Month: November 2014

Patriot No More

Patriot No More

comrade-putout-putin-jokePatriotism is in the air, it is election time and we are being bombarded with TV and Radio ads, junk mail, internet ads, billboards, and yard signs promoting one candidate or another.  My wife works for a company that requires that she belong to a union, I used to be a card carrying member of the NRA and a registered republican.  Every day the mailman brings the union mailers telling us how the republicans must be stopped, and republican mailers telling us how we must act to stop the democrats from destroying our country.  Sometimes I wonder what the mailman thinks of our household based on the junk mail he has to deliver every day.   He must wonder which way we lean, left or right.

I used to lean right, hard conservative Christian right, but that was a long while ago.  Today I am free of that crap, I no longer participate in politics at all.  I used to debate with my liberal friends, I felt it my patriotic duty to spread ‘conservative principals’ and promote ‘Christian values’.  I would watch the “liberal television media” and shout at the television when I felt that they were distorting the truth.  I listened to right wing talk radio and I shunned “Liberal” talk radio.   I was a bible believing Christian who thought he had to stand up for all that was right and good, I believed that God needed my help to fight the good fight, and of course I was a proud American and a Patriot!

 

I Once Was Blind

I remember asking a “progressive” friend once, “Aren’t you proud to be an American”?  I was shocked to hear him admit that he was not.  It’s funny really when I think about it now, I was such an idiot at the time.  One day my unpatriotic friend shared a cartoon with me.  In the cartoon there were two potted plants next to each other.  The pots were identical and the plant in the pot on the left was saying to the plant in the pot on the right “I am proud I was planted in this pot, and not that pot”.  There was a caption at the bottom that read “Patriotism”.  It was about then that it started to occur to me how ridiculous the idea of patriotism really is.  How can I have pride in the fact they I was born in the United States?  I had nothing to do with where I was born, did you?  Don’t get me wrong, I am very glad that I was born here and not someplace else, but as I said, I can take no credit in being an American, I was born one.   I guess someone who moved her from another country and studied to meet the requirements could take some pride in being an American, but if you were born here, you have nothing to be proud of.  I don’t think I would want to live in any other country, but I can no longer identify as a proud American.  I am an American, not by choice but by birth.   God chose the pot I was planted in, not me.  It would be silly for me to express any amount of pride in being an American.

 

But Now I See

Up until about seven years ago, everything that I believed was taken from other people.  I considered myself to be open minded.  I adopted my beliefs from many places.  Many of my beliefs came from my parents, many from life experiences, and the rest came from the ideas of others that seemed to make sense to me.  Over a lifetime I had accumulated a set of ideals that I felt were pretty solid.  I later discovered that, with the exception of the ideas of right and wrong that my parents taught me when I was young, almost everything else I had adopted as truth was crap, especially the things that my political party and my religion had taught me.

 

Craptastic

“God is Love” and “I hate to break it to you, but non-christians are going to burn in hell for eternity.”  Say What?  How can these two things be true?  Well, William H, a seminary student and prayer warrior, made it his mission to convince me that both of these things were in fact truth.  William sure knew how to quote from his English translation of the sacred scriptures.  He had an arsenal of verses to support his beliefs.  He could quote scripture and the ‘church fathers’ and he was not joking around, he was dead serious.  I respected William, after all, he sounded so devout and sincere when he prayed.  The biggest obstacle he faced with me was that of everything that I knew to be true, one thing was solid.  “God Is Love”!  This was the one thing I knew I could count on.  Not just because my parents taught me this as a child but because I had faith.  And not the fake plastic faith of religion, but a true faith. The kind that can only be given by God Himself.  So as great and as eloquent, and as sincere as he sounded, I had to call bullshit.

So, as William would present verses to support his faith in eternal torments, all I could do was poke logical holes in the things he presented as proof.  All I had to combat his religious training was my God given faith, I seemed to be outmatched.  I was so wrong. I went home and got on my knees and I had a sincere conversation with the God of my faith.  “God”, I said.  “I can’t reconcile my belief that you ARE love, with the teaching of eternal torment.” I went on.  “I can’t believe that you could cause, or even allow anyone that you love to be tortured without end!”  I announced firmly.  “I believe that the bible is your inspired word, and I want to know that what I believe in my heart to be true is not simply wishful thinking.”  I continued.  “I want to know that there is a scriptural basis for what I know in my heart to be true.” I finished.

Well, God answered my prayer, he gave me the scriptural proof that I asked for and in the process destroyed pretty much everything else that I believed.  Everything other than “God is Love” had to be tossed in the trash, where it all belonged.  Everything that William, that the ‘church fathers’, that my pastor and my ‘church’ had taught me was not only wrong, it was completely contrary to the truth.  It took several years for me to shed all garbage that I had accepted as truth.

 

Free At Last

Once I lost my religion and learned that God is in control of all things, my life began to change for the better.  I learned that scripture actually teaches that Christ is the savior of all mankind, l learned that all is of God.   I discovered that Christ was completely successful on the cross. I came to believe that God does not need my help or require my obedience.  I’ve learned that God is currently conciliated to the world and is no longer holding their offenses against them.  I learned that I am not charged with fighting the good fight, or winning souls for Christ.  I learned that God places all of our leaders in power.  He placed Ronald Regan, and He placed Barrack Obama, both for his good purpose.  I am not charged with defending against the democrats or the republicans! I learned that my citizenship is nowhere on this planet, but rather in the celestials.  I learned that I don’t have any business complaining or wringing my hands over the state of the nation or the world because all is going according to His perfect plan and He knows what He is doing.  I am an ambassador of Grace today, and ambassadors don’t participate in the politics of their host nation.  So I am free at last.  I get to just trust God and rest in the knowledge that God is in control and that His plans end well for all creation.  I am free from patriotism, from world politics, national politics, and even local politics.  I am free from religious legalism and the constant treadmill that keeps people in bondage to man and its victims focused on themselves rather than what Christ has accomplished.  I am free from guilt, free from sin, free from religious and political bondage.

 

So that’s the story about how I lost my patriotism and gained my freedom in Christ, and all it took was some God given faith.  A faith based in one solid fact.  “God is Love”.   I can’t wait to see who God picks in the upcoming election.

 

-DH