Much of what I have written so far admittedly takes the freedoms that we have here in the United States of America for granted. I am writing what I believe because we have freedom of the press. I can put my Christianity into public practice because we have the freedom of religion. I can talk about controversial ideas and even present unpopular opinions because we have freedom of speech.
Many people in this world are not as fortunate as we are, and I think that as we look forward to Independence Day, there is a real sense of pride that comes from being an American. I am proud to live in a country where these freedoms are by and large recognized and affirmed.
I can truly say that I do love my country.
I would assume that most of you can identify with that, and I think that most of us would agree that patriotism is a good thing. It is good to defend your country and to want what is best for your country. It is good to come together as a nation of people and celebrate what brings you together.
I would love to be able to say that everything America does is right because I love my country, but I know that isn’t true. I would love to say that everything is fine here in America, but I can’t knowingly deceive myself.
As a Christian then, I find myself in an interesting position because I feel like my patriotism is challenged by the culture I find myself living in. I can’t blindly follow and jump on the bandwagon because I am an American and therefore need to support everything this country feels the need to do.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t love America because I certainly do. However, it means I, as one who is sincerely trying to live as a Christian, need to be discerning about what I love in America. I can never assume that American beliefs are automatically Christian beliefs.
Many American beliefs are Christian beliefs though; our founding fathers undeniably built this country on a framework of Judeo-Christian values. Therefore, it doesn’t need to move all the way in the other direction either. Discernment is key, and we’re going to explore that theme a little bit more for the rest of this week.