I hope you are well. I’ve kicked off summer 2021 in a most patriotic way. Last week Sam and I visited Mount Rushmore and then met up with Will to attend Wave I of the U.S. Olympic Trials. Our son, Will, was swimming at the meet — which is the ultimate dream of many young swimmers. It was such an incredible week, and I have so many thoughts about it, that I can’t possibly put them in a single post of reasonable length. Hence, my series.
When I was a little girl my dad accused me of being unAmerican. What was my offense? I hated both hamburgers and corn-on-the-cob. Sadly I have never overcome my distaste for burgers. But I think, overall, my dad would agree — I’m pretty patriotic.
Are you? Would you consider yourself a patriotic person? I think something has been lost in recent days. I am not patriotic because I think any person is worthy of worship. Only Jesus is. I am not patriotic because I endorse every action or statement of our Founding Fathers. Clearly they were all sinners and so deeply flawed that it’s hard to relate to the travesty of slavery. But at the same time our government was laid out with a system of checks and balances —a level of wisdom that has withstood tremendous pressures and trials. How can any lover of freedom fail to acknowledge that the bones of our government are elegant, enduring, inspiring, and wise? We don’t tear down homes with great bones, and houses are insignificant when compared to systems of government. I cannot relate to the masses aimed at destruction. I wish they could all visit Rushmore and read the words of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. I wish they could all attend an event where athletes aim to make the U.S. Olympic team.
Yet it feels as though the dominant voices are voices of victimhood, voices that fail to look at alternatives, voices that rarely, if ever, model biblical wisdom: it is to YOUR glory to overlook an offense.
Really the heart of the matter is gratitude.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
I believe being born an American is a good gift from my Heavenly Father. And I never want to take it for granted.
I hope you won’t either. I hope you’ll always try to recognize and acknowledge all the gifts you’ve been given, and then use them for His glory.
P.S. I listened to this sermon from Tim Keller twice this week and highly recommend it. In it Keller has an almost C.S. Lewis type of vibe, where he explains complicated concepts in such simple and compelling terms that you almost want to laugh and exclaim, “Ahh, of course! How did I not see that before?” The two that tie into the above post are: (1) try as you may, you cannot live under your own authority; and (2) as Aristotle argued, doing leads to knowing, not vice versa. It’s a corollary of Bonhoeffer’s statement that obedience and love are self-reinforcing. In short, sometimes it’s vital to just obey. It gets the ball rolling in unexpected ways.