Thankful: The Complex Tapestry of American History

The United States of America is – like every person we meet and any nation we study – beautiful and broken. Her history is filled with saints and sinners, imperial oppression and unprecedented liberty. As we gather around tables and express our gratitude to God and each other, here are some paradoxical facts that are part of our historical tapestry:

Exilic and Influential: Church and Society in a Pluralistic Age

The American Experiment continues as a beacon of freedom in a world where billions live under oppression. Our founders and framers made many mistakes (especially retaining slavery and failing to start the road to emancipation, among others.). As the Bill of Rights was presented, the first sixteen words of the First Amendment changed history: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” For the first time among modern nations, there is no state religion and the federal government cannot interfere in freedom of conscience or faith. This is NOT a prohibition of religious influences in politics or public speech. The “wall of separation” Jefferson affirmed in later writings was protection for religious communities, not divorcing faith from society.