Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Importance of Old Glory In Houses of Worship II

In my previous post about the internal Methodist wrangle over a Leader's concern, saying the Presence of the American Flag in the Church almost equalled worship of that flag and the attaching U.S. Policies, I pointed out that the specific position of any and all flags within public buildings, including most Houses of Worship, are determined by Federal Law. Those who are Biblically literate know that we, as Children of God, are to submit to the governing authorities and obey the laws they pass, short of disobedience to a clear and direct command of God in Scripture. Most, who consider themselves "Christian" would wholeheartedly agree with this position.

So, based on all they know about the Bible and Public Law, most people don't think twice about the presence of Flags within their particular House of Worship. Their attitude would more or less be, "If that's the law, that's the law. Who are we to tell the government how to arrrange the flags in buildings? We are peaceful people and it would be petty, indeed, to fail to obey the law over such an insignificant issue. It would essentially be unchristian."

Please note that I spoke of this attitude as being based upon the knowledge of people, what they actually know about the issue. This is a rather normal state of affairs with most of us. Many decisions we make and positions we hold on issues are based on our personal knowledge. And most of us have found ourselves having to amend our decision or position after coming across knowledge which put a decision or issue in a vastly different light. And most of us have not apologized for these changes, though some may have been difficult to arrive at and implement. But the point is that these changes were implemented based on strict knowledge.

So, with all that I have said so far in these two posts coupled with your personal knowledge of flags, whether from the Bible or Federal Law, what is your position? Do you consider the issue important enough to take the time and effort necessary to really form a position? If not, why?

Let's also address your personal knowledge. Where does it come from? From where does it originate? Has your knowledge been gained through personal effort whereby you have personally searched for and gained this particular knowledge, whether it be from the Bible or from United States Federal Law or some other source? Or has this knowledge come from a third party? Is this third party someone whom you are personally aquainted with? Or are they a public figure, possibly disseminating information based upon their profession? Or does their position automatically command a certain amount of respect so that when they speak, they are presumed to be speaking that which is correct and applicable to those hearing their message? Or has this third party received their knowledge from yet another party?

So, if you take your religion seriously, where does this issue rank in importance? Have you ever thought about the possibility of flying an American flag or any other flag in the presence of worshippers in a religious service being considered idolatry? Is that preposterous to you? Or do you at least take the time to contemplate the possibility? If so, what exactly is there to contemplate? Does the Bible speak clearly on the subject? If so, what does it say? What about Federal Law? Could it possibly contribute to this subject and and assist in bringing clarity?

Do we really desire clarity? Does our walk with God prevent us from searching for and finding Truth to live by? Are we content to maintain the status quo? Are we afraid of what we may discover if we were to begin to search for the Truth of this matter? Are we afraid that we may be required to make changes in our lives, even our religious lives? Are we afraid of the possibility that we might not be very willing to make such changes? Are we afraid of the potential cost of such changes?

If we are really afraid of this endeavor, maybe we should ask ourselves another question. Whom do we really serve? Whom do we really live for? For whom do we plan our lives? Do we make certain changes in our lives strictly for ourselves? Or does God enter the picture in any manner. How much do we include Him in the conduct of our lives? Is our inclusion of God nothing more than lip service? Do the true intentions of our heart lie elsewhere? Or is God considered, not just a part of our life, but "Life" itself? Is the way God would have us live the way we really want to live? Do we desire the same thing as God? Do we think like God? Do we adopt His thoughts for our own? As I stated, whom do we really serve?

You might be wondering what this has to do with idolatry and Old Glory. Well, most people respond to issues such as this from an emotional point of view. Serious thought is many times given minority status in comparison to emotional rhetoric. It's far easier to react emotionally than to maintain an equilibrium of truthful consideration. And it's far easier to join others who react emotionally than to stand alone in Temperance. Regardless of what your ultimate conclusion is on this particular issue, a proper response should entail a careful mission of fact finding which will give you the best chance of arriving at the proper conclusion. And that conclusion, with supporting facts, should be able to stand on its own. That means that it does not require the assistance of anyone, not even yours. So any amount of emotional rhetoric will not bolster the foundational conclusion one iota. That's because Truth is self sustaining.

So, please consider what I have written. Your answers, which only you and God will know, will determine your response as we continue to seriously grapple with this issue.

To be continued..................
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