Today after watching the Republican presidential candidates debate on This Week With George Stephanopoulos and when watching Tim Russert on Meet the Press interviewing four journalists and writers as to what makes a good president, I am reminded of our enthrallment with politics, and indeed the entire world's interest in the same. And it was somewhat interesting to me as well.
I'm afraid we Christians are quick to side with one faction or another, too often based on what we think are national interests. It is interesting that we will take a strong stand against abortion and vie for only "pro-life" candidates, yet we are strong supporters of American military intervention in the world in the name of our national interests.
I wonder if we as Christians are not meant to rise above such considerations in our thinking and actions. I believe we are. Nationalism in Dietrich Bonhoeffer was laden with problems for Christians who actually are one holy nation scattered throughout the earth (1 Peter). It seems like those on the Christian religious right have boiled down their concerns to three of four issues with the rest relatively unimportant to the national debate. While those on the religious left have done the same with their pet issues. I do think as one who has shared in more or less a part of religious right thinking in the past.
Nationalism is especially tempting to many American Christians since religious freedom was a part of the founding of this nation. And along with Modern Enlightenment thinking, a kind of Christian view undergirded the founding of this nation. But if Jesus's "Sermon on the Mount" is meant for us as Christians today, as salt and light in this world, then nationalism must become secondary in our thinking, I believe.
What must be primary is the kingdom of God come in Jesus, and what comes from that, indeed a new reality into this world which is not a part of this world. Our allegiance in Jesus must be to this new entity and dynamic in the world of which we're a part.
So it's good for us to keep up with the political news and important if we're to be good citizens not only of earth, but of heaven. But let's check our pulse and make sure that our concern and zeal is not unduly given to a nationalism that ends up undermining the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Good Christians will debate on this issue, seeing it from different perspectives and angles. What might strike you here as wrong about my thoughts, or what might you add to them?