During Super Bowl time, we may take the opportunity to ponder the values that make us “American” if we’re not too busy anticipating/celebrating/lamenting. What is Amercanism? The thoughts that pop into your head might include: Freedom, a love of hamburgers, apple pie, baseball, football, equality, inclusion, democracy…
We are a nation “founded on Judeo-Christian principles.” We believe in helping our neighbor. We believe in acceptance and tolerance. But we don’t like being walked all over. No sir- non of that. When the British tried to tax us to death, we said “Hell no.” We said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” or at least Patrick Henry did and no one will ever forget it. Rebellion is in the very nature of the American way. We tear down those barriers to the American dream. We fight for our freedoms and rights. Battles raged on: slaves vs. masters, Native Americans vs. whites, whites vs. everyone else, rich vs. poor, women vs. men, youth vs. elders, etc, etc, etc.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know the thou also have a master in heaven.
Colossians 3:18-25,4:1 NRSV
If you are an American, even if you are a die-hard Christian, you are probably a little uncomfortable with this verse, if you are not questioning your faith at this moment. Just admit it. Here is a verse that seems to uphold patriarchal power, condone slavery, and, worst of all, suggest that God is sovereign. Here is a verse that says- Hey, don’t sweat the small stuff. If someone’s telling you to do something and it doesn’t contradict My will, then just do it. Life is hard, but at least it’s short, so don’t worry about it. Your true reward is in heaven anyway. And by the way, don’t make it unnecessarily hard for others. Even if they make it hard for you. Don’t worry- I’ll judge them in the end.
And this is the American way…
Unfair, unjust, it must stop! Put your husband in his place. Show your evil boss a thing or two. Rebel against your parents- they don’t know everything. No one can deprive you of what you want! You can be anything you want to be! Let nothing stand in your way, NOTHING! Stand up for yourself, fight, strive, make your voice heard, you’ve got to do it or you’re not worth anybody’s time!
You have to admit that there is some conflict there. It’s hard to deny that Christianity clashes with culture.
I am not condoning slavery. Although the Bible doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with it, I am glad that the message of the Gospel seemed to have resonated enough to get people to rethink such an inhumane practice. I am not condoning racism. I am only condoning “patriarchal power” to some extent.
I don’t know how God feels about America. I don’t know how He would have done it all differently. It’s hard for me to really point fingers at historical figures. I’m sure I would have hated the British government getting all up in my business. And being a slave is another level of misery.
Some husbands are real domineering, abusive, self-righteous jerks. And what’s so bad about a woman voting anyway?
Parents always think they know what’s best. When you’re growing up and someone is nagging you all the time and being unfair, you naturally want to rebel.
Which brings me to my point, rebellion is natural. Maybe there are instances when it is right. I dunno
But as for me, I think that I have a higher calling than defending my own rights and cutting myself a slice of the American pie. I think that the rights of others out there are being more grossly denied basic rights than myself. I really am tired of constantly dwelling on all the “unfairness” plaguing me. Maybe I should just let God handle it. It’s getting to be kind of a drag.
photo credit: amilimani.com