Would any of us stop being American, even though we know an institution such as our nation has its share of fallible, fickle, corrupt, even evil individuals helping to run it? Wars, like the Civil War, where we killed each other? A history of stealing land and making others into slaves? A nation that taxes us beyond reason?
We know all that. Still we stay with our country because it's part of who we are, our identity. We vote. We put our flags out. We Pledge Allegiance, honor our Constitution. We attend hearings on different topics. We fight, suffer, and die in her service. We work inside her instead of outside her, to change what doesn't work. Because we love her. She formed us into who we are - free citizens.
How can we be so quick then to decide that we don't want to belong to another institution that helped form us, - our Church? Sure, we know she's been run by fickle, fallible, even corrupt individuals, has a history of failing people, of sexual misconduct among the ranks. But if we can pledge allegiance to one nation under God, a nation that always fails some of its people in some ways, why not pledge allegiance to a Church which is most certainly under God, formed by God, led by God, even DIED FOR by God in His ultimate sacrifice to let us know He loves us?
Our Church also has a glorious history of wondrous deeds - these done by God: Creation, the Exodus, the Resurrection of Christ. We look up to great heroes like Abraham and Sarah, Moses, the prophets, the apostles, Jesus' own Mother Mary, who is His first disciple, St. Francis, Mother Teresa. Its laws like the Ten Commandments and Jesus' Law of Love teach us how to live our lives as free citizens of God's Kingdom, warriors against the darkness of sin which continually seeks to ensnare us. We have a built-in family, a community of believers to support us, pray for us, strengthen our resolve to live counter-cultural lives of love, commitment, self-sacrifice, faith, trust, service.
Why can't we love our Church with the same passion with which we love our Country? Work for change from within it instead of hardening our hearts and leaving?
Lee Greenwood, I love your message. But there's an even greater Message for all of our lives: "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36.)