Thursday, June 30, 2011

What makes something Patriotic?

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary describes Patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country".  I can go along with that.  When I think of people who are Patriotic, I think of people who appreciate the country in which they reside or were born, find favor in aspects of that country, are loyal to that country...I'm sure I could come up with more but my brain is racing ahead.

So, today, when in my inbox at work I get the "Top 20 Patriotic Worship Songs", I was not surprised to see the usual list of "America the Beautiful, My Country Tis of Thee, The Star Spangled Banner" and three others that I would classify as Patriotic.  That leaves 14 others in question.

Now, if Patriotism was described as love for or devotion to God, well then the rest of those songs I would consider to be Patriotic.  But that's that the definition of the word.  So how does this company justify listing 14 songs in the top "20" Patriotic song list?  I think they were reaching.  Which bugs me in this church culture that "wars" over things like Worship Songs vs. Hymns.  Really?  We need a list of "Patriotic" Praise songs that really aren't?  Just when I thought we were getting to a more level playing field in choices of music styles in churches. *Sigh*

I don't find anything wrong with Patriotism.  I think allegiance to one's country can be a good thing, I love going to the 4th of July fireworks show in Tahoe and hearing God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood or America the Beautiful by Ray Charles as the fireworks burst over the lake.  Moves me to tears every time.  I feel very patriotic then.  I appreciate the idea of our government, though I'm not so happy with the way things are going right now.  I appreciate that I live in a country where I am free to worship in the church/religion of my choice.  I don't, however, equate Patriotism as my belief in God.  I am a Christ Follower, that's where my devotion and love for God comes in, not in my devotion or love for my country.  To me, those don't walk hand in hand.

This Sunday the kids will be singing "God Bless America" in church.  I've struggled for awhile with singing those kinds of songs in the worship service (for reasons that are for another blog post for another time), but this Sunday the decision wasn't mine to make and that is fine with me! 

Sunday morning, we'll be singing songs of allegiance to God...and not one of them is on that "Top 20" list.


Anonymous said...

Nice post

Mary said...

Great post!

I think the term "patriotic worship song" is at the least oxymoronic, and really dances in the realm of heresy. The text of these songs seems to supplant the worship of God, substituting instead worship of country and adoration of the flag.

I live in a conservative town, and if I have a day off on the Sunday closest to the 4th of July (I cantor in a parish 45 miles away) I just don't go to church. I just end up angry as I look at American flags occupying a more prominent place on the table than does the Eucharist.

And I'm guessing the other 14 songs were on that list in the hopes that you'd download them for a small fee. :)