Patriotism is Out

7 Jul

At church last night, during the worship portion of the service, the congregation was led in singing “God Bless America” in honor of Independence Day last Friday.  As the band played and the backup singers belted out the tune, I felt uncomfortable.  I didn’t want to sing, and I wasn’t sure why.  Maybe because I wasn’t in a baseball stadium or sitting on a picnic blanket at a fireworks show.  I looked around (our church has seating “in the round” so you can see almost everybody) and noticed that probably 4 out of 5 people were also mute and uncomfortable.  One guy next to me was even heckling a little bit.  It seemed so cheesy, so pretentious.  But then I thought, if I was in Africa, and a thousand Africans were singing and asking for God’s blessing on the beautiful country He had given them, the place they called home, would I find it cheesy and pretentious?  No.  I would probably be inspired and moved and maybe a little teary.  In my generation where social justice is the new scene, it goes without saying that loving America is completely outdated.  America is a beautiful land and I am so blessed to live in it.  I felt like a moody, ungrateful teenager sitting there defiantly silent.  So I started singing.  The heckler next to me mentioned that America has a lot to do before they can ask for God’s blessing.  Um, isn’t that totally outside of the Gospel of grace we say we live by?  To think that as a country we must live up to a certain standard before we can experience God’s grace?  Of course there are things we should do; like to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.  But America is made up of a bunch of sinners like me, and I will still ask God to bless us because no matter what we do, that’s what He does: He blesses.  So, even though it’s completely lame of me to say it: God bless America!

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5 Responses to “Patriotism is Out”

  1. Rachel Moyal July 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm #

    Umm…can you give me the heckler’s name and address so I can go to his house and kick his ass?

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  2. netanya July 8, 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    Tempting…very tempting. He would probably pee his pants if you yelled at him!

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  3. Jackson July 12, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    I must say, I wasn’t expecting this post to end the way that it did. I think that your conclusion is honest and valid. For all of the problems we face in this country, it can’t be denied that its citizens have privileges others only hope and wish for. I’ll join you in saying God Bless America, but only because I feel that America could really use a blessing.

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  4. netanya July 13, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    I’m curious, Jackson…how did you expect the post to end? Also, when you say that America could really use a blessing, do you think some countries could not use a blessing, or already have a blessing?

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  5. Jackson July 14, 2008 at 8:46 am #

    I guess I wasn’t expecting a negative title to result in such a positive spin at the end.

    Great question. I don’t think that any one particular country or nation has a standing-order blessing — that is to say, I would highly doubt the notion that any nation is “Blessed”. As far as our country/nation goes, we’re going through a bit of a rough patch in just about every major category. The kind of blessing that would I wish upon our country would be some kind of priority shift. Our general cultural practices (consumerism, individualism, high consumption lifestyles, etc.) have caught up with us, and the results have effected the world at large. I can only hope that we learn some lessons from our current state of non-homeostasis.

    Of course, there’s more to it than that. I hope this didn’t sound too soap-boxy — I don’t intend to preach. If a blessing is to be had, though, I think we could use one that would change our hearts.

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