Thoughts on Independence Day, Part 2

Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder. — GEORGE WASHINGTON

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. — GEORGE WASHINGTON

The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. — JOHN ADAMS

Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. — ALEXANDER HAMILTON

A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one. — ALEXANDER HAMILTON (NOTE: I really don’t like those “TWEET THIS” features, but in this case… TWEET THIS QUOTE!!!!)

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. — THOMAS JEFFERSON

“The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too they would never forget.” ― David McCullough, 1776

 

 

Founding documents

We are getting ready to sell our church building and have had people doing some clean out projects. I am thankful some folks going through some old files recognized some buried treasure. In the old boxes were the first Constitution and ByLaws of our church and this announcement calling for the first official meeting of the church to set up as an official organization.

Founding of Peoples Church

When our church was founded it was as Peoples Church in 1943. It then became Columbia Heights Assembly of God and we now operate as Heights Church. We are shifting buildings, but we are still on “mission.”

It’s gratifying to see the goodness of the Lord all through this church’s history. It is a powerful reminder to pray for fresh anointing as we move ahead!

What is My History?

I am attending my first Society for Pentecostal Studies meeting, mainly because it is on the campus where I teach. The event has been a good one for me. The sessions have been a learning experience. I am keeping track of big words I need to look up later. 🙂

A plenary session I attended has challenged my thinking in many ways. The presenter was a Native American Pentecostal who talked about the holistic approach of the Native American mentality and how that relates so wonderfully to a full message of the gospel in Scripture. There was a lot I need to digest later through reading the paper.

One area that sparked my interest was how Native Americans introduce themselves. He said they have to review their history. History is vital to who they are as a people. To know him you have to know his history, his ancestors, his people.

I have a deep love for history and if there is anything that bothers me it is our complete disinterest in the subject. So, he had my interest. Then, I was suddenly lost. I do not really know much of my family’s history. It’s not from a lack of trying on our part. But when we’ve had some who have immigrated to the U.S., or were adopted, and didn’t keep good records, history only goes so far.

So, how do I introduce myself? I am challenged by the thought. As a Westerner, it is typical to introduce myself and say, “I am… ” But that is not completely accurate. I have a history. Something has brought me to this point. People. Circumstances. Events. God’s story.

Where I am today is a result of an ongoing story. I think of that even in terms of the Church. When I understand Orthodox belief, they have a sense of history. What they believe theologically can be traced back to the apostles. There is a known line of thought that doesn’t break through the centuries. History.

What informs me as a Christian is historical. A great cloud of witnesses that helps inform my faith. They feed my faith. In one session yesterday there was an exaltation of John Wesley and a bashing of Martin Luther. Well, both of those great leaders inform my faith. They are part of my story. I am hesitant to take swings at certain figures in history, even when I know some of their grievous mistakes (and  Luther certainly had a few).

I stand in this stream of life because of great men and women who have gone before. It is a great heritage. I am thankful. It creates who I am.