A comment from yesterday’s post made me think that perhaps I had not clearly articulated the answer to the question posed by the title of the post.
I am not advocating in any way, shape or form that we abandon patriotism. Bro. Tony rightfully drew our attention to the beginnings of our nation. America was indeed founded upon strong Christian principles by devoted patriots. The problem that I see is that we have deviated from both the Christian and patriotic principles of these founding fathers.
Christianity has largely become Laodiceaic in its fervor. Patriotism is often reduced to political infighting and advancement of agendas within the culture. (A most noticeable exception to this would be our military–those guys and gals really are patriots in the most real sense.)
Now before you aim the cannons at me, I am not questioning anyone’s patriotism. Neither am I questioning your love for God. I am trying to draw attention to the fact, however, that some things are out of balance in the Christian culture. There are times when being a Christian will create conflict with being an American. As I promised yesterday, let me elaborate. (This may take a couple of posts).
There Is a Conflict of Personal Liberty
There can be no doubt that America has been blessed with an abundance of liberty. I strongly suspect that it is our great freedom that has caused terrorist fanatics around the world to hate us so strongly. And yet, as wonderful as these freedoms are, we will find that they conflict with Christianity.
Why is this? It is because we have more rights as Americans than we do as Christians. As Americans we enjoy the rights of freedom of speech, ownership of property, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are wonderful personal rights that allow every American the chance to better their life, making America the “land of opportunity”.
The conflict arises when we unconsciously try to transfer those same liberties to our relationship with God. God calls us to yield up our rights to Him. He seeks to govern our speech. He tells us that we are not our own but we are bought with a price. He tells us that we have the responsibility to pursue His glory.
I have personally dealt with Christians who are struggling with various aspects of surrendering their life to God. Their conflict was often exacerbated by a failure to distinguish between their rights of citizenship and their responsibilities of serving God.
We have the right to determine our own government. We can vote, lobby, politic, sue, discuss, debate, constitute, and legislate. Democracy is without a doubt (at least in my mind) the strongest form of government. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to live in such a system.
Have you ever seen someone try to turn a church into a democracy? It happens all the time. How about a denomination? Instead of seeking the leadership of the head of the church, we start lobbying, politicking, suing, etc. Is it any wonder that so many churches have become so ingrown that they can barely function? As the church, we can never afford to forget who we are, and whose we are. The church is God’s possession, He has purchased us with a great price.
These are just some thoughts upon which to ruminate. Having said all that, I am eternally grateful to live in a nation where I still have the liberty to pursue God with all my heart. I just pray that I will do that.