Back in the Saddle

Or at least trying to get there.  Towards that end, this essay makes an important distinction in how Christians ought to be thinking of their country (regardless of what country that is, though this article is aimed at Americans).  I suspect that the misplaced nationalism this article laments is not restricted to the United States – an issue the author doesn’t deal with.  

Is it part of our sinful human nature to assume that our particular culture and society and nation is the best?  Or is this a theme that is played up and exploited specifically for some of the benefits the author mentions?  If we didn’t feel our country was the best, would we want to live somewhere else?  Would we actually attempt it?  Could it be that this sort of nationalism is actually a means by which we protect ourselves and learn to deal with the vagaries of our lives by insisting that we have the best possible of all worlds?
Obviously, this wouldn’t work so well for someone struggling to stay alive in the Sudan.  But in the wealthier and more complacent Western nations, is this malaise more common?  Is it simply a Christian issue?  Are Christians immune to it?  I agree that the Biblical witness calls us to be more realistic about things, but as with all other aspects of the Christian life, it’s not something that comes easily or consistently to us.  
While the author seems to take (implicitly, perhaps) conservative Christians to task on this issue, there are related issues that affect people on different ends of the political spectrum.  The superiority complex the author criticizes here can apply in many different ways, and is evident in much of the liberal rhetoric I hear on NPR and other places.  We know best.  We’re smartest.  Our ways are the best.  Our opponents have nothing to offer, nothing to contribute other than their votes towards our programs.  Granted – this rhetoric flows freely both directions.  But it’s good to remember that we all suffer from it in some respect, not just conservative Christians.  
The author here draws an excellent distinction that is often lost in liberal rhetoric on the topic.  The United States is remarkable in many ways and for many reasons.  Oftentimes in the quickness to squash the unhealthy nationalism, all that is heard (or expressed) are the negatives about our country.  We need to remember and should be proud of the many, many good things our nation has done and is doing and – by God’s grace – will continue to do.  And we need to have an open and even-keeled eye (as much as possible) to evaluate all our programs and situations with the understanding that they very well could be wrong or misguided, whether it’s a new military initiative or ongoing funding for a long-standing social program.  Just because something is doesn’t mean that it’s right or right at this time.  As Christians, we ought to be the first to be able to recognize that in ourselves and in our nation.

One Response to “Back in the Saddle”

  1. Viopypefeve Says:

    very interesting, thanks

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