Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


“Hope of the Earth”?

Romney and Obama tackled foreign policy issues in their third and final debate last night.

“This nation is the hope of the earth,” Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in passionate closing remarks at last night’s third and final presidential debate.

The statement for a moment filled me with great pride, and maybe I’m not alone.  I suspect most voters like to hear that the country they love really is the greatest on earth.

We Americans have much to be proud of when it comes to our achievements as a nation and the values and principles we strive to uphold.  Regardless of who we vote for and regardless of our views, most of us can agree that we want the very best for our country and are genuinely grateful to be Americans.  Most of us, I imagine, might even agree that there are a range of issues in this election pertaining to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” both here and around the world that, regardless of whether we vote  Democrat or Republican, are important to us, not just as Americans but, more fundamentally, as people of faith.

But this morning, with Romney’s remark still trilling in my ears, I awoke maybe not so coincidentally to read from the Old Testament book of Lamentations (Lamentations 3:13-26) that God is my only real hope.

I suppose any time we begin to mistaken our own selves as the “hope of the earth,” be we Americans, or people of faith, or both, we are in danger of committing a dangerous form of idolatry.

This sort of “Manifest Destiny” understanding of ourselves as Americans runs deep in our blood- maybe almost as deep as original sin.

But this long-standing relationship with our own self-righteousness doesn’t make this sort of thing okay, or par for the course, or acceptable political sound byte material.

The other day at a friend’s birthday party, my son and I got to ride a mechanical bull.  That bucking bronco was hard to ride and an act in humility- not to mention a discovery in hip ligaments I didn’t know were there.  At the end of the fun, our hostess gave us one forewarning: “in a few minutes, we’re putting an end to the bull,” she called.

When politicians, regardless of their party, make insidious and even ugly appeals to our American savior complexes in the place of the one true God who can save us and our world, it seems to me that we, too, as Christians and people of faith, need to be calling for an end to the bull.

 

 

 

 

 



Previous Posts

Lessons from the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Just over six months ago, a member of our congregation announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer: Steve Hayner, the outgoing president of Columbia Theological Seminary, and his wife Sharol, have come to be most associated in my mind with joy; yet Steve's announcement could not have been

posted 6:16:41pm Nov. 12, 2014 | read full post »

The Prodigal God—Inspirations from Tim Keller's Book
I've missed you! The challenge of writing for a full-time job is that it can relegate recreational writing to a distant backseat. But I want to keep coming back to this intersection, because I find that when I'm away from it, my capacity to carve out space for reflection and find spiritual breathing

posted 10:04:03am Nov. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Neuroscience of Temptation
It's been too long. I hope you're enjoying God and life. That next book I'm working on is now evolving into a book about addiction and mental illness—and how churches can and must learn to love and wel

posted 1:52:23am Oct. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Brokenness—as Creative Tension?
This morning a meditation from Paula Ripple's Growing Strong at Broken Places sparks some thoughts about embracing brokenness as the very site where God seeks to form us, like a master po

posted 10:13:15am Oct. 03, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—The Worship Service To End All Worship Services
It's been a while since we've had a mental health break. As a little bit of comic relief at the start of another work week, this clip from a worship service somewhere in America comes from saint and sinner Paul. The comments from readers are just about as funny as the weird break dancing routine in

posted 2:12:30am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.