Sunday, September 16, 2012

Am I American or Christian?

Does it seem hard to be both?

I think it is.

As an American, I am ruled by the United States Government, in addition to my state, county, and town governments.  All of these governments have rules that I, as a resident and citizen, must follow.

As a Christian, I am ruled by Almighty God.  He also has rules that I, as a citizen of His Kingdom, must follow.

Sometimes the rules overlap.

Sometimes not so much.

Then, there's that sticky wicket of whether or not to be involved in politics, and if so, how much?

As a citizen of the United States, it is my constitutional right to vote.  As a woman, I know that wasn't always the case.  I am privileged to live in this time, where my vote matters.  But what if the candidates I have to choose from are all advocating things that I don't agree with?

As a citizen of the Kingdom of God, it is my right to live according to God's laws, to worship Him in every area of my life.   But what if the laws of my country limit my ability to do this?

The Bible clearly states that we are to be subject to our government (1 Peter 2:13-17).  It doesn't recommend that we get involved in it.  But I don't know of anywhere it says that we can't be involved.

I read a post by Anne Elliott recently called "Building My Father's Kingdom."  I recommend that you read the whole thing, but I wanted to talk about part of it.  She brought out the passage in Jeremiah 29, starting in verse 4:

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take he wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it:  for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace."  Jeremiah 29: 4-7.

So what does it mean, to seek the peace of the city?

Even if we consider ourselves to be God's subjects first, this passage seems to say that we also have a responsibility to the earthly place we call home.  Israel was even instructed to help the city of Babylon, where they were taken as captives!  Why?  Because if the city was at peace, the Israelites who lived in the city would share in that peace.

Israel was taken to Babylon because God ordained it.

I live in the United States because I was born here.  Basically, God placed me here, in this country, at this time.  So maybe he had a reason for that.

Maybe I am supposed to be a citizen of this country for a reason.

And maybe it is my duty as an American, and as a Christian, to do whatever I can to seek the peace of this city.

And maybe that includes politics.

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