I'm a patriot - would die for my people any day. Hate it when people put the USA down, even if it's true.  Favorite movie is "Band of Brothers". I drive an American car and try to buy American when it makes sense. Happy when the US wins an Olympic Gold medal.

But then our hymn leader asked our pastor if we could do some patriotic songs on July 4. My internal reaction was, "no, don't bring that in here."  What? Did I really think that? Am I bi-polar?

Thoughts kept going through my mind like, "We're citizens of another country, a nation of priests" and "those songs don't actually celebrate God's kingdom". It's as if I'm being asked to serve two masters or something. I hope this is normal and others feel the same way. I really don't think I'm becoming a leftist, I just feel like church time is for God only.

Is anyone else facing this? How do you feel about it?

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Our country was founded on principles of God and His word. If you look at the songs that were written they express the foundation of the Word in it. As well as paying homage to God.
We do not celebrate the 4th because of our country but because we made a declaration that only God can tell us what we can do. Take the Declaration of Independence first few sentences say...
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[71] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. "
As you see, at this time they were telling the King that America was God's land and His alone. That we would follow Him, not a King. Even the laws that were set down in this country come from God's very own 10 Commandments. (no matter how they try to take those outta the Govt. offices....it still rings within our laws)
Perhaps pick songs that reflect this feeling.
I know my pastor would have no problem with this at all. He recognizes the holiday and speaks about the truth on why we celebrate it.
Good luck..God Bless
Yea, I'm having a hard time picking songs that are like that. Mostly, they're about our country and how great it is and how it's God's country. I'm somehow less offended by the "greatness" idea than the "God's country idea".
"Is anyone else facing this? How do you feel about it?"

I'm going through the same thing here. We had a special service around Veterans Day last year and did the Ray Charles version of America the Beautiful (admittedly not very well) and the new wl wants to sing the national anthem as part of the service on the 4th. Doing that then I thought was good, doing this now--not so much.
We have a traditional and contemporary service that go on simultaneously in different locations. I am the worship leader that handles the music for the contemporary service. We have a Minister of Music that handles the music for the traditional service. On the 4th of July, we are having a combined "Patriotic" service, with "all" the music emphasizing our country. Many of the songs don't even mention God. The service has a very "production" or "performance" feel to it.

I love my country. We have a young man from our fellowship that we are very close to who is in Afghanistan. We are proud of him. We fear for him...and we pray for him and our other soldiers.

However, when it comes to a worship service, who are we worshipping? Where is the focus? Are we worshipping God or our country? I believe we need to keep the "Main thing" the "Main thing".
If we're trying to do "worship" then it's difficult for to say that these songs should be played. Even the one patriotic song that uses God's name more than once"God bless the USA," is more about glorifying our country rather than God. There is nothing wrong with praying to God to have favor on our country but it can hardly be considered as a worship song. I have read overwhelmingly that much more than half of Americans don't believe in the Bible, Truth, or Jesus. Our founding fathers were more influenced by a christianized moral deism, which is not Christianity. Many pastors are calling our country a post-Christian nation. This is not the "holier than thou" country that some are parading.

Don't get me wrong, I love the freedom that we have in this country. I would not want to live anywhere else. But lets worship God for His death on the cross which has set us free from our sin. That is true freedom.
Yea, I was thinking the same thing. Our founding Fathers had a positive attitude about Christianity, but many were not believers. They wanted true freedom for believers and made most of the laws favorable to us. However, there was slavery and a whole host of ungodly policies still in place for many years - a complete dishonor to Christians. In fact, it took Christians to begin moving the bar on many bad policies like women's suffrage, slavery and others.

Deism was very common in those days and frankly is antithetical to Christianity. John Hannah said this in class once: "America is like the famous statue of David in Florence. A big beautiful representation of David, the great King of Israel. But you'll notice that he's uncircumcised." That never really hit me until I saw the statue for myself.

OK, so I guess there's a little mixed feeling about it, but at least some folks feel the same way.

By all means, let's hear some more!

You are absolutely right!
We should be pro America, pray and support our leaders but understand that America and the kingdom of God are radically different. The problems that arise when we identify the one with the other is the story of history. As a warning to those who naively do, just look at Islamic fundamentalism! Theocracy is good only when Jesus is on the throne! Until his kingdom comes in its fullness we should be very wary of any Christian Fundamentalist state!

The healthiest relation of the church to the state is to address it prophetically and thereby fulfill our role of salt and light in a dark world!

We lead the contemporary music in a church that has both traditional and contemporary services. For our July 4 service, we are having a single "blended" service. The main guiding principal we use in choosing our music for worship comes from Robert Webber, as he states in Ancient-Future worship: "Worship does God's story." We firmly believe that worship should enact and proclaim the narrative of God: how He created the world, how He was incarnate in Jesus Christ to redeem creation, and how He is working through the Spirit to bring about a new creation. God's story is our glorious past, and it is our future hope.

In light of that principal, in my opinion most of what we consider "patriotic" songs instead tell OUR story; sometimes they includes God in the form of a prayer (i.e., God mend Thine ev'ry flaw in America), but the focus is our story, not God's.

We are working to plan a service that will acknowledge the holiday in light of giving thanks to God for our blessings without moving the focus off of God's universal story of love and redemption, resulting in freedom in Christ...altho to be honest, we are still struggling to put the right pieces in place, so we're still very much in prayer concerning this service!

Here are a couple of resources that I've found that might be helpful....if you use video clips in your church, here is one that I feel strikes the right balance without being overly patriotic....http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/14292/Finding-Freedom. We are considering using this as a bridge between God of the Ages (also known as God of Our Fathers, which is actually the national hymn) and Our God (Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin). There is also a very good reader's theater reading at http://skitguys.com/scripts/item/declaration-of-dependence/

Hope this helps!
I am a Canadian who has lived in both Canada and the USA - in Canada now, but spent 5 years of my youth in Seattle WA. My sister is married to an American Pastor and they are both great people, very Godly. I understand the American patriotism, and at times wished that we as Canadians had a little more of it - we tend to keep quiet and not say much, though we feel very strongly about our country.

I've also had the priviledge of traveling to a lot of places in the world, from Europe to Asia to Africa, and one thing I have noticed is that American Christians will by nature tend to equate living in America with being Christian. Often this is subconscious, but it's there. We as 'outsiders' see it and sense it. It comes across as 'only the American way is the right way.' Again, I'm not putting everyone in the same boat, but the fact remains is that there is such a boat.

Now I'm all for standing up for your country, but when it comes to communicating the gospel and showing Christ's love to all people, I think it would be a healthy thing in our church services to purposefully seperate our love for our country (which is flawed because the the human element) from the dedication to and our longing for our eternal country and home, which is heaven.

On Sunday, let's thank God for where we live, but point people to Jesus, not Canada, the USA, or anyother earthly place that we live in.

A villager in Mozambique will probably never have the priviledge of visiting the beaches of Florida, but by the grace of God, he can one day inherit a dwelling place in Heaven, prepared for him by Jesus himself. He might even be my neighbour. What an awesome thing!
Bruce, I certainly don't hate anyone for being patriotic, and I'm sorry if my post came across that way.

In the bigger context, there are times when all of us can get caught up in something that matters deeply to us, and inadvertantly by our actions and words throw up a barrier to the person standing or seated next to us. That's fine for a football or soccer match, but I don't like to see it in church.

I like that hymn selection by Charles...yes we love our country and are thankful for it, but there's also a whole lot more of the world out there that needs our attention on God's behalf.
I just have to add that I feel jealous in this case. Like God's time is being supplanted with USA patriotism time.
This is kind of where I am too, though if the song or two is followed by prayer for our nation and leaders I'm 100% on board.


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