I consider myself a very patriotic person. I LOVE America, and I thank God for the freedoms we have here. I believe they are God-given, and reading about the history of the founding of our nation, I believe God's hand was in it. I have always thought of America as a Christian nation, and I have had "issues" those who want to make it otherwise. I have even told people I believe we, American Christians, have a responsibility to be good stewards of the blessing God has given us in this Christian nation.
I was shocked when a friend (Stephen, you probably know who you are) suggested that Jesus might not hold this same view. I used some of the above arguments with him. And then I read The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey and I was again challenged. Yancey pointed out Jesus never put up "us/them" barriers (a gross over-simplification of what he said, but it's what really hit me). And in my frequent visits to and discussions at Rant and Reason (the Humanist blog), sometimes I find it difficult to maintain some of the "Christian nation" assertions and not put up an "us/them" wall.
So I saw this book, The Myth of a Christian Nation, on sale at Mardel the other day. Here's what I read on the back of the book:
When the kingdom of God is manifested, it will wear the face of Jesus Christ. And that, says author Gregory Boyd, has never been true of any earthly government or power. Through close examination of Scripture and lessons drawn from history, Dr. Boyd argues that evangelical Christians who align themselves too closely with political causes or declare that they want to bring America "back to God" are actually doing harm - both to the body of Christ and society in general.
Boyd shows how Jesus taught us to seek a "power-under" kingdom, where greatness is measured by sacrifice and service. There are no sides or enemies because we are meant to embrace and accept everyone. In The Myth of a Christian nation, Dr. Boyd challenges readers to return to the true love of Calvary and the message of the cross - setting the "power over" politics of worldly government aside.
Wow. These thoughts raise a lot of questions in my mind, but I find it interesting that God seems to keep bringing me back to this issue. So I'm letting myself be challenged and reading the book. I'm pretty sure the book is going to raise more questions for me, but I'm kinda excited because I feel I have begun a journey.