Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, June 03, 2005

Tension as an American Christian: pt. 2

I seem to have hit a nerve with some people on this issue of nationalistic pride/culture and religion, specifically Christianity. I wanted to write some thoughts for Memorial Day but was traveling with my wife from the lovely town of Chattanooga. We had a wonderful 2-day vacation to celebrate our 1st year of marriage together.

Since we were away I wasn't around a computer to post my responses to Fridays post. I'd like to follow up with a small part 2 of this on-going discussion. While my previous post may make me seem to be anti-American or one that despises all our Westernized culture has produced, that’s not the case. I am thankful for the land, which I was raised. I am thankful that I can sit here at a computer and hack away at meaningless words that become public property once I hit "publish." I am thankful for the men and women who sacrificed more than I'll probably know to protect their families and future generations (thanks to your brother, Grandma). In no way do I desire to deflate their willingness and attitude of service to their country. I am thankful to know and see diversity all around me. I am thankful to be free to think for myself. Thankful to be able to explore religions, culture, languages, and opinions. In no way am I anti-American in that I despise this land, its history, our ancestors and their courage and sacrifice.

The tension I have is pledging my allegiance to a land that has become obsessed with consumerism, power, individualism, and greed. Maybe I'm old school here, but I value diversity, equality, harmony, community, peacefulness, and love. I struggle to live a non-violent faith and lifestyle in not only America, but also in this entire cosmos. If I offended anyone, I deeply apologize. Really my initial post wasn’t about the flag itself, but more along the lines of how one lives a faithful life living in our context, mine being America. I know this whole issue of patriotism and discipleship is a sensitive issue especially during this time of war, and granted I don’t know all the answers to this tension. But I know when I was baptized, I took part in a civil disobedient act that said I pledge my complete allegiance to Jesus the Christ and nothing else. No more. No less. How I live this out in the tension is what I'm striving to do.