Tag Archives: pride

The uniqueness of the United States?


Have you caught any of the public (media) controversies about whether President Obama really likes the U.S.? You have sound bytes of Americans saying that Obama doesn’t even like the country and even the former Vice President Cheney making a similar accusation. It is not a new controversy. Certainly, the comments of his then pastor didn’t help him…The bruhaha about wearing a flag pin…and Michelle Obama’s comments about her first time feeling proud about the U.S.

Without debating Obama’s feelings about the country, I’d like to consider the issue of our uniqueness. Is there something special or unique about the US that places us in a special category different from the rest of the world? Is it okay to even ask this question or does it automatically indicate a disrespect for our forefathers, for democracy, for the Christian roots of the country?Is it tantamount to saying that God has not had his hand on this country in some special ways?

Stating that we are not unique may be one of the remaining heresies of our time.

But, should it be a heresy to suggest that in the eyes of God and others, we aren’t so different. This does not mean that we wouldn’t choose every time to still live in this country. This is not to suggest that we have blessings that few others have.  This is not to say that God isn’t carrying out his purposes via our country either.

But are we special? We have flawed individuals making up a flawed government who are seeking both personal good and, yes, the good of others (for the most part). Isn’t that true of other governments as well? Maybe not all governments seek this, but certainly many do.

Is America great? But could it be better? Yes. And so, being willing to criticize, even publicly, this country is one of the evidences of its greatness. Even further, being willing to criticize and demand better care for all is a sign of our greatness.

Seems the debate is not really about our pride in the US but in demanding no honest criticism. Sounds like the, “I can criticize my family all I want, but I’ll never admit to you that they have any flaws” mindset.

So, are we special and unique? Is it so bad to admit our flaws? Our failures? To even note that other countries have done a better job at certain things? What do you think? If your family emigrated to Canada instead, would you really be less of an individual? Would you be jealous of Americans?

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Whose glory do you seek?


Far too frequently our own. Some examples:

  • Over-the-top chest-thumping of professional athletes who make a great or even just an average play
  • Political candidate videos. Did you see either Obama’s or McCain’s? I thought they were going to say they were the savior of the world. McCain’s video concluded with a phrase, “and the stars are aligned.” Unbelievable. Sure, he didn’t say it, some voiceover said it. But you can be sure that the candidates approved the message.
  • White lies. Okay, it’s not just the rich and famous who seek their own glory. We all do. Notice how we present ourselves when someone somewhere might think we did a poor job. Excuses? Blameshifting? One of my son’s stole a toy from another child. He was caught. After being caught he was looking for ways to make it sound less like stealing and more like an oversight. He was seeking to salvage his glory. Or worse, what happens when someone thinks we did great but we know that isn’t the whole story. Do we fail to tell the truth so they see our flaws (I’m not talking about those who refuse to accept credit where credit is due)?

On Sunday morning I was singing about God’s glory. Later in the day the Monroe boys were off for a bike ride. We visited a local park and found a group of kids playing tackle football. Against better judgment I agreed to play as quarterback. When our team scored I was the loudest cheerleader. After one such score I got to thinking about this: what is the difference between legitimate celebration and self-seeking glory? When does celebration turn into rubbing the other team’s face in it?  FYI, I think we were just fine and I took great pleasure in watching the kids on the other team rejoice over blowing past my lame efforts to stop their touchdown run.

But I think it wise for us to self-examine here about our glory interests:

1. How do we feel when someone else sees our sins? Do we get defensive? Depressed? Anxious? Thankful that in our weaknesses, God is glorified?

2. How do we feel when someone gives credit due us to someone else?

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