It only seems fitting to write about patriotism the week we celebrate Independence Day in all it’s red, white and blue glory. This special day was set aside so each year we could intentionally celebrate America’s freedom by grilling and blowing up fireworks.
I’d consider myself a fairly patriotic person– like “Hulk Hogan staking an American flag into some rock” kind of patriotic. If you’ve never seen that picture please go here. I don’t own a pair of American flag pants like Rex Kwon Do in Napoleon Dynamite, but I cry every time I hear “America the Beautiful” sung.
I love my country. I’m thankful I was born here and that as a white, straight female I get to experience it’s benefits. In many ways, I am proud to be an American, but my identity as an American doesn’t rank #1. I’m not even sure it makes it to my top 5.
I am a Christian first and foremost. That means my citizenship and my loyalty belongs somewhere else. As Hebrews 13:14 puts it,
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”Hebrews 13:14 NLT
Or as Paul tells the Philippians,
“But we are a colony of heaven on earth as we cling tightly to our life-giver, the Lord Jesus Christ.Philippians 3:20 (TPT)
Christianity and American patriotism seem to have this odd relationship. Almost as if one could not exist without the other. What I mean is if I disagree with something my country is doing or how my president is acting (or saying or posting on Twitter) then maybe I’m not being a very good Christian.
I recently had a disagreement with someone concerning racism in our country. At the end of the conversation they remarked, “I love my country,” as if my disgust with the lack of progress in regards to equality was somehow NOT loving to my country.
I love my country but I love the Kingdom of God and people He created more. ALWAYS.
I not only love the Kingdom of God, but have committed to fulfilling the work and calling that comes with being a citizen of it. Jesus the King of Kings has commissioned me for His work.
The ideologies of the Kingdom of God and the “American Kingdom” are vastly different. In Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility she shares this:
“Examples of ideology in the United States include individualism, the superiority of capitalism as an economic system and democracy as a political system, consumerism as a desirable lifestyle, and meritocracy (anyone can succeed if he or she works hard).Robin J. DiAngelo “White Fragility”
When I read that I was confronted with how differently these two kingdoms are run. The Kingdom of God isn’t about individualism, but about community and fellowship–so much in fact that even God is triune!
In the Kingdom of God, giving and generosity is foundational making sure everyone is being taken care of including widows and orphans. Jesus even urged one man in Mark 10:17-27 to give up everything he had and give it to the poor! ALL he had. The man went away sad because he was quite wealthy– a huge mansion, 401K, cars, boats, vacation homes! I’m kidding, but he did walk away sad because the one thing he didn’t want to give up Jesus was asking him to give up for the sake of the Kingdom.
God’s kingdom isn’t a democracy either. He sits on the throne and He calls the shots.
Lastly, and for which I am very grateful, the Kingdom of God and our citizenship in it is not based on our merit, but by the blood of Jesus Christ. Nothing I could do or say could get me entrance– it’s His grace and mercy alone!
The Kingdom of God, unlike the American one, is perfect. I’m not saying Christians are (we are NOT by any stretch of the imagination), but it was designed and is governed by a perfect and loving God. A God who doesn’t classify a person based on race, social status or money in the bank!
I pledge my allegiance to my God.