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Posts Tagged ‘nationalism’

by Mike Edwards

Both the belief that God exist or doesn’t exist requires faith. Let’s not accuse those who put their faith in God as needing a crutch or accuse those who question the reality of an invisible God as being in denial or immoral. Those of any faith or religion must in politics, business, or friendships respectful convey rights to not believe in God or supposed biblical truths.

One Christian nation can’t exist

A “Christian nation” implies or requires all believe the same. This is a violation of God’s very nature. God created freedom of beliefs for the possibility of authentic relationships. A parent guides their children to freely make future choices hopefully for their benefit as well as for others. God would be a terrible terrorist or extremist since opposed to forcing personal beliefs on others.

But, didn’t God choose one nation under God such as with Israel in the Old Testament? God choose Israel as a mouthpiece to introduce God in the beginning, but God wanted to have a relationship with all nations (i.e. Gen. 12:3). Other nations could look to Israel to compare God against their gods. Jesus didn’t try to turn the Roman Empire into a Christian nation. Jesus taught that serving was more important than gaining power.

A free society isn’t an immoral society 

We all have friends not into God that are moral, and we have Christians friends who seem closer to the devil than God. A society that doesn’t respect freedom to believe in God or not, seems destiny for tyranny. Most Christians think such freedom was given to us by our Creator.

So, everything goes! C’mon! Who doesn’t believe murder or physical or sexual abuse is wrong? We aren’t always certain how to best love, but most know that we ought to love others as we want to be loved. Different opinions on immigration, health care or taxes can stand side by side as we discuss the most loving approach.

Using the Bible as foundational truth

Christians give speeches or hold signs up at civil protests to argue we must follow “biblical truths” as a nation. This is a disregard for freedom of beliefs for all and ignores that differing biblical interpretations exist for major moral issues. See here.  I can’t imagine Jesus holding up a sign. He simply spoke of and lived out caring for others. That is how you make policy.

Discussing what are biblical truths are more appropriate in a worship setting where all share the same beliefs about God. I am convinced though an open view as opposed to an inspired or inerrant view of Scriptures encourages more contemplating what a loving God is really like. And surely an inaudible Creator influences though our moral intuitions. Common, moral sense is not the enemy.

God and politics

The only way we can be a Christian nation is if all believe in God or at least forced to. We must not speak as if all must believe the same. We are fortunate to be able to freely to speak of influences in our life. When people ask what influences or motivates me, I talk about God’s presence in my life. That can be voiced in the public square as well. But our language must carefully respect the beliefs of others and not assume or insist on a belief in God. I believe as a God-follower that God can inspire unselfish motives but each must make that relational decision for themselves.

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

We hear a lot about Christian Nationalism lately. I had never thought much about it before, but with all the talk about it in the news, it is quickly becoming a popular topic.

I have to say, I love my country. The United States is the only country on earth I would prefer to live in, although it certainly is not perfect. Yet the United States falls way short compared to the Kingdom of God.

The problem seems to be that we hear more and more about some Christian people wanting to get officials elected that will make laws and force supposed Christian values as laws of the land.

It seems many Christians are making more out of the kingdom of the United States than they are the Kingdom of God.

I recently read an article about a new bible called The God Bless the USA Bible, in which the constitution, bill of rights, declaration of independence, pledge of allegiance and the words to the song God Bless the USA are written inside. It also has an American flag on the front cover. No different than having a pastor or celebrity autograph a bible, putting a specific country’s national writings in the bible is no good and completely out of place.

For some reason, many of those involved in the Christian church seem to think that America is a Christian nation. They seem to think that America is God’s chosen nation and they need to force biblical values on everyone.

The fact is that America is not God’s chosen people. It is not a Christian nation, but made up of people from all faiths and religions. God does not just love the people of the United States, but God so loves the world. He loves all people, all nations, all faiths.

What happened to seek first the Kingdom of God? What happened to the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount on how to live for God and how to treat others?

In Christian Nationalism, America itself seems to be the center of attention and hope for the world rather than Jesus. It seems to me that people are trying to make America into an idol and trying to force Christian precepts as the law of the land. This should not be.

It was extremely hard to watch the events of January 6 where people illegally stormed the Capitol of the United States and caused damage, injuries and even death. Even worse, many of them were carrying Christian flags, Christian slogans and were seen praying and thanking God for such an event. There certainly is no love in any of that, and no caring for others.

It seems many put more emphasis on political power in the United States and making Christian rule the law of the land than they do following the example of Jesus by loving all people and focusing on the Kingdom of God.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Jordan Hathcock

“The black sheep is sometimes the only one telling the truth” – Unknown

It seems we always want to see something through even when its not working. It is the human trait: We love our ego so much that even when we are harming others, we still deny the truth of it all (I.e., cognitive dissonance). I know that is something I battle. What gives? Why are we so comfortable with something that works for us but is damaging to others? Now, I get that we also harm ourselves in many ways due to many negative habits, but it seems when our lifestyle is beneficial to ourselves and our tribe, it does not matter what happens to the other. Especially in our current social climate, it looks like this issue of privilege is at the forefront of it all. The rich keep getting richer, the marginalized keep getting screwed, and the comfortable (maybe fearful as well?) keep doing nothing. The vicious cycle continues.

Now, I understand that there are numerous factors that play a role in all of this. The “Great Reset” is something that has been boiling around the surface and we are all trying to figure the best course of action to take. Unfortunately, division/strife is the most common denominator. Coming from the “Christian” perspective, it seems we have a dualistic pull of its either “my way or the highway”.  Look, we are all going to choose what we think is right when it comes to the actions taken. Its either we have a problem when it comes to our current societal institutions or we do not. It seems from both the conservative and liberal Christian isles; we can agree on institutional issues. That’s a start! But a lot of it seems to be misguided by our worldviews when it comes to social policies. On the conservative side, we see a distrust with our medical institutions along with media outlets. On the liberal side, we see the huge issue of systemic racism and the wealth gap that is increasing more and more each day. Its hard to engage in productive dialogue—on both ends—when trying to find a common ground through it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my opinion and I believe its based in fact and reality (like everybody else, right?). I lean more progressive so I will have my perspectives. Some examples. Former president Trumps influence on American Evangelicals was/is really disturbing and dangerous (the attempted coup on the U.S. Capital). Christian Nationalism is running rapid through this country and that is a HUGE problem (but a bunch of Evangelical leaders just signed a letter condemning Christian Nationalism as heretical and antithetical to the teaching of Jesus…so that is encouraging). The conspiracy theories that are running rapid from Evangelicals are not helping. Until Evangelicals evaluate the reasoning behind the onslaught of unproductive conspiracy theories, they will never find the remedy. As Darrell Lackey states:

“Here is what I believe these evangelical critics are missing as they rightfully and courageously address this problem in their own camp: A key factor is the underlying theology, specifically a view of the Bible, and how E/Fs understand inspiration, authority, and beliefs like “Scripture alone.” Until they are willing to address those issues, the problem is sure to continue, as it has now, for decades.”

I do not want to make “theology” our faith. All theology stems from our own culture context. Does theology help? Sure. But it seems that it does more harm than good when it comes to relationships. “Err on the side of love” as Brian Zahnd would say. Orthopraxy > Orthodox all day! With that being said, there is a responsibility when we see the fruit of it all. This goes for both the right or left leaning “Christian”. Seeing this teaching of Jesus as being crucial to how our thoughts become actions, ignoring it would be futile. That is our privilege. We are participants of the Jesus way and this means we are called to be feet washers (public servants), tables flippers (speakers of truth to power), and leprosy healers (community liberators). We have these privileges in order to share them with others. Its Kenosis 101. We self-empty ourselves in order to heal and liberate others. It’s the Gospel! If we confuse this with using our privilege to suppress and dominate others, we are nothing more then Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Its funny but within the American context, we associate sheep as weak and just brainwashed followers. But we hold up the more the powerful animal (lion or wolf) as the symbol of liberty and leadership.

This is antithetical with the way of Christ. He is the slaughtered lamb, yellloooo (Rev. 5:6)! I get it, we all want liberty and to do whatever the hell we want as Americans. But true freedom is when we are living in the way of servanthood—which is a loving community not slaveholders. I would even go further and have us inherent the call of black sheep–carving our own paths along this terrain we call life. To those of us who have privilege and denying its responsibility, don’t live in fear! Be that lost black sheep, having trust that the True Sheppard will find you and guide your path to genuine healing and liberation. This is the way, I think, in order for all to be free. Be the Black Sheep in Wolves Clothing! Like Martin Luther King said: “No one is free until we are all free.”

Jordan Hathcock began writing as a regular guest blogger and has been a great addition to the site. He also writes at his own site called Hazy Divinity He can be contacted by email at: jrhathcockss@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

We all know it is a fact that no matter what you believe, what your interpretation someone always has a completely opposite view. This is true on about any subject, religion, nationalism, LGBTQ issues, women’s rights, abortion and during the present day especially on COVID-19.

It seems we can get excited about hearing some truth that really connects. Then the next thing we read is an article by another person that completely disagrees with what you just heard. This is true whether it is religion, politics or the medical world.

More than that, most of us Christians get mad when someone disagrees with us and believes something different from “our” way of thinking. We get on Facebook and make ourselves look crazy because we talk about brotherly love, then we fight and argue with someone because they interpret things differently. Most of the time it is about things we cannot prove one way or the other.

We really have to stop and think that whatever it is we believe, whatever our interpretation, everyone is not going to agree with us. Everyone has a right to their way of interpretation as long as they do not force it on others. There is no reason for us to get mad at someone for seeing things differently.

In regard to our christian life, it is all a matter of faith. No matter what it is in spiritual matters, no one can really prove what is right and what is not, or what is real and what is not. Just because someone has a different interpretation does not mean they are right or wrong.

We need to keep our ears open to the leading of the Spirit, and follow on our own path looking to Jesus. That does not mean any and every path is the right one, but we cannot be the judge of who is right and who is wrong. Jeremy Myers, in his book ‘Dying to Religion and Empire’ states, “The beautiful thing about following Jesus is that while He leads us all in the same direction, there are millions of different paths He can take to get us there. His goal, of course, is to advance the Kingdom of God on earth through the people of God who are being conformed into the image of God”. We need to follow Christ as he leads us individually, and then be ready to love all people, no matter if they are on the same path or not.

Let’s stop arguing, fighting and demanding that everyone agree with us. Follow the leading of the Spirit within and love those we meet along the journey. I think the Spirit of God is big enough to lead us all into truth in individual ways, yet all to the same goal.

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by Jordan Hathcock, Guest Blogger

Jesus’ focus was on “hypocrisy” more than “heresy,” and it might just be an indication of how far we’ve strayed for us to give so much attention to “heresy” and not enough to “hypocrisy.”

It seems from both sides of the Christian partisan isle, the heretic agenda is still prevalent within Christendom. When we proclaim the charge of heresy-which in the context of the Greek in the Christian scriptures, literally means division-it’s hard to really find a unified common ground with each opposing group. The point of all religion, especially the Christian traditions in my opinion, is to be unified in love (Col. 3:14). Yes, we are all seeking to do what we all think is right when it comes to the Christian faith. Both sides of the left/right Christian divide are pushing the “we’re right you’re wrong” cause, which ends up creating the heretic agenda. Is this the only route we can take when “others” come up with ideas/practices that do not align with ours?

As history shows, the heretic agenda has only brought division, death and destruction. Is this part of being a participant with Jesus? I mean honestly, how the fuck did we ever think burning someone at the stake was Christ-like?! You can click here to view the list of individuals who were executed/tortured due to the heresy charge of the “Christian” church. With regards to today’s cultural context, we have taken the execution/torture part out of the equation (yay) but the destructiveness of the heresy agenda is still at play.

I would like to take a couple examples from both sides of the Christian faith that are throwing out the heresy card and see how much it differs from what Jesus did 2,000 plus years ago. I believe there is a difference, and we are definitely not practicing the path that produces unified love through these heresy accusations. These examples of heresy accusations from individuals are in no way trying to bring about judgement on them. It is merely a way of showing the hypocrisy of it all. We are all guilty of hypocrisy throughout are way of functioning in life. We all need some unveiling at times to expose our false assumptions of moral superiority (take the log out of our own eye, ring a bell?).

Let’s go ahead and take the first example from the progressive side.  John Pavlovitz is an author/pastor/blogger who really goes after the current political climate of conservative Christians with their support of Trump and his administration.  Look, he has a lot of really good and important things to say in regard to this subject. I agree with a lot of it! The thing that I have issue with and what I believe to be hindering the repentance (change of mind in order to change your path) of these groups is his charge of heresy.  Take this for example:

God doesn’t bless America.

That’s not how this works.

I’m sorry to break it to you, Bible Belt Christians—but that’s just how it is.

I know this kinda wrecks the convenient narrative you’ve been working for the past 60 or so years (and hitting especially hard the past eighteen months), but honestly that nasty bit of heresy has done enough damage already and it needs to go. It’s straight-up of the devil.

So, apparently the issue of nationalism is “against the orthodox belief of Christendom and/or an opinion that is contrary to what is accepted”? In essence, what Mr. Pavlovitz is proposing is that he abides in the pure orthodoxy of the Christian faith and these Bible Belt Christians do not. According to his blog, these Christians are practicing “nasty heresy that is straight-up of the devil”! Man, that’s a hefty accusation. Is it true?

Now, let’s peep out the conservative side of the isle. Currently, the Catholic Church is dealing with a heresy charge on Pope Francis himself (how ironic, don’t you think?):

Prominent clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy. They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime.

What did the Pope do to deserve this “infamous” title? Well, according to his accusers: “Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.” How broad and narrow minded can you get here? Why are we so terrified of people with differing views? Yes, there are more details to this claim, but it just boils down to different practices and associations. Again, do we divide, or do we look to embody our differences in unity?

Look, I get the horrible effects of nationalism within the culture of Christianity. I also get the importance to care for our community and to protect them from the harmful effects of bringing about unhealthy practices. Any type of fundamentalism that pops up from either side is only a stumbling block to the unity of the faith. But, in the end, the heresy agenda does not produce the fruit of love (Gal 5:22-23). Let us say goodbye to this unhealthy agenda and embrace the unity of Christ: I in them and you in me…

“Ye shalt locate false teachers from online evidence or in person whilst they preacheth and drive public campaigns against them. Making sure everyone knows just how shocking they are, thou shalt pick at the teaching of others and bring to light their heretic ways. Attack their theology in any way it does not align with thine own personal theology. Ye are free to call them names, label them and destroy their ministries. This is pleasing to me.” Said God, never.

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