"I'm American Second" -- somebody quoted the Ft. Hood shooter as saying that.
And to a point, I can identify with that sentiment. (No, no, no -- I don't at all condone what Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan did; I condemn it.)
Over fifteen years ago I wrote...
I am not an Oregon citizen. I am merely a resident of this state.Not quite three years later, I churned out this modified version:
As far as loyalties go, I am a citizen of no earthly political entity.Now I have an upated version:
I am a native-born resident of Oregon and citizen of the United States. I am also a born-again citizen of Christ's heavenly kingdom. What effect does such dual citizenship have on my loyalties? My loyalty is to Christ. I pledge allegiance to no other kingdom.To put it another way: I am a Christian first and an American second.
That's what I meant to convey in my above-referenced articles written years ago.
Does "I am...an American second" put me in the same boat as Hasan?
My primary citizenship makes me (or should, anyway) a model citizen in my secondary citizenship. But my first loyalty is to Christ and His kingdom. By His grace, I will not violate that loyalty and citizenship in the living out of my American citizenship.
I am grateful to be an American. I am thankful for my American citizenship. I do not despise either blessing.
So you see, being an American second does not make me anti-America.
It does make me unfit for certain aspects of American citizenship.
Here are two examples of what I mean by that:
Jury Duty: I'm sure neither Oregon nor the USA want me in a jury box. Were I there, I wouldn't vote to pass civil judgment on anyone. I believe my primary citizenship forbids that.I believe both of those to be noble callings for American citizens.
Military Service: Neither would they want me in their armed forces. My first loyalty forbids me to take up arms against an enemy. (I believe it also forbids my serving the military in a support role.)
But I am an American second.
It is my conviction that my heavenly citizenship bans me from jury duty and from military service.
As a Christian first, I must faithfully represent the values and interests of that heavenly kingdom.
May I demonstrate the life of Jesus among my fellow American citizens as well as in the world beyond America's borders.
May the whole world see Jesus when they look at my life.
If my life doesn't manifest Christ, my declaration of loyalty to Him is suspect. So is my claim to heavenly citizenship.
Though I wrote this for use here at Anabaptists, I posted it first at Ain't Complicated, one of my personal blogs. If you wish to make public comment on this article, I invite you to do so at my blog.
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