Saturday, January 21, 2012

RePost- Who Do You Go For?

So, I've been busy. For one of my classes (that meets two times a week), we have to do a blog for each class. Obviously, I love blogging. But, I tend to use up all my blogging topics (minus things like Sparkle Sunday) over there. I'm not posting the link to that blog (um, can we say awkward video blogs? plus, it's mostly class related stuff), but I've decided I'm going to post some of my favorites as the semester goes along over here to share with all of you. I've decided to name the series "RePost", since I'm "reposting" posts from over there. :)

I think that this post is one of my favorite blog posts that I've ever written. Last week, we talked about faith and politics as viewed in the Book of James and the early church. Since faith and politics are two of my favorite things...I really liked it. Ready, go!
Who do you go for?

I mean, I've lived in Alabama since I was four. One of the first things that I learned about after moving here was allegiance. In "Elmore-County" terms, allegiance means "who you go for". Growing up, nobody specified which teams you had to choose between, it was just a given that your choices were Auburn or Alabama. To make things more complicated for this confused child, neither of my parents grew up in Alabama. My dad is from Texas and attended Baylor. My mom is from Florida and attended Florida State. So, when faced with a football dilemma, I normally went with Florida State, seeing as they had a football team and had pretty colors (to a little girl, that's all that really matters anyways). But, when I went to Kindergarten at Wetumpka Elementary, things changed. Florida State wasn't "good enough". I had to decide between Auburn and Alabama. I'm going to be honest here and tell you that I flip-flopped every year depending who my best friend was, which team my teacher preferred (I was totally a teacher's pet), and which colors I liked better on a chosen day. I wasn't really loyal to one team or another. It depended on which side of the pep rally I wanted to sit on (meaning "where is my best friend?'). It meant which shirt do I have that has a matching hair bow. It meant things completely unrelated to football games. This continued through middle school and high school. I never really gave much thought to the matter because I really didn't care. Growing up, I said I would never actually attend college at Auburn or Alabama, so it didn't really matter. Well, that changed my senior year in High School when I applied to Auburn on a whim and ended up choosing to go there. After attending some football games and getting into the general college atmosphere, I decided to be an Auburn fan. Obviously, I don't still attend there (something about not liking crowds and lots of people), but the loyalty still remains.

So, why did I tell this story? To illustrate a point, of course. Allegiance to something means nothing until it means something. Okay, I know, that seems redundant. But, let's dig a little deeper here. First, what is allegiance? According to Merriam-Webster, allegiance is defined as "devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause". When I was growing up, my allegiance (or devotion or loyalty) wavered between Alabama and Auburn because neither of them meant anything to me. It wasn't as if my family members attended one university or the other. It wasn't like I was raised to be a __________ fan. No, my allegiance varied depending on who I was with. I had no ultimate allegiance. It meant nothing to me until it meant something (when I attended Auburn).

Something that we as Christians have to wrestle with is who our ultimate allegiance is for. As Christians, we have to decide whether our ultimate allegiance is to God (what the Bible says) or to America (what our country/ feelings of patriotism say). Don't get me wrong here. I feel like you can love BOTH God AND America. I think it is good to be patriotic. I think that there is nothing wrong with a Christian "loving America". There have been tons of songs written about this. I mean, "God Bless America". Clearly, there is a belief that God loves America and America loves God. But, sometimes you are called upon to make a choice. A decision that may be hard. There are some situations when your love of country may conflict with your love of God. That is where we must choose an ultimate allegiance. What happens when the teachings of Scripture don't line up with the expectations and beliefs that your country holds? This is hard to imagine living in Alabama. Christianity has become a part of culture. There's not much of a risk being a Christian here. I mean, to run for political office, you have to be an active member of a church. Otherwise people might start calling you a "turban-wearing Muslim" or a "baby-eating Satanist" or something crazy like that. So, it's hard to imagine what it was like for the early Christians in Rome. There's not an easy way to separate my religion and my politics. It's hard for me to claim allegiance to one over the other. My morals come from my religion. My morals influence my political views and who I vote for. Thus, I can say that my religion plays a large role in my politics. But, I believe that I have a higher calling than being a "good American". I believe that my allegiance to the cause of Christ must be greater than my allegiance to America. I can't flip flop between the two, choosing which is convenient. A choice has to made.

Sometimes this choice may place us under threat. I think that the secular world should view Christianity as a threat. If all of the people who claimed to know Christ, who claimed to have a relationship with Him, lived their lives as if the gospel mattered, then the world would be radically changed. If the people of Christ rose up to fight injustice, then the people doing unjust things would not be happy. If all Christians began loving their neighbor as themselves and caring for the poor and poverty was eliminated, where would the social programs go? What would make governments "look good"? What would make them look like they cared for their people? If Christians were meeting every need, then what? I think the governments of the world would absolutely see Christianity as a threat. I think it speaks volumes that they don't see us as a threat. How are we living? Look at the life of Jesus. How he lived. What he did. Every aspect of his life. The Roman world saw him as a threat. He was a threat because he wanted change. He wanted to challenge people. He was seen as threatening by the political and religious leaders of his day. Ultimately, they sentenced him to death because they felt so threatened by him. His ultimate allegiance was not to country- rather it was to God.

So, when it comes down it, we have a choice to make. God or America? I'm not going try to say that serving in the armed forces is bad. I come from a long line of military people. I'm not saying you shouldn't say the pledge of Allegiance, okay? I'm just saying, when it comes down to it-when the world falls apart and you have to choose...
Who do you go for?

1 comment:

  1. This is powerful, and I love it. It's all about conformity; Rome saw Christianity as a threat because Christians wouldn't conform. Today, we do, so we're harmless.

    Also, this makes me feel better about saying Roll Tide at the expense of War Eagle.