I am going to do a cross blog thing today. I promise not to do it often. Trevin Wax, who is an author and pastor of a Tennessee Baptist church has a blog entitle “Kingdom People”. He has quite a large and loyal following. Wednesday’s post he questioned the “smug superiority” of the United States especially given the recent inauguration. The post below is a comment I posted on his site. To see his entire posting go to http://trevinwax.com/2009/01/21/echoes-of-babel-our-new-national-sin/
As usual I will take a somewhat contrarian view of some of your statements on this post. Before I start I want to acknowledge that I agree with you on much of the beliefs underlying your message. But I do take exceptions with the examples you use to justify them. Let me comment on your direct words.
- “I sense that we as Americans are facing the rise of a new national sin – one that is more subtle and even deadlier than the sins of our past – one that is common to all other empires that have risen and fallen throughout the ages …..
“I hate to be the one to pop the balloon of our collective national pride in this historic moment, but I sense that we as Americans are facing the rise of a new national sin…. A smug sense of self-righteous superiority that usurps the rightful throne of God.”
Yes, you are the party pooper aren’t you (ha). If you see a smug sense of self-righteous superiority then you must be looking at the last eight years not the coming years. Mr. Bush’s black and white worldview certainly had a smug sense of self-righteousness about it. “We will bring all the nations of the world, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the fold of democracy” Now that is I call smug and totally naive.
What do I see for the coming eight years? I see a country that will finally restore a sense of the “common good” which Catholics are the long term standard bearers (I do admire them for that). I see a government that will return to trying to unify us as citizens of the United States but even more importantly of the world. If only there were the same drive of unity among us Christians maybe we could begin unifying the 35,000 different denominations and seeking the Lords will to be one and He and the Father are one. I see a nation that will strive to be “our brother’s keeper” not one that pushes “ownership” meaning you are on your own.
- “the average citizens fawning over Obama as if he were the Messiah”
I think you are confusing the man with the message. I don’t think the average citizen sees Obama as anything other than a man with inspiring goals for us as a country. There is nothing wrong with attempting, even in the smallest degree, to make God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. The Lord tells us all to do that and it certainly refreshing to see our civil leaders following that theme. After the arrogance of the last eight years it is certainly refreshing indeed!
I could say that reading your daily blog and all the “right on” comments you receive almost every day that your readers are fawning over you as if you were the Messiah. That would be unfair to you just as it is unfair to put that tag on President Obama.
- “we can see that what truly unites us as a nation is a sense of superiority over the rest of the world, a belief in America as our savior, a naïve assumption that our cause is always right.”
Again, I assume you are critiquing the last eight years and not foreseeing the coming years? Is there anything wrong with having a hope and a desire to see a better world than what we have seen in the recent, and even distant’ past? If I approach the world totally in the Pauline mode of being a poor miserable sinner unable to do absolutely anything right then I would say yes any hope is smug superiority. I instead choose to say that through the Lord we can make the world a better place. I don’t call that a “sense of superiority”, I call it a dream to be chased. There is certainly nothing wrong with having dreams especially when they are centered around Jesus and Isaiah’s’ words.
- “How many examples of government injustice have to take place before we realize that Christ’s Church is still the greatest force for good in the world?”
I only wish that Christ’s Church were the greatest force for good in the world. If that were true we certainly wouldn’t have to rely on civil government to promote the common good and to make sure our ‘brothers’ are taken care of. But instead what we see is that churches today spend more than 90% of their donations on themselves. They buy ever bigger and bigger temples while the least of these are suffering and dying in our own streets and in most third world countries. You might say that is NOT Christ’s Church and I would certainly agree with you. But that is the face of Christianity today, like it or not.
- “Nations rise and fall, but the Word of the Lord stands firm forever”
This is one point that we are in total agreement on. That is a nice way to end this discussion so I will stop here. Thank you for your blogs. They are certainly thought provoking.