The American Dream

13 08 2012

 

I had the privilege this last week, since I have returned from Wyoming, to watch the Summer Olympics. My boys and I really got into it – watching all of the different sports and cheering for our American athletes. It was a lot of fun to watch our country be so greatly represented. Of course, I still do not understand why baseball is not an Olympic sport, but rhythmic gymnastics is!

Watching the Olympics certainly gave me a patriotic feeling. I enjoyed watching the medal ceremonies and hearing our national anthem played after we won gold. After watching the closing ceremony last night, I began to think about this patriotism that wells up in us when our flag is raised. I consider myself extremely blessed to be apart of this great nation, but I do believe that there is a dangerous trap there for believers. Ted Ownby, American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, and Culture 1830-1998 (University of North Carolina Press, 1999) which I found in a Wikipedia article wrote about four American dreams that affect us all. The first is the “Dream of Abundance,” which is simply the dream of having a lot of stuff. Many people have so much stuff that we have to rent storage buildings to throw it all in. The second is the “Dream of a Democracy of Goods,” which means that regardless of who you are, you can get anything that you want. The third is the “Dream of Freedom of Choice.” Think about standing in line at Starbuck’s and trying to decide what you want. The fourth is the “Dream of Novelty,” which talks about our need to want the newest and the best. All of these dreams are usually pictured as a nice house in the suburbs with a beautifully manicured lawn, a white picket fence, 3.2 children all with good grades and healthy, one obedient dog, and all of the newest gadgets and toys.

The problem with the American Dream for Christians is that it is a selfish dream. Our patriotism so often revolves around what we can get out of it. For many people, seeing the American flag raised reminds them that they live in a nation where they can drive a four-wheeler where they want or have an incredible amount of choices on Amazon.com or one day retire on a golf course. Too many Christians fall into this trap and buy into this American Dream that has been conjured by our enemy. I am not against patriotism, but how about an unselfish reason? As believers, we should love our country, because we have the freedom to share the gospel. We should be patriotic, because we live in a country where we are blessed financially for the express purpose of blessing the other nations. We should stand when our flag is raised, because of the fact that this country and the sacrifice of so many men and women before us has given us, as believers, the opportunity to change the world for the glory of God.


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2 responses

13 08 2012
Charles Hearn

Good stuff, scott. I’m with you all the way.

13 08 2012
Rachel Hepler

God has blessed us personally in so many ways. The things I am most grateful for is His Spirit leading us in numerous ways to share these blessings with others in our own community and around the world. Thanks for your being one of His instruments in that leadership.

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