Friday, July 3, 2015
When Patriotism Becomes Idolatry - Zach Hunt in Relevant Magazine
Christians were a people who, under the threat of death, boldly professed allegiance to a kingdom that called Jesus, not Caesar is Lord.
And yet here we are some 2,000 years later. We’ve brought the brass eagle home to dwell among us.
How far have we fallen as a Church, how lost are we in patriotic idolatry that we’re worried about offending people if we remove a symbol from our sacred space that demands our allegiance to something other than the God we’ve come there to worship?
What makes patriotism an idol in the Church, and not just bad theology or bad story telling, is that the political ideology it brings with it can push out the need for Jesus and leave no space for the Gospel.
When “Americanized Christianity” takes over and the Gospel gets refined in the fires of patriotism, the story of the empire ultimately wins out and becomes a new story of faith.
We may continue to profess allegiance to Jesus, but our lives tell a much different story, one in which the Gospel has become supplanted by American political ideology such that theology seems strangely like a political agenda. When this happens, debates begin to rage about caring for the poor, the sick and the immigrant, debates which would be incomprehensible in any other era of the Church.
When patriotism becomes an idol, the poor can become our enemies, the alien among us can become someone to be feared and the outcast can become someone we actively seek to marginalize. When patriotism becomes an idol, the “other” whom we despise is the least of these.
Because of the truly radical nature of the Gospel, there is no space for the flag next the bread and the cup on the altar of salvation. They are two radically opposed visions for the world.
We have to choose which story we are going to be a part of.
The full article is available here