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Friday, October 20, 2006
The People of God
I have to admit that I'm cheating again. Every once in awhile, I post something to our church blog that makes me want to see how your thoughts on the subject will compare to theirs. One of our people commented that I should have titled it "Can of Worms, Part II" so we'll see how it goes. :-)

I would like to preface this post with this assertion--I love America. I'm so thankful I was born here, I consider my citizenship a true blessing, and there's no other country where I would rather live. I think that wars are sometimes necessary, but I also believe they are something that should not be entered into lightly or with joy. I'm thankful for those men and women who are willing to risk their lives to ensure that our country and our freedoms are safe. That said, I do not believe our country is God's people or a Christian nation, nor is it my opinion that we are God's hand in the world.

This Sunday, one of our Dwellers is going to talk a bit about her favorite song. She sent me the lyrics so that I could include them on our slideshow. Ever since I read them, I've been thinking a lot about what was said. Here's the song:

WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE - BOB DYLAN
Oh my name it is nothin', My age it means less. The country I come from Is called the Midwest.I's taught and brought up there The laws to abide, And that land that I live in Has God on its side. Oh the history books tell it, They tell it so well. The cavalries charged; The Indians fell.The cavalries charged; The Indians died. Oh the country was young With God on its side. Oh the Spanish-American War had its day, And the Civil War too Was soon laid away.And the names of the heroes I's made to memorize. With guns in their hands And God on their side. Oh the First World War, boys, It came and it went. The reason for fighting I never did get.But I learned to accept it, Accept it with pride. For you don't count the dead When God's on your side. The Second World War Came to an end. We forgave the Germans, And then we were friends.Though they murdered six million In the ovens they fried. The Germans now too Have God on their side. I've learned to hate the Russians All through my whole life. If another war comes It's them we must fight.To hate them and fear them, To run and to hide And accept it all bravely With God on my side. But now we got weapons Of chemical dust. If fire them we're forced to, Then fire them we must.One push of the button And a shot the world wide And you never ask questions When God's on your side. In a many dark hour I've been thinkin' about this; That Jesus Christ Was betrayed by a kiss.But I can't think for you--You'll have to decide Whether Judas Iscariot Had God on his side. So now as I'm leavin' I'm weary as Hell. The confusion I'm feelin' Ain't no tongue can tell.The words fill my head And fall to the floor--If God's on our side He'll stop the next war.

I don't agree with everything he has to say, but doesn't he bring up some good points? I get so tired of hearing about our "Christian nation" and hearing verses addressed to the nation of Israel being quoted in sermons. We (as a country) are not the chosen people of God. For that matter, I don't think modern-day Israel can claim that title, either. In fact, I don't think any political nation can claim it. Why? Because 1Peter 2:9 is talking to Christians everywhere, of every nationality, when it says: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

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posted by Cary Fuller at 9:42 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


8 Comments:


  • At 10/20/2006 10:25:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Thanks for posting this. Over the past few years I've become more annd more wary of the Patriotism=good christian mentality that has swept across America. We sing songs to America in our churches and paste "God bless America" on our cars. I find it really frightening and an example of idoltry at it highest.

    I like America, but I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I believe in a God who has called and blesses all nations. I will not worship a false god (in church or elsewhere) nor will I pledge alligience to anything other than God.

    and if we are quoting song lyrics check this out about a certain preacher in a very nationalistic setting...

     
  • At 10/20/2006 11:21:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I agree Julie. I love this country. I greatly appreciate the women and men that put their lives on the line and do what they are told. I too, have gotten annoyed with the "arrogance" of our country and the Christian movement. I have said this before, even "IF" we were somehow the "blessed" nation, we are blessed to be a blessing to the world. I am not sure that those outside of this "Blessed" country would feel that way.

     
  • At 10/21/2006 11:37:00 AM, Blogger juniper

    Thanks for posting this. I am a citizen of this country and grateful to be so. I believe that we are called to be a blessing which I'm afraid we have not been in many cases. I am ashamed that nationalism is associated with Christianity as when injustice arises, it is then associated with Christianity which surely must make God weep. I must confess to being a little sensitive on this subject being of middle eastern descent and being somewhat tired of hearing the "Ishmael myth" all bleeping day.

     
  • At 10/21/2006 11:38:00 AM, Blogger juniper

    I think I misstated something. I believe we as Christians are called to be a blessing to others.

     
  • At 10/21/2006 01:00:00 PM, Blogger A Women's Kavura

    Juniper ... so sorry you've been tagged with "Ishmael myth." I'd like to respond.

    On one side of the coin, we 'others' conveniently forget that our friend, Paul, in Gal. 3 associated Zion (Jewish identity) with Hagar! And therefore, being grafted into Abraham's family, that means that this white, scandanavian gentile Christian gal is also identified with Hagar! Funny ain't it ... a part of scripture never quite talked about by Jews and Christians alike! It has stumped the best of the best of theologians. Ha.

    On the other side of the coin, I'll gladly accept with faith all the blessings actually promised by God to Hagar/Ishmael. We have so distorted this biblical narrative to FIT our national convenience!

    As to the original post, well said, Julie and Michele.

     
  • At 10/21/2006 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Cary

    Julie, thanks for including the link to the David Wilcox lyrics. What a powerful song! Definitely a lot to chew on there. If anyone would like to encourage the leaders of our country to make some changes that would allow us to use whatever blessings God has bestowed upon us to bless the struggling nations of our world, please visit www.one.org to sign a declaration and make your voices heard. Also, http://dwellingplace.blogsource.com/post.mhtml?post_id=391633 for other ways to make a difference.

     
  • At 10/22/2006 04:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I'm jumping into this conversation a little late but just now had a chance to read and respond.

    I started working at the church I currently serve in August, 2001. 9-11 happend only a few weeks later.

    Last fall the adult forum read "Broken We Kneel" by Diana Butler Bass...at times I thought I'd have riot on my hands...some strong emotions around the "rightness" of our country.

    It is very difficult for me to work with a parish that sees the world so differenly than I...to love them and pastor them and hope to teach them a little bit about what it means to be blessed and then to bless in return.

    I appreciate this site!

     
  • At 10/23/2006 12:52:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    Very interesting post. :)

    I agree with the sentiments already posted, but will also say that I don't have a problem with "God Bless America".

    This IS the land that I love and I pray God blesses it and the people here! I also don't have a problem with God Bless Russia, or Germany, or China, etc.

    We are indeed blessed to be a blessing, to speak for those with no voice, to make God's love visible. I am saddened by not only our nation's practices, but also that of individuals, churches, and my own.


    On a forum recently there was a discussion of what this world might look like if all of the believers lived a life of generosity and mercy and grace....really lived it. Not just talked about it.

    I have gone from feeling war is sometimes necessary, to thinking its never justified (unless maybe immediate self defense) -- to not really knowing what to think other than God is a God of peace, but how He brings about that peace can vary. Sometimes turmoil is involved. Perhaps the great flood of Noahs day is an example. Not having leaders who are humble and seeking God first though puts us in a very precarious state of affairs. The knees of the nation's people aren't likely to bend in a state of generosity and mercy and grace if the nations leaders aren't bending theirs in the same fasion first as an example.

     

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