Thursday, July 4, 2013

Patriotism

Happy Independence day!  As the world watches the people of Egypt fight for the government they want, we in America are reminded yet again how much we have to be thankful for in our country.

Despite this, it often seems like the easiest thing to do is criticize our country.  In regard to this, I have two comments.
First, I want to share what C. S. Lewis has to say on the topic.  It is refreshingly balanced:
I turn now to the love of one's country.  Here there is no need to labour M. de Rougemont's maxim; we all know now that this love becomes a demon when it becomes a god.  Some begin to suspect that it is never anything but a demon.  But then they have to reject half the high poetry and half the heroic action our race has achieved.  We cannot keep even Christ's lament over Jerusalem.  He to exhibits love for His country. [...]  Patriotism has, then, many faces.  Those who would reject it entirely do not seem to have considered what will certainly step -has already begun to step - into its place." (Four Loves, pp 39-40,47)
This is a good reminder.  I certainly need to remember to cultivate a love of my country.

Secondly, consider the Pledge of Allegiance.  As Christians, our allegiance is to King Jesus, which makes me somewhat uncomfortable with the pledge (although the "under God" clause arguably makes it ok)*.  Assuming it is a good thing to say the Pledge of Allegiance, we should also ask: "when do I pledge allegiance to Christ?"

When a Christian is baptized, they publicly announce their allegiance.  Yet since this is a one-time thing, it is important that we re-affirm it regularly.  In the Anglican church, the renewal of the baptismal vows is essentially a recitation of the Apostles Creed.

This past year at TFA, we recited the creed together nearly daily.  Almost as often, I found myself marveling at the boldness of faith in each line.  Rather than becoming mindless repetition, it became a shaping force in my life.

I hope that today you can celebrate freedom - both as a citizen of your country, and more importantly as a follower of Christ.  As you recite the pledge, may it be a reminder to put in place habits of pledging allegiance which will enable you to more truly live as a citizen of your country and of heaven.

___________
*credit to Dan Claire for making me think about the pledge and the creed!

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