Ten Ways Christians Can Be Too Patriotic

I love our country.

I love the uniqueness of its cities and the their cultural variances. I love that countless languages are spoken and just as many varieties of delicious foods are prepared within our borders. I love the passion for social development and scientific discoveries. I also have enjoyed visiting other nations and experiencing snapshots of their communities and cultures as well.

As Christians, we’re called to love our cities and countries that we live in. Regardless of our potential differences in faith, morality, philosophy and politics, we like the exiled Israelites are to “…seek the welfare of the city…” (Jeremiah 29:7, ESV) or “…work for the peace and prosperity of the city…” (NLT). From Adam and Abraham to Jesus and Paul, we see throughout scripture God calling and leading His people to cultivate, develop, and bless the communities and nations that they live in as well as those abroad.

While patriotism is noble and can be motivated by godly intentions, there are however ways in which Christians can elevate their earthly citizenship above their citizenship in God’s eternal kingdom. Here are ten ways Christians can be too patriotic:

  1. Your country is more important to you than your local church; you’re committed more to the progression and power of your nation than the development and ministry of your local church.
  2. Your freedom in your nation is more significant to you than the freedom you now have in Jesus because of His life, death, and resurrection.
  3. You define yourself as an American (or *insert nationality*) before you define yourself as a Christian; who you are is defined by the blood your nation’s soldiers shed rather than the blood that Jesus shed on our behalf.
  4. Your temporary earthly rights and pleasures are more important to you than the wellbeing of your neighbor and God’s creation.
  5. You see your nation as God’s holy, chosen people and other nations as enemies of God deserving of punishment.
  6. The views of the political party you most associate with conflict with your call to love your neighbor as yourself.
  7. You fail to acknowledge and confess our sins as a generation as well as those before us for the sake of gospel change today and for the generations to come.
  8. You think that God’s end goal is to make your nation a perfect place rather than establish and advance His kingdom here in all the earth as it is in Heaven.
  9. You think that your nation has always been a Christian nation regardless of its deep roots in slavery, genocide, inequality, racism, classism, sexism, corruption, environmental damage, and the abusive dominance of other lesser powers for the sake of personal gain to name a few.
  10. Your hope for change and transformation in this world is rooted more likely in the laws and legislation of your land rather than in God’s chosen people who have the Spirit of God actively working in and through them.

For content similar to this topic as well as suggestions for change and growth in these areas, check out Gregory A. Boyd’s “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon “Paul’s Letter to the American Christians.”

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Why Christians Should Care About the Earth

It’s ironic, isn’t it?

We often boast that our God made the entire universe. Every single square inch of it is His. And yet, we are also the ones who are least likely to care about it. We mock hybrid-driving, Whole Foods-shopping, recycling vegans as if they’re inferior humans.

 But why?

Hold On to This for Me

Growing up, I used to cherish when my dad would give me something from his childhood or let me borrow something of His. No matter what it was, I would take extra care of it simply because it was my father’s, not mine. I was blown away that he would let me, a young kid, hold on to and take care something that was his.

In the early chapters of Genesis, we see God do a very similar thing with humanity, don’t we. God intricately crafts the entire universe and all of its ingredients from scratch. From matter to the mountains, atoms to apples, God makes everything. And we see that it is good.

Then, we see God form humanity to be like Him in and to all of the earth (created in His image). In other words, God desires for humans to display His character and creativity in all of the earth. He gives humanity a few instructions about how to do this:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.”

Genesis 1:28, CEB

First, He tells them to make a lot of babies.

Check! We’re currently at about 7.1 billion people. Job well-done if I do say so myself.

Second, God instructs them to subdue the earth and have dominion over every living thing.

Often, we view these two words, take charge (some translations say have dominion), from the wrong perspective. These words are meant to communicate a language of nurture like governtake care ofhelp, prosper, etc.

Instead, we view these words from a worldview that has been contaminated by an endless history of corrupt leaders. We view governing not so much as nurturing but as controlling, domineering, and at times abusive.

 This is not the ruling over the earth that God intended for humanity. Rather, God intended for us to govern as He does over us and His kingdom: in a loving, sacrificial manner.

Like Father, Like Son

When my dad gave me things from his childhood to hold on to for him, he expected me to take care of them. If I would’ve taken them from him and broke or damaged them, my dad would’ve been heartbroken. Him allowing me to take care of something that belonged to him was a shadow of his love for me. In response, I would take care of them with every power I had because of my love and appreciation for him.

Similarly, the intent of the dominion that God has given to us was not to trash the earth like an irresponsible teenager would trash their parents’ house when they’re out of town for the weekend. On the contrary, this dominion was granted to us with the intention that we would preserve and nurture the earth in manner that would benefit all of creation now and for future generations.

Taking charge or having dominion over the earth means being responsible stewards of all God’s creation, loving sacrificially like God has loved us through Jesus.

Shopping Ethically

In the past few months, I’ve received many calls, texts, emails, etc. in response to a post I wrote in December entitled Stop Buying Slaves. The piece detailed how we all in some way have played and still currently play a role in promoting modern-day slavery and why we as Christians need to make significant efforts to stop buying slaves. Popular brands we purchase our clothes, food, coffee, accessories, sporting goods, etc from often employee what we would refer to as slaves. Christians most of all should be furious about this.

Many of the people who contacted me were convicted by our unethical shopping habits as well as inquired about ethical shopping options. Here are a few options and resources that I know of:

Clothes & Accesories
Coffee & Tea
Food
Household
Personal Hygiene
Shoes
Misc
Final Tips
  • American-made, not American-assembled or designed in America
  • Look for the Fair Trade or Direct Trade label
  • Shop at thrift stores, boutiques, second-hand shops, etc
  • If the price is too good to be true, then it most likely is too good to be true. The odds are that someone was ripped off in producing that product for so inexpensive.

As you can see, there are many options available in most categories of life. From face wash to furniture, people are crafting products and businesses that are ethically sourced by paying their laborers fair wages as well as using wholesome and sustainable resources that seek to better the environment.

If you know of any other ethically-sourced products that are not listed above, please feel free to share them with me. I’d love to look them up and add them to the list!

Forty Things Jesus Never Said

About a week ago, #ThingsJesusNeverSaid was trending on Twitter. Some of them were mocking the Christian faith while others were quite insightful, enlightening us to the perception that many people have of Jesus and the church as a whole.

While I did find some of the tweets both helpful and humorous, some of which I’ve included, I thought I’d make a list of my own. Here are forty things, some humorous but all serious, that Jesus never said:

  1. If you classify yourself as a Christian on your Facebook profile, then we’re good.
  2. Life will be easier if you follow me.
  3. I’m white.
  4. The church will never hurt you. My followers will be perfect.
  5. I’m Republican.
  6. Mel Gibson could probably tell my life story (R. W. Martin).
  7. Guns are your God-given right.
  8. Love your neighbor as yourself unless they’re gay, liberal, or not U. S. Citizens.
  9. Violence is awesome.
  10. I hate gay people.
  11. America is the greatest country in the world.
  12. The homosexual lifestyle is more of a sin than watching porn, lusting after someone who isn’t your spouse, and sleeping with anyone outside of marriage.
  13. Stand up for and even die for your constitutional rights.
  14. You don’t need church, you just need me.
  15. If you truly love each other, you’re already married in my eyes.
  16. I can only be worshipped through music accompanied solely by an organ even though the church won’t start using it for nearly a thousand years.
  17. I don’t care what you do with your money as long as you give the church 10% of your income first.
  18. This earth doesn’t matter; it is yours to ruin.
  19. Don’t trust science.
  20. FOX news and the Blaze are almost as trustworthy as the Bible.
  21. Don’t listen to secular music or watch rated R movies unless they are about me or war.
  22. Don’t just pray in your closet, live there too. Completely isolate you and your family from anyone who isn’t a Christian.
  23. Your bodies don’t matter. Do with them as you please. Forget a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep pattern.
  24. Going to church makes you a better person.
  25. My conscience forbids me from providing services to homosexual couples.
  26. Only read the King James Version of the bible even though scholars will unanimously agree that it’s a less-accurate and reliable translation.
  27. I only like hymns.
  28. Suits and long dresses are a mandatory church dress code.
  29. It’s okay to do unethical things as long as you don’t think about them (illegal downloads, buying from companies that use slaves to produce the product you’re purchasing, etc)
  30. Before I heal you, I’ll need proof of health insurance.
  31. I can’t come in unless you invite me first. You have to ask me into your heart.
  32. The age of the earth matters.
  33. Shelter (*clears throat*), I mean protect your children from the “secular” world.
  34. Christians verbally attacking each other on social media is the best way to spread a message of grace (Jon Acuff).
  35. Slavery is okay.
  36. Capitalism is the best economic system.
  37. I only help those who help themselves.
  38. Karma! What goes around comes around.
  39. It doesn’t matter how you live anymore.
  40. Obama is the anti-Christ.