Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Mennonite response

Lately Goshen College has been in the news because they stopped singing the national anthem at sporting events. Of course, the irony is that they had a 115-year long history of not doing it and only started in 2010. It caused such an uproar among their constituents, that they reversed themselves in a year. The pundits who are always looking for a sign of the decline and fall of whatever it is today saw the reversal as proof of apostasy. Now, a Mennonite pastor responds.

... we recognize only one Christian nation, the church, the holy nation that is bound together by a living faith in Jesus rather than by man-made, blood-soaked borders.

To Mennonites, a living faith in Jesus means faithfully living the way of Jesus. Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies and he loved his enemies all the way to the cross and beyond. Following Jesus and the martyrs before us, we testify with our lives that freedom is not a right that is granted or defended with rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. True freedom is given by God, and it is indeed not free. It comes with a cost, and it looks like a cross.

<idle musing>
Do read the whole thing. It's well worth your time.

I'm not a Mennonite—never have been—but I am an heir to, and adherent of, the anabaptist/believers' church tradition. I would argue that the early church was, too :)
</idle musing>


That's my 2 cents! said...

I frequent the blogs of a great many Christians from various theological camps. On the 4th I expected and found many of these Christians showing their patriotic/nationalistic bent. Over the last several years I've become more and more troubled by the practice of mingling Christ with patriotism/nationalism. I simply could never put my finger on what exactly gave me a check in my Spirit.

This time as I read these various posts about the love of America, the love of the American dream, the love of the Christian ideal underlying the American ideal, a new connection occured within my thinking.

~ I suddenly remembered God promised Moses a sign that he had sent him. When Moses had lead Israel out of Egypt and back to the very mountain, upon which Moses now stood, Moses would then know God had sent him. When Moses was obedient to God, and got back to that mountain Moses' only desire; only request was to see God.

~ God told Abraham to take his only son and sacrifice him. Even though Abraham knew the God he served detested human sacrifice, he still obeyed. When he raised the knife over his son, God told him to stop. Jesus said, "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced." When Abraham obeyed God, he was showed the salvation of God.

~ Paul tells us in Philippians that he considered everything s**t next to what he gained in Christ.

The clear message of God's word:

Obey Christ and in return receive a greater hunger, passion, and love for God. In addition, obedience brings one into the presence of God, with the added bonus of know that all value is God, and everything else is s**t.

Now I'm going to commit blasphemy, in the eyes of many American Christians. So, if I am guilty of real blasphemy I'll repent, but I suspect I'm on to something. These are the questions I have:

1. If obeying God makes us voraciously hungry for more of God, what is a Christian saying when he/she says "I love the American dream?"

2. If obeying God gives us eyes to see, clearly, that God is everything, and everything NOT God is s**t then the love of everything and every place should be "flushed" away, shouldn't it???

jps said...


You won't see me throwing stones at what you are saying. Nationalism is a besetting sin in our culture.