Being a Loyal Coca-Cola Drinking, iPhone Using, Party Voting, Good American Citizen

July 6, 2015

When I was a kid, the first thing we did at school every day was recite the Pledge of Allegiance with our teacher.

Hands over hearts.

I’m not really sure we completely understood what we were saying. But we said it because that’s what you do.

As far as I know, Coca-Cola has been working on you and I since we were the same age or younger, creating brand loyal, lifelong customers. You’re either a “Coke” person or a “Pepsi” person.

We pledge our allegiance…to a soft drink brand.

Can you imagine that soft drink brands got to us before our country did?

I’m pretty sure many of us are Apple loyalists. I cannot imagine switching sides at this point. Our cellular providers know that our allegiance mostly comes down to necessity, which is why I’m sure all of our bills are going up exponentially.

There are people who are loyal to a brand of car. Many of us have allegiance and pride for the cities we live in. We have allegiances to sports teams (usually based on their geographical location, which is an odd thing in and of itself, but it taps into the basest caveman instincts for tribalism. “Me like these guys who hit the thing with the thing because they live here. Me hate those other guys who hit the thing with the thing because they live there.”)

We are told to be loyal to party politics, one of the most poisonous forces in our culture. How many of you feel like either you changed or the labels “conservative” and “liberal” did?

And as a pastor, I saw just how hard it is to enjoy peoples’ allegiance in church. Every week, something took people away.

Jesus told his followers that allegiance to him cannot be shared with money. Either you serve money, or you serve him. On another occasion, he drew a line between Caesar and God.

But we live in a world of distraction, and every distraction vies for our undying loyalty, our little pledges of allegiance (or at least a two-year contract.)

I thought about my complicated relationship with the Pledge of Allegiance this weekend, while I enjoyed celebrating. Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy being an American. But being an American and pledging allegiance is really nothing more than a nifty little motto for most of us. Our lives are filled with much nearer forces that want to consume our lives, enjoy our undying loyalty.

Our allegiance is marked by what is in our pockets, in our stomachs, on our wrists, or in our earphones.

allegiance

 

How excited do we get when we have bought the newest gadget from our favorite brand? Does it compare to the excitement we feel for things that truly matter?

3 responses to Being a Loyal Coca-Cola Drinking, iPhone Using, Party Voting, Good American Citizen

  1. RC, Android, Independent; but good American citizen.
    vanilla recently posted..Fizzle*

  2. Material things, *meh*, just stuff created for our enjoyment/work, etc.

    Don’t get me wrong – I like guns and when new ones come out, I get pretty jazzed up – but no matter how much I like something, I can’t take it with me. This side of Heaven, I want to simply steward what I have been given. For sure.

    I reckon it comes down to what takes priority in our lives. We all have just the time remaining our Father will give us. Being a good steward of it seems like a great place to start. :)
    Unapologetic Prophet recently posted..Tuesday: 7 July 2015: Fifth Post

  3. Amen, brother Matt. I’ve been trying to get college students to recognize most of the points you make because it does come down to pledging allegiance to God or some alternative idol whether it is money, the GOP, libertarianism, video games, diet plans, drugs, guns, sports or sports teams, a denomination, or doctrine like reincarnation, predestination, or Joseph Smith. There is a new idol nearly every day and we pile one on another. So we live in a gated community, go to a church that celebrates our success, drive an imported sports car, wear clothes designed by a famous person, are glued to a cell phone, ipod, and/or fit bit watch, we associate only with people who look and think like us enjoy sports at a closed club, etc. etc. Does God approve of all of our obsessions and worship of material goods that have a limited lifespan and the power to lure us away from values like loving our neighbors of all kinds, classes, races, religions, attire, recreational interests, hobbies, etc. God does not embrace consumerism, because it tries to substitute things for love for Christ and his teachings. Things like sharing our resources, helping those in need, learning about other faiths, respecting people of different classes, loving all people, protecting or creation, avoiding destructive elements of our culture whether it be binge drinking, addictive drugs, bullying, violence, etc. God and his norms must come first and no idol deserves this status. Our culture makes this very challenging and we have to be vigilant as they are everywhere, bombarding us through the use of media and its visual images. To protect ourselves and our faith we must develop “habits of the heart” that enable us to screen out false gods. Prayer, faith communities to support one another, bible reading, meditation, thinking about how we spend or money by keeping track of where our money goes (budgeting), developing friendships with people who are different from ourselves to name a few. Test everything we do against the life and teachings of Jesus. Do we really need a new car or electronic device? Is eating out all he time the most responsible use of our resources, are thee ways of supporting others in need through reputable organizations? It is a difficult job to resist the lure of cultural icons, but God gives us the power and love to do it, so we must discipline ourselves, make it a habit to think twice what we do or embrace. You are never alone.