I’m taking a few more classes of seminary this semester. Striving towards the finish line of the MDIV… it awaits only a few years off. I’m taking a class called “Celebrating Diversity and Embracing Unity.” I wasn’t all that excited for the class – but one of the texts we are using for the class is really challenging my thinking. The book is called, “The Exclusion and the Embrace by Miroslav Volf. The work is truly brilliant. Volf is a Croatian and his family was heavily involved in the Bosnian-Serbian war. He writes on forgiveness and reconciliation from both a theological standpoint, but also brings in a ton of personal experience. His family suffered greatly at the hands of the Bosnians.
One of the statements that he makes is that in order for true reconciliation and even the desire for it to take place, our allegiance must be to the Kingdom of God above all else. If this is not the case, than restoration, forgiveness and reconciliation are impossible. This got me thinking about churches that display US flags in the sanctuary. I wonder what message this sends. Isn’t it true that Christianity is often tied up and encompassed by a western mindset? If our allegiance is truly to the Kingdom first, should we fly flags in the church?
I also got to thinking about elementary school. Remember in elementary school when we had to say the pledge of allegiance? The pledge starts out, “I pledge my allegiance to the flag…” Is that true? Do we, as followers of Christ, pledge our allegiance to the flag (a country) or do we pledge it to a crucified savior who purchased us with his blood? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I am unpatriotic, it’s just that I think we need to be careful who and what we align ourselves with as followers of Christ. I’m grateful to live in the US. My brother in law fought in Iraq. I understand what our freedom has cost and I am grateful for it, but that doesn’t mean that my highest devotion goes to a country. My highest devotion is directed at a God who paid everything to purchase me… and it’s to others who are followers of His, no matter what country they live in. I’m not sure that I’ll say the pledge of allegiance anymore, not because I’m ungrateful to live in the US, it’ just that I am pledging my allegiance to a cause much greater than a country and to a people far more encompassing than US.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post.