I am patriotic as anyone. I still cry when they play, “God Bless the USA” at a ballgame.
The question of allegiance is interesting, though. This post by Michael Gorman again raises the issue of our Christianity and our allegiances.
Just a question: Do you pledge allegiance to the flag? Is it a civil religion that clashes with our allegiance to the Kingdom of God?
I have a tough time on the issue of war, going to war, etc. This post by Michael Gorman is about as good as I have found in thoughtful consideration of the church’s stance and then the thoughtful consideration of what governments have to do.
I invite you to read his short post, but also one of his lengthy responses. It’s good. I can’t agree with everything he says, but it’s a good thoughtful response.
The quote from Eugene Peterson regarding the Book of Revelation and the Red Horse is incredibly powerful:
For a time, writ large in the headlines, war is perceived as an evil, and there are prayers for peace. But not for long, for it is quickly glamorized as patriotic or rationalized as just. But war is a red horse, bloody and cruel, making life miserable and horrid…. The perennial ruse is to glorify war so that we accept it as a proper means of achieving goals. But it is evil. It is opposed by Christ. Christ does not sit on the red horse, ever.
Michael Gorman makes some thought-provoking comments on Philippians 2:5-11. Incredible things to ponder.
Some key thoughts:
By neglecting the story and confession of Jesus as universal Lord, the Lord who rules as Suffering Servant, the church will substitute the universal Lord for a tribal deity and the Suffering Servant for a conquering king. Sadly, this has too often been the pattern of the church throughout its history, especially in its mission.
I would submit that the intrusion of an alien master story, and the ongoing re-conversion of the church to that pseudo-gospel, is the greatest and most persistent sin of the church, at least in the United States, today. From presidential claims, both Democrat and Republican, that the United States is the light of the world and the hope for human freedom, to the language of “mission” that permeates military discourse, to talk of “redemptive violence,” to the incorporation of nationalistic holidays and devotion into the liturgical life of the church, the church is constantly bombarded with temptations to honor an alien Lord with an alien mission in the world.
We are what we practice. Too much of the time we have, indeed, become “rah-rah” rallies for political causes of all kinds in a church service. We need to return to the STORY.
There are a couple of blogs I have not yet added to my blogroll, but enjoy reading. I will then follow some of their blogrolls, which led me to one by Michael J Gorman. This post on Theosis was a good one. I deeply admire the Eastern Orthodox tradition and this post answers some great questions.