Three triple-whammies

Whammy #1
I once visited a church that had American flags in three different spaces:

  1. decorating the entrance walkway to the building
  2. adorning the lobby and pamphlet rack
  3. on both sides of the lectern or pulpit

Whew!  I get that many people view church buildings as simple extensions of community/civic life, but it was hard to focus on anything purely Christian that morning.

Whammy #2
There are new things under the sun, it appears.  I had not previously experienced anything like what happened with another church we visited.  They recited three successive pledges as their Sunday assembly began:

  1. A pledge to the flag of the U.S.A.
  2. A pledge to a “Christian flag” (which is apparently a far more common thing¹ than I knew)
  3. A pledge to the Bible

Whoa!  The middle element of that whammy was actually a nice bit that could mildly encourage any starving, disenchanted believer, but sandwiching Jesus between the other two is something between naïve and blasphemous.

Whammy #3
This one might simply have struck me on the wrong day, but it made the first and second whammies seem mild.  A church we visited near a national holiday performed three acts in succession to begin their assembly:

  1. Recognized all the military veterans in the group (like a good social club or town group)
  2. Sang “God Bless America” (like the now-ubiquitous event at professional baseball games)
  3. Recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the American flag (like most citizens of the country when in secular situations)

Wham – whamwham!  That succession had a kind of crescendo effect, as though we were moving from (1) shallowly inappropriate to (2) thoughtlessly Christian-Right to (3) perilously idolatrous.


¹ If I’d ever really known that there is a Christian flag, I’d forgotten it.  This page gives some details.  Although the Christian flag tends to be seen in tandem with the American one, the existence of the Christian one may betray a shallow theology that assumes Christian adherents constitute an alternate political force to be reckoned with.

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7 thoughts on “Three triple-whammies

  1. Welcome to the church subconsciously bowing the knee to Caesar.

    Well do I recall the flack I received as a pastor suggesting the removal of both flags, i.e. the US National Ensign and the “Christian Flag [?]..

    Gads, give me a break!

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    • Ah, yes. I’ve narrowly escaped that as I’ve never been a church employee but heard that in one place I was leading, they had just been through removing them. And someone else took the brunt of it.

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  2. A pledge? In an assembly of believers? may genoita.

    Paul, are you twisting in your sleep?

    Forgive our ignorant brethren.

    Rest in peace vs pieces

    bob

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    • I’ve been wondering whether instances of the U.S. pledge to the flag may be more common in the Heartland than in many other sections of the country. Yep, Paul would have something to say. Jesus might be more gracious but would also be heartbroken, I suspect.

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