.

I do like history, so that's something that would draw me to it, but it's not a book that I would have chosen on my own. I only have it because it was in a little backpack that was found on one of the buses I drove sometime in the last few weeks. [Note added July 17 - when I got home from the cabin I found the lost and found tag. It was dated May 18, my birthday.] I turned the backpack into lost and found, but, because no one claimed it, I had the option of taking it for myself. I did, and found the book inside.

Perhaps it was God's way of pointing me to a subject that I haven't thought about much. I made my way through the book this week, between times playing with the grandkids and helping with a few chores. And, as I read, I was reminded that vacation cabins like this have a backstory, a backstory from the time before any of them were built.

from native-languages.org/states
This cabin, and so many others, are build on land was opened up for "whites" (like me) during the late 1800s. Until around the time that is described in 38 Nooses, the land that is now the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin was the homeland of various Native American people groups (tribes).

Here's a map that shows where those tribes lived after the Europeans began to arrive, but before treaties pushed them onto reservations.

The treaties are old history, but they are really a key part of what allowed cabins like this to be built. The "1842 Treaty of La Pointe" (such a long time ago!) established many reservations in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota--including the "Lac Courte Oreilles" reservation, so close to this cabin. That same treaty established the "Sandy Lake Indian Reservation" on land that is now owned by my aunt and uncle and many other cabin owners. That Indian Reservation was erased by the federal government in 1889 and the land opened up for white settlement. 

It's sobering to consider how many of our beloved homes and cabins are sitting on land that was, at one time, the home of Ojibwe (a.k.a. Chippewa), Dakota (a.k.a. Sioux), and other Indian people. My ancestors, white settlers all, followed traders, missionaries and explorers onto land that was already occupied by other people.

Today we don't think about those people, or this history. Or, when we do think of them, we think of Casinos and treaty rights connected with fishing. It's good for us to know a little bit more.

The period of time described in 38 Nooses (the 1860s) is a part of the historical back-story for the peaceful and privileged week that we've had here at the cabin this week. It's not a pleasant story. It's actually a story of what we would probably call terrorism if it happened today. Terror came down on both settler and native.
Here's a quick summary of the story that's told in the book:

The United States government's neglect of treaty obligations in the early to middle 1860s brought many natives to the point of starvation and despair. Some Dakota Indian men, we don't know just how many, went out to get rid of the settlers who were occupying the lands that were now closed to them--perhaps thinking they could drive other whites out with fear. Several dozen Dakota plundered, raped and murdered. Several hundred white men, women and children were killed in the area near the Minnesota River. It was horrible.

The U.S. government's response was horrible too. 38 of the the Dakota men were hung in Mankato. Some were innocent. Meanwhile, almost all the Dakota men, women and children in Minnesota were forced into concentration camps, the largest being at Fort Snelling. And then soldiers went out to get violent revenge while plans were made to push all those "evil Sioux" out of the state. Most were eventually sent west to reservations on land no one else wanted. In the end most were forced to give up their way of life.
Some on each side did what they could to prevent violence. There were some heroes. But many more, for one reason or another, joined in the killing or at least applauded those who sought revenge. Fear and hatred reigned. Sadly, some of what was done to the natives, especially in taking away their way of life, was done in the name of the Christian church.

The truth is that much of what we descendants of settlers take for granted in the United States came to be out of a history of violence, racism and revenge. It's not what white Minnesotans prefer to think about during a vacation week, but this history, and the other incomparably painful racial histories that are still with us, do mark us profoundly. Though it was a loss for whoever left their backpack and book on my bus, I'm grateful I was invited, in that way, to read 38 Nooses. Maybe even especially when we're on vacation we should be remembering the backstory of our joy.

Fortunately, there is a bigger backstory, a story that brings redemption and forgiveness to the smaller stories of our individual and family histories. Here are three paragraphs abridged from a section of The Christian Frame of Mind, a book I've been studying in depth.
The redemption of the universe is the bearing of the Cross upon the way things actually are. It represents the refusal of God to remain aloof from the disintegration in what he has made, or merely to act upon it "at a distance."

Through the incarnation of His Word and love in Jesus Christ, in his life and passion, He who is the ultimate source and power of all order has penetrated into the untouchable core of our existence in such a way as to deal with the twisted force of evil entrenched in it, and to bring about an atoning reordering of creation.

In the life and passion of Jesus Christ the order of redemption has intersected the order of creation, judging, forgiving and healing it of malevolent disorder, and making it share in the wholly benign order of divine love.

(Abridged from a section entitled "The Atonement and the 'Re-ordering' of Creation" in The Christian Frame of Mind: Reason, Order, and Openness in Theology and Natural Science, by Thomas F. Torrance. Helmers & Howard, Publishers, Colorado Springs, 1989, pages 103, 104.)
That's what we need. We need deep dive, in every way, into the "wholly benign order of divine love." Knowing Jesus and letting others know about Him is part of that--knowing Him and telling in a way that is truthful and not full of our own small opinions. We need to be studying carefully so we can speak about Jesus as clearly and completely as we can. But we also need to tell the truth about the pain of life, so we don't stay "aloof from the disintegration," but instead stand with our Lord in dealing with the "twisted force of evil."

Let's pray that God will lead us in that, bringing blessing instead of cursing to everyone, guilty and innocent alike. I hope to be a part of that in the next 40 years of my life.

God bless you all.

----------------------

P.S. - This afternoon, after the grandkids left, I saw that our daughter Naomi had posted news of a modern day racial horror. According to the Minnesota Public Radio website that posted a picture and a video taken by a dead man's girlfriend, "Philando Castile, 32, was shot Wednesday night by a police officer in suburban St. Paul, Minn." The shooting happened within 3 miles of our home in Roseville. The website says this was "the second fatal encounter between police and a black man to gain national attention this week."

O Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on all of us who need to remember the love of Jesus before we remember our own pain and fear. Overwhelm us with your Holy Spirit so we react in a way that honors You.

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Vacation Joy (with Backstories)

A slightly revised form of this post can be found at this link.

The Dahlin Cabin on Durphee Lake
I last wrote (on July 2) from my uncle Glen and aunt Betty's cabin on Big Sandy Lake in Minnesota. On Saturday I drove from there to another cabin, the one I've mentioned many times before on this blog over the years. It's about 10 miles south of Hayward, Wisconsin on Durphee Lake and been in my wife Toni's family for 50 years. Toni and I have been here for a week or more every year since the 1980s.

Grandkids & Grandparents
at the Durphee Lake cabin
Our kids love this place. So does Toni's whole extended family. This week we had up to 20 people here, but now all our kids and grandkids have gone home. It's very quiet, and the quiet has a charm of its own.

I'm very thankful for this time away: playing games, relaxing in the water and on the shore, enjoying the children and one another, and lots of good food. A couple of us got out on the sailboat a bit too -- that's one of my favorite things.

As this vacation time winds down I realize, once again, what a privilege it is for us to be able to be here. Many people don't have places to get away to, and many don't have families that they really want to be away with. Once again, I thank God for this time.

One thing I thought I'd be doing during this vacation was to continue study of some of the deeper things of God so I can do some writing. When I've been out for a couple short runs in the morning, I've have managed to listened to a couple more hours of the lectures I mentioned last Saturday. But when it came to reading, I got sidetracked by a book with an extremely provocative title. 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End.

I do like history, so that's something that would draw me to it, but it's not a book that I would have chosen on my own. I only have it because it was in a little backpack that was found on one of the buses I drove sometime in the last few weeks. I turned the backpack into lost and found, but, because no one claimed it, I had the option of taking it for myself. I did, and found the book inside.

Perhaps it was God's way of pointing me to a subject that I haven't thought about much. I made my way through the book this week, between times playing with the grandkids and helping with a few chores. And, as I read, I was reminded that vacation cabins like this have a backstory, a backstory from the time before any of them were built.

from native-languages.org/states
This cabin, and so many others, are build on land was opened up for "whites" (like me) during the late 1800s. Until around the time that is described in 38 Nooses, the land that is now the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin was the homeland of various Native American people groups (tribes).

Here's a map that shows where those tribes lived after the Europeans began to arrive, but before treaties pushed them onto reservations.

The treaties are old history, but they are really a key part of what allowed cabins like this to be built. The "1842 Treaty of La Pointe" (such a long time ago!) established many reservations in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota--including the "Lac Courte Oreilles" reservation, so close to this cabin. That same treaty established the "Sandy Lake Indian Reservation" on land that is now owned by my aunt and uncle and many other cabin owners. That Indian Reservation was erased by the federal government in 1889 and the land opened up for white settlement. 

It's sobering to consider how many of our beloved homes and cabins are sitting on land that was, at one time, the home of Ojibwe (a.k.a. Chippewa), Dakota (a.k.a. Sioux), and other Indian people. My ancestors, white settlers all, followed traders, missionaries and explorers onto land that was already occupied by other people.

Today we don't think about those people, or this history. Or, when we do think of them, we think of Casinos and treaty rights connected with fishing. It's good for us to know a little bit more.

The period of time described in 38 Nooses (the 1860s) is a part of the historical back-story for the peaceful and privileged week that we've had here at the cabin this week. It's not a pleasant story. It's actually a story of what we would probably call terrorism if it happened today. Terror came down on both settler and native.
Here's a quick summary of the story that's told in the book:

The United States government's neglect of treaty obligations in the early to middle 1860s brought many natives to the point of starvation and despair. Some Dakota Indian men, we don't know just how many, went out to get rid of the settlers who were occupying the lands that were now closed to them--perhaps thinking they could drive other whites out with fear. Several dozen Dakota plundered, raped and murdered. Several hundred white men, women and children were killed in the area near the Minnesota River. It was horrible.

The U.S. government's response was horrible too. 38 of the the Dakota men were hung in Mankato. Some were innocent. Then, almost all the Dakota men, women and children in Minnesota were forced into concentration camps, the largest being at Fort Snelling. And then soldiers went out to get violent revenge while plans were made to push all those "evil Sioux" out of the state. Most were eventually sent west to reservations on land no one else wanted. In the end most were forced to give up their way of life.
Some on each side did what they could to prevent violence. There were some heroes. But many more, for one reason or another, joined in the killing or at least applauded those who sought revenge. Fear and hatred reigned. Sadly, some of what was done to the natives, especially in taking away their way of life, was done in the name of the Christian church.

The truth is that much of what we descendants of settlers take for granted in the United States came to be out of a history of violence, racism and revenge. It's not what white Minnesotans prefer to think about during a vacation week, but this history, and the other incomparably painful racial histories that are still with us, do mark us profoundly. Though it was a loss for whoever left their backpack and book on my bus, I'm grateful I was invited, in that way, to read 38 Nooses. Maybe even especially when we're on vacation we should be remembering the backstory of our joy.

Fortunately, there is a bigger backstory, a story that brings redemption and forgiveness to the smaller stories of our individual and family histories. In The Christian Frame of Mind, the book I've been studying in depth, Thomas F. Torrance writes this:
The redemption of the universe is... the bearing of the Cross upon the way things actually are. It represents the refusal of God to remain aloof from the disintegration... in what he has made, or merely to act upon it "at a distance."

Through the incarnation of His Word and love in Jesus Christ, in his life and passion, He who is the ultimate source and power of all order has penetrated into the untouchable core of our existence in such a way as to with the twisted force of evil entrenched in it, and to bring about an atoning reordering of creation.

In the life and passion of Jesus Christ the order of redemption has intersected the order of creation, judging, forgiving and healing it of malevolent disorder, and making it share in the wholly benign order of divine love.
That's what we need. We need deep dive, in every way, into the "wholly benign order of divine love." That's what I hope I can contribute to in the next 40 years of my life.

God bless you all.

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P.S. - This afternoon, after the grandkids left, I saw that our daughter Naomi had posted news of a modern day racial horror. According to the Minnesota Public Radio website that posted a picture and a video taken by a dead man's girlfriend, "Philando Castile, 32, was shot Wednesday night by a police officer in suburban St. Paul, Minn." The shooting happened within 3 miles of our home in Roseville. The website says this was "the second fatal encounter between police and a black man to gain national attention this week."

O Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on all of us who need to remember the love of Jesus before we remember our own pain and fear. Give us your Holy Spirit so we react in a way that honors You.

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