I am honored to review this marvelous book by James C. Washburn, a retired teacher living in Marshfield. This book has reached #4 on the Amazon Best Seller list for Spirituality.

A white infant is orphaned in northern Canada and is adopted by a childless Ojibwa/Inuit couple. The young boy enjoys the beautiful environment and is lovingly raised with full awareness of the Spirit Within. He goes south for seminary and becomes a pastor where he loses touch with the Spirit.

When his father dies, he returns to his childhood home and finds letters written by his grandfather, Minominike. His education and vocation are challenged by the truth in his grandfather’s letters. He eventually finds peace after struggling with the meaning and purpose of life.

James Washburn bases his writing on “his connections to native North American Indian and Inuit people, as well as a deep personal spiritual history in traditional Christianity.”

Touching Spirit (2)“He speaks to the universal desires of the human heart with simplicity and passion.”

“The author of the letters draws from both Christian and native spirituality. He reads the revelation of the Great Mystery in creation and hears the voice in his heart. He does not promote a religious system to be a part of life but rather he demonstrates the total incorporation of spirituality into life.”

“ From the past he speaks to us as one who ‘looks within’ to ‘look beyond’ in order to behold the glorious and inspiring truth of our fundamental harmony and oneness with creation, the human family and our Creator.”

For our help in reading, there is a glossary of Native American terms. The map shows sites from the book. In the back of the book is a synopsis of each of the 43 letters.

I was intrigued by the book and felt like I was talking with the characters as I read the letters. I marveled at how they lived off and with the land. Human relationships were very important as were relationships with the earth, sun and moon.

I became aware of the different legends of Native Americans. Each animal has lessons to teach us, including the bear and the wolf and the turtle. The raven holds a special place in native legends and adds humor to the book.

You will learn about the Teaching of the Four Directions as well as the Seven Fires. Best of all for me were the reflections and I will share a few of them:

“You have the meaning of this story in your heart since birth.”

shapeimage_4“The Word is in your heart, not spoken with worldly language or sound.”

“The complexity of my life had isolated me from Creation’s divine communion.”

“Absolute Love has always been with us.”

TOUCHING SPIRIT: The Letters of Minominike is available from Barnes & Noble online, Amazon online and can be ordered through bookstores. You may order from the website:


Jim Washburn has received correspondence about the book from Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Kenya, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and most states in the USA.