Saturday, July 4, 2009

Patriotism In The Church

Some people (church leaders) like to argue that there is no place for patriotism in a church worship is never appropriate for us to mention our military, sing "God Bless America" or display the US flag in church. (don't ask me to explain it because I don't understand it)

My argument is, if there is a place for patriotism in your personal life, then there can be a place for patriotism in a corporate church worship gathering. It may not always be profitable, but it is possible.

Too often, we like to compartmentalize our lives, believing the lie that says that the worship that happens on Sunday mornings is more holy and important that the worship that happens during the rest of our week...the lie that says we must be more careful about the things we say and do in church than the things we say and do outside of church. But, if my entire life, every second of every day is purposed to be an act of worship to God, how can showing patriotism at a baseball game with thousands, in an elementary school with hundreds, and at my family cookout this Saturday with a few be more OK than showing patriotism in church?

For the record, I understand how blessed I am to live in a free country, I say "thank you" to those who have served in our military, I cheer loudly during the Olympics, I salute the flag and I hold my hand over my heart during the pledge. None of those things in and of themselves make me patriotic, but I do have a love for and devotion to my country, and I'm OK with expressing my patriotism at the appropriate times.

What say you? Is there a place for patriotism in a church worship service? Can we sing the songs and acknowledge the flag while still bringing glory and honor to God?

I certainly hope so.



Anonymous said...

I agree wtith you Nate. Our old pastor ended every service asking us to pray for our country, our troops and our leaders. We then sang God Bless America. Our new pastor doesn't and we miss it! He won't because he says it has no place. We don't agree.

Shari said...

I am with you. There absolutely is a place for patriotism in church. Thos country was founded based on freedom of religion. Our patriotism and those that defend our country ensure that. We pray every week in our church for the servicemen and their families, our countries leaders, etc.

David Wilson said...

No, and Anonymous points to why.

I live in the most conservative county in the nation. I can hear Eglin AFB's loudspeaker as the national anthem is played when the flag is lowered.

Our congregation is 80%+ active military, retired military, civil service or contractors. I love my country, love the folks who serve it, and fly the flag at home often. Even have sung God Bless America at a memorial day event in the park.

We very, very, very rarely do anything that could be called patriotic - in worship of God. That's not why we assemble on Sunday.

We pray every week for our leaders and our military. But when you bring patriotism in, God is reduced IMHO.

Rick Lawrenson said...

I'm red, white and blue, too.
In the last generation there has been a movement in this country, especially among the very conservative to equate patriotism with Christianity. They told us that the way to return our nation to the Christian values of our founders was through the vote. The implication was that one party was Christian, the other was not. That movement failed.

We do have to be careful not to confuse the two. You can be patriotic and Christian. In fact, I believe if you are Christian you should be thankful (esp. in this country) for the liberties we have been given.

Most importantly we should remember that we are citizens of another kingdom, and that's where our primary allegiance should lie. Everything else is secondary.

CFHusband said...

Again, my point isn't that we should show patriotism in the's that we can. Even David Wilson admits that it's possible.

Our church very rarely does anything more than pray for those serving in the military and recognize (on Memorial Day, for example) our vets. We don't display the flag in the building, we haven't sung any of the songs for several years (that I can remember). But, if we felt that doing those things could point people toward God and help us worship Him better, we just might do it.

The reason we don't more often is exactly as a few of you have stated.

David Wilson said...

"Even David Wilson"?

You have been talking to your daddy again, haven't you.


CFHusband said...

Sorry, David, but I think that joke is over my head...