Saturday, July 03, 2010
Let me state that I love living in America, I love living in Utah, I love living in South Jordan, and I love living in my neighborhood. I support each of these layers, and as a citizen of each, I want them to be successful. As a citizen, I act to support them.
However, I stop short of the religious devotion I see sometimes in my fellow citizens and church goers. The whole "God and Country" thing doesn't fly with me because A: I think, from a religious perspective, it is blasphemous to equate the two, and B: I honestly believe God has no interest in the little lines we draw in the sand to separate ourselves. I think God views it in much the same way that I view my children when they decide to divide MY house into Kathryn's half and Jacob's half; cute, and perhaps harmless... until they start to fight about it. I would in no way ever support Kathryn's side over Jacob's side, or vice versa.
So to me, the 4th is a birthday worth having a party over. A time to reflect over where we have come from (honestly) and where we are going as a nation.
But binding it to my religion and rah-rahing it in our churches? Too much...
Here are some quotes from other bloggers on the 4th:
I am sure that this Sunday there will be American flags overshadowing crosses, patriotic songs replacing hymns of worship, and copies of the constitution passed out in place of Bibles. Issues such as poverty, oppression, and hopelessness will take a back seat to concerns about "prayer in schools" and supporting "our" troops (the "our" of course referring to America, forgetting that "our" in the church means all nations). For many of us, we'd be disappointed with anything else... but my prayer is that we would enter this Sunday as worshipers of Jesus, the crucified king, who shares his identity with the poor, who is a king to all nations and the lover of a church without borders or military might. I pray that we are not distracted. I pray that our gratitude for the country in which we live would be filled with sober humility. This Sunday, let us celebrate resurrection over conquest, interdependence over independence, and hope over illusory security.
~ Living in the Kingdom
It's not that I'm against America, I love the varied people, the vast wildernesses, and the fascinating cities of this land. But as Christians, as citizens of God's Kingdom, our loyalties cannot be to the State, they must be to the Lamb that was slain. And I worry that all too often the American Church has demonstrated idolatrously mixed loyalties. Not least in the way we make July 4th a "holy"day.
~ New Ways Forward
And that means that nationalism, in any degree, is misplaced affection. If Jesus really is our Peace who has broken down every dividing barrier between us, to celebrate the arbitrary lines and political distinctions which divide us is, in a sense, anti-gospel. Jesus expressed anger a number of times in the Gospels, but the most famous was when He saw what should have been “a house of prayer for all nations” turned into something else.
And my fear is that by highlighting ideas of America and patriotism so heavily in our Fourth of July services, we do just that. At best, we fail to see how waving the American flag in a worship service looks to the Brits and Kenyans and Malaysians sitting in our pews and what it communicates to them. And at worst, we give to Caesar what really belongs to Jesus.
~ Out of Ur
Posted by Andrew at 12:29 PM