Friday, March 16, 2012


Is it just me, or is there abroad in our land a brand of Christianity that is more American than it is biblical? I'm not talking about the style of meetings we have or the way we present ourselves in a marketing frenzy, though either of those things would require a designation of  being more American than biblical for sure. 

I'm speaking about only one thing at the moment and it isn't often addressed or maybe even thought about, but I'm believing it is a real big thing in importance. Maybe more biblically important than we have ever thought.

I'm talking about the American Christian's failure to see our connectedness with other Christians anywhere and everywhere they are found. That connectedness in scripture is called being part of the Body of Christ and it makes us one with every other true believer regardless of their race or nationality. 

In reality, as a Christian, I am MORE connected to an African Christian or a Russian Christian, or a Korean Christian than I am an American citizen who is NOT a Christian. [When writing this I'm thinking of the Church in the biblical "organism" way rather than the American "organizational" way.] 

Scripturally, as I follow Paul's journeys it is clear to me that he left every country he visited on mission, having shared the gospel to which many responded, with a desire that those believers know they  were connected with all other people in Christ. [A Kingdom person as opposed to being just a citizen of any country.] 

In the American brand of Christianity however, being an American is often celebrated to a greater degree than being Christian. Or at least it is thought of in connection with our country rather than as a Body worldwide. Thus we wind up with a nation-church functioning as Siamese twins with a disconnect concerning other believers in other nations. It even reminds me somewhat of Israel in the days she thought of herself as God's ONLY nation. [Which she was with the singular purpose to be a blessing to ALL other nations with her seed who is Christ.] 

In the New Covenant, however, God's one holy nation is not a political system or a national group of citizens. His holy nation is made up of all redeemed people from EVERY nation, tribe, tongue. or ethnic group and they are my brothers and sisters.

Don't think for one minute that I am disparaging a healthy patriotism. Loving one's country and hoping for and working toward her well-being is a good thing. I am grateful and even celebrate being an American and will defend her as my homeland. As a citizen I would want her sovereignty and safety to be protected with passion. I applaud and on occasion weep at the sacrifice our troops make in that defense.

But America is not my Lord. There is a dangerous kind of patriotism that tends to  think of our nation as the only nation that God has and will bless in a special way and  that Americanism and Christianity are joined at the hip and you   can't have one without the other. 

His Kingdom, however, is on a different level entirely and as His Kingdom kids from and in every nation on earth, we have one message. It is the message of the Cross.

There is a great deal of accusation going on in the political world about whether Republicans believe God is on their side and not the side of the Democrats. The Democrats get very angry about this, for good reason I would think. 

But may I say it? God isn't a Republican OR Democrat. I don't think God is even American.


Anonymous said...

Women, especially poor women, are feeling very 'targeted' these days by Republican candidates, state governors, media icons, and the conservative right-wing.

I suspect that this will have consequences at the polls, primarily because of the amount and quantity and stridency of what is perceived as an 'attack'.

For the Church, association with any attempts to play women into dreadful situations where their healthcare is compromised has never been the goal.
Certainly, the Church could never be a party to the discrimination of denying health care resources to the poorest women in our country.
It is so very important that the Church distance itself from any and all political activity that, in pursuit of any agenda, brings down misery and neglect upon the backs of poor women. It is not the role of the Church to partner with those involved in such evil.

Thanks for giving me a chance to express my feelings and thoughts, Paul. I know not many agree with me, but I am honestly concerned for the Church during these strange times.


Paul Burleson said...


Case in point. You and I as American citizens may disagree about political issues like health care, entering or ending a war, who should or should not be President. and a myriad of other things.

But, with Jesus Christ as our Lord, we are one and will always allow His message to trump any issue. Even the issue of what the message of the Kingdom REALLY is can be approached with nuances of disagreement. But uniformity is not required in His Kingdom is it!

Thanks as always for stopping by.

Paul Burleson said...


I have removed your comment because it violated my conditions for comment which are stated thus... "Which are by my definition deemed to be inappropriate such as being disrepectful of another or being mean-spirited or the use of bad language." Of this triad your comment violated the first two. I would not permit that in my presence and I certainly will not permit it on my blog.

Aussie John said...


It is so refreshing to read your blog this morning, and Christiane's response.

Our media is filled with the goings on regarding your upcoming elections, and with your commentators prognostications.

Australia has Federal elections in eighteen months time, our Queensland state elections in a few days from now, as well as local council elections.

Yours,and our politicians, spend enough money on seeking the popular vote, to satisfy the needs of many of those Christiane speaks about.

Both yours, and our politicians, on every level of government, sicken me with the character assassinations leveled towards their opponents, and often display the very worst of human characteristics.

The day of the statesman has long gone, to be replaced by self-serving individuals who appear to be fighting for their own interests.

Yes! I am cynical regarding politicians, in general.

By the way, from the other side of the world, your Ron Paul seems like the only fair dinkum (Aussie-ism for genuine) politician!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Thanks for your comment. I like your word "dinkum."

And you may be right about Ron Paul. I've thought for sometime now that he may be the most non-politician politician we have. Wait, that may be the most positive thing that can be said about anyone! LOL

Kristen said...

What worries me most is how political ideology is treated as if it were more important than the human beings it is supposed to be directed towards helping. I agree with Christiane-- we should not throw anyone under the bus for the sake of a political ideology.

Nor should we permit a small portion of the population to run roughshod over the rest of the citizenry for the sake of an economic ideology.

Bob Cleveland said...

I've been incredibly blessed in my life, as respects where God has allowed me to worship. A few random thoughts about that:

1) I don't have a better friend than Merrick Bethune, from Red Hills, Jamaica. I even blogged about him once, and another time about his daughter (who was 10 when I met her and is now a 30 year old high school teacher). Their whole family is precious to me and we have nothing in common apart from Jesus and our friendship.

2) Two of my favorite people are Andrei and Alexai Stepanov, with whom I've stayed a couple times at their apartment in Pskov, Russia.

3) Diana Stikut, from Bauska, Latvia, is more like a daughter than an acquaintance.

4) The single most riveting worship service I recall is one Sunday afternoon at Holy Trinity Brompton Cathedral in London.

Now, I'm sure you know I have some dear friends here & now, perhaps most of whom I met in Greensboro 6 years ago, or since.

With the latter group, I have a Spirit in common, but also I live in the same political atmosphere. With the former, we couldn't be more different. And that leads me to believe that thinking of God in any political terms is incredibly short-sighted, patriotically arrogant, and an insult to the Majesty that is our God and our Savior.

Sorry for the rant. You can probably tell this is one of my not-button issues.

Blessings ...

jennifer anderson said...

what about those chrustians who believe Christianity is only for the white race? are we connected to them more also?

Paul Burleson said...


Our connection is, as pointed out in the post, with those identified as "true believers regardless of race or nationality." This would put someone who believes ONLY the white race is Christian outside that definition.

In fact, it would seem to me that the person who believes THAT would be more akin to the "American Only" brand of religion having simply changed it to "White Only." That's not biblical Christianity at all as I understand the gospel.

Paul Burleson said...


I think the political processes will always fall short of really recognizing people are not pawns and are not a means to an end, fallen as those systems are.

As an American citizen I would want people treated with dignity and human respect whatever system I'm involved in politically and would work toward that end. But I would want to do it while recognizing a couple of things to be true.

One is that there is no command in the scriptures that I function politically. In fact, to the contrary I'm told that my weapons are of a new kind, spiritual, introducing a spiritual Kingdom that is greater than any earthly entity. By the same token there is no condemnation for doing so. A believer is free to use his or her own judgment in such matters.

Two is that any system is incapable of meeting the deepest need of any human being. It is the gospel message that does that and it is not a national, racial, or political message at all. It is this that Is the basis for my concern as expressed in the post.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. Your recognition that patriarchalism violates the gospel lets me know you know there is only one Lord and that's reserved for Christ alone and His Kingdom is not of this world but is spiritual. Thus, my connectedness with all true believers.

Paul Burleson said...


Anything that punches your button winds up blessing me. Thanks for the comment.

You've probably already been here, but in case not... especially good this weekend.

Paul Burleson said...


I've read all the comments in order again. It has prompted an idea for another post that will address my views about what is commonly called the" social gospel."

There is something to be said for our message producing an impact against racism, misogyny, the poor, the imprisoned and more. But how does that all fit with the message of individual redemption?

I've got a very simple view but one I want to share next time. Good comments all.

Ksenija said...

love this blog...

M.J. Austin said...

I know this is a little off topic with your blog post but it is a political issue. And I was just curious about your thoughts on the subject.

What does Jesus say about gay marriage and what are your feelings on it? And would you feel connected to a gay Christian as you would a European or African Christian?


Paul Burleson said...


To the first part of your question my answer would be "nothing" specifically addressed to that subject.

I would say, however, that by implication, when He directed His followers to "love your neighbor as yourself," He was assuming anyone who claims to be His follower would do just that, love...WITHOUT EXCEPTION. [True love never assumes an agreement on every issue faced and is never disrespectful when differences are faced honestly.]

As to the second part of the question, there are no exceptions for one who claims Jesus as Lord. I'm ONE with them. Nationality, ethnic origin, race, gender or sexual orientation, marriage status [divorced or single or married] or age makes no difference to me.

We may have things to work out about beliefs and behaviors but that's a different story for me with all believers.

M.J. Austin said...

So was that a yes? You think gay marriage is acceptable? ;)

Paul Burleson said...


I don't even hold that common law heterosexual marriages are the best way for marriage to be. Or for that matter third or fourth marriages that are heterosexual. But this has to do with beliefs and behaviors that can be discussed yet has no effect at all in loving someone involved in such.

Disrespect....No. all means.

The Blog bites better than the Bullet. said...

This post sums up my heart pretty much exactly!

Growing up in the UK as a missionary kid, I saw people who loved God and each other vote for three different parties and yet come together and worship on a Sunday.

There was none of this polarization just because someone believed that Jesus could have been a socialist over and against someone who believed Jesus was a conservative.

Politics is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things; we are to be part of society, but by all means let us think for ourselves and measure up what the lesser of so many evils is as God leads us individually.

We can disagree on politics and yet love each other as brothers and sisters when we remember Jesus included a Zealot in his disciples. I think he did it because the Zealot's issues paled in comparison with the Kingdom of God that Jesus was here to establish.

There are truly way bigger issues at stake than who wins next election or whether fuel prices go up or down. Thanks for saying what you've said.