Tag Archives: faith

Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God – A Widow Rekindles Her History Joy

Ever since Joe’s passing I’ve been rediscovering and/or reinventing who I am. The first step was upgrading from film to a DSLR camera, the next step was reading books, then came unemployment followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogging. That is what widowhood is all about – moving forward with creating a new life while not forgetting the old one.

Now I am on to rekindling an old flame – history.

This summer I read Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God; The Role Of Christianity In The American Revolution by Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.

History always fascinated me and was my best subject in school. Once I got out in the working world, my love of history did not occupy much of my time. My interest was slowly been rekindled over the past few years but has intensified this summer. History brings me joy.

However, in school I do not recall getting much of an education about Christianity’s role in our founding. My teachers may have casually mentioned it. So I did some research on Amazon about Christianity and our founding. Dr. Stackhouse Jr’s book was one of the search results and I found the title intriguing.

His book is packed or should I say stacked with quotes from and information about the founding fathers and their faith. There is so much information I found this post hard to write because I want to include everything.

Here is my best shot at a general overview with some quotes scattered through out.

The title of the book comes from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson proposed seal for the United States, which is on page 98 and the book’s cover.

They Had A Dream

The founding fathers had a dream, a dream of a country where man was not under the rule of tyrannical leaders imposing taxes on it’s citizens. A country of the people, by the people and for the people where man was free to choose and create his own destiny.

They Had Faith

But bringing this dream to life was in going to be what most would say is an impossible dream. However our founders had the faith to know that nothing is impossible with God.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26
King James Version (KJV)

Their faith in God is the one thing that I quickly noticed when reading in the book. It was a strong faith, a passionate faith, a faith unlike what we see and experience today. These men KNEW their Bible and applied it to everyday life.

Our faith today is sterile, sanitized and bleached out. It’s too formal, to routine, to bland in fact it is down right too establishment-like. But that is a subject for another post.

#EarlyInfluencer

The Apostle Paul talks about submission to those in authority in Romans 13 as God put them there. It is generally interpreted as blind obedience to whoever is in authority.

However, Puritan minister Johnathan Mayhew (1720-1766) of the West Church in Boston gave a sermon on Romans 13 where he stated obedience to whoever is the ruler applies ONLY when the leader is being kind to his people. If he is imposing things, like taxes on tea, he is not being kind. Since he is not doing God’s will, we have a duty to rebel against the tyrant.

If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king, merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare, (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of) it follows, by a parity of reason, that when the turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and to destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him and to resist.

Johnathan Mayhew
Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH. D.
pg. 13

Mayhew’s sermon was given on the 51st anniversary of King Charles I’s execution after the English Civil war of the 1840’s.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (emphasis mine)

Matthew 22:37-39
King James Version (KJV)

Obviously imposing taxes or other nasty things on people is not loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Therefore we the people have the right to rebel against tyrannical rulers.

Preaching Politics

There were even sermons about politics preached from the pulpit in the pre-revolutionary war years. Sermons about God being almighty, powerful and the ultimate ruler. Understanding this puts into the power of kings and queens into perspective as they are mere mortals like the rest of us.

Knowing God is the almighty gave them courage to boldly proceed with the fighting for our right to be free from England and the tyrannical rule of King George III.

The Country’s One Foundation

American historian Henry F. May best explains the answer as to why Christianity played a role in our founding:

A great many people believed throughout the period that the religion of the Bible, understood best by simple people, was the safest foundation for all essential truths.

On the whole, various forms of Protestant Christianity served the emotional needs of most Americans better.

Henry F. May
American Historian and Margaret Byrne Professor Of History
University of California, Berkeley
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 43

Christianity is about a loving God who wants a relationship with all of us because we are his children. However, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He sent Jesus down to rescue us because God knew we would never be able to work our way up to heaven. Our good deeds towards others prove we are saved by God’s grace.

It is that simple. And that is how I like my religion – simple. No fancy, foo-foo, frilly religion for me. Foo-foo belongs on evening and wedding gowns. Life was hard back in the 1700’s and is still hard now, therefore religion needs to be simple.

Christianity And The Declaration

With Biblical principles so entrenched in people’s minds it only made sense to use them in the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

The Declaration of Independence
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 60

The words were discussed and discussed until everyone could agree upon them because:

The Declaration had to be acceptable to all of the American People “if Congress expected them to live by it and die for it.” wrote Rod Gragg.

Forged in Faith How Faith Shaped the Birth of the Nation 1607 – 1776 by Rod Gragg
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 60

Dr. Stackhouse, Jr. points out that while Thomas Jefferson (writer of The Declaration) did not acknowledge a personal salvation experience, he agreed with Jesus’s teaching. He was also suspicious of religious institution and their leaders.

[Christ’s] system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that ha sever been taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D
pg 62

Guess it is a good thing you are not alive today, Thomas. There are a lot of preachers and religious leaders that you would cause you to raise an eyebrow. (By the way, antient is an archaic variation of the world ancient per Merriam Webster.)

“But Wait, There’s More!”

There is more information in this book than I can cover in this blog post – freedom of speech, the Great Awakening, and separation of church and state (spoiler: it does not mean what you think it means) are just a few topics I did not cover.

There are also more quotes from other men such as Benjamin Franklin, Pastor William Sherwood, and George Washington.

I highly recommend Dr. Stackhouse, Jr’s book Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God; The Role Of Christianity In The American Revolution. It is only 102 pages but the wisdom and knowledge in those pages is vast and profound.

In fact, it would make a great election year Bible Study.

“And The World Will Be Better For This”

It took courage and guts to work tirelessly at fighting for our freedom from England and establishing this country. Their effort is something that we take for granted today.

The world is better because of the founding fathers and their “marching into hell for a heavenly cause.”

To them and to God I humbly and simply say:

Thank you.

The Legal Pad: All links in this post are non-affiliate links.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, co-facilitating a grief support group, and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Remarriage: An Eye Opening Perspective

One of the books I’ve given grieving people is Healing After Loss; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. My copy was given to me by Joe’s Aunt at his wake. You read one page per day of this little book.

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The devotions are not geared towards any religion. There are quotes from authors, scriptures from the Bible and proverbs from other religions. After each quote, there are thoughts from the author and then at the end a one-sentence thought/prayer. I enjoyed reading this book and my copy is now in 2 pieces. It fell apart at April 17th, which is the day I started reading it.

Time For A Re-Read 

Since this year is the 10th anniversary of his passing and our 25th wedding anniversary, I decided to read this book again. Now for some reason January – March is much neglected. I do not know why and I’m kind of wishing I did not have this brilliant idea to read through it again because God showed me a different perspective on remarriage.

Today’s devotional is very brief but powerful and deals with the hole left behind by a loved one’s passing.

The quote is:

It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty.

Goethe

Whitmore-Hickman’s thought is:

Not that we can’t tell the difference. Not that we are being disloyal. But if life gives us something else to do with all those impulses toward the one no longer with us, how can we not be grateful? It’s like an extra inheritance -a blessing even- from the one we have lost, going to someone else who needs what we have to give. So we are refreshed by the memory of the loved one, and at the same time offering a gift, creating a new relationship.

The thought/prayer is:

Keep me on the lookout for someone who needs me now. 

Ouch! God.

So the love and commitment I gave Joe in our marriage, needs to be given to someone else, a new relationship, with a new man. I never thought of remarriage that way until today.

Remarriage scares me. I am afraid I would get hitched to a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type of person. He is sweet and loving until we are pronounced husband and wife. Plus, blending two households is a lot of work. Houses would have to be sold and a new one bought. He would have to get along with Joe’s family as well as mine, then I would have to get along with his family.  UGH!  Too much work, too much stress.

Yes, I know if the right person came along, all the work would be worth it.

Other Relationships

This devotional can be applied to any relationship and not just the loss of a spouse. If you lost a daughter, as Whitmore-Hickman did, then you find an opportunity to “mother” another child. Whether it is through a mentoring program such as Kid’s Hope, teaching Sunday School, or spending more time with the single neighbor lady’s child.

But obviously, I see this from the perspective of a widow and remarriage.

Still Recommend? 

It’s almost 10 years since I first read this book. I loved it then and I still love it and still recommend it. My suggestion is when you give this to someone, keep a copy for yourself and read it together. You could email each other daily or meet weekly to discuss the devotions. I know the grieving person would appreciate having someone walk through the devotional journey with him/her.

 

red-rose_signatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of red roses and golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

 

Thankfulness – Adelaide Anne Proctor

Happy Thanksgiving my dear readers! May you find a reason to give thanks even if you are grieving or working through another nasty life event.

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Here is a poem I found from A Sacrifice of Praise, Second Edition, An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century; Edited by James H. Trott.

May you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Thankfulness

My God, I thank thee who hast made

The earth so bright;

So full of splendour and of joy,

Beauty and light;

So many glorious things are here,

Noble and right!

 

I thank thee, too, that thou hast made

Joy to abound;

So many gentle thoughts and deeds

Circling us round,

That on earth darkest spot of earth

Some love is found.

 

I thank thee more that all our joy

Is touched with pain;

That shadows fall on brightest hours;

That thorns remain;

So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,

And not our chain.

 

For though who knowest, Lord, how soo

Our weak heart clings,

Hast given us joys, tender and true,

Yet all with wings,

So that we see, gleaming on high,

Diviner things!

 

I thank thee, Lord, that though hast kept

The best in store;

We have enough, yet not too much

To long for more:

A yearning for a deeper peace,

Not known before.

 

I thank thee, Lord, that here our souls,

Though amply blest

Can never find, although they seek,

A perfect rest –

Nor ever shall, until they lean

On Jesus’ breast.

 

Adelaide Anne Proctor

(1825 – 1864)

 

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while working as a call center team leader, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

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