Like so many I have conflicted opinions about patriotism at times. My first loyalty is not to my country, but to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. At the same time I love my country and have always had deep feelings about her, most of which are positive. Today’s email brought a wonderful letter from my good friend David Bahnsen. His thougths about this great country parallel my own. In one portion of this letter David aptly writes:

I wish Christians would quit taking these things [freedom and liberty] for granted; it is disheartening to see their lack of patriotism so clearly flaunted by many professing believers, including some from the pulpits …  We are a nation rich with heritage, yes.  We are a nation that as recently as 50 years ago did not have many of the social ills that are such a source of heartache, yes.  But even now and today we are a nation that allows and encourages religious liberty; we are a nation that allows and encourages the freedom of speech; we are a nation that allows and encourages unlimited prosperity and ambition.  If I wanted to, of course I am capable of demonstrating what my concerns are with certain policies and practices that impede all of these things ..  However, on this 4th of July, as I will encourage next year, and the year after that, etc., I believe we ought to be more focused on gratitude and thanksgiving.  The liberties people enjoy to either a) Complain about things they do not like, or b) Actually work to change things they do not like (God forbid), were paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of our forefathers.  Today I honor them.

Today I join David in honoring those who gave me such amazing personal and political liberty. I hope you do as well. I plan to do a very American thing by seeing the Houston Astros play the San Diego Padres at Minute Maid Park in Houston. As the Russian actor used to say, with a very thick accent: "Such a country!"

Happy July 4th, 2005, to all!