Handsome Lake Legend of morality

My MN Men’s Conference brothers posted this. It’s a little dry at first, but eventually gets rolling, if you’re into this sort of thing. The “sort of thing” I’m talking about is connecting a spiritual tradition to modern science. This is almost impossible to do with Christianity, even in its most allegorical sense. But with native Americans, and other indigenous, well, see what you think.

Just before 20 minutes, they are talking about the downside of modernity encroaching on their traditional ways, that is, alcohol, sugary diets, and disconnection from the land. Oren tells a story from 1799, a time of turmoil for the eastern nations. Before you ask, I looked up the guy he talks about, and he became quite the fundamentalist, not Christian, but definitely strict with the rules.

Handsome Lake biography, birth date, birth place and pictures (browsebiography.com)

Oren skips by that. You can listen if you want, basically, this guy has some visions of a future of destruction, of polluted water, and food that doesn’t grow. The message, Oren says, “It’s certain these things will happen, but it’s up to each generation to see that it doesn’t”. Note how there is NO intervening God here, it’s essentially nature speaking, saying, take care of the earth and it will take care of you. Great spirit will give you vision, but it ain’t gonna do the laundry. Put the 7th generation ahead of yourself, and nature will take care of you.

Later, at 38 minutes he comes back to talking about the law. The law says if you poison your water, you’ll suffer, there is no discussion. They didn’t need science to come up with that, but it has been confirmed. When you’re dealing in the time of the oak tree, when you kill that tree with a chainsaw, it takes ten minutes to destroy something that took 400 years to grow. So, technology has taken over common sense. If you don’t have a reference point, you can get your generation into a whole lot of trouble.

Not bad for people we tried to kill and destroy their history.