Yet another break from ag and food to share something in my heart and mind.
Among my group of friends, it’s popular to be proud of your city/community. Being patriotic (expressing devotion to one’s country), however, seems to get the side-eye.
We like to apologize for our country and point out its errors (though we speak only for ourselves and our tribes). We see the evil (which is there) without acknowledging the good (which is also there).
As I encourage my friends to express and revel in their different nationalities while they live in America, I realize my hypocrisy. I avoid discussing my love for my flawed and beautiful country because I fear others — I fear you— judging me, assuming I’m ignorant to our deeply rooted problems and dismissing me as one who believes we should make America great again (I’m #NeverTrump, in case you doubted).
My country has sinned and erred in many ways. My country continues to sin and err in many ways. The U.S. stands under condemnation for sins of commission and omission. Among other issues, the racism and systemic injustice I’ve witnessed and studied touches one of the deepest parts of my heart. I want to confess my sin, and I want to do my part to reconcile and restore.
In tangent with that, I will be thankful that I am an American, a spiritual sojourner in a country where we believe not that chance drives our futures, but where work and honesty can make our lives, our communities, our world better. A country where we hold to hope. A country where we believe that problem-solving and decisions should be made on the local level. A country where creativity and ingenuity are celebrated. A country that is “a country of countries, a world of families, a earth of one human race… [because] what really unites a great land is more than a flag — it’s an idea. The idea that all peoples under heaven are the idea of a Great God” (Ann Voskamp).
Today, I will be thankful I’m called to be a sojourner in the United States of America, not because America is the best country, but because it is where I am from. I will savor my freedom of speech, to worship and to vote. I will listen to our national anthem. I will read our Declaration of Independence, reminding myself of why my country was founded and pray I will play a role in making those noble goals a reality for all Americans.
So with that, Happy 4th of July!