|2011 A.D.: American Exceptionalism?|
|Written by Dan Curry|
|Thursday, 03 March 2011|
We hear a lot of talk these days in the news and in the press about the idea of 'American exceptionalism'. I hate hearing it, and haven't talked to many people that do like it. It smacks of elitism. Didn't the Naxis think that they were exceptional? First you begin to think you're exceptional. That means that - by default - others aren't as exceptional. That can lead you to think that you deserve more and better things, because you are exceptional. Which means - again, by default - that others should be content with less and worser things, because they are not as exceptional. Then finally, you may decide that it is your job to decide what others are deserving of, because, after all, you're exceptional. And it can go down hill from there.
I think many Americans believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are exceptional. We Americans are better off to think of ourselves as exceptionally blessed, by God, and exceptionally ungrateful for it, all things considered, and exceptionally sinful considering the holiness of the God who has given us the good things that we enjoy but aren't that grateful for, right?
The Apostle Paul mentions that Jesus came to die for sinners, adding something like "of which I am chief." That seems like an 'exceptionally' humble attitude, and a better one by far than to trumpet to the world that we think ourselves 'exceptional' humans here in America!
If we treat each other with love, holding the welfare of our fellow to be as important as our own, as Jesus told us to, and if we honor God with our heart, mind, strength, and soul, as Jesus told us to, then we are doing very well - most of us would agree with that, right? And if we do that, maybe other nations would begin to call us exceptional....and maybe we would be starting to move a little in that direction, at least.
But for the people of America to fail in so many areas as we do, while calling ourseves exceptional doesn't seem right, does it? We've got our financial woes, we've got our social woes, and we definately have our moral short comings. I'm positive that some other nations exceed us in almost any positive area of virtue that you could name. I'm not down on America (not unduly) but we're not too perfect, are we? Like other nations, we have our good and bad areas. Like other people groups, we have our warts and wrinkles. God put just as much care and love into the making of one nation's peoples as he did the next.
We have a few strong areas in America as well, no doubt, and I'm glad for them. But how arrogant it must seem to the rest of the world when we declare ourselves 'exceptional'. We are supposed to take the beam out of our eye before we compare ourselves to those other nations that have the sliver in their eye; isn't that what the scripture suggests? Wasn't that how Jesus taught us to think, concerning the judging of others, and the criticism of others? It's probably the same when it comes to the comparing of yourself to others - even 'nation compared to nation'.
Any 'exceptionalism' that we actually do have, we owe to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. About the most we can add to that equasion is to have a heart that is willing to follow Them.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 May 2013 )|
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