The Problem With Patriotism

The Problem With Patriotism

God is not on America's side
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I love this country, I do. I’m glad that I live here, I’m privileged that I was born here, and I’m forever grateful for all the freedoms I have in America that many people elsewhere don’t have . I have a fair amount of patriotism, and unlike most people who consider themselves to be patriotic, I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Sure, love your country. Be proud of where you come from. That’s fine. My problem is one that exists because I’m a Christian. And the way patriotism and Christianity intersect in this country makes me uncomfortable.

Why? Because, and this might be a bombshell, we’re not the “greatest country in the world” and God is not on our side. I hate it when Americans/Christians say things that imply that this is the case. It’s been going on for a long time. The idea of the Christian U.S. against the “Godless Communists.” The belief that we’re the next Israel, God’s Chosen People. The concept that we are One Nation Under God and In God We Trust.

You’ve heard some iteration of this at one point or another. It’s everywhere. And putting aside the fact that we have a multitude of religions and beliefs present in this country, this is a problem.

It’s not a problem to believe in God, or believe that God is with you. It is a problem if you believe that God privileges your country above others or that we are somehow God’s favorite nation. If that’s the case, then I have news for you. God is not a nationalist.

And just in case you missed that, once more. God. Is. Not. A. Nationalist.

God is God (surprise), and God loves every nation. God is with every nation. God has presence, followers, and is working in every nation. God does not have favorites. America is not God’s chosen land. God is not on America’s side.

God is on every nation’s side. God is on every person’s side. It’s only a question of whether or not we as individuals choose to be on God’s side. And doing that means we need to place more importance on being a member of God’s kingdom than on our citizenship.

Ultimately American citizenship and patriotism are things we can’t take with us. And on top of that, nationalism to the extent that I often see it in this country is a form of idolatry. We place America and God together on a weird podium as if they are on a team and form some sort of inseparable, unbeatable combination of freedom and justice. That’s not how it works.

As I said before, God is not a nationalist. Any justice or freedom present in America ultimately comes from God, but we are not the only country God blesses. God doesn’t care about invisible man made national boundaries. God cares about people.

So please stop saying things that make it sound like God is fighting for America, or that God is an American. Stop holding special July 4th church services like it’s an important day for Christianity. Remember that “one nation under God” is a message of unity under God. It’s not saying that we are the only nation under God.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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