HuffPo: Church in Michigan blends Indian and Christian traditions
"Smoke wafts upward as the Rev. Mike Peters blows on the Knick-Knick, a sacred herbal blend of spearmint leaves, red willow bark, sage, sweet grass and bayberry bush.

"As the smoke goes up, the Creator's blessings go down," Peters says. A dozen people sitting in a circle listen as he prays.

"I pray for the healing of hearts," Peters says. "In the name of Jesus, we claim back our culture so we may glorify him again."

To Peters and other local American Indians who yearn to discover or reclaim their cultural and religious heritage, the 4 Fires Ministries service, or circle, can offer a bridge between Christian and Native American spirituality.

The burning of Knick-Knick, a centuries-old ritual, is a case in point. The smoldering herbs are believed to absorb prayers sent to the Great Spirit, or in 4 Fires' case, the Holy Spirit.

To the uninitiated who are accustomed to a Eurocentric model of worship, such rituals may be considered anathema to Christianity. Such a mindset is familiar to local First Nations people, many of whom were taught that blending their culture and Christianity is unchristian and pagan, even satanic."

Get the Story:
American Indian and Christian Beliefs Blend at Michigan Church (Religion News Service / The Huffington Post 10/29)