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.
(As always, if you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too…) 

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. Eric is an avid blogger and published author. Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. 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. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy.

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