Thursday, July 2, 2009
nationalism and denominationalism...
I've been away for a few days and out of internet reach (dealing of course with the withdrawal that comes with that). And over those days have been some stand outs. Canada day and Founders Day for a start.
Canada day marks the celebration of Canada obviously - Canadians aren't known for their super nationalism... although we do sing our national anthem a lot more than Australians I've noticed! ;-) If you haven't read Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne it's a solid read that really takes a look at the early church and it's deliberate shrug of nationalism (particularly the cult worship of Rome and Caesar) - refusing to participate in anything that was seeped in nationalism instead of the gospel. Very interesting switch of approach after the conversion of Constantine.. anyway, I was thinking about how grateful I am to have been born in the lottery of geography (as Tim Costello calls it) in Canada - by far one of the richest and free nations on the earth. What a joy that some of the founding members of Canada thought to pray and establish in fact that Canada was meant to be God's dominion from sea to shining sea. God grant it. I was just telling my son that as Christians we are not simply Canadians... the whole world is the Lord's and everything in it. We are citizens of heaven. He didn't buy it. ;-)
And then founders day. Again a nod to my son as he was asked who founded the salvation army - the first instinct was to say william and catherine booth but then he stopped and said 'wait a minute - wasn't it God who founded the salvation army?' Solid question and good thought. Was it God who started the salvation army? Perhaps the two are related issues. If heaven is my true home then surely the Kingdom is my true denomination. The Salvation Army, like Canada is a blessed people who have been in turn sharing the blessings to the whole world. And my dream and desire (and work and life for that matter) is devoted to seeing God's Kingdom come through every effort of The salvation Army - living up to what early salvationists have already attained.
But that said, the salvation army isn't my true home any more than Canada is. My true home, my identify, my love is all wrapped up in the arms of a King - Jesus is the place where I truly belong. And in the words of advice from one Salvationist I esteem, 'I'm sticking close to HIm'.