Fourth of July

I now have a fairly substantial number of regular readers on Crosswalk.com, a fact for which I’m eminently grateful. It also makes me feel as if I should say something about the fact that today is the Fourth of July. If I can ask people to read about my wife and I getting attacked by killer squirrels, I can sure as heck say something about one of our nation’s primary holidays.

The problem is that there are right now only two kinds of things to say about the Fourth of July: Predictable stuff about how great our country is (and it is!), and stuff I think I’m not supposed to say at all.

For at least six months now I’ve been reading the writings of my fellow bloggers here on Crosswalk. Unless I missed something somewhere, none of them ever mentions the war in Iraq. Homosexuality, they mention. Transgender pastors, they mention. The raging “cultural war,” they mention–a lot. But the raging actual war, not so much.

I love being a Crosswalk writer. I want to keep being a Crosswalk writer. But if no one else here is ever going to mention a whole war our country’s in, who am I to begin? What do I know? I’m the newest writer here. I just stepped into this party. If everyone sitting around at a function I just arrived at is sipping tea and speaking in low tones, I am soooooo not the guy who goes over to the stereo, cranks up the music, and starts pulling people up to dance.

No way, man. I’m the guy who goes, “Cool. I love tea! Mind if I sit here?”

The point is: It’s the Fourth of July. And that means thinking about our country. Which I love to do. I don’t think I’ve ever not shed a tear on the Fourth of July over how much I love this country. But I don’t know how anyone can think about our country just now, and not think about the war it’s in. Flag; patriotism; soldiers; war. It’s not the only Patriotic Thought Chain, of course–but it’s … a biggy. 

And I have to stop after the second of those links. Because, as I say, I just got here, and am still (fairly) keen on doing The Communal Thing. But more than that: The Iraq war is controversial. And, frankly, I don’t like mixing the purity of my feelings about America with anything that compromises those feelings. The war is, after all, a temporal concern. Not to in any way denigrate what the people who are fighting this war and their loved ones are going through–but ultimately, this conflict, too, shall pass.

Bottom line: Happy Fourth of July. May God infuse our minds and souls with the intellectual and spiritual essences upon which this phenomenal country was founded. And may God also be with and protect our sons and daughters who are right now giving their all because of how deeply they hold and believe in those exact same values.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks for the kind words, Ross. Yeah, the war's been a real challenge for everyone. I wasn't actually aware that it had much if any public support left at all; everyone I know, Christian or not, thinks it an unmitigated disaster. Then again, I don't get out of the house much. But I KNOW everyone supports the troops; I don't think anyone ever goes, "Those soldiers. What were they THINKING?"

  • nisperos

    A few thoughts:

    There's a Jewish saying that among 2 Jews, 3 opinions. The good Lord did give us a brain to think and a diversity of opinions.

    Not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom. And, to the person to whom much is given, much is required. Remember that God does not judge by the exterior brand label but rather by the hearts of men and women. Also, by their fruits you will know them. And, the people who go about loudly proclaiming their deeds in this world have already received their reward.

    Still, we are called to pray for our enemies, which goes beyond the honor among thieves.

    Here's something more people should consider:

    The Three Ex-Terrorist Speech At UC Irvine, By Lee Kaplan, FrontPageMagazine.com, 6-12-2007: http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle

    CNN was interviewing Walid Shoebat on Monday (July 2nd), one of the speakers at the UC Irvine Speech. Among other things, Walid was saying that the West has a mistaken assumption that terrorism has to do with poverty and, that secularism and an improved standard of living will reduce terrorism.

    Walid opined that terrorism is a religious way of life and that what changed his views was, among other things, a conversion from one religion of blood atonement to the religion of Christianity which is a religion of the blood atonement of Jesus Christ.

    Here's a CNN interview of Walid last year:

    Doctors in Haifa Work While Hospital Comes Under Fire; Former Terrorist Discusses New Book, Aired July 26, 2006, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0607/26/lo

    "…So, we denied the Holocaust ever exited. So when we're seeing the — if we see the footage of the Holocaust in the Middle East, we say, well, how did they have such scrawny bodies? What kind of a diet plan were they on? Because the whole thing was an enactment. It wasn't reality. This is an enactment to establish, design a state. In Germany, it's illegal to deny the Holocaust, but yet in the Middle East, denial of the Holocaust is flourishing…"

    This leads you to believe that, for some, Holocaust denial in the Middle East serves a purpose something like this: if the Holocaust never happened and was all staged, the reason for its staging was the excuse to create the state of Israel which must now be destroyed to regain Muslim land.

    Walid also discusses how terrorism is being preached in some mosques in the U.S.

    Well, these are links to get people started on doing their own research…

    May God keep our troops and country safe. May He comfort those who suffer from having lost family members in this war. May he heal and strengthen those who are working through rehabilitation of body and mind from war trauma.

    Thank you, Jesus for this land of freedom. May we continue to strive to enter into and remain in the freedom you won for us on Calvary.

  • Ruth

    well….. I truly believe God adores volunteers. I pray that whatever the job, soup kitchen or ARMY,they are called to it and heard/heeded a call and if the job was a choice not Spirit led, that the person is given the grace to get through it and learn. I don't think God would support a draft, but we could choose that way and give intercessors new ground to take; that anyone trembling would be spared that soldier position; ya know like how He pared down Gideons army; it wouldn't glorify God to have forced volunteers -(oxymorons another day eh?) and He's got a plan for all of us who tremble and we all do, in the face of something or other…yes? so, we honor everyone in our Armed Services, everyday,whatever their role and pray for their courage when they tremble. I'm a Mom of an FDNY firefighter- an "everyday volunteer soldier" from my praying position! called there and that's what I get for saying NO to being a SEAL ;) moreso I pray for God to overtake in any 'supply closet' He can find, EVERY man and woman who puts their life on the line for another; for America to STAND UP and support IN GOD WE TRUST – sheesh…. how about we start with ''allowing'' chaplains to pray? the old saying "there are no athiests in a foxhole" is just a really sad commentary about the USA, we are our own worst advertisement to the world-we actually pay ourselves to fight our countrys foundation… dang it all anyway, I want every tour, everyday, to start with prayer—outloud prayer- I don't want to count on foxhole salvations for ANYONE- so I pray and I vote and I believe that God WILL win….. the USA was founded on God—how did we EVER get here? If My people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray….. Amen. hey John- I dig this blog-gold star for Crosswalk,which I use everyday! and have never been fond of punctuation rules….. and am quite sure I would adore your book about just that.

  • Ross

    I found your blog, via Crosswalk, a few days ago and I really enjoy it. I appreciate the frequent updates as well – some good blog writer hardly ever add new posts!

    The whole country, not just Christendom, is a bit schizoid about the war. I think alot of us want to be loyal to the troops but have a sense that this war can’t be won, so we just don’t say anything about it in polite company as we don’t have a conviction that it’s where we should be.

    Also, if it was Clinton in the white house, I think this war would have lost almost all public support as the evangelicals in the country would have jumped ship. But, because Bush is on “our” side we’re staying the course. I say that as a conservative evangelical right wing Christian.

    Hope I placed commas appropriately….

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I HATE punctuation rules. That’s pretty much why I wanted to write that book. Thanks, both you guys, for these comments.

  • nisperos

    I hope you laugh as hard as I did…

    This is a true story which takes place in a National Park. No, it's not the story of Smokey the Bear, though the travelers did see a bear in the park… Rather, it's the story of a prayer request I received after returning from watching fireworks at a park.

    Friends, who shall remain unnamed, made a cross-country road trip to be here with us on the 4th. Someone lost their IDs, presumably in said National Park on the way the state where we reside. Said party believes they may have lost the IDs when they were "attending to the wants of nature" in a pit toilet and their purse flipped upside down.

    Before going to bed, we were all asked to remember to pray tonight that the IDs fell in to the "relief station" so no one would find or attempt to retrieve them!

    … I guess, it's much better to lose a little dignity than to have your identity stolen!

  • http://johnshore.wordpress.com Lisa P

    I too 'discovered' John on crosswalk.com and have enjoyed the humorous and heartfelt witnessing of his salvation. I want to extend my gratitude to those who took the time to respond to my concerns over my current relationship, truly I need to pray and let the Holy Spirit lead me to the solution that is God's will for me and my children in this relationship.

    This article about the forth of July moves me to share something my Mother wrote in response to an e-mail about the American flag. Her words spring from an intimate knowledge of religious persecution and the brave actions my grandparents took to insure that she and her decendents would be free to worship our Almighty God. Her grandson is in the military and so she also realizes the supreme sacrifice these 'volunteers' make to insure that we and our children will be able to openly praise our heavenly Father.

    My 21 yr old son is a Corporal (just promoted 7/4/07) in the USMC, stationed in Japan. As a communications major he has had the privilege to work in many different countries in the last 3 years, and he is constantly surprised how favorable the USA is viewed. With all the negative stories he has seen in the media growing up, he was under the impression that most countries were hostile to the USA. This is simply not true!

    Jokes and bad feelings always seem to spring up when we talk of immigrants in our country. The truth is the vast majority are hard working, God fearing, honest, freedom loving people and the few bad apples are giving them all a bad rep…

    I'm sharing this private comment my mother sent me about the American Flag and what it means and stands for, for her. Millions of immigrants across this nation feel the same way…we all came from 'somewhere' else…Thank God we are all 'here' now!

    —– Forwarded Message —-

    "When I was but a little girl, we lived in Austria (across the river from Germany) right after escaping from the Ukraine during WW-II, when my parents and every citizen of the country "feared" to the point of sheer panic that we too would get taken over by the "Russians" (not the nationality, but the " Russian Communists") just like East Berlin had been taken over . . . that would mean "death" to my parents and to all who fled from Russia.

    THE DAY WHEN WE SAW THE AMERICAN SOLDIERS MARCHING IN, CARRYING THE "AMERICAN FLAG", WAS A DAY OF THE GREATEST JOY! PEOPLE WERE ON THE STREETS SHOUTING WITH JOY AND THANKSGIVING, MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE, WITH TEARS IN THEIR EYES, WITH THEIR HEARTS FILLED WITH GRATITUDE, WERE WELCOMING THE AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND THE "AMERICAN FLAG" WHICH REPRESENTED FREEDOM FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.

    AS LONG AS I LIVE, I WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE MOMENTS AND I WILL ALWAYS RESPECT (AND LOVE) THE AMERICAN FLAG AND ALL THE SOLDIERS WHO (THEN AND NOW) RISKED THEIR LIVES FOR FREEDOM! JUST LOOKING AT THE AMERICAN FLAG, MAKES ME FEEL IN "AWE" AND I THANK ALMIGHTY GOD FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF THE FREEDOM WE ENJOY.

    LOVE,

    MOM

    Thank you John for the laughs, the heartfelt concern you show your readers and the forum you have given us to share our faith in God and love with others. With love in our precious Jesus Christ, Lisa


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