Over the past decade or so, as I've struggled with applying the teachings of Jesus to societal structures and not just on my own individual faith, I've thought a lot about national pride. I come from a wonderful family with many who served in the military, and who love this country. My wife, who is Argentine but became a US citizen in the 90s, has commented many times over the years at my patriotism, usually because she has seen how much I love the national anthem (and get really bothered when people start cheering at a sporting event before the song is actually over--it's very somber for me).
I've also spent time with many people from other countries and cultures, and think really about how much "God so loved the world", and wonder about the proper sense of national pride for one who lives in two worlds, one whose ultimate loyalty belongs to the King of kings, not to any man, woman, creed or ideology. I'm reading 5 Cities that Ruled the World: How Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London and New York Shaped Global History, and came across this quote, which I wanted to share:
When patriotism goes to seed, becoming a jingoistic nationalism, it gives patriotism a bad name. It is the difference between gratitude and arrogant pride. Patriotism stifles the spirit of war, nationalism breeds wars. Patriotism is catholic, nationalism is sectarian. Patriotism understands and enters into the affection that others have for their place.
What do you think? How does a lover of Jesus loyal to the kingdom of God live a patriotic life in the US? What about those believers who live in Argentina, or Spain? Or Iraq or Palestine?
I thank God for the freedom I've been able to enjoy in this life. May I never take for granted political and economic freedom, or the spiritual freedom that comes only from Jesus.