Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I had a most unsavory experience last Sunday in my own church. I love my church and the people who make it up are a great bunch of folks, but I have a problem when Christians use a worship setting to express their patriotism.

In our worship time Sunday the song God Bless America was sung during the offertory. I understand that the majority of the people in our church are baby boomers and that song has and had great meaning not only to them but also to their parents. Written in 1938, or at least the version we now sing, it held tremendous value under the threat of impending war in Europe. These are also the people who believe that America used to be a christian nation. Anyone who has read anything about the founding fathers knows this isn’t exactly true. (Too bad for you D. James Kennedy.)

I believe it is a fine song to be sung in the right arena, but the connotation to me as a thirty eight year old woman who has grown up watching the gross commercialism, materialism and the downright self-centeredness of American people, I hear “God, bless us because we are so great. We are the best so You must bless us.” Sunday worship is for the worship of God, not the worship of America. A few things were even said about the war in Iraq from the pulpit. Well, it was an obvious implication anyway if not a direct statement.

Speaking of politics (and the war IS about politics), there is also the false belief that all Christians are conservative. I had a friend in our church in Atlanta who was a hardcore democrat who was told that one cannot under any circumstances be a democrat AND be a christian. A lot of Christians are totally against the war in Iraq. The assumption that we all think alike and feel alike about all things is offensive and ignorant. I myself, a sincere follower of Christ, have serious concerns and doubts about the war.

So, back to Sunday morning. I excused myself to the bathroom to get my attitude adjusted after the offertory. Upon returning to my seat I noticed that the final song would be “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” A war song written at a Civil War camp. The original song is called “The John Brown Song” some say about the abolitionist, some say about a Scottish Union soldier. I excused myself again………what a bizarre experience.

1 comment:

TC said...

Tracey, this may seem random but as I was reading an article today, I came across a quote that reminded me of one of your blogs on worship at Crossroads. I thought everything you had to say was interesting, and I don’t think that the focus during church should be how great America is, but how great Christ is. When I thought of you while reading this quote I thought that maybe God did that and so I wanted to include this quote that might have relevance to what you said in your earlier blog, here it is…

…There’s an old story attributed to Dwight L. Moody, who was once criticized for his methods of evangelism. He responded, ‘I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.’ Reformed Christians may be right about how to reach new generations, but are we doing it? Are we seeking to rescue other professing Christians from the jaws of error? Are we willing to submit our own thinking to the scrutiny, correction, and ridicule that inevitably come from publicly joining the conversation?

Most important, are we building friendships with postmodern non-Christians, the type who bristle at the sight of steeple and pew? Do we even know such people? Are we bringing the gospel to them in dialogue, listening for their responses so we at least know they understand? And if they place their faith in Christ, are our churches prepared to embrace them without requiring a second conversion into a church culture that may have less to do with the gospel than we’re willing to admit?…

Anyways, see you at church…God’s blessings.

Tim

Comment by Tim Carroll — 9/12/2006 @ 2:32 pm