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Friday, July 6, 2018

True Patriotism

True Patriotism

Before July 4 evaporates from consciousness for another year, you may want to take a look at two articles that ruminate on the Christian in relation to the nation. The first comes from yours truly, “A Great and Terrible Nation” wherein I remain skeptical of calling America a Christian nation while recognizing its greatness, as well as its ongoing need of prayer.
The second is about what true patriotism is and is not, from the pen of Catholic philosopher, Dietrich von Hildebrand, who wrote on the topic in the face of Nazism in the 1930s. He contrasts patriotism, which he calls “morally positive” and even a “divinely ordained, well-ordered love,” with nationalism:
Nationalists never see the true values of their nation. All they see is its power, its glory, its political influence. It is not love at all: it is self-assertion, the will to power, the drive for prestige, and self-glorification. He confuses the true value of his own nation with an imperialistic need to command the attention of other nations.

Loving Racist Relatives

Along a similar line comes Pulitzer prize novelist Richard Russo “On Loving Flawed Family Members,” in which he talks about this relationship to his racist father and grandfather: “What I most want my daughters and grandchildren to understand is that it’s okay to love flawed people with your whole heart and soul because if you don’t, you’ll end up with a low opinion of yourself.”

The Best Jewish Scholar to Read IMHO

I have joined a number of other Christians in reading and deeply appreciating the work of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik. His books The Lonely Man of Faith and The Halakhic Man seem to be the most popular among Christians. The reason especially for interest in the former? His great nephew ponders that question in “Why Christians Are Reading the Rav” (you may have to give your email address to read this). After summarizing how his great uncle describes the differences between what he calls Adam 1 and Adam 2—that is, the two creation accounts in Genesis—he says,
Both Adam I and Adam II are divinely desired aspects of the human experience. One who is devoted to religious endeavors is reminded that “he is also wanted and needed in another community, the cosmic-majestic,” and when one works on behalf of civilization, the Bible does not let him forget “that he is a covenantal being who will never find self-fulfillment outside of the covenant.” The man of faith is not fully of the world, but neither can he reject the world. To join the two parts of the self may not be fully achievable, but it must nevertheless be our goal.
Grace and peace,
Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today


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