A Word about Patriotism

Jul 03, 2022

I’m certain that I would not be considered a patriot by many people. I am grateful for many things about the country of my birth and life, and I could write extensively about those things, including the sacrifices many have made for it (including my own brothers). Unfortunately, there are also things about it that do not make me either proud or hopeful, and I could write just as extensively about those.

The word does not occur in biblical texts.  However, the English word "patriot" derives though Latin and French, but ultimately from the Greek word, patriotes (πατριώτης), which means "one of the same country, a fellow-countryman."  It was applied to barbarians who had only a common place of origin or being, and it was used of Greeks who hailed from a common free state.  The Greek term was certainly derived from the Greek word "father" (pater, as in "fatherland"), and in the 2022's, in our completely messed-up world, that in itself is enough for a sizeable number who champion blind raging over rational thought to condemn it as some kind of evil.  

Leaving such mindless negativity aside for now, I, as a Christian human being, wish to champion all efforts that engender peace in the land and in the world.  I am grateful for the authentic pursuit of human dignity, responsibility, and improvement, wherever it occurs and by whatever religion, scientific endeavor, social outreach, or political ideology. 

I was recently asked by a strong political advocate from a particular ideology, “What contribution are you making to the world?” I replied that I am heart and soul engaged in the battle for the mind of the human race for how we engage God in conversation through biblical texts on a day to day basis.  For me, this is the most important space I can occupy in my short time left on this planet. Because I believe that this affects every other thing we think, believe, and do, I am determined to participate in the grand human endeavor as a spiritual quest through IABC. And that is exactly how I see IABC.  It might be small in number at this point, but It is not a small thing taking place in a corner. It exists on the world stage.

In that sense, I would claim to be patri-otic. And I believe this is the highest calling I can pursue for the land in which I live and the humanity in which I share. The impact I do or don't make is not my call;  the devotion, focus, and effort I give is.     

Gary
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Institute for the Art of Biblical Conversation (IABC)
In pursuit of responsible, contextual, and conversational biblical text study