by Jonathan

Is it un-American to critique parts of our heritage and certain elements of our country’s founding?

Is it un-Patriotic to peacefully protest against perceived deficits in our application of justice (and mercy)?

Or are those things de facto BAD, evidence that you hate America and everything she stands for?

Was it un-Hebrew for the prophets of old to call out religious rot among their own people?

Was Paul a traitor when he shined a light on the wide open gates that led into the Kingdom?

Was Christ un-Christlike when he forcefully admonished churches for forgetting their first love, for sliding into comfortable, pleasurable idolatry?

I’ve been wrestling for a while now with this dissonance: American Christians, with a rich Scriptural record that’s so full of self-assessment, of national critique, of an obvious willingness to hold national (and ecclesial) leaders up to judgment, seem at times the most allergic to the same. Why is that?

Democracy needs healthy debate, to be sure. But what I see over and over is the inability to hold any critique for any length of time without devolving to name-calling, crap-slinging, contempt, which is not love.

But what if we loved?What if we disagreed vehemently with grace? What would that even look like?

Is it possible for someone to critique the church with love? Or will the church crucify them?

Is it possible for someone to critique the Republicans with love? Or will the Right destroy them?Is it possible for someone to critique the Democrats with love? Or will the Left annihilate them?

The Gospel is counter-cultural in every culture. I learned that during our eight years in Cambodia. I’m learning it still.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, would you join me in inviting Christ to reveal to us the parts of our ethnic, religious, and national culture, that are good and wonderful and Christlike? And would you consider inviting Christ to reveal to us the parts that are not so good, and in fact are maybe evil?

Let us love one another.

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