Thursday, June 18, 2009

American Christianity (part 2)

So why does this all matter? Anything that brings us into bondage to something other than Christ is idolatry and sin. Abandoning, even unconsciously, a Biblical view in favor of an American view brings us into bondage to patriotism.

With that, here are my other five...

6. Rights
"If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." - Matthew 5:39-41

America fights for our rights, and we should fight for those things that are in line with Biblical principles -- freedom, justice, etc. But ultimately, America will not grant these rights -- God does, and already has. So instead of clinging to them when they are threatened, we should gently invite others to join with us in reveling in them, laying down our own rights to bless others.

7. Lust
"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." - Matt. 5:28

America tries so hard to justify lust -- "he's so hot," Playboy, Glamour, GQ, porn. It's in miniskirts and muscle shirts, magazines and movies. It's a terrible plague on our culture, and Christians so easily get wrapped up it -- but to use the word "lust" sounds too serious, so we just laugh it off. But as Christians, we have to be different -- we have to treasure the opposite gender and our own.

8. Tolerance
"I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws." - Psalm 119:30

This is a difficult one for me and could be a blog post in and of itself. Essentially, I think it's important that we remember two things: God's law is immutable and covers us all; second, Jesus was always harder on the religious folks than the non-religious folks. But tolerance is an American construct that becomes a cover-all protection for people who don't want to address the first premise. As Christians, we have to maintain both.

9. Elitism
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." - Phil. 2:3

Globally, personally, racially, religiously -- elitism is a clear danger to our faith and something the Bible directly contradicts. But America is littered with competition, racism, sexism, ageism, nationalism...which leads me to #10...

10. Nationalism

I had to post part of this poem because of how much it scares me:

"I am the Flag'' by Ruth Apperson Rous:

Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country.

I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
I know they're talking about the military here, but "purchased with blood" -- isn't that a very Christian concept? And we're co-opting it for America.

I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity. If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots. Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom...Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
Where is the trust in God's sovereignty? His hand over all of us?

Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
And here is the direct call, the indirect temptation for all of us -- to dedicate our lives to a country, a flag, instead of the cross of Christ.

So what else? What did I forget?

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