Constantly I am reading posts on Facebook. I am seeing shares, rants, support, condemnation, and everything in between about this thing going on in our nation. To this point, I have remained quiet in my social media presence because of the repercussions posting can have on myself, my family, and my church family.
With that being said, I have something heavy on my heart to share and I will attempt to do so as neutral and respectfully as I can. I grew up in a rather conservative household and I was raised to “respect” our country in such matters. I am proud to be an American and I am proud of the rights which I have. However, these rights extend to exercising my right to not stand during a song.
While I stand during the anthem (though I must admit, I only do so in person. It just feels weird to stand alone in my house when I am watching the game from my couch), I respect my friends and fellow citizens exercising their rights to do otherwise. But with all this swirling, it raises a bigger question to me.
You see, I am a big idea guy. I dream big, I plan big, and often times I think in big extravagant means and not just simply. My dad raised me under the motto of KISS – keep it simple stupid – and I always struggled to do so. So with my mind working at a thousand miles per hour all over the place, I began to ask myself why it is that we as Christian Americans are so upset over this issue? What would our nation and church look like if we took our faith half as seriously as some of us are taking our patriotism?
There is nothing wrong with patriotism, but my mind then runs to the Bible. Yet we describe ourselves as Conservative Christians, or Liberal Christians and we all know that all of the emphasis is put on the first part. Paul tells the church in Philippi that “our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20 NRSV). I am reminded of a statement a member of my church made just this past Sunday when praying over the Eucharist and Offering, that we are are only stewards.
We are only stewards here, nothing is truly our own. We who profess the name of Jesus have a citizenship which lies in heaven, not here in the United States of America.
I think of the number of powerful world empires which have risen and fell throughout history. Egypt, Rome, Persia, England, and so many more… They have come and gone, and while some remain standing today, their relevance is no where near where it was during their peak. Perhaps the most dominant empire ever, Rome, is limited to a city alone today.
I hope America lasts at least through my life time, but statistics and history says it will not last forever. We have one kingdom which has and will, and that is the kingdom of God. We say God bless America, but America is not “God’s country.”
The earliest Christians actually REFUSED to bend their knee in worship (a sign of submission and loyalty) to the empire of Rome, or the emperor himself. They would deny allegiance to the empire and pledge allegiance only to Jesus Christ. While I am not calling for this radical of a showing, I think it should make us Christians question exactly who it is we are bending our knee to.
There is nothing wrong with patriotism, in fact it can be a good thing. However, we cannot place good things as ultimate. As Christians, we first belong to the kingdom of God and then to America. Who are we bending our knee to? What might our churches look like if we were so passionate about our faith as our patriotism?
I am just getting started on this adventure of blogging, but I am super excited about it. I will post things dealing with things ranging from what I have been reading in my Bible, to some social issues like this, even to ideas with ministry and information about things going on in youth culture.
I would love feedback on what you think, personal or public. Whatever I can do to improve and better communicate.
I love you guys, and so does Jesus. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,