When Walt was a little boy, he had a vision that God gave him and he would never forget. This vision showed him as a father, with a little girl named Chloe. But, not everything worked out the way he expected. God had a bigger plan, and when you hear about it, you will get the chills!
God may give us the most amazing visions and ideas in our lives, but we may not always get everything as soon as we want it. God has a plan and we must trust in His plans and vision for us. In this case, Walt and Annie had been a happily married couple, who had been struggling with infertility for quite a while. They were always imagining a baby girl, and hoping to one day call it Chloe, and nothing seemed to be going right for them. Walt eventually lost hope in his promise from God.
Until one day, they received a life-changing email. This is the moment they realized that God had been writing a beautiful story for them that was 20 years in the making. God's plan is always greater than our own, and this story is a beautiful proof of that. more >>
Marriage has always been at the center of politics. In most of the world it is used to solve problems—to settle dynastic disputes, to distribute property, or to join one family to another. Within this construct, women in many countries still have no legal right or choice as to whom or when they marry. Historically, the struggle to control marriage has initiated civil wars, deposed monarchs and even created churches. Today, the issue of marriage bitterly divides Americans, most of whom misunderstand the First Amendment and the oft-misappropriated phrase "separation between church and state."
It was not until the 16th century that the government began to oversee marriage. It never had previously—only churches and synagogues recorded and regulated birth, marriage, sex, and death.
After 16th century protestant reformers overhauled the existing quasi- church-state relationship, marriage ordinances previously overseen by the Roman church were transferred to the secular state. Martin Luther, the German Catholic priest who initiated the first Protestant Reformation said marriage was a "worldly thing ... that belongs to the realm of government." John Calvin, his Swiss counterpart, reformulated Christian marriage by enacting the Marriage Ordinance of Geneva, which imposed "The dual requirements of state registration and church consecration to constitute marriage" as valid. more >>
I would say that my position on how a Christian should (or shouldn't) engage in the sphere of public policy has shifted pretty significantly over the past year and a half. I remember sitting with a friend from church in a little French café in Uptown New Orleans toward the end of 2013 and debating with him over whether or not Christians should publicly advocate for the preservation of traditional marriage. I, like many Millennial Christians, believed that the church should disengage from political conversations and keep their opinions within the confines of the voting booth.
The foundation for my position was the catchy "you can't legislate morality" line. And this is true – you can't legislate morality. Christians can't force-feed our beliefs about sexuality or marriage down unbelieving throats. We can't make disciples through the legislative process. The church isn't going to make this country a true "Christian country" by winning the culture war on marriage. Spiritual life – the Christian life – is only perpetuated through the gospel of the crucified and risen God who saves the ungodly. That's it.
But as I said, my position has shifted significantly since this debate with my friend a couple years ago. Here are a few reasons why my mind has been changed: more >>
While I was at the Supreme Court for the hearing on same-sex marriage, a daughter of former Senator and current presidential candidate Rick Santorum got up to speak at a podium in front of the large crowd in front of the building. Immediately, a young man behind me began to shout "UGLY! UGLY! UGLY!"
He went on but, as the second verse was the same as the first, I'll stop at three "uglies."
Annoyed, I turned around and said calmly, "Just let her speak." The young man with the operatic lungs began carrying on about the young Ms. Santorum, her/our bigotry and hatred, etc. An older woman next to him – his mother? – pulled on his sleeve and whispered something like, "that's enough." He did not heed her. more >>
The other day I was with a group singing the National Anthem. When we got to the part about "the land of the free," the word didn't come out. I got as far as "the land of the ---." But I froze with the word "free" on my lips.
I was thinking about what I had read earlier that very day. A bureaucrat in these United States has ruled that a good Christian family of seven must face bankruptcy because they have supposedly caused a lesbian couple $135,000 worth of pain and suffering.
In fact, a complaint by one of the lesbians was that she "felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful." And what was this terrible deed that was done? The bakers declined to make a wedding cake to celebrate the lesbian couple's "wedding"---because the bakers' religious convictions would not allow them to. more >>
Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States, but what actually guides her? The only currently declared candidate for the Democratic ticket was raised in the Methodist tradition and continues to practice that faith today. Here are six interesting facts about Clinton's faith as it relates to her candidacy and personal life.
1) Clinton was raised in the First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, Illinois, and wrote in her book It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us that "religion figures in my earliest memories of my family. Our spiritual life as a family was spirited and constant. We talked with God, walked with God, ate, studied and argued with God. Each night, we knelt by our beds to pray before we went to sleep."
After winning the presidential election in 1996, the Clintons attended Washington's Foundry United Methodist Church, and Hillary participated in a bipartisan prayer group for women. more >>