It’s Easy in America…

July 4, 2011

Rock, Flag and Eagle

Time to wrap up Patriot Week.

First of all, I don’t get to thank enough men and women who have served in the military.  So if any of you are reading, thank you for doing what I am not cut out to do.

To close out Patriot week, I just want to throw a few final thoughts at you about all the things that are exceptionally easy for us to do as “patriots” in a free society, whether you’re in America, Canada, Australia, or some other British colony…

It’s Easy in America…

It’s really easy for us to complain about wars and military spending…while we sit in relative safety, benefiting from the protection we are afforded by military spending.

It’s really easy for us to complain about the evils of capitalism, about how CEOs make ungodly amounts of cash, while we, “average,” middle classers, continue to enjoy being in the top 10% of global wealth.

It’s really easy to complain about how society is going to hell while we use the same freedom everyone else enjoys…to judge everyone else.

It’s really easy to get protective about small issues like “under God,” or “keeping Christ in Christmas,” because we don’t have any real persecution to deal with.

It’s really easy to be a “patriot,” when all that entails is a flag on the porch and a bumper sticker on the car.

It’s really easy to be a pessimist today.  But I blame much of our pessimism on the fact that we don’t know history.  The future seems hopelessly dire, until we learn just what circumstances our ancestors survived.

We face steep challenges.  But if you have the technology to read this, then I do believe we have been blessed by God.  We have a purpose from God and a role to play in history.  We have a lot to be thankful for.

So, let’s hear it.  If you’re in the states, how are you celebrating the Fourth?  Wherever you are, what do you think is one of the best aspects of the country or society you live in?

15 responses to It’s Easy in America…

  1. I am thankful that no one tries to kill me because I am a Catholic.

  2. I’m definitely spending time with my family, because that’s when I feel most free. However, I’m also reminded of the fact that my freedom lies in a Kingdom that isn’t here… yet.

  3. We are celebrating with chicken and ribs on the grill, fireworks in the street, and some kind of fruity dessert made from red white and blue.

    I think the US is messed up in a lot of ways, but I am thankful that I was born here. I feel safe walking down the street, my kids get to go to a free school minutes from our home, and I have access to unlimited food supply with the swipe of a magic plastic card. Life is good and I am thankful for those who serve to keep it that way.

  4. We attended church yesterday, which was largely a patriotic service. We do have some issues about that, but the pastor gave a really wonderful sermon that was not all based on the holiday. We then spent the afternoon with visiting family (most of them not staying with us, however :) but with hubby’s aunt and uncle at their weekend retreat). We will spend the afternoon/evening today with most of the same people and watch the fireworks over the lake.

    I understand and appreciate what you have said. “God bless America” is still like chewing sand to me. I realize it is a small issue, but to me it also reeks of an arrogance that seems to have permeated our culture.

    I think the best part of living in the US is the freedom we have to make decisions and choices. I’m not talking about a nebulous “freedom” but that we are not caught in a class or culture that limits our choices. Here, if someone wants to go to university and is willing to work at it (with grades, scholarships, loans), they are not limited. The class in which a person is born does not limit the profession they can choose or the direction in which they desire to pursue. If i decide i want to live elsewhere, i don’t have to have permission to move, merely the ability to do so.

    I think we often forget these days that with freedom comes responsibility. I worry that our society seems to have become a nation where we do allow others (maybe experts or specialists) to tell us how to think, what to do, who to be. We seem to have become a society of victims – finding someone else to blame rather than having consequences for our own actions. We seem to be losing critical thinking skills and instead acquiesce to a specialist to tell us what to do.

    It is this that makes me nervous about the future of our country. We seem to be willing to go with the flow of what the government or government agencies tell us to do, and in doing so i think we are very close to losing many of the freedoms we treasure.

    • Ya know I don’t mind having SOME kind of acknoledgment that we are blessed in our country…as long as we acknowledge where that blessing comes from.

    • I’d like to comment on your arrogance concern. The fact is, in my travels, pretty much every country feels like it’s better than all of the others. Granted, I haven’t found many with quite the amount of pride that we might have in America, but I guarantee that if you go to France, England, Japan, China, Korea, and many, many others, you’ll soon get the feeling, if not the outright argument, that they are the best on earth. That doesn’t make it right, but before you condemn us to the outer reaches of righteousness, just know that the others feel the same way about themselves too.

  5. Yes it is easy here in so many ways. It’s easy to get lulled into relying on the government to protect us, the store to keep food on the shelves and the choice of whether or not to attend a church or a service. Freedom is an interesting concept!

    I agree, history is important. I think that well taught history can change the way people think. Otherwise it is TV and media and that’s sad.

    I watched a CNN special yesterday about those being naturalized in the US; some of it was very powerful. I had to laugh at the Korean girl who said she could never have gotten in debt to go to school or buy a house. She is definitely in the right country for that! I am glad that people have the opportunity to be here. Both my parents were 1st generation Americans.

    I heard a preacher say this the other day. In America, if we don’t preach the Gospel, Oprah and Glen Beck will. It shook me a little bit.

    I love America (though I hated the service!). I am glad that we have troops out there too! I wish that Christians had a voice in politics instead of being Dems or Reps for whatever biblical reason you think you should be.

    I love America because I have been in the slums of the Caribbean, Brazil. Even in the toughest places here in the states, the worst ghettos, the poverty of places like Appalachia, there is no comparison to the abject poverty. I many of those places you can’t even move to a better situation if you wanted to. That’s why people want to come here.

    • Oh, and we had a cook out yesterday because my wife is working today. Me, I am installing a wooden fence. Happy 4th, Matt. You are a great American!

  6. With the youth and young adults at church we have been trying to combat this spirit of laziness and pessimism. It is actually going rather well!

    My wife and I are currently out of work, but are thankful that God continues to provide (either through random odd-jobs, family and friends, or surprise money from “nowhere”) and that we have close friends out here who are like family.

    Today we are going to our roommmates’ parents for a cookout (they are pretty much our parents, too, as all of our family but one of her grandmothers lives out of state) and then we are joining other dear friends for the annual shootout with the clouds.

  7. I am thankful that I have the freedom to raise my children in my faith, and that it’s not “child abuse” for me to do so (I have a friend who is married to an atheist who believes that raising a child in ANY religion is tantamount to abuse). I am thankful that I married a Godly man. I am thankful that he said yes to taking in our three children, who have zero biological connection to him. I am thankful that we live in a country that has been undeniably blessed by God, that we have a God who took such obvious delight in creating this world and the beauty in it, that I have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, cats to ignore us and yet somehow enrich our lives, air conditioning, music, fans, and microwave popcorn.

    We celebrated by going to a relatively nearby lake, where we met up with my parents, grilled burgers and hot dogs for lunch, had brownies with chocolate chips for dessert, and we got to spend the day watching the kids play in the sand and the water. We got to make new friends, and help them during a scary time (kid wandered off). I’m thankful my new friends’ little girl was just out charming older couples in the picnic area, safe and sound. And then we took our three small kids to the fireworks for the first time tonight.

    I have LOTS to be thankful for.

  8. My husband and I used to live in Michigan where most of the really good fireworks (i.e. the ones that leave the ground and could potentially shoot out your eye) are illegal. So we spent the night shooting off all of the fabulous previously forbidden death rockets from the end of our driveway. It was awesome.

    I am thankful that I’m able to vote–it’s still been only less than a hundred years that I would’ve been able to do that. I am thankful that I’m able to work and provide well for my family–it’s probably even less than a hundred years or so that I would’ve been able to do that. I’m also able to do so while getting relatively little grief from people about it–when just as recently as the 1980’s my mom had to put up with sexist crap from her male coworkers on a level that would be unheard of for me today.

    So, I’m thankful not only for the troops but for all of the civilians over the years that have made the level of freedom I have now possible.

  9. While I am thankful for the blessing of being born and living in a free nation, I am acutely aware of how those freedoms and liberty are eroding these days. I try to not be fearful, as this is all part of God’s plan for us, and no matter what happens here on earth, our faith will bring us into the Kingdom one day. Yet, I do feel that we should speak out against injustice and fight to protect our freedoms. Not just our military, but everyone – at the ballot box, at rallies, by making the Truth known. Silence is assent and by agreeing with egregious actions of our leaders, we give them free rein into tyranny, and that is what the Founding Fathers gave their all to fight against.

    “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ~Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)