The January 2009 cover of Charisma Magazine asks "What's Next for Sarah Palin?" The article is called "The Faith of Sarah Palin" and is written by Julian Lukins. Since I think the faith of politicians is an important factor to consider for where they look for wisdom and how they go about making decisions, I'm going to copy the article here. All credit goes to Charisma and the writer, Julian Lukins.
Keep in mind that Charisma is a pentecostal magazine so by editorial bent this article emphasizes Palin's pentecostal background. It's also important to note that Palin's mother was a practicing Catholic when Sarah was born and had her baptized in a Catholic church as an infant. And for the last several years, Palin seems to have become more nondenominational, attending Wasilla Bible Church fairly regularly when governing from Anchorage and Juneau Christian Center when in the capitol city of Juneau.
It also seems a good time to note that the very same Wasilla Bible Church was the victim of arson a couple of weeks ago. For which Palin apologized if the fire was in any way related to her notoriety during the presidential campaign. Here's a video on the situation:
But I digress ... Charisma's article is pretty long, so I'm going to divide it into 4 parts. Here's Part 1:
SARAH PALIN WAS A LITTLE GIRL HOLDING on to her mom's hand when she first attended Wasilla Assembly of God (AG) Church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. The church's founding pastor, Paul Riley, remembers the pigtailed second-grader—then Sarah Heath—coming with her mom, Sally. They established a pattern of faithful attendance that continued through Sarah's childhood and teenage years.
Every week, Riley recalls, Sarah attended Missionettes, the church's program for girls. During those formative years, Sarah learned about the Pentecostal tradition, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine healing and the importance of living out her faith in the world.
By the age of 12, Sarah showed depth in her personal faith, Riley told Charisma. "She began to have a strong desire for the Lord," he says.
One summer's day in 1976, 12-year-old Sarah waded into the chilly waters of Beaver Lake, a popular location for church camps. She had committed her life to Jesus and wanted to be baptized along with her mom and sister. Riley immersed Sarah in the lake, baptizing her in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. "I wish I could remember more about that moment," reminisces the retired pastor, now 78. "I know that she loved the Lord with all her heart."
At that moment, though, no one, including Riley, had any inkling of what the future held for the small-town Alaskan girl.
After her baptism, Sarah continued to attend Wasilla AG, growing in her faith and singing in the choir, Riley recalls. "I know that she did receive an experience of the Holy Spirit," he told Charisma, "and that she received a calling on her life." That spiritual turning point came when Sarah's youth pastor told her: "You are called by God for a purpose." Years later, Palin confided that the pastor's words were etched on her mind.
Last June, Palin spoke fondly of her years growing up in Wasilla AG when she appeared at a ceremony for graduating ministry students. "It was so cool growing up in this church and getting saved here, getting baptized by Pastor Riley ... my whole family getting baptized," she told the congregation, just two months before her vice presidential nomination.
Speaking to the ministry graduates, 44-year-old Palin said: "Just be amazed ... the umbrella of this church here, where God is going to send you from this church. Believe me, I know what I am saying, where God has sent me from underneath the umbrella of this church."
As she continued, Palin spoke of a "spirit of prophecy ... a spirit of revelation" that would "bubble over." Then, she told the ministry students: "Thank you so much for dedicating your lives to Jesus Christ."Part 2 tomorrow ...