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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

About that Flag. Thoughts From A Southern Christian

   I've never thought of the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate and racism. My father is a history buff . He taught us early on there was a rosey version of American history taught in the classroom and then there was the truth. He never candy coated any history to make it easier to swallow his point of view. He taught me,  in most conflicts blame lies on both sides. That flag, to him and many of us, is our heritage. Still, as I explained to my daughter of twelve, I've never been dragged from my home and beaten by people waving that flag.
No matter how true or beautiful a picture heritage paints it can't erase those kind of memories etched into the minds of the victims. I've struggled with how a Christ follower should respond to this controversy. I'm still struggling. Some think a Christ follower has more a responsibility to be kind than to be right. I believe we can and should be both. Jesus said " blessed are the peacemakers". There's no getting around that. Peacemakers are what we should be. Peace is built on the truth. If we aren't sure about what is right, we should at least be honest about how we feel and what we do know.  Here's some honesty in things I can and cannot reconcile. 

It's not the flag coming down but what came down with the flag that troubles me. Even though I think the photo of a police officer in confederate boxers dishonors it, I can't help but be concerned. This guy 's first amendment rights seem to be infringed. The first amendment is a right trumping political correctness. The rationalization used to remove the Confederate flag could be used against the American flag and national monuments. I believe a more extreme application of this rational
will eventually call for the removal of crosses from churches. 

Some of the wisest words a dear pastor friend ever said were "there are no political solutions to spiritual problems". Politics rarely breeds peacemakers but it does well with hypocrisy. If symbols of injustice should be absent in America, why was the Chinese flag raised at the White House in 2009 and in Washington state this April? Remember Tiananmen Square? 

 In perhaps the most unified moment in history of our state, politicians managed to divide people. For political gain. Sadly, that division has even made it's way into some churches. Especially Perry Noble's Church.  Click here for the story. For the record, I disagree with Noble's take on the reason for the War of Northern Aggression was fought. I believe the war like most wars was fought over greed. However, I'm inspired enough by his confession of racism to look over his naive view of history.  Don't let satan use your southern pride, or your support of removing the flag, to divide your church. Jesus said "a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." There are true believers on both sides of this thing. Don't roll up this controversy into God's sleeve.

Paul taught us to keep our eye on the prize and to press forward. I see the flag controversy as a distraction to more pressing issues the enemy would love the church to ignore. People are lost. People are hurting. God's people are his flag.

Zechariah 9:16 (NKJV)

The Lord their God will save them in that day, As the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, Lifted like a banner over His land.


The flag is down and God is going to cause that to work for the good of his people. Romans 8:28 says so. God never fails to keep any of His promises. He's proved this one over and over in my life. I've no doubt he will prove it  to every believer. My hopes are healing will come through this.

 Here's what I do know.  God loves us even though we get things wrong. Our opinions about the flag may or may not be right, but we can respond correctly. We can respect other opinions. We can love people we disagree with. The bible teaches we don't have to have our way in personal grievences. Check Out 1 Corithians 6:7. Symbols change. We know nothing worldly last forever. Once the cross was a symbol of death. Christ made it a symbol of eternal life . That's what He does. He change things. There's a few flags I hold dear to my heart but His banner over me is love. Is that the flag flying over your heart? Christianity is a major part of not only the South but our nation's heritage. Are you as passionate in waving that flag? The only heritage that last forever is one found in Christ. 
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