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The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

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5.31.2011

Memorial Day

This was printed in Sunday's bulletin from the church I grew up in and used to attend. My wife came home, much earlier than usual, (she has continued attending with the kids) noticeably irritated at her experience, in which she handed me her bulletin and said something along the lines of "Read this, you may understand why I'm home early."

Memorial Day

Do you remember---the REAL America?...
When riots were unthinkable....
When you left the front doors open...
When socialism was a dirty word...
When the flag was a sacred symbol...
When criminals actually went to jail...
When you weren't afraid to go out at night...
When taxes were only a necessary nuisance...
When a boy was a boy and dressed like one...
When the poor were too proud to take charity...
When the clergy actually talked about religion...
When clerks and repairmen tried to please you...
When songs had a tune and the words made sense...
When young fellows tried to join the Army or Navy...
When people knew what the 4th of July stood for...
When a Sunday drive was a pleasant trip, not an ordeal...
When you bragged about your hometown, and home state...
When everyone didn’t feel entitled to a college education...
When people expected less and valued what they had more....
When politicians proclaimed their patriotism, and meant it...
When everybody knew the difference between right and wrong...
When our government stood up for Americans, anywhere in the world...
When you knew the law would be enforced, and that your safety was protected...
When the law meant justice, and you felt a shiver of awe at the sight of a policeman...
When you weren’t embarrassed to say that this is the best country in the world...
When America was a land filled with brave, proud, confident, hard-working people....
When God was honored and revered as GOD!...
May God help us restore that STATE!
--Unknown


Is this what the rural "church" has come to?..... Why is it that young people are rejecting the church?..... And we act surprised?

Just wondered what you guys think. I have deep feelings for the people of this church, I've grown up with them, I've been taught by them. We've sang, danced, communed, dined, loved, laughed, cried, partied together. Is this truly the mindset of our "leaders", is this what all those years have come to? "......a boy was a boy and dressed like one", what's that mean?----Do you remember the REAL America?---Seriously?

Just questioning,

Matt

3 comments:

Jesse said...

Hey Matt - thanks for sharing this. I can definitely see why this would frustrate your wife, and props to her for leaving church early to come home because she was frustrated! I usually just stick it out, fume and vent inside my head....which doesn't help anyone!

There is certainly a lot in this piece of writing that a person could take issue with. But, I think the bigger problem is the overall approach of writing, namely that it is vague, accusatory, and non-specific. This is a common tactic of preachers, churches, politicians, advertising agencies, and bloggers alike. Say something negative about "them" and your readers/viewers will fill in the gaps with whomever they think best fits the description. For example, the phrase in the passage, "When everybody knew the difference between right and wrong..." - When I read this, I think about the people I've known who preferred to remove a teenage girl from high school because she was pregnant. To me, that's wrong. I advocated for her to stay in school, to walk across the stage, and to give her salutatorian speech at graduation (the first two happened, the last didn't). To me, what is right is treating the student like a loved child of God, regardless of her situation and her actions. To me, what is wrong is covering up her pregnancy because it is embarrassing to the school.

But I doubt that is what the writer of this passage is thinking about when it says "When everybody knew the difference between right and wrong..."

So, what I have a bigger problem with is the manipulative strategies of churches. Instead of clearly stating ideas, beliefs, hopes and dreams, with a tone of humility and a willingness to listen, the church often takes cheap shots at "them" or "the world" or "those people" - Even just the excessive use of ellipses in this passage points to the fact that the author wants the reader to literally fill in the gaps! But that assumes that we all agree on what should be filled in. That also allows each of us to subliminally and silently fill in the gaps with our own version of whatever the worse thing is. We demonize in our mind. It's much easier that way. It's harder to literally come out and say, "What __________ is doing is wrong because _____________"

So, that's my biggest problem with this writing selection, although certainly there are specific lines and phrases that aggravate, embarrass, and anger me.

But what should my response be? As much as I can, I should try to hear what this author is trying to say, understand and sympathize, and then hopefully show the person that there is another way to view America, to relate to God and to love people.

Zack Schroeder said...

It kind of reminds me of the Jews in the desert "Do you remember in Egypt when we had pots of meat and ate bread to the full" longing for days gone by that weren't really all that good. The Kingdom is HERE and NOW, and we can wish we were born in a different time or place where we were seeing miracles or live in the miracle of this moment of life now.

If that's what the REAL America is then I'm glad my allegiance is to Jesus and not America. I will not allow being "American" to define me.

However allowing "Christian" to define me makes for a whole new set of problems. Since there have probably been as many evils committed in the name of Christ as in the name of America.

Do we have the right to select our own forefathers our own history and story that we want to be apart of? If so I will choose to be apart of the story of the book of Acts. Stephen, Paul and Peter are my forefathers. My history is that of a people who had no needy among them because those who had excess gave to help those in need.

I have no faith in American might, values or ideals. I don't care about the American dream whatever it currently is because I believe in the Kingdom of God, and my citizenship is in that Kingdom.

At times I feel like I need to distinguish myself as somehow different from other Christians like those who would print something about the REAL America in a bulletin, but then I'm reminded of the parable of the weeds and wheat, of not picking a speck out of another's eye when there is a plank in our own. The best way to differentiate ourselves if you really feel the need to is by our lives. Let's differentiate ourselves by loving people of all races, sexual orientation and social classes. Lets love militant Muslim and Christian extremists alike, but we don't need to join them.

Saw Adam recently posted this Article by Greg Boyd on his Facebook about memorial day that was really good and kind of relevant: http://gregboyd.blogspot.com/2007/05/conflicted-memorial-day.html
Also I've been reading Jesus for President and there's so much great stuff about non-violence and living in America as a Christian in there if you're interested.

OK sorry my thoughts were so scattered on this and you don't even know me Matt. Missing the cohort a lot recently love you all.

Kyle said...

I am always wary of our church services on Memorial Day and the 4th of July. One year our pastor was out of town and some laypeople led the 4th of July service. They had everyone stand and say the pledge of allegiance. It was pretty ridiculous.

Zack mentioned Greg Boyd, who would be my choice respondent to the syncretism of Christianity and American patriotism. He gave a sermon series called "The Cross and the Sword" which was the basis for his book "The Myth of a Christian Nation."

I hope to make it to a cohort meeting soon. It has been a long time!

Take care