Friday, September 3, 2010

We've Got the American Jesus

I don't always see things eye to eye with Mark Driscoll, but I agree with him on some things. For example, the other day I was browsing around his Facebook fan page and he made a few remarks about Glenn Beck's weekend rally. Apparently, Driscoll is not a fan:

Beware of anyone who talks a lot about God but not Jesus as the only God. Beware of anyone whose commitment is to country above Kingdom. Beware of anyone who talks of morality but not redemption thru the cross.

Driscoll got a lot of flack for it, but I agree. Although to me, the problem isn't with Beck's Mormonism, although I certainly don't believe in Mormonism. The problem with Beck and the Tea Party movement is that they worship the American Dream more than God.

Now don't get me wrong, I love being an American. However, even since the 9/11 attacks I've seen patriotism turn quickly into what my friend calls "hijack-patriotism," which to me is another from of religions fundamentalism. Hijack-patriotism says, "If you don't agree with us, you are the enemy." For example, back around 2003 if you were against the war in Iraq, it meant that you hated America. Saying, "Give peace a chance" was the same as saying, "I love Bin Laden." Likewise last year if you supported health care reform, it meant you were a Communist. It's religious legalism draped in an American flag.

As American Christians, we need to remember that God is the god of all nations, not just one. One of the most radical things Jesus did was proclaim the Kingdom of God to both Jew and Gentile. There was no longer one chosen people; God now extends His salvation to all people of all nations. Patriotism is good, but national pride should never come before the Kingdom of God.

4 comments:

  1. This was so gracefully written and I couldn't agree more. I've been trying to so smoothly express that thought for longer than I can say.

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  2. Agreed, totally. You and I seem to agree on a lot. I posted (in much longer form and in much more detail) about this on my blog, and got flack from a conservative (someone I don't even know) who seems to have made my place his new stomping ground. It was interesting because he commented (without seeing the quite apparent leap in logic) that "We're fighting for a Heavenly Kingdom not an earthly one. That's why we need prayer in schools." He went on to talk about "moral decay" without ever pinning down what the term means. I think that's something you touch on here - or rather, Driscoll touches on and you quote. The ill defined concept of "God" that Beck was spouting at that rally was certainly not any definition of God that I know, and he doesn't really define his terms to clarify what God from what religion (though clearly it is meant, for him, to be the God of Mormonism, and for his audience, the God of Judeo-Christian tradition). I think Beck realizes the subtle difference, and leaves his terms purposefully vague, thus casting the net for persuasiveness as wide as possible.

    Nothing has spurned more conversation and discussion in my family than what Mr. Beck has had to say about God.

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  3. My blog is actually named "American Jesus" and I ran across your site while playing with google search options.

    Love your site- and this post hits the nail on the head in several areas. The idea of an "American Jesus" or "American" version of Christianity is something that troubles many of us.

    Keep up the great blog!

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  4. You are dead on. One only need to look to Germany, Romania, or a number of other countries where religions peoples blindly followed in the name of 'patriotism.'

    I just created a blog post on the pledge of allegiance that you might be interested in ( http://terry.ipearson.net/2011/09/02/the-pledge-lets-have-an-open-debate-on-this/ ).

    It largely is based on the same notion that you discuss in this post. Our allegiance is to God (Jesus), and cannot be usurped by a third party (government).

    I love the freedoms that we hold ideal in our nation, but we need to be careful, not to put our country above our creator.

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