Jamestown Lessons on Faith and Government

There are so many places I could share with you from my trip to D.C. and Virginia, but today, I want to leave you with just one more: Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

The second day of the Alpha Omega Academy trip took us to Jamestown, or rather, the scale-size model of that first community that sits on the opposite side of the James River where the actual excavation site lies.

There, we encountered replicas of the three ships that brought the first settlers to American soil: the Godspeed, the Discovery, and the Susan Constant. Next, we explored a Powhatan Indian village and the fort itself, including the church where members, according to our tour guide, were required to attend several times a day or risk severe punishment.

You see, the church of Jamestown was a transplant of the Anglican state church of England, and other types of worshipers (including Puritans and Catholics) were prohibited.

In other words, the “freedom of religion” guaranteed to Americans today was not available in this first community. However, in 1791, the first amendment of our Bill of Rights made that freedom not only possible, but also a Constitutional right.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …

The reason for “separation of church and state” is not meant to take God out of government. Rather, it is to ensure the freedom to practice one’s faith and prevent America from following England’s example of a state church.

Still, despite the restrictions Jamestown imposed on religious freedom, the colony reveals how important faith was to the early settlers. It was not something to be taken lightly but a vital and integral part of life.

Parting thought: Thankfully, no state church requires us to attend mandatory services. However, Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us not to neglect church fellowship, because it’s essential to our spiritual growth. Do you take church for granted? What benefits do believers reap from spending time in God’s house?

~ Kristen

 

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Jamestown Lessons on Faith and Government – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Heritage in American History: Jefferson Memorial

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of chaperoning Alpha Omega Academy’s first field trip to Washington, D.C. Students from the states and abroad converged at Dulles and Reagan airports to start a week-long tour of our nation’s capital.

Never having been to D.C., I soaked up the history and culture like a sponge. Day after day, I witnessed landmarks that revealed our country’s faith-based heritage and the wisdom of our early leaders.

Blessed. That’s how this trip made me feel. Not only was I thrilled to explore “history” with an amazing group of students and chaperones, but I also felt as though God had given me a gift, an affirmation for my new trilogy.

One theme in my new release The Revisionary is rediscovering heritage to find hope for the future. Over the next few posts, I’d like to share first-hand glimpses into that heritage from our nation’s capital.

The Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of our Declaration of Independence and a man known for his eloquent pen.

The rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial bears inscriptions, excerpts from documents he wrote.

Consider this piece from one of his writings, engraved in the rotunda. The first line expresses his acknowledgment of and respect toward God as the Creator of life and liberty.

Were our early leaders perfect? Of course not. Did they make mistakes? Yes, they did. Many people think Jefferson himself was a Deist or heavily influenced by those beliefs, but regardless, he recognized God’s hand in America’s destiny.

Parting thought: Jefferson believed that God was the giver of life and liberty. What other “gifts” has God given you? Are you thankful for them? Count your blessings today.

~ Kristen

 

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Heritage in History at the Jefferson Memorial – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)