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Being patriotic without being nationalistic

For a while I’ve struggled with how one can be patriotic but not nationalistic. To be completely honest, I am not sure I have seen this play out much in my world. And with July 4th coming up, it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

As a follower of Christ, the notion that my country is the best and thus our ways are the best flies in the face of the teachings of my Savior. And this time of year, as many public places are decorated in red, white, and blue, the idea of us being the best seems to flow even more freely from people’s lips.

In the store today the cashier was telling a customer that her daughter-in-law is from up north and therefore not very loving. She asserted that people in the north aren’t as loving as people in the south. Then to make it worse she proceeded to explain loudly that she and her husband were pastors and went up north and continues her pronouncement that people up north aren’t loving. She ends her monologue with the pronouncement that it’s better here in the south. That we’re better here in the south. That life is best here in the south.

I’m thankful to God that there was another person in front of me so I could process her words and remind myself that she most likely is stuck in her tribal mindset and that it doesn’t make her terrible. I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she is unaware of the world outside her circle.

Although she implied she is a follower of Christ, her words however, did nothing to reflect His words. Her words did nothing to reflect His love and it bothered me deeply. I pray that anyone who heard her who has not experienced the love of Christ see her small world view for what it is. That there is no damage done to the witness of Christ in the world as a result of her judgment declarations.

So here I sit, stretching at the gym asking God for tangible examples of how to be patriotic without being nationalistic. I am thankful I was born here and acknowledge I have been afforded countless privileges as an American. I also know that for many years my country has tipped the scales in levels of depression, anxiety, obesity, addiction and suicide. All these are indicators that I want to point out when I hear the arrogant “America is the best country ever”...

If anyone else is wrestling with this and has learned tangible ways to live this out, I would love to hear from you. While I have some dear friends I am blessed to be able to hash this out with, I know I have many wise, loving friends here on FB and would love to learn from you.

And as a disclaimer, if reading this offends you, please message me. I would love to talk about it. Please don’t post a link or boogie man words. On the other side of those actions if feels like a drive by egging. I do my best to engage in dialogue with those I disagree with.


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