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American Christians

“We briefly celebrated one of the few clear-cut military victories we’ve had in a long time, a win that made us feel like Americans again — smart and strong and capable of finding our enemies and striking back at them without getting trapped in multitrillion-dollar Groundhog Day occupations.” Maureen Dowd, New York Times, May 8, 2011

We talked in Sunday School class today about Paul’s interpretation of Jesus. The authors that we were following (Borg & Crossan) had suggested that Paul saw Jesus as standing up to the Roman Empire. The dilemma that I think we face today is that WE are the empire now. So where does that put the person of faith. Is our first allegiance to God as many like to say — or to country as seems to be the reality. Dowd would seem to suggest that we are, and should be, Americans first.

One of the difficulties that we have in dealing with Muslims is that for them Islam comes first and the country a distant second. That makes them seem to many as unpatriotic. But aren’t we called as Christians to put Christ first and the country a distant second? Is this not the point that Stanley Hauerwas makes? I don’t know the answer to that but I raise the question that many others have raised before me. In particular, what does our gospel say about dealing with a bin Laden? What do we do with the forgive seventy times seven? And does that teaching on forgivenss coincide with the interests of America? And, if the two clash, then what are we to do as American Christians — or as Christian Americans. It is a hard question. I don’t have an answer.

 

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