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WORDS FROM FRIENDS

TO DRINK FROM THE SILVER CUP


This piece first appeared in The Gallup Independent on August 13, 2016. Reprinted with permission.

NEEDING HOME



Nelson Willy (not his real name) became a convert to Christianity while my father was a missionary in the Navajo Nation. After becoming a church member, Mr. Willy lived as a Christian for more than fifty years. Not long after he passed away, I had a conversation with Nelson Willy’s nephew. Robert told me, “Near the end of his life, Nelson started singing the old songs again.” He meant traditional Diné songs.

When I was growing up, Protestant mission churches had a definite policy that Navajo ways and Christianity could not mix. I don’t see that embracing Navajo traditions needs to be incompatible with being a Christian, and that rule is even changing in the church of my youth somewhat. In his case, however, Mr. Willy had gone against Read More 
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