I recently coined the term “Americanity” in conversation with a friend. I was looking for a term to apply to the faux-christianity that seems so apparent through our culture. Where people call down on a benevolent mystery-god who will take care of them, and reward them in the afterlife for having been a good person. This god is always on your side in a fight, cares that you have a lexus with leather and seat warmers, and doesn’t really care if you don’t care about the homless, widows or orphans. He is appeased becasuse we put the phrase “In God we trust” on our money, and by our self restraint in traffic, when we don’t chase down that jerk who cut us off and beat the living crap out of him–even though he really deserved it. The god of Americanity is faintly aquainted with the God of the Bible, and has little use for the name of Jesus (unless you’ve hit your thumb with a hammer). But the gospel? Oh my goodness no. To the god of Americanity, the gospel of Christ is devisive and judgmental. It calls people to actually put something else before themselves, and that can’t be good, right?
But now I see that I had only half the picture. Americanity is coming into sharper focus. I realize that there are what we might call liberal and conservitives in the religion of Americanity–and the conservatives have published their own version of the Bible! Yes, the christian nation of America is here to save the world; but first we must save ourselves.
This does bother me, I hope you know. I’ve never been a big supporter of hyper-patriotism/supreme nationalism. I love quite a bit about our country, am grateful for the freedoms I enjoy, and hold the men and women who fought and who died for those freedoms in high regard. They deserve more than respect. But all this still comes in second to my true nationality, as a citizen in the kindom of Christ. If Jesus was concerned about policial supremacy, he really missed his chance 2000 years ago. Bummer.