Sunday, September 02, 2012

Thought For The Moment - Followers of Christ must re-think our faith as if it were on "foreign soil."


I just heard someone give the ol' "Christians are being slighted" compliant that is often heard. You know the one: Where people lament that the Bible & prayer are taken out of the schools, and Christmas carols aren't allowed to refer to Christ, etc. etc.

Personally I think Christians have had a free ride in this country pretending that American = Christian for too long. It's made us think we are entitled to a preference that we don't actually have, in a society that is built on religious freedom and pluralism.The words "creator" and "providence" which are found in the US Declaration of independence, are generic terms that are meant to mean an unspecific, unsalvific God with no vested interest in a Savior of a People.

I'd like to see the Christians re-brand themselves as an "alien nation," so to speak. For example: If you are Buddhist, you realize that you aren't in the majority and you don't run around crying that your Tao Te Ching is being taken out of the schools. Or that your chants aren't being allowed to have references to Buddha in them (trying to think of something akin to the Christmas Carol controversies.) You are grateful that you are allowed to read your Tao Te Ching and go to a Temple to pray and don't figure everyone has to kowtow to your religious views.

I think we who call ourselves after Christ should be of a similar mindset. I'd like to see Christian identity informed by the notion that Jesus' kingdom is "not of this earth," and that our purpose here is to share the Gospel, help the poor and speak out against militarism and social injustices, where the law allows us to do so. John the Baptist called Herod Antipas out for his adultery, but that's because it was the right thing for him to do so. He had no delusions about changing the political landscape, and in fact was murdered for his faith. But it's not because what we believe "works," in the secular sense of understanding. It's because it's the thing God tells us to believe and share with others out of gratefulness to the grace we have received!

As such, citing the US Constitution to us as followers of Christ should be very minimal as proof of anything. It can tell us about what the laws are here in this country. It can't be relied upon as a real rule of thumb for anything, since two people can no more agree on the "Founders intent" than two people can agree on the Bible. Except, for different reasons, I see the Bible as actually inspired by God.

Among Christians, it should be of no great moment to cite the founding document or documents of America, than if it were done in a conversation with people from China, Russia, France, Germany, Holland, South Africa, etc. Except for information's sake. And of course, if you live here or in any country, you have to follow the law of the land to the degree it doesn't ask you to sin.

To that end, I'm trying to re-train my language. I'd like to get myself to stop saying "we" when I refer to the country I live in, but just "The United States," "America," or "Americans." I'm conscious of it during conversations, email discussions & blogging, but I'm failing miserably at this point. No matter, its not something I think God is making me do, but something I'd like to do as a commitment to God.

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