Friday, December 25, 2009

Why Church History?

When I began homeschooling our son in his fifth grade year, I searched for American history curriculum that began with the history of the Louisiana purchase. The state of Missouri was formed out of it and served as a highway to the pioneers immigrating west. Field trips to nearby historical sites would enrich our son's education.
At the same time, I wanted the religious history not found in public schoolbooks. For example, there is a story of the French Catholic missionary Marquette exploring the Mississippi River from the north and Desoto, the Spanish explorer, worshipping Jesu Cristo on the banks of the Mississippi in the south. My husband and son were very much into the movie archeologist Indiana Jones at that time and I wanted to tie in our Christian beliefs with their interests.
I couldn't find anything specifically for our state, so he began his historical studies with a book by Peter Marshall & David Manuel called From Sea To Shining Sea for Children along with a workbook.
I still had that desire to know our state's Christian history after our son finished homeschooling, so I began to collect tourist brochures, read many denominational books and compiling a timeline of what I had read (homeschoolers are big into timelines). It began as a hobby, but has blossomed into more.
Dwight Widaman, the editor of Kansas City's Metro Voice Christian newspaper, called my pastor one day after hearing about my church history project, searching for me. After returning his call, he told me people are so transitory these days, not staying with one church for many years as they used to do and are losing out on knowing their Christian history. He asked me to write a small monthly column on different historical congregations in this area. His request came at nearly the same time as a friend left our church to attend another church in this area, so church-hopping was fresh on my mind. Dwight's call must be God's timing, because I have no other explanation for his call out of the blue.
I'm still praying about my decision as to whether or not I shall take up writing that column for Mr. Widaman, so until I get a confirmation (fleece decision), I've decided to begin this little blog with a historical emphasis to share what I've gleaned from my studies into Missouri and Kansas history. I'm not an expert nor have a degree in church history, but I love to read, to research, and learn about God's hand in our land.