St. Paul MN

Bio: As a lifelong student of history and a person of faith, I have been moved to combine my passions into this blog. What you will read here is my personal journey as I literally "pray through history." I want to encourage site visitors to view the past in terms of how we as a race of humans have broken with the Lord in our dealings with one another -- and to acknowledge those points of separation, live more freely in the present, and pass blessings to future generations instead of curses. I am deeply indebted to the wonderful and comprehensive work of the Minnesota Historical Society (www.mnhs.org). When I discovered their timeline tool at http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm, I was inspired to meditate on -- and pray over -- Minnesotan 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

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54 thoughts on “About

  1. James, thank you for your interest in my “Blogging through the Bible,” and especially for introducing me to your very creative inspiration to pray through history. I don’t think I’ve come across anything quite like it. God bless you.

    • Your very welcome! I simply believe our vision is clouded wherever we have tolerated unforgiveness. We have a false impression of the Lord’s willingness to reveal separation (sin) and heal our land!

  2. spacetojourney says:

    Hi I like the sentiment of ‘Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future’. You might want to read through some of Richard Rohr’s writtings – ‘We are not free at all until we are free from ourselves. It is that simple and that hard’ (cac@cacradicalgrace.ccsend.com)

    • I agree. Therefore I practice. I am humbled to realize how much I am just like the good guys and the bad guys of history because I am human who needs forgiveness and a Savior. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Hi James, what an awesome idea. I’m definitely going to be following along. I would guess that this will lead you into things related to the “alternate” histories of the U.S. (Howard Zinn) and the Church (Diana Butler Bass). Very exciting in any case. God bless!

    • I know a little about Zinn and dig that he was a happy warrior according to friends; he hated injustice but kept his sense of humor. I’m working on an historical model called omnipresent history. I want a way to view the past that builds empathy, without throwing justice under the bus.

  4. Thanks for your comment on my recent post about Pope Francis. I have written the following posts about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862:

    dwkcommentaries.com: Posts Regarding Native Americans 10/17/15

    # Date Title
    340 11/03/12 The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/11/03/the-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862/

    341 11/06/12 White Settler’s Contemporaneous Reaction to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/11/06/white-settlers-contemporaneous-reaction-to-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862/

    426 05/21/13 President Abraham Lincoln’s Involvement in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2013/05/21/president-abraham-lincolns-involvement-in-the-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862/

    436 06/11/13 U.S. Military Commission Trials of Dakota Indians After the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2013/06/11/u-s-military-commission-trials-of-dakota-indians-after-the-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862/

    441 06/24/13 President Abraham Lincoln’s Involvement in the Military Commission’s Convictions and Sentences of the Dakota Indians, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2013/06/24/president-abraham-lincolns-involvement-in-the-military-commissions-convictions-and-sentences-of-the-dakota-indians/

    344 11/09/12 Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/11/09/commemoration-of-the-150th-anniversary-of-the-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862/

    344A 12/11/12 Comment: Minnesota Public Radio’s Resources on the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

    367 12/26/12 Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Hanging of the “Dakota 38, ” http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/12/26/commemoration-of-the150th-anniversary-of-the-hanging-of-the-dakota-38/

    373 01/12/13 Minneapolis and St. Paul Declare U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 “Genocide,” http://dwkcommentaries.com/2013/01/12/minneapolis-and-st-paul-declare-the-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862-genocide/

    347 11/18/12 Remembering the U.S.-Dakota War at Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church (Part I), http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/11/18/the-u-s-dakota-war-remembered-by-minneapolis-westminster-presbyterian-church-part-i/

    350 11/25/12 Remembering the U.S.-Dakota War at Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church (Part II), http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/11/25/the-u-s-dakota-war-remembered-by-minneapolis-westminster-presbyterian-church-part-ii/

    351 11/29/12 Remembering the U.S.-Dakota War at Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church (Part III), http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/11/29/the-u-s-dakota-war-remembered-by-minneapolis-westminster-presbyterian-church-part-iii/

    357 12/10/12 Personal Reflections on the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2012/12/10/personal-reflections-on-the-u-s-dakota-war-of-1862/

    387 02/13/13 Jurisdictional Black Hole for Certain Violent Crimes by Non-Indian Men Against Indian Women on Indian Reservations, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2013/02/13/jurisdictional-black-hole-for-certain-violent-crimes-by-non-indian-men-against-indian-women-on-indian-reservations/

    394 03/01/13 Congress Passes Violence Against Women Act of 2013, http://dwkcommentaries.com/2013/03/01/congress-passes-violence-against-women-act-of-2013/

    • I simply believe that in Christ, all have authority to confess sin at any point in human history. The Enemy can’t hold those for generations thise whom G-d has forgiven. I believe the Lord encouraged the Church to: wrestle, reason, debate, ponder, sit in silence, listen, and basically every other term of dialogue with Him. We can pray specifically and accurately because that is His mind. Thanks!

  5. What a wonderful idea! I have a keen interest in history and nearly majored in history as an undergrad. I love studying Jesus’ geopolitical world but never thought of praying through history! I will visit your blog often. Thank you for stopping by TheNoontimes.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I find yours fascinating. A New Hampshirite now I have pieces of my grandmother’s brief biography of her mother arriving in Minnesota in the 1870’s and have found it deeply meaningful.

  7. A great way to share history! I always thought Minnesota was beautiful.. I derived my thoughts from Little House.. was the series really filmed there? I wish they still made shows like that today.. Thank God for old archives 🙂

  8. “I want to encourage site visitors to view the past in terms of how we as a race of humans have broken with the Lord in our dealings with one another — and to acknowledge those points of separation, live more freely in the present, and pass blessings to future generations instead of curses…”
    This is Christ in action. I am in awe.

  9. I find it hard to concentrate well enough to handle long posts very well, but I do scan your writings and agree with the ministry you are so passionate about. I also like to pray your prayers with you. Blessings on your ministry. And thanks for visiting my post on occasion.

  10. I do not recommend that you change your articles. It is just that at 87, I find it harder to focus than I did in former times. I obtained a doctorate in ministry in 2005 so I kept with the long hard stuff a long time! I even wrote a thesis then. I do lose focus now, or I’ve just gotten lazy. 😀

  11. ‘I want to encourage site visitors to view the past in terms of how we as a race of humans have broken with the Lord in our dealings with one another — and to acknowledge those points of separation.”
    Thank you. We need Christian personal insight and conscience.

    • Thanks Cindy! It’s good for me to see the natural beauty you capture… After dealing with all the complexities of historical issues. Sometimes our eyes just need to see something that requires no words!

  12. Howdy. I blog at http://www.therichesofchrist.com and you recently visited my site. I read your entry about a governor of Minnesota and I agreed with your points and really appreciate your writing as an open discourse with our Father. I published a book last year, The River of God – Always Flowing. I want believers to be aware of the deep current of spiritual life in the US through our history. I focus on the church rather than those godly men who have served in government. After all, the first century church was too involved in the work of the kingdom of God than earthly government. Yet I know we do not live in, nor can we return to the first century. We, His church, need a greater measure of heavenly, eternal perspective. John received such on Patmos and so would later write that it is the last hour. And he wrote that 2000 years ago. Blessings, grace, peace, and increased wisdom to you, brother.

    • Thanks Mark! I will check it out. Everything is contingent on a right relationship w/ the Father. Why the ekklesia has chosen to remember like their neighbors is a mystery. We have unlimited access to grace and truth; why can’t we learn and practice to remember like Him?

  13. That is a very deep thought. I appreciate it. I have learned that we have the mind of Christ and are learning the heart of the Father. They are one. Yet I cannot get away from their conversation in the garden. We do not hear what the Father says to Jesus. Was he silent and so Jesus knew to simply go on? God chooses to forget our failures when we acknowledge them as such. We must choose to move on but I cannot help but remember our missteps as disciples. There are some who are believers but not all follow the Lord. Here is the point where I must simply defer to the Lord who knows the hearts of men better than I. Have you ever read any T. Austin-Sparks, or Harry Foster?

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