Thursday, September 10, 2009

Being theologically patriotic

Here is an edited note that I wrote to a friend last month when we talked about politics:

First, I see a difference between a Christian being patriotic and one who embraces nationalism. A Christian is being patriotic by receiving his place of birth and citizenship as a gift from God of which he/she able to release his/her gifts for God's agenda. In other words, a Christian ought to be patriotic to a country for God's sake. That means the Christian commits to God's agenda (justice, love, etc) by seeing that these virtues are not to be neglected in his/her given country.

An imperfect yet illuminating ancient example would be St. Paul who uses his Roman citizenship to carry out God's agenda in Rome (Acts 22.28, 23.11, 25.10-11).

'Nationalism', though often being equated with being patriotic, is always a tension for Christians who pledges him/herself to God's kingdom, especially when reciting the Lord's prayer. Nationalism connotes a person's (either Christian/non-Christian) pledged allegiance to a country's national party/government. But the Lord's prayer is already a pledge, and it is not to any local or country's government.

So I see that a Christian can be patriotic without embracing 'nationalism' (for lack of better term).

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