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Is “Native American Christian” an Oxymoron?
by Pam Thibodeaux
If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I don’t write “conservative” Christian but “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and that my style of writing has caused me to discover the difference in Supernatural & Paranormal and How to Categorize a novel. When the hero in my WF novel, My Heart Weeps revealed he was Native American, I was challenged once again to reconcile something unknown with my Christian faith and present it the audience I write for in a believable manner.
Since I am a 100% panster writer – which means I write by the seat of my pants, not with an outline or anything resembling one – I prayed I would be able to portray Garrett’s Native American spirituality and still maintain a Christian worldview.
Before we get into the specifics of my story, let’s delve a little deeper into Christianity, Religion and Spirituality as a whole.
Religion is defined as, “a set doctrine of supernatural beliefs, the ceremonies, and activities associated with it.”
Christianity is defined as, “the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.”
Judaism (from which Christianity was derived) is the monotheistic religion of the Jewish people and is based on the belief there is ONE God.
The Great Spirit is the concept of a life force, a Supreme Being or god in most Native American cultures.
Once I discovered the similarities, it was easy to believe a man of Native American heritage could be a firm believer in Christ and still honor his cultural upbringing. Here is an example from My Heart Weeps….
Do you have Native American blood in your family lineage? Do you know anyone who is 100% Native American and 100% sold out to Jesus? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Garrett reclined with his grandfather, the Chief, and the Shaman of his Native American tribe. He hadn’t participated in the religious rituals of his tribe in years but had often enjoyed the camaraderie of sitting with them in the lodge. Today, though, Garrett knew he was in for the whole experience. Sweat poured from his brow, toxins flowed from his pores.
Where his ancestors had used drums and sang songs to the Creator, a small CD player and concealed speakers provided those now. That didn’t stop the elders from joining in with the chants and prayers. His grandfather lit the sacred pipe, took a drag, and passed it around. Garrett didn’t have to use the pipe to inhale the herbs and spices burning in its bowl. He pulled in a deep breath, braced himself for the visions to come. And they would, had for years, in sacred places all over the world, and in parts unknown to most common people. Sometimes welcomed, sometimes hated, he still had trouble reconciling this part of his heritage and these experiences with his understanding of Christian values and deep love for Christ.
Like an eagle soaring high above the earth, his spirit flew. Images of what transpired below appeared. He saw Melena lying across a grave. Sobs shook her small frame. Pain stabbed through him, congealed in his chest. The eagle landed in a nearby tree.
Garrett waited, anxious, alert. A man appeared below the tree and gazed up at him. .
Garrett acknowledged the comment with a nod.
“She needs someone strong, someone open and flexible.”.
Garrett allowed the man’s aura to expand until it touched his and braced himself for the onslaught of emotions that would follow. Profound love. Acute sorrow. Pain lanced through him until he couldn’t catch his breath. He struggled against it then surrendered.
Light—golden, brilliant, glowing—enveloped him in its warmth. Angels accompanied by his spirit guide (another embodiment of his Native American heritage) embraced him, then turned and bent their knees as Jesus approached.
Garrett bowed in reverence. “My Lord.”
When life takes everything, your world stops. Can a retreat heal the broken lives of two wounded souls?
Melena Rhyker’s world shattered the day her husband died. Lost without the man of her dreams, she digs deep to find a path out of her sorrow. Discovering an artistic retreat, she vows to find a reason to carry on and focus her life in a new direction. Can she heal her own heart, and find her new beginning?
Garrett Saunders knows pain. He’s spent most of his life hiding from his past. Regrets and lies haunt him, but he longs to leave them behind and embrace his true self. Will Melena’s efforts to rebuild her life in the face of such grief encourage him to exorcise his own demons of guilt and shame?
Will two hurting people find peace, wholeness and perhaps love in the heart of Texas?
Get Pamela Thibodeaux’s second chance women’s fiction novel today and see how love and faith conquers all.
Meet Pam Thibodeaux
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!