I'M NOT REALLY ASKING...



AND

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I love my country (the USA), but I love God more. I see absolutely no place for patrioutism in a worship service. Memorial Day sent me out of the worship center for a walk around the block. I cannot sit through another "God loves America" worship service. I'm going to the mountains over the Independence Day holiday. There I will worship God and celebrate the birth of the USA (fireworks over the lake); but I will not do these at the same time.

This steps on toes. I'm not really sorry about that. I am not sorry if this steps on toes and makes some think. I am not sorry if this steps on toes and causes some to dislike my bluntness.

I am sorry some do not see the idolatry and self-centeredness of assuming God loves any one country best. I am sorry some see no problem placing patriotism in the midst of the worship of God.

The church should remember those who have sacrificed. Self-sacrifice, honor, and duty are good things and should be celebrated. But in worship service we worship God. We must be clear on that.



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5 comments:

  1. I can't help but think that I'm not allowed to agree with you because I'm not an American ... but ... I DO agree with you ;-)

    I've been in prayer meetings here in Scotland where there has been a sudden and noticeable shift in the prayer from a repentent people to a form of nationalism. I wasn't happy either, and it was very awkward for me as I am English.

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  2. Feel free to agree (that's why I used "patriotism" later in the post). School is one of the things that has made me so sensitive to this. A goodly portion of the students at Talbot are international. While I have always felt uncomfortable with patriotism in worship service, thinking about them as Korean, French, German, or whatever Christians raised the discomfort to a level that made patriotism in worship feel a lot like sin.

    When we are gathered in worship we are the people of God, not the people of our country.

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  3. In general I agree with your post. I do not believe that god has bestowed most favored nation status on my country. I love America and am thankful for being born here. I do not mind singing God Bless America because it is a prayer.

    I get a little squeemish about the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

    I have an aversion to doctrine coming rom political parties.

    My church is extremely multicultural with over half born somewhere else. My pastor, who is extremely patriotic, made the statement that "we are all Americans." a large percentage of the immigrants in my church are not here legally so that is a refreshing statement for those seeking residency papers.

    (this has gotten a little longer than intended but I am going to press on anyway)

    I do however see the hand of God in the formation of this country and my family celebrates Thanksgiving as the only purely christian national holiday. The pilgrims had no problem believing that God had sustained them providentially and so neither do I.

    Hope some of this makes sense.

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  4. I like your thinking, Laura. I believe there are some cases where patriotism and worship can mix, but I fully respect your decision. I agree that God blesses America, and He blesses every other nation on earth, so we share that. I believe we should honour Him in the way we feel best, and in the way which best expresses our love for Him—and you are right to do what is in your heart.

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  5. (Even though, like Mark, I am a Brit) I agree with your reservations about patriotism and nationalism getting mixed up with worshipping God. There is a big risk of idolatry getting the upper hand.

    The church I used to attend here in The Netherlands is an Anglican (Church of England) congregation serving the international (English speaking) community. In the English tradition there is a service of remembrance in November each year in memory of those who gave their lives in the World Wars last century and other military conflicts. There were times when that became too much for me, with flags being paraded into church and military style marching up and down. So, like you, I went for a walk.

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