To Celebrate…or Not?


Today is the day America celebrates its founding. I wasn’t going to post anything. But then a Facebook friend announced that, as a follower of Jesus–and therefore as a citizen of no earthly kingdom but rather of God’s kingdom–he steers clear of participating in national celebrations.

That triggered in me a “What do I think about that?” response. Result? I realized that I agree. And disagree.

On the one hand, I am a follower of Jesus, and as his ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:19-20) owe my allegiance to him alone–always and forever.

On the other hand, ambassadors are called–and if they are true ambassadors feel a natural yearning–to support the land in which they’ve been planted. If they see some injustice or need in the culture around them, or observe something worthy of celebrating, and are in a position to do something about it, does not their King require them to do so? A good ambassador can do no less, and yet will always staunchly steer clear of political entanglements. He will never forget the One he represents.

Therefore, I will call myself a patriot, but not a nationalist. I will celebrate this nation’s extraordinary history–without labelling it “better” than all others. And I will honor this land in every way I can.

But I will never cease to serve my King. 

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to To Celebrate…or Not?

  1. Jeff says:

    I struggle with a balance in this area, as well. I tend to swing more the other direction, because of what I see as abusiveness and lack of compassion in the “super-patriot” camp. I’m a citizen of the Kingdom, first and foremost. I live in the U.S., though, so I must live as a responsible citizen of the land. But I agree that it means that we must also speak out when we see something wrong. To be a “patriot” does not mean that we agree and approve of all that our country and government does.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ekurie says:

    We’re stewards of this earth God created. 241 years ago a raggedy bunch of oppressed men and women spoke out against the cause of their oppression relying wholly and completely on God for help. Their strong faith in reliance on the God of freedom and truth gave them victory and success. As long as I live I will stand firm in that truth and freedom, for Jesus Christ, even to death.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ron Whited says:

    Great post Mitch. I too struggle somewhat with the issue of Christian Nationalism. I love this country. It is the only home I have ever had. The freedoms I enjoy here are astonishing compared to most of this world, and for all of that I am thankful and appreciative.

    But I cannot put America before Christ. Not now, not ever. I take issue with a great many things I see taking place in America today and I cannot of a good conscience look the other way. We are a blessed nation, yet with that blessing comes tremendous responsibility. My prayer is simply that we own those responsibilities and conduct ourselves accordingly.

    Happy 4th!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oneta hayes says:

    I will celebrate – celebrate the good, bemoan the bad. Fearfully, I bemoan the bad much more than I celebrate the good – so give me my day. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. nancyehead says:

    Have your read Eric Metaxas’s If You Can Keep It? He handles the balance of acknowledging the bad and celebrating the good masterfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dtbrents says:

    2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I believe that nationalism is one of God’s divine institutions so each of us should pray about the 4th. When I was growing up we went to the lake and had a picnic. I loved it and have wonderful memories. We prayed before we ate and thanked God for our freedom. We continued this until our families got old and did their own thing for the holiday. I see no reason to feel condemned about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. smzang says:

    “Therefore, I will call myself a patriot, but not a nationalist. I will celebrate this nation’s extraordinary history–without labelling it “better” than all others. And I will honor this land in every way I can.

    But I will never cease to serve my King. ”

    Yes! How clearly you see it and say it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Relax... says:

    Amen and a half.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jon says:

    Jeremiah 29:7 Helps me on this subject. “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ … that and some direct revelation by the Spirit that He was in control of my military service forty years ago when my draft number came up.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. David Pettus says:

    Good thoughts!

    To celebrate the 4th is to celebrate the blessings God has given us through this nation and to do otherwise is to not appropriately appreciate those blessings. The day may come when we have to choose between being a follower of Jesus and an American, but that’s not today.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, and I totally agree. We are in this world, but not of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post Mitch. I appreciate the distinction being made. I’ve struggled with this for the last couple of years myself, so hearing how you deal with it is helpful. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Thank you, Mitch, for the compelling argument: we can be Christian and American patriots. For the person who chooses not to recognize Independence Day, perhaps he could celebrate the positive impact Christianity has had upon America. Perhaps he could love, support, and defend (the definition of patriotism) a nation that has reflected (albeit imperfectly) the benevolence and justice of God himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yeah. What you said! A lot of Americans mix nationalism in with their Christianity in a way that’s kind of creepy. The ambassador metaphor is good for Chrisitans to keep in mind; not quite belonging but working for the good of the place.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I wish I had read this on the 4th of July. I didn’t post at all, but I would have if I had read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. numrhood says:

    2 corinthians 5:44-45
    love your neighbor as yourself


  17. heatherjo86 says:

    Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow and as such he has given us what we need to find the right balance. Matthew 22:21 mentions we should give back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God. What that means is that we should be obedient and submissive to governmental authorities as long as it does not interfere with or contradict our lives as Christians. During Jesus’ time on earth there was a lot of political unrest with the oppression of Rome. However, Jesus and the first century Christians never involved themselves in those conflicts. They never took up arms, protested, or spoke out against the reigning king of that time. So we should pay our taxes, be law abiding citizens, etc. but our loyalty and allegiance should be to Jehovah God. We cannot serve two kings whole-heartedly, at some point we will be made to choose.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Roos Ruse says:

    Once again, I adore your distinct way of seeing and expressing what you see. I’m not entirely proud of everything about our country today or everything about our history, However, I celebrate that thanks to Jesus the story’s not over and His glory continues. God bless the U.S.A.

    Liked by 2 people

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