Christian pastor “wants his country back”

December 21, 2009

I get e-mail — sometimes because I belong to a list-serv.  Some of those provoke thought.

Bill Longman sent some thoughts from Jan Linn, a Disciples of Christ pastor and author of The Jesus Connection and What’s Wrong With the Christian Right.

Bill wrote, “I’m going to foward this seasonal meditation from pastor Jan Linn reflecting thoughts about our lack of concern for the common good as seen in the battle for health care legislation.”

A Christmas Wish

By Jan Linn

This past summer I heard a woman attending a town hall meeting tearfully say, “I want my country back.” So do I. That is my Christmas wish this year. I want my country back.

I want to experience the pride I used to feel at the sight of the American flag being raised as a sign of victory as a proud American athlete stood tall on the center platform at the Olympics.

I want to feel that catch in my throat I used to feel when the star spangled banner was played just before the start of a football game.

I want to experience again the excitement I felt when our college team had the chance to meet the governor of our state before the season started and to hear him speak about his pride in the kind of university we were representing.

I want to see the workers of our nation valued as they once were for all they do to make their companies a success.

I want to take my grandson fishing so he can enjoy the excitement and fun of  telling everyone about the fish he caught that gets bigger every time he tells it.

I want to go to church on Christmas Eve and give thanks to God for all people who come to the Communion Table, regardless of creed, nationality, or sexual orientation.

I want to be able to tell children of all different races, religion, sizes and shapes, that all of them have an equal chance to do whatever they can with the abilities they have

I want the rest of the world to know that we appreciate who they are just as we want them to appreciate who we are.

Yes, my Christmas wish this year is to have my country back, too, only I know based on what this woman said before she said she wanted her country back that her reasons and mine are very different.

You see, I want my country back so our nation’s top athletes will once again want to compete fairly and live up to the responsibilities of being the role models they are to our youth.

I want my country back so that the loyal opposition will once again be part of how we understand the meaning of patriotism.

This Christmas my wish is to have my country back so that politicians from opposing parties and ideologies will stop demonizing one another and respectfully disagree about what is best for our country.

I want my country back so that honest work is rewarded rather than exploited by those for whom enough is never enough.

I want my country back so the water I take my grandson to fish in will not be contaminated by toxic runoff, and that companies with chemical and nuclear waste will know they will be shown no mercy if they do not ensure it is stored safely.

I want my country back so all Christians can know that our faith has a place among the religions of the world without having to prove they are wrong and we are right.

I want my country back so every child in this nation will know he or she is loved and valued, secure and protected as every child should be.

My Christmas wish is to have my country back so that America can once again be a beacon of hope and light to other nations, not because we think we are better than they are, but because we understand the responsibilities that go with being the heirs of those who have sacrificed so much to give us the land we now have.

I want my country back so I can help make room for everyone who agrees with me and everyone who does not, knowing that it is only when we keep our differences from becoming divisions that we can be a strong and enduring democracy.

Most of all, my Christmas wish is to have my country back so we can be a people who don’t just talk about justice and peace, but work for both, and to do everything we can to preserve our nation, make it better, and pass on its enduring values to the next generation.

So, yes, my wish this Christmas is to have my country back, because for me what that means to me goes to the heart of how I understand what celebrating the birth of Jesus is truly means.


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