Here’s my main thought for a happy and pensive 4th of July celebration for all Americans.
• Another copy of that rare ancient map has been discovered with the word “America” on it. It appears on the southern continent. Reminds me that Brazilians sometimes complain about Unitedstatesians (the term that some Brazilian periodicals use; my translation of estadounidense) calling themselves Americans, as if they were the only ones in the Western Hemisphere who were worthy of that moniker.
• I have two objections, probably from my Americanism, to accepting another term to call ourselves by. No, three. One, Unitedstatesians sounds horrible as all getout. Two, since when did foreigners get to name the citizens of another country? What if Americans wanted to call Brazilians, say, Amazonjunglers? Three, is there another country in the Americas that has the word “America” in it? I can’t think of one, if there is. Stepping down from the soapbox.
• What do you understand as American exceptionalism? I love my country of origin, think it special in many ways, my heart still stirs at the national anthem and the waving of Old Glory. But when I open up my Bible, there’s only one special nation for God, the church. Some Christians seem to forget that.
• The USofA is not the country it once was. I tend to be a pessimist here, but I doubt it ever will be again. Seems there’s no going back to those moral values it once held, even if imperfectly. It seems that malevolent forces are eating it out from the inside. Evil works to undo whatever is good and right in the world, and it often does, be it in the midst of the people of God or in the midst of a nation.
• Let’s end on a positive note: It’s not up on his website yet, should be later today, but Chuck Webster has the right tone in “Thinking About America.” (See the email post here.) No hand-wringing, but confidence in the sovereign God, to whom we pray and in whom we deposit all our confidence. Yes, we seek the welfare of the country, to paraphrase Jeremiah’s counsel to Judah, but our hope is not in a candidate or party, nor in a political system or national pride, but in the God of the nations.
That makes for a happy 4th.