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How nations disciple...

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Re: How nations disciple...

Postby robbyyoung » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:46 am

mattrose wrote:It seems to me that nations are better at discipling than the church

Even many Christians are more patriotic than Christlike

This got me to thinking, what is the kingdom of the world (specifically, american patriotism / american civil religion) DOING to disciple the masses. What is making it so successful?

Here are some initial thoughts that my wife and I came up with, but I'd be VERY INTERESTED in hearing more perspectives

1.It’s easier to be discipled into american patriotism / civil-religion. It doesn’t require as deep a commitment/relationship
2.In the Kingodom of God, you might get persecuted for opting in. In the civil religion / patriotism, you might get persecuted for opting out.
3.There's a steady onslaught of brainwashing by the media (agendas done subtlety over time (even decades) until they are the norm).
4.The nation has a strong liturgy. Pledge of allegiance, songs, holidays, famous stories and slogans, etc.
5. People naturally crave belonging to something greater than themselves. The nation is a tangible/obvious option. People are constantly being reminded of their identity as an american.
6. People, by law, invest in the american project (taxes). They might as well put their allegiance where their money is
7. The state has, for the most part, control of the education systems and use it for indoctrination (among other things)

Meanwhile, the kingdom of God has settled for 'personal relationship' language, not even presenting itself as a viable alternative to nationalism. Many churches don't even talk about the 'kingdom of God' so people think faith is a private/individualistic thing and patriotism is our communal home. Christianity, for some, just exists to help make good citizens of the nation.


Hi Matt, thanks for the clarification. I believe your inquiry/question directly correlates with 'thought #5'.

What is the kingdom of the world DOING to disciple the masses. What is making it so successful? ... People naturally crave belonging to something greater than themselves. The nation is a tangible/obvious option. People are constantly being reminded of their identity as an american.


Thus, success on the surface equates to citizens finding their place within a society. However, contentment in a civilized society, such as America, is not all that unusual. Most societies are content, and discipleship requires a measure of control and discipline. Therefore, if OUR nation can master the balance of individuals exercising their freedoms; individuals submitting to the rule of law; and individuals being content in the process; a strong argument can be made for "America's unique freedom" approach being a viable and successful discipleship method. Your thoughts?

Blessings.
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Re: How nations disciple...

Postby mattrose » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:59 am

robbyyoung wrote:
Thus, success on the surface equates to citizens finding their place within a society. However, contentment in a civilized society, such as America, is not all that unusual. Most societies are content, and discipleship requires a measure of control and discipline. Therefore, if OUR nation can master the balance of individuals exercising their freedoms; individuals submitting to the rule of law; and individuals being content in the process; a strong argument can be made for "America's unique freedom" approach being a viable and successful discipleship method. Your thoughts?

Blessings.


I think of discipleship as allegiance

So an American has been discipled by his nation when he pledges allegiance to the nation. A person who has pledged this allegiance, to one degree or another, might be called a patriot (though I recognized that there are many different degrees of patriotism). My question was, what does "America" do to make increasingly fervent patriots? I wasn't really interested so much in the viability of this kind of disciple. I was only interested in thinking about how the process works and how that may or may not apply to Christian discipleship.

I'm not sure I actually understand your paragraph. Mostly, I am confused as to whether the OUR (that you capitalized) refers to the USA or the Church. As an anabaptist, I read it as referring to the church, but that may not be what you meant.
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Re: How nations disciple...

Postby robbyyoung » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:30 am

mattrose wrote:
robbyyoung wrote:
Thus, success on the surface equates to citizens finding their place within a society. However, contentment in a civilized society, such as America, is not all that unusual. Most societies are content, and discipleship requires a measure of control and discipline. Therefore, if OUR nation can master the balance of individuals exercising their freedoms; individuals submitting to the rule of law; and individuals being content in the process; a strong argument can be made for "America's unique freedom" approach being a viable and successful discipleship method. Your thoughts?

Blessings.


I think of discipleship as allegiance

So an American has been discipled by his nation when he pledges allegiance to the nation. A person who has pledged this allegiance, to one degree or another, might be called a patriot (though I recognized that there are many different degrees of patriotism). My question was, what does "America" do to make increasingly fervent patriots? I wasn't really interested so much in the viability of this kind of disciple. I was only interested in thinking about how the process works and how that may or may not apply to Christian discipleship.

I'm not sure I actually understand your paragraph. Mostly, I am confused as to whether the OUR (that you capitalized) refers to the USA or the Church. As an anabaptist, I read it as referring to the church, but that may not be what you meant.


Hi Matt,

The "OUR" refers to all Americans; additionally, America's unique freedom approach is referring to its inherent Judeo-Christian philosophy. To further explain, I agree, discipleship most definitely conflates with allegiance. But if your question is narrowly focused on how the country is able to produce fervent allegiance, in my opinion, it is due to stoking the flames of the Judeo-Christian philosophy. Contrary to what the U.S. media would have us believe, our nation is still compromised of a God fearing majority. Like I mentioned earlier:

"The Pledge of Allegiance" clearly states that the nation is UNDER God, not above or equal too. This is an incredible realization which helps Christians not only work towards being a positive factor in this nation, but also remain respectful to the principles which make man's laws subordinate to God's higher authority.


Sure, there are non-christians who have fervent allegiance, but even they are content with the nation's biblical principles. Thus, fervent allegiance do necessarily require contentment with the nation's Judeo-Christian philosophy. I remember some time ago there was a push to remove the "one nation under God" statement from the pledge of allegiance. The fervent patriots of this country (mainly Christians) voiced their total and complete rejection of this notion. Needless to say, that conversation was quickly over. When I was in the military, soldiers always eluded to the fact that without God being above all, we wouldn't be there. Our allegiance is to a country that places itself 'under' God. I know for a fact, this produces an exponential fervent allegiance.

So what does America do to make increasingly fervent patriots? It placates the majority (Christians) by promising or holding fast to the Judeo-Christian philosophy remaining as tradition, relevant, and virtuous. By the way, can you clarify what you mean by fervent allegiance? Thanks Matt.

Blessings.
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Re: How nations disciple...

Postby mattrose » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:58 pm

robbyyoung wrote:...if your question is narrowly focused on how the country is able to produce fervent allegiance, in my opinion, it is due to stoking the flames of the Judeo-Christian philosophy.


Interesting perspective. How, specifically, do you see the USA stoking the flames of Judeo-Christian philosophy? Are you talking about things like repetitively saying 'under God' during the pledge?

Contrary to what the U.S. media would have us believe, our nation is still compromised of a God fearing majority.


I think there was possibly a silent majority for a while, but I guess I just don't agree that is still the case. I think most people would still say they believed in God, but I wouldn't describe them as God fearing.

Our allegiance is to a country that places itself 'under' God. I know for a fact, this produces an exponential fervent allegiance.


I do not doubt that nations best attain allegiance when their rhetoric is religious in nature. It seems that maybe where you and I differ in perspective is that you view this as mostly positive ('it's good that we're rooted in Judeo-Christian worldview') and I view it more cynically ('beastly nations USE religion to serve their own purposes').

By the way, can you clarify what you mean by fervent allegiance? Thanks Matt.


I think the world allegiance should be able to stand on its own, but obviously there are plenty of people who literally 'pledge allegiance' to the flag who don't actually live/serve (and definitely wouldn't die for) their earthly nation. So I added 'fervent' to emphasize the point that MANY people do genuinely love the USA and volunteer to serve the USA and are even willing to die for the USA.
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How nations disciple...

Postby robbyyoung » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:36 am

mattrose wrote:
robbyyoung wrote:...if your question is narrowly focused on how the country is able to produce fervent allegiance, in my opinion, it is due to stoking the flames of the Judeo-Christian philosophy.


Interesting perspective. How, specifically, do you see the USA stoking the flames of Judeo-Christian philosophy? Are you talking about things like repetitively saying 'under God' during the pledge?


Hello Matt,

Stoking the flames is tantamount to the religious-right, in government, contending for biblical values to remain center-stage in: (a) politics; (b) normal discourse; and (c) religious overtones concerning American traditions. IMO, the Judeo-Christian philosophy remains to be a force to be reckoned with in America. The religious-right is a major voting block, and most Christians do indeed hold their elected officials accountable. Although some battles are lost, all is not lost. The Pledge is simply one example of how the religious-right continues to fight for the original spirit behind the Nation's gratitude, reverence, and subordination to God. My biblical worldview contends it is worth fighting for the genesis of our glorious American religious traditions.

mattrose wrote:
robbyyoung wrote:Contrary to what the U.S. media would have us believe, our nation is still compromised of a God fearing majority.


I think there was possibly a silent majority for a while, but I guess I just don't agree that is still the case. I think most people would still say they believed in God, but I wouldn't describe them as God fearing.


Fair enough, I'll take a more conservative approach and say God believing majority. Nonetheless, our biblical worldview most likely compels us to either be optimistic or pessimistic regarding the affairs of the human race, i.e., governments . Although our biblical worldviews are not the focus here, I thought it was important to hint at the distinctions (futurism & preterism) in order to understand my reasoning.

mattrose wrote:
robbyyoung wrote:Our allegiance is to a country that places itself 'under' God. I know for a fact, this produces an exponential fervent allegiance


I do not doubt that nations best attain allegiance when their rhetoric is religious in nature. It seems that maybe where you and I differ in perspective is that you view this as mostly positive ('it's good that we're rooted in Judeo-Christian worldview') and I view it more cynically ('beastly nations USE religion to serve their own purposes').


Very true. Your astute analysis correctly identified the importance of how biblical worldviews can spawn either proactive or passive Christian inclinations to be good stewards and voices in all aspects of this present world. Christians may or may not be responsible for the rise and fall of a nation.

mattrose wrote:
robbyyoung wrote:By the way, can you clarify what you mean by fervent allegiance? Thanks Matt.


I think the world allegiance should be able to stand on its own, but obviously there are plenty of people who literally 'pledge allegiance' to the flag who don't actually live/serve (and definitely wouldn't die for) their earthly nation. So I added 'fervent' to emphasize the point that MANY people do genuinely love the USA and volunteer to serve the USA and are even willing to die for the USA.


Ok, thanks for the clarification and insight. Matt, I really enjoyed your thoughts and ideas. Hopefully I was able to add some value to the conversation as I seek to understand the perspective of others. Blessings my friend.
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Re: How nations disciple...

Postby mattrose » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:00 pm

Blessings back :)

Good conversation

I would say that I am more optimistic than pessimistic when it comes to what this world will come to... but I am not optimistic that we will get there by influencing earthly governments. I believe the church will have opportunity to grow in both quality and quantity as the nations of the world more than likely crumble for all intents and purposes (Though a shell of their former selves may be retained by the Christians).
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Re: How nations disciple...

Postby Singalphile » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:58 pm

mattrose wrote:This got me to thinking, what is the kingdom of the world (specifically, american patriotism / american civil religion) DOING to disciple the masses. What is making it so successful?


The first response I thought of, which fits with your #5, I think, is this: We (people) like to be right and we like to win, even when we have little or nothing to do with the win. The USA is thought of as "the best" in some ways (e.g., power, wealth, entertainment, Olympic medals, etc.), and therefore we/people like to associate with it and become evangelists and apologists for it. "We're #1", as they say. So, people probably are more nationalistic in the USA, as opposed to, say, Canada, which is only the 17th best country in the world ( ;) just kidding).
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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