Bringing the Text to Life

The Dawn's Early Light 2 Samuel 7:1-17

What makes a Christian patriot? How does an American church conduct itself? Can the church have a theology of patriotism without slipping into narrow triumphalism? In order to be an effective witness of the power and love of God, the church must be both a part of the culture and country in which it lives, without becoming part of them.

One of Doug Marlette's "Kudzu" cartoons portrayed the seldom puckish pastor Will B. Dunn preaching on "What are some of the tough issues facing the church, you ask? Should the sanctuary carpet be red or green, should the church speak out on social issues, and just who should sing the solo Easter Sunday?" This week would be a good time to confront the challenge of "patriotism," and its role in the life of the family of God.

Patriotism seems to be an emotion which rides on a tide of fashion sometimes the currents of public opinion find it praiseworthy and virtuous, then sometimes quite abruptly the irresistible pull of events shifts our field of vision and patriotism appears suspect, shallow, or at the very least quaintly old-fashioned. Regardless of its momentary appeal, none of us can escape from the fact that we are all from a particular place a town, a region, a nation and that the experience of that place has, to varying degrees, shaped who we are and what we believe. What begins...

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