July 4th aftermath

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Philippians 3:20
Patriotism scares me, particularly in Christian quarters. Maybe it's the conspiracy theorist in me, but like wealth, patriotism seem an accepted and endorsed form of idolatry. I am very glad we do not have a flag in our worship service - we worship God, not state, and it is shocking how quickly we forget the danger of confusing God and country as did the church in pre-war Germany and the Reich Church. Maybe I am too reactive but I am not so sure people know the difference.

So where is this all coming from? Late night, flipping channels, I saw this on TBN, Carmen's Red White and Blue Spectacular. Go ahead. Take a peek. I dare you. You need to give 5 minutes just to get a feel where its all going... (ok, if you can't wait, here's a scary clip somewhere in the show.) I'll just say this: interviewing military leaders about their faith, a nice little "chat" with a colonel about Jesus with flags and tanks in the background should disturb you. Not just the music.... It is difficult to tell if we are being asked to worship God or America. Or if it is possible to worship God without worshipping America. Here's a great test: can you tell the difference between conservative politics and God? Could we possibly make it any harder to see the truth, justic and love of Christ when we tie it to love of America? How difficult do we make it for missionaries abroad with stuff like that?

So how do I feel about the U.S.? I love being here. I do think we are blessed to freely worship God as we see fit (although people don't like it when you are not patriotic....). I rue the day we need a Barmen Declaration, though we may already. Let's be clear: America as a country is sinful in many ways and we must call it to account, not out of nationalism, but from a deeper sense of our citizenship in heaven. Our loyalty must be to God and people: those whom he loves. And I know that a large part of the July 4th excitement comes from a day off, BBQ, beer and fireworks - believe me, I can get wit' that!

But I wish I had a better sense of politics- how my faith and politics should intersect - I honestly don't. But I'm pretty sure that the US was never God's chosen land, and our history is not as rosey as all the glammy- patriotic fluff would have us think (slavery anyone?), and indeed, as a nation we fundamentally have not been about Jesus primarily -yes, even at the beginning despite some wise founders. The way we "baptize" the history of our country seems a lot like Israel in Isaiah and Jeremiah. Our behavior tells a more confusing story. I guess ultimately "Love the Lord your god with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself" implies to me there is not much left for other things.


  1. Wow.

    "The red, the white, the blue will last forever
    There's nothing that America can't do"

    Now that is an interesting eschatology.

  2. Indeed!

    No wonder it's so tough to convince a nation that doesn't need a savior that it needs a savior /doh!/


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