That's Not American


My friend and fellow Immanuel member, Mike Midkiff posted this image on FB yesterday.

It is a section of the Bible, Psalm 82, which speaks to the engagement of God’s people with the vulnerable of the world. I heartedly put, “Amen!” in the comment box. The second comment was, presumably sarcastic, “That ain’t American.”

When I read it, a couple of things happened in me.

One was sadness. I sorrowfully have to agree with him. Although, I haven’t always felt this way about America. In my youthful past, I felt like these virtues captured the American ideal. Defend the weak, uphold the cause of the oppressed, rescue the needy!  What could be more American? Seriously, what could be more American??? I guess that is why I am so disappointed by what our land has become. It has become a land of self-protection, hyper-Partisanism and Nationalism and cloistered greed. If you were to ask me what MAGA (Make America Great Again) means for me, it would be that our land would once again embrace a societal virtue looking something like Psalm 82.

Alas, that is very difficult to imagine at this point.

The second thing I felt was, how animating and hopeful is the idea proffered in the Bible about the Kingdom of God. Whether or not the United States has or ever will embrace a Psalm 82 virtue, the church, God’s people, are to epitomize the ethic of the Kingdom.  Citizenship in the Kingdom of God contours this hope for those who truly follow Christ.

In the mean-spirited, self-protected place the US has come to, the true hope of Christ offers a different, alternative picture on the palette of choice for how life is to be lived out. Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we are inciting the narrative of Psalm 82, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.  Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”