I know it’s dangerous to talk about politics. I’m wary of doing so on a public blog because I’m concerned that there are those who might think less of me because of the views expressed. Maybe that’s a little shallow. But I also think it’s realistic. Blog posts are one-sided. There may be a space for comments but we can admit that it’s not “real conversation.”
But, as we approach the 4th of July, I admit that I’ve struggled with the Americanization of Christianity. I love our country, but I confess that I don’t think it’s God’s chosen nation in the world. I respect our leaders as leaders but won’t follow blindly. I am very happy about the material wealth that my happy mistake of being born here has allowed me and my family, but I struggle with the commercialism of our country, our lives, and even our faith. Reading Shane Claiborne has stirred up a lot of this as well…not so much a critique of our country as it is a critique of our faith.
As these swim around in my head…and with a respect for the good that our country has done, the following quote made me think. It’s a good quote for this weekend. It’s by way of Richard Hall’s Connexions Blog: It’s good stuff over there.
“The task is to treat the nation within the tradition of biblical politics – to understand America biblically – not the other way around, not (to put it in an appropriately awkward way) to construe the Bible Americanly. There has been too much of the latter in this country’s public life and religious ethos. There still is. I expect such indulgences to multiply, to reach larger absurdities, to become more scandalous, to increase blasphemously as America’s crisis as a nation distends. To interpret the Bible for the convenience of America, as apropos as that may seem to be to many Americans, represents radical violence to both the character and content of the biblical message. It fosters a fatal vanity that America is a divinely favored nation and makes of it the credo of a civic religion that is directly threatened by and, hence, that is anxious and hostile toward the biblical Word. It arrogantly misappropriates political images from the Bible and applies them to America, so that America is conceived of as Zion: as the righteous nation, as a people of superior political morality, as a country and society chosen and especially esteemed by God. … It is profane, as well as grandiose, to manipulate the Bible in order to apologize for America….