Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CHRISTIAN AMERICA, PART 2

Steve said... (Comments on CHRISTIAN AMERICA blog):

"Bill, rage on.

But isn't it reasonable that those who are Christian and Americans feel such a strong sense of ownership in both that they blur them together? Isn't that kind of a sweet thing in an innocent sort of way?

So if they do good things with this undergirding value, supported by the myth of a Christian America (meaning USA of course, but let's not quibble in the face of such sweet good will....) hey, isn't that great!

If they do bad things, we'll probably get farther by meeting them on their ground, in the midst of their myths, than by asking the dear people to flush a cherished myth down the drain...."
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Steve, I love your comments. Thanks. I have to confess that it took a few minutes for their meaning to sink in. I’m slow when it comes to satire.

Truth trumps myth. Webster’s 9th Collegiate Dictionary defines “myth” as “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the worldview of a people or explain a practice, belief or natural phenomenon.” We who are followers of Christ do not need to build our worldview on myth, but on the truth, whether the truth of the Scripture, or genuine historical facts.

The first great commandment, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5), referred to often by Jesus (Matthew 6:37, 38) leaves no room for any other worship. And I believe that our blurring God and America or putting them both on the same level is false worship. We put flags in our church sanctuaries, right along side the cross. We sing patriotic “hymns” in our worship services. We regard the laws of our country as God’s laws and its leaders as God’s leaders. We regard America’s wars as though they are God’s wars.

It is sad when those who are Christian and American “blur them together.” Do I dare says it’s sinful? Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and will despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). The Hebrew prophets “raged” against idolatry, not only blatant worship of false gods, but also false worship of the true God, as well as syncretism, when Israel (literally) was “hopping between two branches” (1 Kings 18:21), when they apparently felt they were worshiping both the LORD and Baal.

I love my country. I try to be submissive to the government. But my country has no place as first in my heart and should have no such place in the heart of any disciple of Jesus. And I believe we whom God has placed in positions of leadership have an obligation to “ask the dear people to flush a cherished myth down the drain.”

Thanks Steve, for stirring me up.

Bill Ball
8/30/2006

2 comments:

Steve Spinella said...

There is another meaning for myth, used in the social sciences. In this sense, myth is the story or explanation used to undergird a cherished value. That is the sense in which I was intending to use it. Trivial example: Roger Staubach and the "Hail Mary" pass justifies the belief that the cowboys are (were, actually) the greatest ever.

one definition "A narrative that tells of origins--not necessarily "an untrue story." We often undertake to understand myths by understanding the patterns and structures by which they organize their material and give it meaning. [google define:myth]"

In this context, I'm suggesting that we will get farther with the typical Am christian by interacting with them on their turf, rather than challenging their cherished stories, like "our Christian forefathers." Of course, the same would apply to humanist scientists and their evolution myths.

Steve Spinella said...

Actually, I think your definition is saying the same, but I think "ostensibly" needs to be taken in a non-judgmental fashion.

In order to relate "truth" to values, we need to have certain stories where "everyone" [in our group] agrees on their meaning.