Americans need to embrace a more mature and realistic patriotism, one that recognizes that everything is not perfect but that there is still something worth celebrating. We must learn to love America without being blind to its faults. This love must be shown not by ignoring America’s problems but by dedicating ourselves to dealing with them.
Patriotism should not depend on perfection. It should not depend on great leaders. Patriotism is a commitment to a dream that America can be better, that the vision of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law is something worth striving for.
America is a nation of many people, none of them perfect. Christians recognize that we are all sinners, but we are also made in the image and likeness of God.
Can we embrace America as a community of sinners who want to do better, who beg for God’s help and mercy? Can we have a patriotism that is not blind to evil but still celebrates the dream of a better America? If so, then the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate but also to dream.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK…
• How did crude oil and Christianity combine to make modern America?
Darren Dochuk’s landmark book, Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America, at once builds on this important body of work and represents its most stunning achievement. Authors rarely deliver so fully on their titles. Through the stories of believers hot in pursuit of both God and “black gold,” Dochuk indeed opens a breathtaking new window onto the making of the modern nation.
• Which place did the church planter and his wife choose to rent in New York City?
A Brownstone in East Harlem (one bedroom, $3300 per month)?
A studio in Hell’s Kitchen (mid-$2000s to low $3000s)?
A studio in an Upper West Side tower (low $3000s)?
• What will win the “The Greatest Hymn of All Time” Tournament?
The Elite Eight are: “Holy, Holy, Holy!”; “Be Thou My Vision”; “O Come, All Ye Faithful”; “My Hope Is Built/On Christ the Solid Rock”; “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”; “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”; “Holy God, We Praise Your Name”; and “How Great Thou Art.”
THE PHILISTINES: ANCIENT MIGRANTS
Turns out the Philistines might not have been “philistine” after all. A recent DNA study has linked them to southern Europe, from where they migrated across the Mediterranean to biblical lands.
The ancient Philistines, the Biblical villains whose origins have puzzled scholars for decades, came to the Middle East from southern Europe more than 3000 years ago, new DNA testing has shown.
The genetic findings came from skeletons unearthed by archaeologists in Israel in 2016, including the bones of infants buried beneath Philistine houses, archaeologists said in a paper published on Wednesday.
…”Our study has shown for the first time that the Philistines immigrated to this region in the 12th century (BC),” said Daniel Master, director of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, a coastal city where the first ever Philistine cemetery was found.
“We didn’t show it by showing similar styles of pottery, we didn’t show it by looking at texts, we showed it by looking at the DNA of the people themselves,” Master said. “We can see at Ashkelon new DNA coming in from this immigrant population that is really changing the whole region.”
…”This ancestral component is derived from Europe, or to be more specific, from southern Europe, so the ancestors of the Philistines must have traveled across the Mediterranean and arrived in Ashkelon sometime between the end of the Bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age,” Feldman said.
“There would be a lot more that we can say if we had more data, for example we could maybe more precisely pinpoint the source of this migration,” she said.
Earlier work by the Ashkelon team has suggested the Philistines were actually no “philistines”. Excavations of a 3000-year-old cemetery in 2016 found bodies buried with jewellery and perfumed oil.
THE DEMISE OF MAD MAGAZINE
Like the author of the following excerpt, I was the proper age for Mad Magazine when it was at its peak. I outgrew it eventually, and now comes the news that Mad is coming to an end. David Von Drehle at the Washington Post suggests it is not because the world has likewise outgrown it, but rather because the whole world is now mad!
To be subversive…requires a dominant culture to subvert. Mad was the smart-aleck spawn of the age of mass media, when everyone watched the same networks, flocked to the same movies and saluted the same flag. Without established authorities, it had no reason for being. Like the kid in the back of the classroom tossing spitballs and making fart sounds, a journal of subversive humor is funny only if there’s someone up front attempting to maintain order.
We now live in a time when everyone’s a spitballer, from the president of the United States on down. America elected the world’s oldest seventh-grader in 2016; we knew what we were getting from the earliest days of his campaign. Asked about one opponent, the successful business executive Carly Fiorina, Trump replied, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” He bullied the rest of the field with stupid nicknames. The hijinks continue to this day. Recently, Trump play-scolded Vladimir Putin as the Russian president smirked in reply. “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” said Trump — as if the two of them had been caught giving wedgies and were forced to apologize. What, us worry?
Today, whether we’re doing history or current events, commerce or religion, we’re awash in iconoclasm but nearly bereft of icons. Everyone’s a court jester now, eager to expose the foibles of kings and queens. But the joke’s on us, because we no longer have authority figures to keep in check. We’re needling balloons that have already gone limp.
TECH IS GREAT…WHEN IT WORKS
Drivers with smartphones these days don’t often get truly lost, thanks to navigation services such as Google Maps. But what happened in Colorado is a reminder that even with new technology, some shortcuts can still go very wrong.
That’s how nearly 100 drivers wound up in a muddy field, gridlocked, earlier this week. One of them, Connie Monsees, described the incident to ABC News’ Start Here podcast.
Monsees said she was stuck in traffic on the way to pick up her husband at the Denver International Airport.
“So I pulled out my Google Maps to see if there is a better way to go, and it told me to take the next exit and it would be about half the time,” Monsees said. Naturally, she took it. But the road quickly becomes a dirt road.
“I’m following this line of cars and my thought was, ‘Well, there’s so many other people going, it must be OK,’ ” Monsees told ABC. “So I went ahead … but the thing was, it wasn’t like you could choose to make a U-turn.”
Days of rain had created a “muddy mess of a field,” she added. Car after car drove in and got stuck.
Monsees had four-wheel drive, so she could eventually get out of the mud. She even picked up two other stranded people and took them with her. But others ended up stuck in the muck for a longer time.
WORLD CUP FINAL: U.S.A. vs. THE NETHERLANDS
On Sunday at 11am ET, the mighty United States will battle the bright orange Netherlands as two soccer-crazed nations tune in.
Will the U.S. continue its march of greatness undaunted, or will the Dutch pull off an upset for the ages?