“Only our heavenly Father, our heavenly patriotism, can order our earthly patriotism.” John Piper
I wanted to post a patriotic “I’m proud to be an American” post today, but events in my life over the past 7 years have radically rearranged my thinking. How can I be least offensive? Why shouldn’t I be offensive, if it’s truth? I wrote and edited and re-wrote and re-edited for days. Then today, I ran across a Gospel Coalition post by Kevin DeYoung and it was as if he was giving me permission to express my patriotic thoughts.
It is no secret to those who know me, where my political lines are drawn. During elections seasons for 2 decades I wore my rhinestone studded broach representing my party with pride. I spent time volunteering on phone calls and was willing to place bumper stickers on my car and big signs in my yard. When we moved to Branson Missouri in 2006, it wasn’t unusual for me to come to tears when a patriotic song was sung (which most of you know ends every show in Branson) The National Anthem can still cause a lump to swell in my throat. The images of a soldier coming home or heading out to war cause by heart to swell with pride.
I am a patriotic person with a strong political bent. For years I didn’t intimately know a lot of people from the other side, and the ones I did know were radically different than me. It was never a surprise to me that along with their political views came very unscriptural views of God or even unbelief in one God. I wouldn’t ever verbalize my thoughts, but I think in the deep recesses of my mind, I may have doubted that Christianity could cross party lines. (yikes, I just wrote that down!) I was very verbal in my opinions and I’m afraid those closest to me may have been the ones most caught in the crossfires when they would dare criticize my candidate.
So it was an unforeseen work that God began doing in my heart in a place where God and Country are synonyms. Then he brought me to a church where my gospel family started showing up to church with the enemy’s opponent’s bumper stickers on their cars! I was also questioned by some of the leadership about pledging allegiances and semantics about God ‘only saving people’ not countries. Generous justice and redistribution of wealth were touted as biblical principles and I realized that I wasn’t always ready to give account for why I believed what I believed. Political upheavals and the government itself was proving to be a sinking ship. Modern history books were unreliable and I began to see that we as a nation were loosing our moorings.
So I settled back in silence, seeing that a lot of my opinions were just that; opinions. But also, for the millennials, it became the new accepted normal within the church; “don’t” be political if you are a “real, Christ-loving” Christian! What happened to being able to debate in a respectable, loving manner? I could defend many of my candidates, why couldn’t they defend theirs? Political apathy disguised in piety of “loving one another” replaced the voice of political speeches within my Christian community. I began to follow suite of this younger generation and packed away my shiny broach.
…And I began to see only the loud and obnoxious party members shaking their fists and damning the other side to hell. Embarrassed for “my” side, this too seemed wrong to me as a Christian in America.
I think the blurred lines of biblical truth are really the damnation we are experiencing now in a country. We are far from the freedoms our founding fathers intended, and the meanings of their intentions are constantly under scrutiny! I think our “at-homeness” as believes, who cling too tightly to this earth, have blinded us. I think we as Christians have enjoyed freedoms and religious liberties to the detriment of our first call as sojourners. (1 Peter 2:11) I think we have been blinded by the enemy of this world from seeing the light of the Gospel. I think we forget in our zealousness to be image bearers and love others. (2 Corinthians 4:4) I think we have forgotten to teach this generation to stand for absolute truth and be ready to give an account (1 peter 3:15) I think we have cried for a king and we are getting what “we” want.(1 Samuel 8) And, I know many of my Christian friends, who seem despondent and are despairing over the dreadful direction our country is heading, is forgetting Romans 13:1.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1
I am blessed by God to be an American. It was His sovereign plan that formed me in my mother’s womb, to be born in 1961, in Ottawa, Kansas, in the United States of America. It has been, and is, a privilege to celebrate our Independence Day with a great urgency for a big dependence on a good God. I am thankful for the rights and freedoms I experience because of God’s extravagant grace. I was born an American, where men and women paid a high price for the freedoms to live in this country. That is just a common grace He chose for my family and me. I am thankful for the rights I still enjoy, and because my hope is secure, I am not going to fear the ones I may lose.
“So on this Independence Day” in light of the Gospel, and thanks to the encouragement from Kevin DeYoung “……I’m thankful most of all for the cross of Christ and the freedom we have from the world, the flesh, and the devil. I’m also thankful for the United States. I’m thankful for the big drops of biblical truth, which seeped into the blood stream of Thomas Jefferson and shaped our Founding Fathers. I’m thankful for our imperfect ideals. I’m thankful for God-given rights and hard-fought liberty. I’m thankful I can call myself an American.”
Read Kevin DeYoung’s article: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2014/07/04/life-liberty-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness/
Mary Jo of 517creations is one of the most enthusiastic & creative ladies from my area. She is a stay-at-home mom of 2 kiddos and a pastor’s wife. Fixer Upper is her favorite show on TV and has inspired her and her husband to remodel a few houses. (And put sunglasses on her and she could be Joanna Gaines’ twin sister!) Mary Jo has always loved creating fun, personalized items for her kids and for gifts. Recently she has started selling those items. Mary Jo posts all of her creations on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/517creations. “Do Everything with great love” I think this shirt expresses John 13:35 in a beautiful way! The shirt is dark gray and is a regular cut t-shirt. When you win you can let me know your size. Best of luck; Like, share, comment on Facebook, Evidence of Grace.