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2.23.2007    |    Salute the Flag
One of my pet peeves in churches has always been the presence of flags. Usually two -- an American flag, and a denominational or "Christian" flag (shown here). I have learned to ignore these flags, and simply accept that this is what the congregation as a whole wishes.

So, what are you, John Luke, some sort of commie pinko hippy? No; I consider myself a patriot. But my first identity remains as a follower of Jesus Christ. And I am always, always, mindful of Jesus' words in John 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world." Repeat slowly: My kingdom is not of this world. Flags are, at best, symbols of this world; mere things to which we pledge our loyalty.

And yet, any who have followed the (American) flag desecration battles knows, that flags all too easily become objects of worship in their own right. And, hence, for a Christian, idolatrous. Flags as symbols are fine, but there is a time and a place for them. Church is not such a place; meeting for worship in the Son's name is not such a time.

It violates what should be the first principal for our lives: give glory to God, and none other. Yes, Romans 13:1-7 instructs us to obey earthly authority, and, of course, pay our taxes, under the presumption "there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." But Romans 13 may have been a redaction of Paul's epistle in order to appease the Roman authorities. And there must always be the underlying assumption that if a government does not conform to God's will, then it is our duty to resist it.

Whether Romans 13:1-7 is a first-century politically correct redaction, or truly Spirit-informed scripture, Jesus' words must hold pride of place for us. And we must not confuse flags with what they stand for. Nor should we have such pagan symbols in our churches.



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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.