Saintly Defiance

It should be said quite clearly that there’s no definitive history available for the person known as “St. Valentine.” Today is, of course, the day we celebrate in his honor, whoever he was. “Valentine” was, once-upon-a-time, a very popular name for men, since its root word is “Valor.”
Archeologists have, in fact, uncovered a shrine to St. Valentine in the netherlayers of ancient Rome. So, that lends credence to the idea that, whoever he was, he was a real guy.
But here’s something interesting. Among the many St. Valentine legends is one that tells how he secretly married couples who had been forbidden to marry by Emperor Claudius II of Rome.
For this, he was apparently beheaded by the Emperor, but beloved by the Christians of his day.
Sooo… to review….
Defying the marriage law of his day –marrying couples who were in love and desired to be wed but could not under the laws of the state– is how he got remembered with reverence, and eventually becomes a Saint.
Maybe these friends of mine –whom some claim have broken our clergy covenant just by signing this statement– aren’t so heretical after all. Well over 1,000 United Methodist clergy, nationwide, have signed this (or similar) statements, saying that if asked they will perform weddings for gay or lesbian couples.
Lot’s of folks are up in arms about this. 
So, it’s worth remembering that many of the revered “saints” of the church became so because they stood up to the conventional wisdom of their time, the “Powers That Be” of their day.
In the long view of history, many we call “heretics” the Church later calls “Saints.” 

It’s worth remembering.
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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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