Nationalism is Division of the Body

Nationalism is Division of the Body August 2, 2018
Courtesy of Pixabay

Nationalism does nothing but teach you to hate people you have never met and take pride in accomplishments you have no part in.” -Doug Stanhope

*Note: this is a guest piece by my good friend Danielle Kingstrom.

Nationalism is a loyalty and devotion to a nation. In plain text, nationalism isn’t a scary or offensive word. History has shown us that many great leaders, both famous and infamous, were nationalists; they were leaders who believed their country was exceptionally superior to others. Leaders, for better or worse, like Jeanne d’Arc, Napoléon, Theodore Roosevelt, Ho Chi Minh, Gandhi, Fidel Castro, Adolf Hitler, and, some would speculate, Donald Trump, have all displayed characteristics of nationalistic pride.

I won’t argue about heritage or ancestral pride, but I will argue that nationalism, while generally accepted as permissible and justifiable, is in fact divisive and xenophobic. Embracing the idea of exceptionalism first of all distances us from the teaching of inclusivity as demonstrated by Jesus. Secondly, nationalism competes and it condemns and it crucifies with impunity. Nationalism pits us against them. Nationalism sparks the interest of building walls to keep the neighbors out.

Nationalism breaks the body of Christ apart limb by limb. “Just as the body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ…  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many…But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…so there should be no division of the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

When a nation is suffering, we are all suffering. What then do we say when we are the nation that causes the suffering? Are we inflicting suffering upon ourselves?

When one nation is honored, how many other nations follow suit in rejoicing in their honor?
Have we lost our footing on the path toward the Kingdom that we took the detour to the world and chose to fall in love with the world instead of the Savior? Woe to us for forgetting that we cannot serve two masters! For which have we loved and which have we hated and which have we devoted ourselves to and which have we learned to despise? Should a Christian hold a dualistic affection for both God and country? If consistency matters (and it should) then one cannot rationally conclude that this position is possible; “with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left,” it seems our hands are already occupied and leave no room for the sword.

I noticed that I had been wearing the armor of the United States for so long that when I stepped out of that costume and tried the armor of God, what a light burden and easy yoke it turns out to be.

I submit that we have been a misguided nation of people, for which we have been so accepting that we ought to proudly wear our citizenship as a badge of honor of some accomplishment that we never participated in achieving. None of us were given a choice as to where or when we would be born. Our place of birth was that of chance of consequence because of our parents. What is our accomplishment in being born?

Our life is indeed a blessing, but every individual life that has ever lived or will ever live ought to be granted the same extension of concern. Life is in fact a miracle. But citizenship is just a piece of paper. Ask yourself, for example, how proud you would be to be a Venezuelan today?

I don’t condemn those who have always held to the idea that patriotism is Godly or spiritual or holy. I think it is misguided but the intention is typically in the right place.

That said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so maybe it’s best to be weary of any “ism” that seeks to divide or segregate groups of people and place them on a hierarchy of exceptionalism. It’s comparison, and it is the antithesis to the teachings of Jesus.

I ask you to consider to qualify your love of country with the love that Jesus Christ our Savior offers us today. Does the love of your country influence you to elevate the interests of the State above the Kingdom of Christ? It takes a courageous person to take a bold look within oneself and question everything that encompasses your patriotic pride.

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  • Etranger

    “But citizenship is just a piece of paper. Ask yourself, for example, how proud you would be to be a Venezuelan today?”

    I ask myself regularly how proud I would be to be an American today! Not very.

  • Mark Schwendau

    It is difficult to square this opinion editorial when Christians are under attack both nationally and around the world. You cannot call yourself a Christian if you are not willing to stand up to those who declare their “religion” shall dominate the world. This is not a religion. This is a political ideology rooted in fascism.

    American ideals and nationalism are superior to all other nations of the world. Why? We don’t just preach tolerance and independence but we offer those who come here to interrupt our way of life consequences.

    Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.

    Americans do not like to start trouble but we relish ending it. Our motto has constantly seemed to be, “YOU THROW THE FIRST PUNCH. WE WILL THROW THE LAST ONE!”

    God would not side with a nation that He does not stand by.

  • Timothy Weston

    1. Christians are not under attack in America: Their bullying disguised as religion is.
    2. What American ideals are you talking about? Are you referring to the ideals sold to Americans that are nothing more than broken promises?
    3. Under this definition, our ancestors were invaders: They immigrated but never assimilated into the Native American ways of life.
    4. Americans have yet to end the troubles they started in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Central America.
    5. Why would God side with an human institution that is designed to elevate one set of humans at the expense of others?

  • Mark Schwendau

    1. WRONG! Christians have been under attack ever since Rowe v. Wade. Abortion is murder. Don’t want kids? Don’t have sex. Abortion is not birth control, it is murder.
    2. WRONG! If America were not the greatest country on earth, so many people would not want to be here. Thanks to Trump, we are, once again, the land of opportunity.
    3. WRONG! If America had not been founded by the white Europeans, we would have never had the Industrial Revolution and all of the POSITIVE developments that came after it. We would all be living in tipis without Bic lighters to start our fires.
    4. WRONG! Afghanistan was invaded by Russia and we, IN FACT, helped them drive out the Russians with our FIRST shoulder fired stinger missile taking out one of their helicopters near Jalalabad, Afghanistan… I am not going to defend the rest as you are just too uniformed for my time…
    5. WRONG! As my Third Grade teacher once put it, “We are the only nation that has ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’, on our currency and pledge to, ‘ONE NATION, UNDER GOD’, and he has rewarded us mightily for our recognition and allegiance under him.” She then went on to explain what would have happened if we had not been blessed with the A-bomb and the wisdom of using same.

    I get it… you are an atheist liberal. SNAP OUT OF IT!

  • Troll.

  • Mark Schwendau

    He certainly is one! Thank you, Matthew.

  • Swing and a miss, big guy.

  • Mark Schwendau

    True liberal idiots of this country are the ones who attack Christians as Muslims want us to ban bacon, beer and music because they find it offensive. They think it is offensive, don’t come here. Easy cheesy.

  • Wow. Nice rhetorically charged pejoratives.

  • Mr. James Parson

    So how should women who have abortions be punished? You think it is murder. It sounds like 10,000s of women would have to be put in jail. Do you think that Christianity will be come more popular or less popular as these women are put in jail?

  • Mark Schwendau

    Maybe if we went back to teaching right from wrong in our schools like 100 years ago when unborn babies were not being sent off to landfills with the rest of our trash??? Sometimes the old ways, are, indeed, the best ways.

  • Another troll hijacks a conversation and makes it about what they want to make it about…

  • Mark Schwendau

    That is why people hate you and your kind…. anybody that does not agree with you is a troll or a birther or a racist or a exonopohboe or a homophobe… maybe, rather than call people names, you just need to be able to formulate a logical counter argument rather than come off like such a damned juvenile and grow the hell up.

  • Lol. At least you make me laugh.

  • Kevin Carter

    hilarious. You say this: True liberal idiots of this country

    And then get upset when someone calls you a name. Self-Awareness is not something you posses is it?

    I also love how any time you guys start to lose an argument you either revert to screaming about Fake News or try to talk about abortion.

    Hey, I’m losing this argument about nationalism so I’m going to go scream about something completely separate from what we’re talking about now. You want to talk about abortion, go find a blog that’s talking about abortion. We’re trying to talk about nationalism here. Stay on point or step aside.

  • Mark Schwendau

    I like how you guys lie through your teeth and expect everybody to believe you at face value… “I also love how any time you guys start to lose an argument…”.

  • Mark Schwendau

    Liberals are idiots… take California now, as an example. If you are a criminal illegal alien, they will welcome you here to vote and set fires to their state. BUT YOU BETTER NOT DARE USE A PLASTIC STRAW!

    Yeah, you and your kind have a lot to be proud of! Derp.

  • Mark Schwendau

    I’m not losing! And neither is America, now! Stay tuned for Ohio vote results this evening and have your tissues handy.

  • pen44

    Exactly, Kevin Carter, it’s called deflection, and the trump christians are very good at it. It’s just one of the reasons that makes it hard to have a discussion with trump followers. It’s been like this since 1980 and Reagan, when he let the greedy TV preachers into the Repub Party. Their moral compass as a political party was lost at that point.

    America was founded on a freedom of and from religion. Yes, anyone is legally able to worship their religion, but no religion is paramount….no national church, like they had in England, and still have in England. I’m not sure what the “Evangelical” means to the trump followers. The word pertains to the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus, and isn’t really equal to a conservative ethic…I attend an Evangelical Lutheran Church where the liberal branch of Lutheranism is called Evangelical. It does feel as if the trump conservatives want their form to be the American Church, and it is hardly Christian in its ethics. In fact, the whole purpose of the Repub Party seems to be that they do exactly the opposite of what Jesus the Christ taught and commanded….not a very good example of being a Christian…..

  • Tim

    You’re making a lot of very American assumptions here; such as assuming God is on your side.

    “American ideals and nationalism are superior to all other nations of the world. Why? We don’t just preach tolerance and independence but we offer those who come here to interrupt our way of life consequences.”

    I hope you realise you’ve just contradicted yourself with this statement, but I seriously doubt it.

    If you think Americans don’t start trouble, then you don’t know your history very well, and/ or have been taught an exceedingly slanted version of it. And might does not make right.

  • Tim

    He’s either a troll, or a complete idiot. Perhaps both. Another one for the block list.

  • Barbara Fairbanks

    Good article! Love of country seems to trump love of God. Mixing the two dangerous to both. Christians should feel tied more to their spiritual siblings all over the world. We are supposed to consider ourselves foreigners in the world on a spiritual jpurney and that means nowhere on earth is home spiritually. Grateful to have been born here, but not fooling myself it is a holy country or more loved by God than any other people or nation. Mennonites have followed this truth faithfully for decades.