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Momentary Pause & Question August 12, 2005

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.
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Monday will give us more “Word of God Speak.” For now, the axe-grinder is making me laugh.

Question:
My kids are attending a VBS this week at a small Baptist church in town. They begin every evening with the kids parading into the sanctuary, lead by two specially chosen children to carry the flag of the United States and the Christian flag (didn’t know there was one). Then all of the children are called to stand at attention, put their hand over their hearts, and then they recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA flag, the Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian flag, and finally the Pledge of Allegiance to the Bible. These 2nd and 3rd pledges were also new to me.

So, what do you think of this nightly routine at VBS?

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Comments»

1. David U - August 12, 2005

My post today on my blog will give you some indication of how I feel about what you wrote about today.

DU

2. Greg Brooks - August 12, 2005

This post has been removed by the author.

3. Greg Brooks - August 12, 2005

allegiance
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English allegeaunce, modification of Middle French ligeance, from Old French, from lige liege
1 a : the obligation of a feudal vassal to his liege lord
b (1) : the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government
(2) : the obligation of an alien to the government under which the alien resides
2 : devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause

This concerns me. ‘Allegiance’ carries with it the concept of placing oneself under the royal power and protection of a liege, or king. Consequently, one owes that lord or king one’s loyalty, in peace and in war–to the point that the king had power of life and death over his subjects. Giving ‘ligeance’ was a way of becoming a naturalized citizen of a given kingdom.

I’m concerned that these pledges involve your children giving allegiance to “the Christian flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands,” but not to that Savior’s kingdom–instead, allegiance is given to the republic for which the flag of the U.S. stands.

4. Neal W. - August 12, 2005

We should do whatever we can to instill in our impressionable children recognition of the fact that America is God’s country, Americans are his people, democracy is God’s will, and being American and being Christian are pretty close to the same thing. Only then will we defeat the terrorists…

Just kidding…I’m actually queasy after reading this post

5. DJG - August 12, 2005

I have STRONG feelings about the American flag….like you I didn’t know the other or its pledges existed…but I might have more tolerance of them than the other.

Patriotism is great and good but in MHO not to be confused with worship of our Saviour!

6. DJG - August 12, 2005

Thanks for sharing the axegrinder too! Funny stuff!

7. Fajita - August 12, 2005

My wife thought it was sweet and I thought it was two notes that do not harmonize.

I couldn’t convince my wife that this is potentially dangerous to mix the two or even worse, equate the two.

Yes, I love God. Yes, I love my country. A good patriot will serve God and country. However, when the country is not serving God, then what? And how does one know when a country is serving God?

Does God favor America? It might be tempting to belive that He does since we got so much stuff. At the same time, what if God is testing our character by allowing us so much stuff? What if God decided to unleash more wealth than has ever been accumulated anywhere as a true test of the words used by so many of the histrical and contemporary leaders of our day?

So, how are we doing?

8. TCS - August 12, 2005

You better listen to she who must be obeyed! can’t be any more harm than some of the crap we grew up hearing.

Maybe that’s bad logic….

9. Greg Newton - August 12, 2005

The best answer is the one Joshua got when he asked if the angelic commander of the Lord’s army was on Israel’s side on that of Jericho: he replied “neither”.

Dangerous? – it’s beyond dangerous.

10. James - August 12, 2005

Neal, you got me, hook, line and sinker. At least you were kidding though. It saved me some typing. Thanks for the laugh.

I’d have a very difficult time with that routine.

11. Anonymous - August 12, 2005

I see nothing wrong with elevating these three things to a level of importance in children’s minds.
I recall doing the same march into VBS 40 years ago so I guess it’s been around for awhile.
It was also kinda strange to me at the time since I was raised in the Church of Christ and had never heard of a pledge of allegiance to the Bible or of a Christian flag.
I do recall wondering if it was something that I should be participating in since my home church didn’t do such a thing, but then again, they didin’t have a piano either.

12. Frank Bellizzi - August 13, 2005

One Sunday night when I was “off duty” I visited a nearby fundamentalist church where they began with the pledges.

When the associate pastor held up the Bible (a huge copy) for that pledge, he bowed his head and closed his eyes; it was as though prayer was being offered to a relic or an icon, like a hyper-Protestant “adoration of the host.” The whole thing gave me the creeps, especially since the three pledges followed one after the other.

That is messed up stuff.

13. Anonymous - August 13, 2005

Guys,
This is just a ritual for the opening of VBS. It’s nothing more than singing “Booster, Booster, Be a Booster” Remember that one?

The kids don’t put the adult baggage that we bring from whatever background to the ritual.

It’s nothing more than saying the pledge of allegiance to the US flag in school. I think it would be wonderful if school children were taught a pledge to the Bible or even taught to salute a Christian flag.

Symbols are powerful learning tools for children. I still remember part of the pledge to the Bible even though it’s been over 40 years since I recited it. It goes: I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s holy word……..
That’s all that I remember.

Back in the 60’s because of the popularity of Catholicism in our country due to the election of JFK, the church went overboard with teaching us to avoid all uses of symbolism in worship.
I was even disciplined by an elder for wearing a cross around my neck when I was in High School. Isn’t that ridiculous?

And isn’t it ridiculous that we so called Christian individuals are so afraid of little innocent children saying a pledge to the Bible and to a Christian flag?

There are so many other things to be afraid of in regard to our children. Let’s pick our battles and make them worthwhile.

14. Fajita - August 14, 2005

What I want my kids to learn from the pledges and what I don’t:

I want them to learn an appreaciation for the Bible and Christianity – and their country for that matter.

I don’t want them to exalt Americam Christianity or the Bible to places wewh these things would get in the way of God.

For me it is easy to see how America could get in the way of God, but it is not as simple (as an insider of Christianity) to see how the Bible or the entire Christian religion could get in the way of God.

However, if the Bible is the full and complete word of God, literal and never to be pondered, just swallowed whole, then that is when Christianity is in danger of crusades and crap like that.

Sometimes Christianity isn’t all that Christian.

I allowed my children to go through the ritual because I thought is was harmless – but only harmless because I am their father and I do not pound into their heads “God and country,” as if they were the same thing.

America is not the same as the Old Testament Israel. We are not the chosen people. For whatever reason, God has given Americans lots of stuff and lots of global sway. I do not equate that as some kind of chosenness nor do I equate it with “we’re so good so God blessed us.”

Nope. God blessed America (is wealth is indeed a blessing) because He decided to.

Anyway, I really like this discussion. Keep it up if there is more to say,

15. Greg Brooks - August 14, 2005

“wewh”?

16. Anonymous - August 14, 2005

So if the United States pledge of allegiance to the flag had not been said or displayed as if to equate the United States with the Bible, you would have had no problem with the other two pledges? Is it the fact that the flag was displayed in a church building and the pledge said that really bothers you? You know, the whole seperation of church and state thing. I’ve never seen a flag inside of a Church of Christ. In fact, when I was a young boy, one of our young men from church was killed in Vietnam and the elders would not allow the flag bearers to bring the flag into the building or allow the flag to be draped over the coffin. Now that, my friend, is really something to be upset about. The boy gave his life in a war that our country told him that he had to fight in and he wasn’t afforded the honor of having respect shown for that fact by his church. I get sick thinking about it.

I agree that the US is not God’s chosen country;however, the United States was founded upon Christian principles. Our money says, “In God We Trust”. Our pledge of allegiance to the US flag says, “One nation under God……..”
We are a nation which allows freedom of worship for all religions. That isn’t the case in all countries.
So while I do see your point about the US not being the “chosen” country like Israel, I do take exception with the big deal made over the saying of the pledges to the Bible and to the Christian flag.
I’m not sure where the symbol of the Christian flag originated. It may have been rooted with the Crusades as you mentioned. The red signigies Christ’s blood. The white symbolizes Christ’s purity. I don’t remember what the blue symbolizes.Just for your information, Baptists do not as a general practice say the pledge of allegiance to the flag, the Bible or to the Christian flag other than during VBS if that will ease your mind.

17. Fajita - August 15, 2005

For funerals, weddings, or other uses of the building in which a church decideds to meet, I don’t really care. It is for specifically religious services that I object. A funeral, although can be religious in nature, is convcened to honor the person who passed away, to provide a ritual for loved ones to grieve (celebrate as is sometimes the case), and so forth. We do not have funerals without that – it wouldn’t be a funeral. A church who would not allow a US flag (or Sudanese flag or otherwise) into their building for a funreal would be greatly dishonoring of that person.

My problem is when we do things that equate or blur the lines between faith and patriotism.

I still think that the pledges to the Bible and Christian flag are a little strange. I do not pledge my allegiance to the Bible. Yes, the Bible records some of God’s word, but how can I pledge my allegiance to the Bible and not to an interpretation of the Bible?

There is nothing more frightening in Biblical interpretation than when someone says, “It says what it means and it means what it says.”

18. Gem - August 15, 2005

So, what do you think the significance of us singing the Pizza Hut/Jabba the Hut song at our VBS might be? Just kidding.

I am wary of the whole “US is God’s chosen country” theology that is sometimes implied by these types of pledges. I think people who look to the old testament for God’s promises to bless His people as if it were the USA forget that the founding father of that nation made a very specific covenant with God concerning that nation and its relationship to God. As far as I know, our founding fathers did not.

19. Neal W. - August 15, 2005

Anonymous,

That a flag would not be allowed at a slain soldiers funeral is scandalous. I once saw a funeral at a church where the coffin was covered with packs of cigarrettes and bottles of Jack Daniels. It’s just who he was.

But you’ve never seen a flag inside a Church of Christ? Have you ever been to Texas? I ministered for three years in Texas and one of my elders wore a big, gaudy “Thank the Lord for George W. Bush” pin every single day. I’m not a Bush-hater…but that made me gag.


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