Remembering America on September 11th

I am still scarred by what I experienced on 9-11-01 even though I was nowhere near the terrorist attacks. You see, I sat comfortably alongside Christian theology students at Anderson School of Theology discussing our feelings about the attacks rather than having our regularly scheduled lecture. Even while the buildings burned and survivors were sought, I had to endure passionate students ascribe blame to America and a few even CELEBRATED the attacks as payback for crimes against the Middle East or because of its Israel-support. I was chided by the professor for showing disrespectful toward my peers, but I could not contain my overt disgust and hostility toward those who would celebrate such terror and especially on the day the scene unfolded.

I discovered on that day that some pastors passionately believe that America IS the problem. Of course, that is not to conclude that being a Christian and an American are synonymous, but I do not consider them antithetical.

I can’t imagine a version of Christianity that celebrates when terrorist succeed, nor can I imagine a Jesus-follower consistently supporting those who despise Christianity. I mean if a Christian finds themselves agreeing with the atheists, hedonists, and abortionists then they might need to check themselves.

But what about pastors who think America IS the problem and whose heartfelt anti-American sentiments are just as vigorous as those of the church member passionately praising the USA? I’m asking a real question based on real experiences.

I’ve heard clergy brag about removing America from their churches (especially the flag) and endured stories from “courageous” pastors exasperated with ignorant “blue-haired” patriotic members. What do they propose Christians do about America?

I find it interesting that the anti-American clergy want it both ways - they want American prosperity while criticizing the same. They want the church to care for all people while casting off those not politically correct. They are eager to place their kids in private schools while overtly proclaiming the virtues of public ones. They shout that America is the problem . . . but are silent when the patriotic widow opens her checkbook. What a quandary!

While I don’t think America is the problem, I certainly believe that Jesus and the Spirit-filled church are the only solutions. It is noteworthy that the apostle Paul did not renounce his Roman citizenship, despite its evil leaders and national idolatry, and I see even more benefit in my American citizenship than Paul’s Roman one.

For now, I find it easy to balance my ultimate allegiance to God’s Kingdom while at the same time pledging to America. I have been blessed by a country that affords me great prosperity and opportunity to serve God and humanity; I am truly blessed to be an American and happy to say that I am.

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