Patriotism has fallen on hard times lately. As some try to convince us that our country is the source of all the world’s problems, or that to celebrate America is to show narrowness and exclusivism, or (from the Christian side) that to celebrate freedom or feel a sense of patriotism is to align oneself with the kingdoms of the world–I keep thinking to myself…


One can be patriotic without being sectarian, abusive to others, or aligning oneself with the principalities and the powers.

Today is Independence Day, and it’s one on which I like to celebrate that I live in a great country, and the fact that we can even sit around debating like we do without fear is something that testifies to America’s beauty. There is nothing wrong with loving one’s country. There is something wrong with patriotism that takes a wrong turn into
the aforementioned vices, or when allegiance to one’s country trumps one’s allegiance to Christ.

But, it seems to me that we live in a country that has a hard time being thankful for their country and heritage these days. It’s OK to be thankful for America. It’s OK to celebrate America. It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK.

Maya Angelou was right:

"We really are 15 countries, and it’s really
remarkable that each of us thinks we represent the real America. The
Midwesterner in Kansas, the black American in Durham — both are
certain they are the real American."

But we are Americans. And that’s a good thing. It’s not the only thing. It’s not the best thing. But, it’s a good thing. A really good thing.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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5 thoughts on “Patriotism

  1. I forgot to add, welcome back a little early! Although the speakers have been great in your absence, we are looking forward to Sunday and having you back! Blessings!

  2. Hold your breath…I actually agree with everything you said… but on July 4th, I’m celebrating America. It’s like an anniversary. I can use it to reflect on all the problems with my marriage, or I can simply be thankful God gave me Emily, and spend some time focusing on the blessing of Emily and our life together. That’s what I meant. I hope/think that everyone is aware of America’s problems…but since pop culture dwells on them for the other 364 days of the year, I’m gonna celebrate the 4th. Maybe that’s “uncritical.” But, I think it’s equally uncritical to have blind disdane for one’s country…unable to find anything praiseworthy to speak of (not you, Trey…but others in the media, etc.).

  3. Hmmm…where to start. I doubt that he did, but if he had wanted to, Tim could have written this in part to draw me out. So I’ll take the bait, and ask for patience. I’m trying very hard to work some of this out in my head, and often feel humbled at how little I’ve really owned about this topic in my life.
    There is nothing wrong with loving one’s country, but …
    I’d suggest that too many Christians love their country without thinking critically about their love affair with their country and how it relates to their love affair with God.
    It is easy to assume that God has “blessed” the U.S.A. because of their choice of government. However, it’s worth more than a moment’s thought about whether or not the philosophical foundations of our country are actually even religious in nature, much less Christian. One could argue the point about the role of Christianity in the Founders’ thinking. But it would be little more than civic pride to suggest that the Founders’ conclusions about government were somehow more faithful to God than, say, medieval Western Europe’s conclusions. Both had “Christian” roots. This is important because a common source of patriotism in Christians is the historically questionable conclusion that we are at our foundations a Christian nation.
    Let’s start by praising God that his Kingdom values freedom, rather than praising our country for a particular kind of freedom. In so far as any country stands and defends the value of a person, lives responsibly among the nations, and wields its power wisely, then we should be encouraging of that nation-state. On the other hand…
    Let’s remember that democracies, republics, autocracies, and socialism are all equally capable of trampling life, abdicating responsibility, and serving self-interests.
    All in all, let’s start with global humility about our nation’s circumstances (regardless of which nation we live in) rather than uncritical patriotic pride.