I Have No Place to Call Home

Grant Smith, Editor-In-Chief

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The way I tend to roll is that when a thought enters my head, I think about it for an extensive amount of time, and if it won’t go away, I write it down – just as I am doing now. And, a couple of thoughts have entered my head that I just can’t shake. So – here we go.

As many people know, I have strange beliefs. I follow Christ, but in a somewhat radical way. In many ways, however, I find the church despicable. Still yet, I attend church each Sunday. I have written columns about my church and religious experiences before, so if you are interested, swing by C114A or shoot me an email and we can talk about it sometime. However, that is not the purpose of this piece. I am going to address a thought (it’s more of a discussion that I have with myself on a daily basis, really) that I can’t stop thinking about.

Over several years of vigorous podcast listening, I began to ponder a question. The question was: what does being a Christian have to do with the United States, or, more specifically, patriotism? I began to think about this especially hard when I recognized an American flag hanging on the pulpit in my church. For most, the two probably appear to go hand in hand – especially to today’s modern-day “Christian.” More specifically – to the white middle class Christian above the age of 40. I couldn’t help but think that there was something wrong with this. What does “For God and Country” really mean?

I cannot keep from asking if we as Christians should first pledge allegiance to the United States flag, or if we should pledge allegiance to Christ. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The important word to consider here is “world,” not “The United States.” In fact, The United States is never mentioned in the Bible. Now, I believe God loves this country. I believe God loves all countries. No, I do not believe that God has a special place for America or Americans – I believe he reserves that for Israel.

I understand and respect patriotism. I believe this is the greatest country in the world – I really do. However, I do not think that just because certain actions are good for the country, that also means they are God’s will. Yes, it might be beneficial for us to make our military stronger, build a wall, or take other actions, but this is not what God calls us to do. Christ calls us to love one another – specifically, to love our enemy. I also began to think: who is my/our enemy? Surely it is ISIS, Al Qaeda, and those who wish to harm me. They harm us and ask their God to bless it, and we do the same. And, since I am aware of groups such as these, I realize that military is necessary. I am thankful for those who wish to protect me, my family, and all those in this country. But, I do not believe they are doing the will of God, but of the country, which are two separate concepts.

Matthew 26:52 says, “‘Put your sword back in its place’, Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’” Jesus makes it pretty clear – we are to put down our sword. However, in Luke we find Jesus saying something that seems contradictory. “He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’” It seems like Jesus is telling us to defend ourselves. However, the most likely interpretation of this is that Jesus is referring to the Sword of the Spirit. In fact, many Bible scholars believe Jesus is not talking about self-defense at all.

There is nothing wrong with pledging an allegiance to the flag of the United States. But, as Christians, we should do so (if necessary at all) after we pledge an allegiance to God. I cannot expect the majority of people to agree with me, because for the most part, this is not a Christian nation.

Call me a follower of Christ first, and an American somewhere else on the list. From all that is currently happening in this country, sometimes I feel as if I have no place to call home.