Theology: Re-imagining the American Experience

What are the virtues of the American story?

I think Dennis Prager puts it pretty well in the video item below.



To summarize:
Liberty
We are free to pursue our dreams and to go as far in life as hard work and good luck will take us.

E pluribus unum
“From many, one.” Unlike other countries, America is composed of people of every religious, racial, ethnic, cultural and national origin. Out of many people we become one people – Americans.

In God we trust
America was founded on the belief that our rights and liberties have been granted to us by the Creator.

America is far from a perfect place and we have our share of troubles. However, these virtues have meant a great amount to our country and has helped build much good in it.

However, the clear weakness of America in recent decades has been the over-emphasis on the accumulation of wealth and the willingness among some to break rules to do so.

As a follower of Jesus, how might I re-imagine the American narrative bringing it under the Lordship of Christ?

I found myself drawn to St. Paul's letter to the Galatians.

If we speak of liberty as a virtue then we who call Jesus Lord need to heed the following:
Galatians 5:13
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.


If we acknowledge "e pluribus unum" and the great melting pot of America, then we must rise to the challenge of loving our neighbor who may or may not share our religious or political beliefs nor share common cultural traditions or personal interest. As St. Paul put it bluntly:
Galatians 5:14-15
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.


And finally, if in God we trust is to have its fullest expression in us as followers of Christ then we need to yield totally to the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


The "spirit of the age" has made the acquisition of wealth the central aim. We need the antidote that an attitude of service, the priority of love and the working of the Holy Spirit can provide.

As we celebrate July 4 and the founding of America, let us do so with thanksgiving but also prayerfulness for our citizenship is to the even higher calling of the Kingdom of God!

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