In the summer of 2010, I was invited to be support person for a friend’s counseling session. Discovering an area of unresolved pain, the counselor suggested that my friend recount and forgive the exact words and phrases used by his father to control or manipulate him, and his gut responses to them. My friend chose to do so, releasing his dad with great specificity for these long past offenses, and acknowledging his own choice to respond with hatred. Imagine his shock when moments after this prayer, his estranged father calls him up to invite him to a baseball game?! We were all in awe of the moment!

For weeks after this amazing session, I wrestled with God about it — at first on a personal level, but as time passed I found it meshing with my lifelong interest in history. A larger picture began to take shape.

Over and over I prayed, “If this principle works on an individual basis, can it work on a larger one: families, cultures, tribes, states or nations? If it does, who will confess the sins and separations of the past? What right does one have to confess conflicts of another?” His still quiet answer came over time, “Come and see. Watch history with me.”

So here I am. I am on a journey to watch and pray through a timeline of some major events of my home state, Minnesota, from about 1650 to the present. I move forward, wanting to practice looking at the past as the Master sees it; through the merciful lens of the Eternal Now.

I want to encourage site visitors to view the past in terms of how we as a people have broken with the Lord, often through our dealings with one another — and to acknowledge those points of separation, live more freely in the present, and pass blessings to future generations of Minnesotans instead of curses.

I am deeply indebted to the wonderful and comprehensive work of the Minnesota Historical Society. When I discovered their timeline tool* at http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm, I was inspired to meditate on Minnesota’s history. The timeline provided an essential framework for the ideas and expressions posted here.

Welcome to all, from curious to serious, who want to encounter some significant stories and events of Minnesota history as they occurred in the past, impact the present, and inform the future!

– James Orvis

*(NOTE – the timeline tool may not be currently available. I will update the timeline link if a new address exists.)