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May 31, 2005


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I share the distaste for the symbols of America prominently displayed in a church service. But I feel the same way about the presence of the also visible electric guitar, monitors and stands, and most of all the "stage." God help us. I wonder if the drummer on the "worship team" did rim shots when David Letterman (a.k.a. the pastor) read a top ten list. If the look and feel of a corporate office building with a Late Show style evokes the mysterium tremendum, I'll eat my hat.

I find the image extremely troubling.Somehow the gospel and christianity has to be seen as an alternative to any earthly empire. I can't imagine church in the book of Acts having a flag of the Roman Empire as backdrop along icons of Caesar. They were 2 extremely different realities...there would not have been even a common thread between them. Until we do the same the world will see no alternative.

I was not troubled by the picture but I understand the critics. I do think though that remembering the men and women who have died in war, and comforting their loved ones does have it's place in the Church.
Act 17:26,27 "and He made from one every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us." God bless America???

I would be deeply disturbed if I went to my church and saw this kind of display of nationalism, though I would consider some recognition of service and sacrifice, and prayer for veterans, etc... very appropriate.

One thing I've found very interesting in this whole series of posts - well in the comments about them, actually - is that in all the posts except #2 (with the women knealing) the comments have mostly focused on what the picture symbolized. Yet in the discussion about the picture in #2, many commenters were derisive of other people's "judgements" about the women in the picture. Why were we all willing to comment about the pictures as representative of something, in every case except that one? Even the comments about the man with the bible under his nose (#3?) didn't focus on our perceived judgements about the man himself... What's up with that?

Hmmh. Maybe they were praying for spiritual revival in this morally decadent and decaying country of ours. I hope so, but I don't know. Without actually being there and knowing what the context was for what was happening, images are just images.

Frankly speaking, my take on this whole exercise is that it’s mostly a waste of time.

"images are just images."

Images convey meaning -- whether or not we have a grasp on the original context. That's what makes them both powerful as well as dangerous. Images can also be very inspiring...provoking us to action. In such cases, does it matter whether or not we understand every contextual detail? Just musing out loud.

What makes you think that this is a picture that has anything to do with Christian worship? Christian worship is always God centered. This is why we don't sing patriotic songs during the liturgy (worship). While they may be inspiring they extol the virtues of country (not necessarily bad in some contexts) and that's not what worship is about. Even the patriotic songs which mention God or call on God are not really about God but about country. So patriotic songs -- along with similar symbols -- have no place in Christian worship. Therefore, this picture can’t be of a Christian worship service. I had a post on patriotism on Memorial Day --

The real problem is that most of us haven't really given much thought to the concept of collective worship. So we are inclined to allow anything that moves people.

"So we are inclined to allow anything that moves people."

...or entertains them.

that image sickening. it is idolatry. i'm not totally opposed to flags in church on certain occasions, but that image makes it look like a flag and a political ideology are the things to be worshipped.

Nation or Kingdom? As Christians do we serve under a ruler - King. Or is the government by the people for the people ( I am missing some of the historical statement.) changed at the emotional whim of reaction.

I do not believe the conflict here resides within the church and state mixture or the icons of Patriotism but in our perception of our responsibility to Christ’s Church. As ambassadors we represent the place where our citizenship is registered the place of our Birth. We are instructed to understand ALL governing systems exists by authority of our Lord. We are instructed to pray for those in authority so we can lead peaceful lives. However our wider understanding needs to awaken us to the fact that the governments of this world are still under the direction of the Ruler of This World - Lucifer, Satan, the Devil. His goal is to divert man’s attention away from Jesus and His Kingship and rule over His Church.

Question; are we in the world/nation but not of it? Or do we in actually serve two masters?

Who knows what this service was about? Maybe this local church in an effort to reach out to it's community held a service celebrating the blessings God has bestowed on the nation. In many rural communities, this type of service might draw many people who typically wouldn't attend a church service on an ordinary Sunday. What's wrong with thanking God for the nation you live in if it allows you the opportunity to freely worship? You cannot simply say they are worshipping in an idolatrous fashion because they are standing in front of "symbols". It isn't fair to generalize what's going on in this picture without knowing the context.


very scary

wouldn't happen in Oz (i think...)

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