A Dangerous Mercy tells the story of Tsi'tnaginnie and Kemma. A Warrior's Grace tells the story of Natanii, Tsi'tnaginnie's older brother.
The day after Tsi'tnaginnie and his family surrendered, a battle took place in Canyon de Chelly. His brother Natanii led his men into that battle.
Natanii was a warrior. A soldier for his people, a defender of his clan. A battle ready servant. And a man who saw the unthinkable, who heard the unfathomable. His wife was shot before his eyes. He watched her fall. Heard her call out his name. Ask for his help. Die in front of him. Then he did the unforgivable.
He ran from battle.
Why did he run? Did madness destroy his mind? Or did a dream save his life. The night after she dies, Natanii's wife comes to him in a vision, and tells him to ride West. To find sanctuary. To "stay alive and wait for the broken one". But who is this "broken one" and how long must he wait? Natanii escapes across Hopi country, deep into the mountains of Northern Arizona. Given sanctuary by British settlers, he becomes Nez Hutchinson, and is lost to his people forever.
Jay Tavare as Natanii.
Sarah Monroe Crossman has finally escaped the living nightmare of a hellish marriage, and the wrongful murder conviction that sent her to an asylum for the criminally insane. Finally safe at her sister's ranch in Arizona, Sarah is entirely unprepared for normal life, freedom, or the gentle kindness of a stranger.
A stranger in the form of Nez Hutchinson, an Indian who quotes the Psalms and speaks the King's English. The brother in law who her sister never once mentioned. Not in twenty years of letters.
Jo Sullivan as Sarah Monroe
Fear dances with prejudice. The truth rips open old wounds. War comes to their doorstep as Natanii is forced to fight one last battle.
A battle thirty years in the waiting.
What do we learn in the times when God doesn't seem to hear us?
How does God heal wounds so deep they become part of our soul?
Most TFTR readers know that I write about Navajo history, specifically The Long Walk and the prison camp near Fort Sumner, New Mexico known as Bosque Redondo, or most properly, "Hweeldi". So, let's talk aboutthe first story...A Dangerous Mercy. The first book starts in 1864, in the POV (point of view-the person "telling" the story) of Tsi'tnaginnie (Sit-nah-ginnie) a Navajo silversmith whose family and clans are being marched at gunpoint from their home in Canyon de Chelly (du Shay) across the desert to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Then things get worse. At the time the story takes place, Native Americans were despised by most settlers and military personnel. Absolutely DESPISED. They were seen as savages, vermin, wild creatures, blocking the God-fearing folk from progress and destiny. But, not just in North America. The attitude of European Anglos toward indigenous peoples almost everywhere on Earth was patriarchal and superior. Africa, the South Pacific, Asia, Latin America, everywhere...white=smarter, better, more civil. thus, the darker the skin tone, the more ignorant a person was. But hey, who built Machu Picchu? The Great Wall? Who read the stars and crossed the South Seas in outriggers? Who saw the night sky as their map? And for many, the sad state of affairs was mostly encouraged with the blessing of whatever religious authority was around. So, let's review... very few Anglo-Europeans and Native Americans got along. Treachery and death had a lot to do with things. On both sides. Anyhow... I tell the story of one family, the people they loved, and what would've happened in the land story tellers adore...the land of What If.
Martin Sensmeier by Wolfn Photography*
Kasha Kropinski as Kemma Fallon*
What if after he's taken prisoner, Tsi'tnaginnie finds work at Hweeldi with the blacksmith, Eamon St. George? He's skilled with metals and learns the trade quickly from Eamon. What if he becomes the brother that Eamon always wanted? What if kinship saw only the heart, and Tsi'tnaginnie's parents and daughter loved Eamon as one of their own? What if Tsi'tnaginnie's worst enemy was the fort commander, Josiah Fallon? What if Tsi'tnaginnie's greatest love was the fort commander's daughter, Kemma? What if the only person between Kemma, and intentional death, was Tsi'tnaginnie? What if the ever present evil of slavery touched Tsi'tnaginnie, and destroyed his whole world?
What if Tsi'tnaginnie's belief in God hinged on the impossible?
Sometimes, only the impossible will do. ~~~~~~~~~~ Here's the Pinterest link for the book: https://www.pinterest.com/jenniferlmajor/a-dangerous-mercy/
*DISCLAIMER: These pictures are from my Pinterest boards and do not imply that either actor is involved with my work, but are meant only to provide a visual for the reader.
These are my personal opinions. See that? PERSONAL.
While the interwebs are all abuzzle about persons named Caitlyn, and Rachel, I had to stop and really ponder a few things. What is the Biblical response to Bruce Jenner and his life choices? Simple. What did Jesus do to and for the hurting? He showed them His love. Let's see that again. He showed them His love. Am I Bruce Jenner's judge and jury? No. Do I understand why the man did what he did, and says what he says? Not at all. Do I think he's mixed up? Maybe. Sorta. Does that story upset me? Yes, but more for the publicity rained down on his family. But, does Bruce Jenner care what I think? HA! Not at all. He has no idea that I exist. He does not and never will care what I think, what I say, how I act, or who I am. But God loves Bruce Jenner. If I ever meet the man who says he's a woman, I would hope I kept myself as bright a light in the man's world and treated him with kindness and respect. There is no call from Heaven to do anything other than show love and grace. Jenner has basically stated that what he has done has been about personal turmoil. He who is without sin, throw the first stone.
I do have a MUCH more visceral reaction to a woman named Rachel who is causing quite a stir for her issues. Precisely, she is a Anglo woman who for all intents and purposes, has declared herself to be African American. She has stated herself to be, and not corrected anyone who has attributed her to being, African American. So, what is the difference between what Bruce Jenner has publicly stated, and Rachel Dolezal's statement that she is not white, and in fact, is African American? In my opinion, there's a man who says he's a woman. Is he taking anything from anyone? Is he lying, left right and centre, about what and who he is? About his past, about his parents, about his siblings, his children, his job, his career, his hair, his skin? He may be misguided and I may not agree with his choices, but he hasn't committed a crime, or perpetuated fraudulent behaviour in every facet of his life, for YEARS. Jenner isn't taking from someone's historical struggles of slavery, whose ancestors were sold in markets and shipped across the ocean to live a life of hellish servitude, and using that to perpetuate a lie. He is a privileged Anglo who has changed himself into someone who will still live the life of the privileged. No one will kick him off a bus for simply posing on the cover of a magazine and saying what he thinks he is. Seriously, when was the last time he rode a public bus because he was too poor to buy a car? Honestly, Jenner's struggle is that of a tiny percentage of the population. It is a struggle, and we owe it to those who deal with those issues of who and what they areto be Christ-like. No, I did not say we have to agree, I said we HAVE to be like Jesus. And people, that is our duty. We who have the love of Heaven should share it, don't you think? On the flipside, we have a woman who has embraced a culture to which she was not born. Is that wrong? No. It's not wrong to want to be something we aren't.. I want to be more kind. I want to be healthier. I want to be a better writer. I want to be the best wife and mother I can be. I want to be a catalyst for change. But with Miss Dolezal, there is a slightly more un-nerving tack in the ship's course. She wants people to believe she was the victim of hate crimes. She wants people to believe her ancestors were slaves. She wants people to believe she was born in a tipi, and hunted with bows and arrows. (Okay, so now we bring Native American cultural appropriation into the mix. Greaaaaaaaat.) Do you see and feel the difference here? It's all about the level of duplicity. Jenner, as I see it, really just wants to be a woman. Whatever. We all know he was born Bruce. He has chosen to ask those around him, and the public, to treat him as a woman. But does anyone think that if a few thugs tried to mug "Caitlyn", or any of his loved ones, especially his daughters, that they'd get a skittish nervous female? Noooo, they would get an Olympian fighting back. And that would be the last thing they remember. Rachel Dolezal has not said, "I know I'm not African American, but I choose to present myself as a woman of that culture. I love the history, the struggle, the richness I see there. I know I'm white, but I choose to identify as African American. I'll never knowingly and willingly set out to offend anyone, but please, let me in and I'll use my skills to bring these cultures together." But...what would Jesus do? Well, He'd say "He who is without sin, throw the first stone." Then He'd say, love her anyway. He'd take her, despite her massive con job, and love her anyway. He'd tell her that He'll be there beside her on the road back, when even her parents and brothers are mad at her. Hold her hand when her world comes crashing down. Yes, she faces harsh judgement. Let the legal and ethical experts deal with her crimes. If given the chance, if we find her in a place that we can offer grace? Be Jesus to her. She's going to need Him. Speaking of Him...
The only thing I've never needed to wonder about Jesus?