Okay… I fear that writing this post may upset some people – but then I think you may need to be upset so at least you’ll know why you believe what you believe… so I’m writing it anyway! But I ask in advance that you respect that I am on a journey here, and I have this blog so that I might be able to ask such tough questions, and get honest answers and opinions. You cannot grow without questions, so let me ask my questions without the labeling and name-calling…. please!
I watched “Shut Up and Sing” the documentary about the Dixie Chicks that chronicled their journey from 2003 and the comment about President Bush to 2006 when they released their latest album. Of course, you all remember what happened right? The Dixie Chicks were performing in London (I think) and Natalie Maine said, “We are ahamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
Now, let me be clear, I think this is a little irresponsible perhaps… I respect her opinion, but I still think it slightly irresponsible.
Nevertheless, the punishment that the Chicks recieved for this comment did not fit the crime. Hate mail, horrifying comments, Bill O’reilly said that they were “stupid” and that they needed to be “slapped around”, a woman said someone should “strap her to a bomb and drop her over Iraq”, they were banned (illegally I might add) from radio stations in the South, and (to top it all off) they recieved a serious and direct death threat.
One man is shown in the documentary saying “Free speech is okay, but you shouldn’t do it publicly”. OOOOOHHHH…. I see, so free speech is given us so we can say what we want at home…. hmmmmm… thanks for the interpretation!
Anyway, I am not here to make a judgment call about the Dixie Chicks or the comment they made – I am writing to expose a deep seeded issue that people do not seem to be talking about in Christian circles – and I think they should start talking about it! That is allegiance to the “Institution”.
I was at a high school volleyball game last night. Two of the four public high schools in Jonesboro were squaring off as cross town rivals – Valley View and Westside. It dawned on me during this game, that what divided the two crowds of people was more than a volleyball court – these people hate each other… don’t believe me? Then go to a cross-town rival game that is of no interest to you, and just sit in the middle and listen to the comments made (and by the “mature” adults no less). I heard anger, resentment, hate, prejudice, envy, and worst of all… contempt. I even heard a little racism in the mix – although it was sublte.
And over what? Volleyball? No. I tend to think it is allegiance. I tend to think we, even we adults, have declared allegiance to certain institutions, and to be open-minded and partial to another rival institution is to betray your loyalty to your own. (I probably am not making much sense here!)
Think of churches… have you ever felt like people want to win people from other churches, or heard people say “Well, so and so church has the same ministry we do, so we need to do it better.” What about this comment – that I actually heard, no less… “If we stop doing this ministry, then the other churches in town will get those people we minister to!” There is no concern in that comment for the kingdom of God, just concern for the numbers of our institution!
And it is no different when it comes to America. We become so loyal to the institution of America that we blindly follow, and we get mad and angry, even hateful and contemptful toward those who call it into question. Now, my concern is not so much that society does this, but that Christians do it. We will shelve our discipleship and hate our enemy in the name of “serving” or “defending” or “honoring” our country. We will lay down the law of love, and cuss out our neighbor (or worse, we’ll speak ill of them behind their back) in order to stand up for America.
This is NOT a defense of the Dixie Chicks, but isn’t free speech afforded us in our consititution precisely because a censored society is more dangerous than an uncensored one? And herein lies my fundamental questions – What if we couldn’t or didn’t call our leadership into question?
But I have another fundamental question that is more directed at those Christians who participate in undying allegiance to their nation – actually I have two questions (and perhaps, you can answer these fine, and that is good, lets hear it – seriously I am all ears – this is NOT an attack – just a question!!!!
1> Does your allegiance to your country mean that you are setting yourself against other countries, thereby despising your enemies? And if you do despise your enemies (i.e. terrorists), then are you breaking the law of love?
2> At what point does your allegiance to the kingdom of God trump your allegiance to America? Is that line so blurry that you cannot see it?
“Foxes know many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing!”
Go and see what this quote means, and decide, are you a fox? or a hedgehog?