A Christian pledge of allegiance...
And to God’s kingdom for which he died—
One Spirit-led people the world over, indivisible,
With love and justice for all.
By June Alliman Yoder and J. Nelson Kraybill
I am thinking about what it means that certain Christians display the Christian flag...or say the pledge of allegiance to the American flag in the context of worship or Church activities.
Fred Bahnson offers such a helpful statement on why Christians should pledge their allegiance to Jesus, and not to a flag. Ultimately the question becomes one of who we believe is in control of history...and what are the means that will bring about the Kingdom of God--the sword or the cross.
To be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ, to seek first the Kingdom of God. It is difficult to take this stand in a time of war and against the fervor of Empire and patriotism. What if all Christians of the world would begin to act upon the belief that the teachings of Jesus are for the "real world"?
If Jesus is in fact King over all, Lord over the nations...why must we bring into the context of church symbols and agenda of nation/state? The idolatry of politics, of nation-state, of civil religion... church as chaplain to the agenda and interests of a temporal Kingdom...all of these are distortions.
I appreciated Ryan Ahlgrim's letter in The Mennonite recently. I am resonant with his view that he does not expect the government to be pacifist. He writes, "My own position is more nuanced than the strict two-kingdom theology of the early Anabaptists: I will witness to our government to avoid war whenever possible, and I will protest when it abuses its power. But unlike my expectations for Christians and the church, I do not expect the national government to be pacifist and do not see how it can be. Maybe Christ's Spirit will transform even states to be nonviolent, but this will not happen because of our protests and political action."
I like the pledge offered by Nelson Kraybill and June Alliman Yoder. I believe it clarifies the type of commitment followers of Jesus are call to...even in a world that views such a stance as disloyal and irresponsible.