128: Is It Okay to Be Proud of My Country?
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Many people are proud of their nation, but some people wonder whether or not it is wrong to have any love of country. Others have wondered if they can find a way to take any pride in a nation that has done bad or evil things around the world. Others have even grappled with the idea as to whether or not any national allegiance is helpful at all.
In this episode, Kenny tackles to topic of patriotism and how we as Christians ought to approach love of country. For modern American Christians in particular, there might not be an issue more complicated or wrapped-up in history and politics than patriotism. Even saying the word patriotism in any gathering of Christians is likely to garner as many responses as there are people. A love for one’s country is looked upon with both reverence and revulsion, depending on who you talk to about it… and Kenny believes that both sides seem to have good reasons for their positions.
So how ought Christians think about patriotism?
Kenny dives into the idea of having patriotism versus having nationalism. Kenny makes it clear that patriotism can be very good, but nationalism is nothing more than a form of arrogance.
It is good to appreciate the things your nation has offered the world, but good patriotism also includes the ability to judge your own nation in both its successes and its shortcomings. It is good to have a love of your fellow countrymen, but arrogant to believe that your fellow countrymen are somehow inherently more valuable than people born in other nations.
They major theme Kenny addresses is the idea of primary allegiances. Those of us that love God must never forget that our primary allegiance is to Jesus and the kingdom of God and the things that Jesus cares about most. Kenny challenges us to make sure that we are more passionate about defending the Gospel than we are about defending our nationalism or our brand of politics.
Kenneth E. Ortiz (M.Div.) is a professor and recruiter at Bethlehem College and a pastor at Cities Church in St. Paul, MN. He has 15+ years of vocational ministry experience. He’s also a podcaster, author, and Ph.D. student. Kenneth lives in Bloomington, MN with his wife Malaina, they have one daughter.