Are you anti-American or simply trans-national?

One of the things that I’ve been accused of on a few occasions is being anti-american. This, of course, is absurd. Am I anti-self? I’m an american myself, for goodness sake, and I have no inclination to renounce my citizenship or turn in my passport. I didn’t see Apostle Paul do that with his Roman citizenship so why would I?

With that said, I will answer my web-haters (specifically those who have said things like “If you don’t like the US-of-A, then leave!”) by saying that I’m a trans-national Kingdom of God citizen. This is not some sort of afterlife idea that gets taged onto a metaphorical passport stamped “heaven-bound,” but a real and tangible thing. It recognizes that God’s nation is composed of residents of every land on the Earth. My allegiance is primarily to the Kingdom of God.

I am not, in any way, anti-American. In fact, I’m not anti-anyone. I believe that the way of Jesus compels us to be “for” everyone. I’m for Iraqis, Egyptians, Canadians (barely :-)), Mexicans, Peruvians, and every other people group on the planet. I’m also “for” Americans. This doesn’t mean that I’m for the ways in which the church often partners with the sword-bearing government, but I’m “for” the people of this nation. I long, more than anything, that all Americans would redefine their allegiance around the reign of God — the God of enemy love, justice, and salvation. This God, namely Jesus, is my King, President, and Lord.

Here’s a video of Greg Boyd giving his reflections on this concept:

How would you describe your national citizenship in relationship to your allegiance to God’s Kingdom?

  • http://dashifen.com/ dashifen

    The world might be a better place if we all began to thing of ourselves as part of a global collective of nations rather than separate, 100% sovereign states. If the economic entanglements revealed since 2007 haven’t proven that there’s really very, very few of us that can go-it-alone, globally speaking, then I’m not sure what will.

  • http://blog.danielfarrell.com/ danielfarrell

    I generally say I’m anti-empire, not anti-american, when I get accused of that.

  • Michael Pahl

    Good thoughts, thanks. I had an American student ask me if I was proud to be a Canadian, and the question took me by surprise. Why should I be “proud” to be a Canadian, as if this came about somehow by my achievement? I just *am* Canadian, by birth and upbringing – it’s not something to be proud or not proud of. Of course, after the intial surprise, I got the student’s point. One often hears of people being “proud to be American” and the like, and they’re not referring to their achievement but to their “tribe,” which (in their eyes) reflects admirable values or does admirable things. Fine. As long as this self-admiration does not keep us from self-criticism, or from admiration of other tribes. As long as this does not become “tribalism,” which is antithetical to the gospel and to the kingdom of God.

  • Troy

    I am a tourist in America, but a citizen of the Kingdom!

    • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

      That’s the same way I would put it (but in Canada). A tourist or a long-term resident pays taxes and abides by the laws inasmuch as they don’t conflict with their duties to their own nation. They don’t define primarily in terms of the place they are visiting and their duty is to their citizenship first if there is any conflict.

  • Sherwood

    Having spent all of my 83+ years as a native born American, I am proud of this greatest of all, experiments in democracy. Oh yes, I have seen us make so many mistakes because some thought that being American gave them a right to put others down, but just as I have made other mistakes in my lifetime, I have no problem forgiving them. We do live in a nation that was created out of our earliest settlers having faith in a God who saw them through more pain than almost all of those alive today.

    And by His grace, I am among His sons and am destined to spend eternity in His presence. For that reason, I share my faith with others as I could not pray for any thing greater than for others to see life as I have seen it in all of my years. I share the thought expressed by the Apostle Peter who described our life as being “joy inexpressible and full of glory.

  • Trent Voth

    I’d like to see us avoid “anti” language. We’re not “anti” places or things. We’re “pro-kingdom.” “Pro-kingdom” in all of its forms which means that we adopt the policies, obey the authority of, and recognize the boarders and citizenship of the kingdom. If that happens to go against other nations, kingdoms, or empires then that is unfortunate, however, the heart of the kingdom is an invitation for everyone to come- switch their allegiance, change their citizenship, and exchange their passport.

  • Tim OK

    I think this type of question (ie, ‘are you anti-american?’) comes from an assumption that every American must think America is the greatest nation ever and God’s instrument of good on Earth. This idea is so prevalent that it is the “low bar”- it is assumed that, in order to be “pro American” that you have to think America is this unique, blessed, divinely inspired instrument. Anything less is “anti-American.”

    What makes the question so troubling, then, is that it is a “loaded” question- it has so many questions tied up in it. It’s used to trap people, to force them into a position or call them a heretic or something. In that way, it reminds me of the questions Jesus often got asked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.strietzel.9 Aaron Strietzel

    Great thoughts! Another great clip about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdoms of this world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=561316050 Gavin Buckley

    Excellent stuff. I wasn’t born in this country but have been here on and off now for 13 years. And it still confuses me when my fellow American christians do indeed foist their, “sword-bearing government” like a banner above all else. Particularly in cases of war.

    And only slightly out of context I’ll offer Matthew 6:24 with, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the
    other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”


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