Patriotism

Today, as I was driving around town I noticed something that struck me pretty hard. It was a large church—probably one of the largest in the area. In front of this church was a large flagpole and on that flagpole—much as one might might expect—was an American flag, and under that flag, maybe half the size of the American flag, was a Christian flag. It struck me hard because as I looked at it, it represented to me one of the fundamental problems with Christianity in America today.

It represents the we, those who call ourselves Christians, have sold our souls, and sold them cheaply. Here is what I mean. As a church we have sold our souls to the American dream and placed the dreams and plans of God as secondary, or tertiary—or worse.

Just like that flag in front of a church that boldly and largely displayed their patriotic pride, and colors, then placed underneath it and smaller was their secondary allegiance to Christ and Christianity so has the church gone. Now I realize that nobody at that church probably thought that through and if confronted with the idea most people there would likely deny it. However, that in my experience is the unfortunate reality of many of our churches.

Controversial folk singer/songwriter Derek Webb puts it like this “I am so easily satisfied, by the call of lovers so less wild, that I would take a little cash over Your very flesh and blood”. As a church I think that we have done just that. We have sold our souls to brick, mortar, cash, and temporal patriotism.

We like the people of Israel have found our Egypt and would rather live as slaves in the land of plenty than become free people in the far off land that God has promised us. I intentionally use the inclusive “we” and “us” because as I write this it requires not only the prophetic pointing of the finger but also, an act of repentance on my own part.

I write this after a day consumed with “getting” a day in which I spent most of my day working to make money then running off to buy “stuff” with the money I just made. Then at the end of it all I sit down to write a scathing critique of the system of which I spend much of, if not most of, my time gladly partaking in.

However, I do believe that it is time for us, all of those that call ourselves Christians to take a stand against the gods of patriotism, but more than that a stand for Christ and His Kingdom. A kingdom that if we recall is not of this world. A kingdom that does not need brick and mortar, but that does need patriots that will stand up and declare their allegiance to something other.

Men and women that will live their lives consumed by the calling and Kingdom of a risen savior. That will see beyond national, political, racial, socioeconomic, and gender boundaries to what could be. Women and men that will dare to dream, people that will dare to let Christ give them dreams and then chase those dreams with great and abiding ferocity.

God help me to be that kind of man.

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