By Tom Ehrich

TUBA CITY, AZ -- I start today on the Hopi tribe's side of the highway, across from the much larger Navajo Nation. I will spend today driving east across Navajo land and crossing into New Mexico.

This journey is turning out to be different from what I expected. I thought I would be going deep inside, thinking about my faith and my life, and seeking God's fresh words for me.

Instead, I find my attention drawn outside myself. Here on the rez, where poverty is endemic after 150 years of white agression, I am acutely aware of the injustices that whites visited upon the Navajo, as well as on other native populations.

That recognition, in turn, has opened my eyes to a white-power insurgency going on across the country. It is corrupting our political discourse, because it cannot be talked about openly. We talk about welfare fraud, voter fraud, illegal immigrants – but the targets are non-whites, not cheaters.

I thought I would be seeing the desolate desert and making spiritual connection with many generations of seekers drawn to wilderness. But instead of seeking the holy flame inside, I am led to confront the human ugliness outside -- an ugliness made all the more disturbing by the majestic setting of desert, canyons, rock formations and vast sky.

That recognition of injustice and suffering is very much the stuff of God, of course, just not what I expected. I sense God leading me to experience the tragedies and cruelty going on outside the tent. If so, this "two-lane theology" will take a different direction from what I envisioned.

The journey inside might still happen down the road. I think God wants both for us. But my one promise on this pilgrimage was to see whatever there was to see, no matter how surprising or discomfiting.

If what I see is cause for outrage, then I have ample company in prophets like Amos.