God and Country?
Politics and religion, never to be mentioned in polite company. The former pressing its influence on everyone in a society, the latter individually influencing the views of those who belong to it. People like to be among those who are like minded, to face disagreement is to have our thoughts and intentions challenged. In a society where disagreement is equal to insult, these crucial topics, that for our own good we should be most ready to communicate about, have become very dangerous ground.
As much as people like to be individuals, even greater is their desire to be part of a group. Even the most independent, anti-social people wish more people would see things like they do, though maybe from…over there. We identify ourselves by the associations we are comfortable with and often feel compelled to lash out against those we aren’t comfortable with or simply don’t understand. Though affirmation of our own thoughts and feelings, or understanding of our shared situation can draw us into different groups, it isn’t being something, doing something or thinking something that forms groups and strengthens these associations so much as having them challenged or attacked, either as a group or individually. We seek protection from (or feel the need to protect) those who are in a similar position to ourselves, either by chance or by choice. While we may not have anything else in common, we pitch-in to further the greater cause. Safety in numbers has always been the way, not just for physical protection, but also for emotional, intellectual and spiritual comfort.
So what do we do when the expectations of membership in one group we belong to conflict with the undeniable requirements of another? I’m speaking of the difference between the opinions and actions associated with a modern interpretation of an American Patriot, versus the beliefs and spiritual fruits displayed by a Christian. Though our country was undeniably built on and around Christian values, Christian values aren’t subject to borders and our government isn’t controlled by the church. Our once Christian nation is becoming more secular, while our world is turning back to religious war. Wars in foreign nations, immigration of refugees, health insurance requirements, religious taxation, public educational bias, caring for the poor; all these things and more reveal potential conflict between serving God and serving country (and serving self).
I’d like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on a particular issue for you personally? Something you feel strongly about, struggle with or struggle with understanding in others, but please no attacks either personal or general. This is a big topic and nothing said here will solve the worlds problems, but if we continue to avoid facing and discussing the issues, both Christians and non-Christians, we will continue to weaken light the church is to shine and the nation in which we live.