Sunday, November 18, 2012

On September 20, we were privileged to welcome Dr. Terry Leblanc (Mi'kmaq /Acadian) to Knoxville, where he participated in the Veritas Forum at the University of Tennessee. Terry is helping to lead the North American Institute For Indigenous Theological Studies, which I participate in now. October 7, I flew out for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to meet with Dr. Doug Beacham, General Superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church and Re. Darrell Rice, Administrative Bishop of the Church of God in Oklahoma and Kansas. Accompanying me on those meetings was J.C. Elliot (Cherokee/Osage), an Indian holy man, which has been a mentor to me in the Indian tradition. Those meetings concerned the situation of Native American missions in the Oklahoma area, by some standards, the largest population density of Native Americans in the U.S. (approximately 266,000). My time with J.C. strengthened my knowledge of Native affairs in Oklahoma. I intend to go back soon. J.C. and I flew out of Oklahoma City and spent October 9-16 in the area of Sturgis, South Dakota, where we participated in prayer ceremonies on Bear Butte along with representatives from Sioux Falls Seminary, Northern Cheyenne and Sicangu Lakota leaders. It was a wonderful time that marked 7 years to the day since my personal call to Indian ministry, and the 36th year of J.C.’s journeys to Bear Butte with Iron Eyes Cody and many others. I met a number of Indian leaders at the base camp from several areas. I have compiled a rather lengthy (55 minutes) slide show on DVD for any that would request it for the cost of shipping.
A highlight of this trip was getting to visit Pine Ridge Reservation, where we toured Red Cloud Indian School, Rosebud Reservation and the site of Wounded Knee. All were very moving and emotionally charged for me. October 15 , we accompanied J.C. to the Black Hills Astronomical Society, in Rapid City, where he lectured on his years as NASA Retrofire Officer, having received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for charting the Apollo 13 astronauts back to earth. He was the first Native person to ever work for NASA.
On October 27, I performed a wedding for a fellow staff member at Life Bridges. Linda Rotelli’s wedding was held at Red Clay Council Grounds (Cherokee-Cleveland TN) during the Inter-tribal Powwow. I was pleased to find out that Linda, having been raised in the Navajo Nation had served Seminoles in Florida, who had developmental disabilities. I continue to meet more and more health care workers who have served Natives and am encouraged to see where it will all lead. On November 10, I completed the article for Religious Studies Review on Randy Woodley’s, Shalom & the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision (Eerdmans 2012). It is a short review that I was honored to write. As you all can see, I continue to follow the three areas of concern for this ministry (empowering leaders, education and health care) and appreciate your continued prayers. All donations should be made out to Bethel World Outreach Church and mailed to me at 154 Holt Drive, Loudon TN 37774.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Book Release

This week, my dissertation was released as a published book. Thanks to Dr. Lee Roy Martin and Dr. Chris Thomas for making this possible. The description reads: This important study examines the significance of traditional Native American practices in Pentecostal worship and observes how members of the Native American Contextual Movement integrate these practices. Alexander suggests missiological implications of traditional Native American practices in Pentecostal worship and church life. He addresses the development of the powwow movement and pan-Indianism as an important sociological phenomena paving the way for inter-tribal ministry. He surveys the history of Native American ministries in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) and traces the development of a pneumatological Pentecostal theology of religions and the use of sacred objects in Pentecostalism. By using participant observation, personal interviews, and case studies, Alexander investigates examples of active contextualization and discovers how contextualized traditional practices enhance Native Pentecostal worship and mission. The study focuses on six traditional practices that are being contextualized in Native Pentecostal churches: language, smudging, drums and rattles, dance, talking circles, and ceremony. Alexander argues that implementing these contextualized practices in Pentecostal worship reduces syncretism and moves people closer to God. To order the book go here.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


August 18-21 I spent time in the Billings, Montana area. I attended the great Crow Fair, where 30-50,000 Native Americans celebrate with one of the largest powwows, including all indian rodeo, parade and many other great events. At the Crow Fair, I was blessed to get to connect with Pastor Ken Pretty on Top and his sons at a interfaith church service held at the camp arbor. Pastor Ken is having great success at Crow Agency and has been holding this service at the Crow Fair for about 25 years. He is a tender and powerful leader.
The next couple of days I spent with Pastor Josh Charette, Jerry Goins and Billy Johnson, visiting two programs that serve Natives battling with alcohol and other issues. The first one was held at Montana Rescue Mission, where pastor Josh helps to lead a men's meeting that clearly is meeting a vital need for urban indians in Billings. The next day we visited New Day Ranch, where we met a number of teenagers, and participated with them in the morning at their therapeutic drum group. This was especially wonderful, as we were led in traditional Northern and even Southern drum songs that carry great weight in Native traditions such as Blackfoot and others. It continues to be clear that there are very few long term care facilities for Natives with intellectual disabilities, however. The trip was fruitful and attended with wonderful hospitality. Montana is always beautiful.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I'm Back!

Hey Friends, I haven't blogged in a few years and since my Native American Services work is increasing, I was asked to blog about my travels and experiences which will be increasing rapidly, thanks to a number of supporters that have stepped up. I was in Chicago for the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies. There I was accompanied by JR Lilly, who will soon be working with Dr. Richard Twiss of Wiconi International. It was a great time that culminated in a cedar ceremony in the middle of the courtyard of Wheaton College. I was gratified to have my dissertation cited in Richard's presentation. I will soon be in Montana and Arizona and will try to keep you updated through this revived blog.