early America

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Interesting tidbit from this month’s Smithsonian. In the Wampanoag confederation, who the early Pilgrims encountered when they arrived on these shores, there was a position called a pniese. These men were chosen to become a kind of counselor-bodyguard to the Sachem, the equivalent of a chief.

According to the author Charles Mann, “To master the art of ignoring pain, prospective pniese had to subject themselves to such experiences as running barelegged through brambles. And they fasted often to learn self-discipline.” They then spent their winter in the woods, and performed a few more tests of their worthiness.

Interesting. I’m well on my way it seems. Now all I have to do is find a community of pre-Revolution Wampanoags.

3 Responses to “early America”

  1. Ron Jesberg Says:

    Continue your critical investigation into the emerging church teaching. Is it a movement, a teaching, or a name invented to bring about what is not quite there. The challenge is to discern: is it a wind of doctrine, or move of the Spirit? You wanted to grow in the Spirit did you not? The answers to this will come more from prayer and meditation then from research. You are excellent at the latter and challenged by the first only because you cannot hold that one in your hand. You are such a balanced fellow you could be a great theologian. We have enough of those. Pray about a prophets calling.
    To live is Christ, to die is gain.

  2. Patrick Says:

    Ron, thank you. Your words are very welcomed and helpfu.

    I agree with your thoughts entirely. I think there are many paths to discovery. God, for whatever reason, has brought me along a path where my insights will be helpful only if I pursue them through prayer and meditation. Some approach the topic in different ways, ways which put them more in a place of active involvement.

    I really appreciate your comment, indeed it was a very needed word for me this morning.

  3. Patrick Says:

    Also Ron, your comments reflect the core reason I decided not to pursue a PhD in theology at this point. I wrestle with my present reality not seeming to reflect a personal ambition, yet I have found that I must be faithful to Christ in his work, rather than try to assert myself through my work.

    Theology can come from many directions, and while the academic/intellectual tradition is worthwhile, I agree this is not the path for everyone, and seemingly not for me.

    It’s a hard lesson to learn in this present culture which demands we assert our being through visible accomplishment. Encouragement along the way is more valued than most folks realize.