A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

Proud to Be an American?

September 23, 2020 Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker Season 1 Episode 6
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Proud to Be an American?
Chapters
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
Proud to Be an American?
Sep 23, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Randy Knie, Kyle Whitaker

In this episode Randy, Kyle, and Elliot tackle the thorny issues of patriotism, nationalism, and their relationship to the American Christian church. They don't pull any punches.

The bourbon featured in this episode is Stagg Jr. by Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Randy, Kyle, and Elliot tackle the thorny issues of patriotism, nationalism, and their relationship to the American Christian church. They don't pull any punches.

The bourbon featured in this episode is Stagg Jr. by Buffalo Trace Distillery.

00:01

so let's run the race marked out for us

00:05

let's fix our eyes on old glory

00:09

and all she represents

00:13

let's fix our eyes on this land of

00:14

heroes

00:16

and let their courage inspire

00:21

and let's fix our eyes on the author and

00:24

perfecter

00:25

of our faith and our freedom

00:29

and never forget that where the spirit

00:32

of the lord is

00:34

there is freedom that means freedom

00:38

always wins

00:41

this is what happens when we give

00:43

ourselves

00:44

as a church to nationalism this is where

00:46

we wind up

00:47

we wind up in a place where we can

00:48

actually interchange

00:50

our nation which is deeply deeply flawed

00:54

with jesus himself we've gotten to a

00:56

place where we

00:57

exchange our theology for our ideology

01:00

particularly our political ideology and

01:01

we see everything through that lens it's

01:03

why so many people

01:04

have a hard time saying black lives

01:06

matter i don't believe that it's because

01:08

it's a marxist institution or because

01:10

it's it you know affirms lgbtq things or

01:13

whatever

01:13

i think it's just because we've

01:14

conflated politics with religion with

01:17

our faith

01:17

and this is what you get you get a

01:19

politician who's cow towing to a whole

01:21

group of people because he knows they're

01:23

gonna love it

01:24

and they're actually cheering and

01:26

thinking that this is

01:27

christ-like to replace christ himself

01:30

with the american flag or the nation of

01:33

america

01:33

and we think freedom means what we as

01:35

americans make it

01:36

this to me is reprehensible and again

01:40

regardless whether this was who's the

01:42

vice president

01:43

kamala harris or mike pence it's

01:46

in my eyes as one who let's put this in

01:49

their quotes has a high view of

01:51

scripture

01:52

this is just unacceptable

01:57

so you're saying you no longer has your

01:58

vote

01:59

[Music]

01:59

[Laughter]

02:01

no longer yeah

02:08

[Music]

02:12

welcome to a pastor and a philosopher

02:14

walk into a bar

02:15

the podcast where we mix a sometimes

02:17

weird but always delicious cocktail of

02:19

theology philosophy

02:20

and spirituality

02:23

[Music]

02:27

well welcome friends on this episode of

02:29

a pastor and a philosopher welcome to a

02:30

bar

02:31

we're considering the contentious and

02:33

controversial question of

02:34

nationalism and patriotism and its

02:37

relationship to the christian church

02:39

so it should be a fun one and since this

02:41

is a pastor and a philosopher walking to

02:43

a bar

02:43

we're not going to consider a topic like

02:45

this without something to drink by our

02:47

side

02:48

so we have here something rather special

02:51

if i do say so myself i've never tried

02:54

this what is this

02:55

so this is a bourbon called stag junior

02:59

now randy you facilitated my wedding

03:03

to my dear wife emily facilitated the

03:06

venue

03:06

yeah well you what i don't what do you

03:08

call it i don't know officially the guy

03:10

that talked

03:10

officiated there we go uh and we had

03:13

we had that wedding at the distillery

03:15

where this was made

03:16

so buffalo trace distillery in frankfurt

03:19

kentucky was this the bourbon that you

03:20

had behind the bar for the special

03:22

people

03:23

that was something even more special

03:24

okay maybe we'll get to that one later

03:26

on

03:28

so this one is it's called stag junior

03:31

has a really cool

03:33

bottle you guys can't see it but uh that

03:35

is cool

03:36

yeah junior because there is

03:39

a really high-end bourbon that buffalo

03:41

trace makes called george t

03:43

stag that's part of their antique

03:46

collection it's impossible to find it

03:48

sells for hundreds and hundreds of

03:49

dollars

03:50

on hundreds and hundreds urban market

03:52

yeah i saw it sell today for four

03:54

hundred and fifty dollars

03:56

junior is a younger version it doesn't

04:00

have an age statement but we know it's

04:01

younger

04:02

uh it's cask strength so just like

04:04

george t stag is this one

04:06

we're drinking comes in at 66.05 percent

04:09

wow so it'll be really strong really hot

04:13

and it has a similar flavor profile in

04:14

general to the george t stag

04:16

but it's significantly cheaper although

04:18

now that people are catching on to it

04:20

it also sells for quite a bit and it's

04:22

very difficult to find

04:24

smells delicious i mean it smells hot

04:27

smells like

04:28

cherries oak yeah smells rich and deep

04:35

i love this bourbon

04:38

oh this is really nice yeah this might

04:40

be my favorite so far

04:42

it tastes luxurious to me it's hot

04:45

very warm like a first class um airplane

04:48

seat

04:50

nicely done yeah that's so complex

04:53

there's something i've noticed about the

04:54

george t stag too if which if you ever

04:56

get a chance to taste it you absolutely

04:57

should

04:58

it's very strong very hot but i don't

05:00

want to cut it with water

05:03

because it's already so complicated and

05:05

complex and interesting it's kind of

05:06

it's woody mossy

05:10

back of the tongue with the fruit the

05:11

dark fruits there's just a lot going on

05:13

there

05:15

yep corn dog

05:18

don't look at me like that the only

05:20

thing i don't like about it is that it's

05:23

so strong that it's hard to really

05:25

really taste it

05:26

it'll yeah it's definitely a got a punch

05:29

to it

05:30

my least favorite part is the size of

05:31

this pour

05:33

very small should have been more

05:38

generous

05:39

well friends we as kyle said are talking

05:42

about

05:42

patriotism and nationalism today

05:46

these are not new topics these are not

05:48

new concepts but

05:50

we as a culture seem to keep getting

05:52

tripped up on them

05:54

particularly as a church culture and

05:55

really to be honest with you

05:57

the main reason why we're doing this

05:58

topic today is because elliott wouldn't

06:01

let us not

06:02

do it we got more than a few text

06:04

messages from elliott

06:06

ideas about what that could look like so

06:08

elliot

06:09

tell us why you wanted to why you who

06:11

were hassling us

06:12

into doing this topic yeah well i can't

06:15

figure this one out

06:16

like i've been i think the first text

06:18

came one night i was driving out to

06:20

pick something up on facebook

06:21

marketplace and i passed a bunch of

06:23

houses that had american flags and we

06:24

were thinking a lot about

06:26

our our house the front of our house is

06:28

like that would look nice but i

06:30

i noticed this visceral reaction like

06:33

deep down inside it's just like i

06:35

i can't put an american flag on the

06:36

front of my house and i i question that

06:38

though because that's

06:40

like that's that's weird like this is a

06:42

this is a great country and

06:44

people gave so many great sacrifices for

06:47

this flag you know some of my relatives

06:50

among them and

06:51

and yet when it comes down to it it's

06:53

come to represent something so different

06:55

in my experience

06:57

i want to love this country and what

06:59

that flag represents and all of the good

07:02

um but but yeah it's almost to the point

07:04

where the flag is it's like a

07:05

political statement yeah and

07:09

it doesn't represent a nation so much as

07:12

it represents an ideology

07:13

perhaps yeah it does like it so i'm

07:15

curious elliot

07:17

would would you hang a christian flag in

07:19

front of your house

07:19

[Laughter]

07:22

only if it's like three inches lower

07:23

than the american flag because nothing

07:26

right that's that's what they taught us

07:28

an awana at least

07:37

not a chance not a chance no way no and

07:39

for no other we want to probe

07:41

that and because i wouldn't either and i

07:43

suspect the reasons are similar in both

07:45

cases

07:46

i would never do that for one thing the

07:49

christian flag is

07:50

tacky the american flag is pretty like

07:52

that's a good looking flag we got

07:54

isn't the christian aesthetics aside

07:58

christian flag white white as snow with

08:00

like a little design in the corner

08:02

the blue yeah but like basically a

08:05

surrender flag other than that

08:07

that's good that's jesus theme yes

08:11

timely so you want to hear us talk about

08:13

patriotism and nationalism

08:14

so this is the part where now i get to

08:15

be the producer again sit back and just

08:18

be in the room uh and i'll just chip in

08:20

with the questions when i feel like it

08:21

but yeah now

08:22

now's the part where you explain it to

08:23

me until it makes perfect sense

08:25

so thanks in advance excellent

08:29

well mr philosopher what is how would

08:32

you describe

08:33

nationalism patriotism's softer

08:36

nationalism's harder right

08:38

well that's that seems to be a common

08:41

usage now like if you look these words

08:42

up in a dictionary

08:44

nationalism patriotism they'll be

08:46

synonyms they'll have

08:48

pretty much the same definition so you

08:50

could use them interchangeably

08:52

right i don't think you can yeah like

08:54

one like one of the

08:56

one of the nuances of nationalism is

08:59

that it might be a stronger form of

09:00

patriotism

09:01

but often they get used interchangeably

09:03

so like the first definition of each one

09:05

in a dictionary would probably be more

09:07

or less the same thing

09:08

if you look them up in a thesaurus each

09:10

one will have the other one listed as a

09:11

synonym

09:12

you're getting fact checked as you speak

09:14

oh good good

09:16

but in like in common usage and

09:18

definitely in how i think about it

09:20

it does seem like nationalism has more

09:22

of a negative connotation

09:24

and patriotism is something that's ideal

09:26

that you should aim for that like

09:28

every every good american is patriotic

09:31

but not every good american is

09:34

nationalistic

09:35

if that makes sense yeah i mean so

09:37

patriotism to me seems like

09:38

love of country pride in my country um

09:42

i'm patriotic when i i mean you can say

09:44

you're patriotic when you vote when you

09:46

do your civic duty

09:47

um that's being patriotic but it's also

09:48

when you fl when you fly the flag when

09:51

you

09:52

you know sing i'm proud to be an

09:53

american yep stand for the anthem

09:55

yeah and then nationalism though to me

09:57

seems to be more related to

09:59

i care only about the united states of

10:01

america and

10:03

i actually want to spend our dollars

10:05

take them away from what we do

10:07

how we support other nations and support

10:10

our nation it's time we focused on our

10:12

nation that seems like

10:13

would you say that the kind of america

10:16

first

10:16

idea where because i'm an american the

10:20

interests of my country come before the

10:22

interests of any other country

10:23

would you put that under the umbrella of

10:25

nationalism or the umbrella of

10:26

patriotism or both

10:28

nationalism so i looked it up patriotism

10:30

is just basically

10:32

strong pride and vigorous support of

10:34

your of your country

10:36

and then nationalism is the same it

10:38

starts out

10:39

identification with one's own with one's

10:42

own nation and support for its interests

10:44

especially to the exclusion or detriment

10:46

of the other interests

10:47

of other nations so it is really kind of

10:50

so we add in that kind of exclusionary

10:52

thing and suddenly we're at

10:53

we're at nationalism correct and i would

10:55

say in the church

10:57

because i'm a church guy nationalism

10:59

looks like

11:01

considering nationalism looks like

11:04

considering the interests of america

11:06

over and above jesus over and above the

11:08

church

11:09

considering identifying myself

11:12

more as an american or more as a

11:16

political party american than as a

11:18

follower of jesus we would never say

11:20

that but you see that all over the place

11:22

so this is really interesting it's

11:25

nationalism

11:26

and patriotism both fly the same flag

11:28

and but but it seems like that flag

11:31

uh especially in certain contexts like

11:34

for instance if i'm if i'm

11:35

if i'm on twitter and i see an american

11:36

flag in somebody's twitter bio

11:38

like i know what they're referring to

11:40

and it's not patriotism

11:42

uh at least by my definition uh

11:46

it it feels like that's often impaired

11:47

that's another thing to put it on your

11:48

twitter

11:49

yeah there's degrees that's for sure

11:53

yeah

11:55

or your truck if it's the back window of

11:58

your truck

11:58

that's the next level so

12:02

do you think maybe i'll be showing my

12:04

cards a little bit here but

12:06

do you think there's a positive

12:08

worthwhile

12:09

valuable form of patriotism

12:12

yes something that's that's ideal and

12:14

that

12:16

we're going to talk about the

12:17

relationship to christianity and the

12:18

church in a few minutes but like

12:20

something that it would be totally okay

12:22

for a christian to really get invested

12:24

in this kind of

12:26

country feeling you know what i mean

12:29

yeah i would say i would i would say yes

12:32

so what does that look like

12:33

because i'm deeply suspicious of that

12:35

sure let me tell you how

12:36

i feel like um i wouldn't

12:40

i'm not gonna say i feel like a patriot

12:41

but i'm ways in which i'm patriotic

12:44

right first thing is i'm the son of an

12:46

immigrant

12:47

my mom comes from was born and raised in

12:49

finland moved here when she was just

12:51

just about 20 and they were my f my

12:55

mom's family were

12:56

elated to come to america they were

13:00

so excited to come to america because of

13:01

many things because

13:03

they felt like in finland they didn't

13:04

have the the complete religious freedom

13:07

to have that they would have had in

13:08

america now

13:09

finland was a democracy and all stuff

13:10

but she it's a long story that's complex

13:13

i'm just going to leave it there

13:15

but so they felt like they would have

13:16

more freedoms than they had in finland

13:18

also

13:18

just the america as i'm guessing it was

13:22

part of this america as

13:24

like the pillar of culture and

13:27

advancement and technology and science

13:30

and the influence that america had they

13:32

were really excited to be part of a

13:33

nation like that

13:35

my mom was extremely proud of

13:38

becoming an american citizen in 1984 and

13:41

voting for the first time

13:43

so i i mean i grew up with barely

13:46

understanding my grandparents

13:48

and so from from that perspective i

13:51

love being part of a nation that has the

13:53

history and heritage

13:55

of what our the plaque at the bottom of

13:56

the statue of liberty says

13:58

give me your poor you're tired you're i

14:00

mean that's that's the coolest

14:02

thing i've ever heard of a nation being

14:04

being founded on an idea

14:06

of just like we'll take all your refuse

14:09

we'll take all your tired

14:10

and we'll take all your poor and we're

14:12

going to be great because of it

14:14

that is incredible to me yeah i could

14:16

get behind that too

14:17

i also love i think the founding fathers

14:20

even though they were slave holders and

14:22

they were

14:22

that was that's despicable and

14:24

disgusting and were hypocritical and all

14:26

that stuff

14:28

when i read the founding documents i am

14:32

blown away by the brilliance that i find

14:34

there and

14:35

another reason why i'm patriotic and why

14:36

i think i can say with with like

14:39

a full heart i think america is the best

14:41

nation in the world

14:42

is because we can withstand a presidency

14:45

like we have right now like the founding

14:48

fathers were brilliant enough

14:49

i remember that we've seen yeah sure

14:52

fair enough

14:53

hopefully we've got just a couple months

14:54

left but

14:57

the reason that we don't have to really

14:59

really really freak out

15:00

about having someone who wants to be a

15:01

tyrant and a fascist

15:03

is because our f founding fathers were

15:06

friggin

15:06

brilliant and made it so that one person

15:09

can have all the power

15:11

and and broke down the powers in such a

15:14

really elegant way that we can actually

15:16

have

15:18

a nation that's kind of gone crazy in

15:20

some ways

15:21

and elects someone like donald trump but

15:24

yet we can actually

15:25

we have checks and balances that he

15:27

can't just do what he wants

15:29

there's i could go on and on about why

15:31

i'm really proud of my

15:33

nation of my country i can go on and on

15:35

about how i'm not proud of it

15:37

but the not proud doesn't take away from

15:40

the fact that i think

15:41

the american idea and

15:45

what this nation was founded on and the

15:47

idea that we're a nation of immigrants

15:48

and the idea that you could go

15:50

into chicago and you can find chinatown

15:53

in little

15:54

italy and all these neighborhoods the

15:56

richness of ethnicities and background

15:58

and the diversity

15:59

that we have is com very unique to

16:02

america i would say

16:03

again there's tons of reasons to hate it

16:06

but i think there are tons of reasons to

16:08

really say

16:09

i i'm a little patriotic i like this

16:11

nation

16:15

yeah i don't feel any of that

16:19

none of that really appeals to me i had

16:22

one patriotic moment in my life

16:25

and it surprised me actually that i had

16:27

it once in your life

16:28

i was part of uh and it passed pretty

16:31

quickly i was part of a

16:34

church group in college that would do a

16:36

lot of street evangelism

16:39

and we would uh travel to various places

16:42

on our spring breaks

16:43

and do evangelistic ministry i'll just

16:46

leave it at that

16:47

um and so for one of these trips we went

16:48

to washington dc to

16:50

convert all the politicians i guess i

16:52

don't know and so

16:54

we were doing our typical you know stop

16:57

people on the street to talk about jesus

16:58

thing

16:59

and super randomly a

17:03

u.s representative from texas i won't

17:06

say which one

17:07

walked by i saw what we were doing this

17:09

person is a christian

17:10

liked what we were doing and offered to

17:12

give us a private tour

17:13

of the capitol that night fun and so we

17:16

had this

17:17

this relatively small group of uh

17:20

college students

17:20

and our pastor and this congressman

17:24

and he takes us he takes us all through

17:26

congress the or the capitol building

17:28

rather

17:28

he takes on to the floor of the house

17:31

onto the floor of the senate

17:32

while they're in session so there's like

17:33

a c-span clip of me somewhere

17:36

in the house representatives father and

17:38

session and then

17:40

and he probably wasn't supposed to do

17:41

this he took us to the private chapel in

17:44

the capitol building

17:45

i don't know if you know this but

17:46

there's a private chapel that's used

17:47

only by uh congress people

17:49

and presidents and we went in there and

17:51

we had a probably half an hour prayer

17:53

session

17:54

in this private chapel with this with

17:56

this congressman

17:57

late at night at this point everybody

17:59

was gone

18:01

and there's these beautiful stained

18:02

glass windows it's like circular

18:04

you can probably find a picture of it if

18:06

you google it and i had

18:08

and we i should say we spent all day

18:10

going to these different monuments and

18:12

so i had stood in

18:13

the monument to thomas jefferson and

18:15

read all these quotes

18:16

from jefferson and he was a brilliant

18:18

guy no doubt about it and then i stood

18:20

in the lincoln memorial and i read all

18:21

these brilliant quotes from

18:22

lincoln and then you stand at the

18:24

washington monument and you look up and

18:25

it's just

18:26

you know grandeur overwhelming and then

18:28

this moment in this chapel and i thought

18:31

maybe there's something to this whole

18:34

patriotism thing

18:35

i felt a little moved if i'm honest but

18:38

now looking back on it it strikes me

18:40

that there were no black people in the

18:41

room

18:43

there were there was no mention on that

18:44

entire trip

18:46

of any of the underside

18:49

of american democracy yeah there was

18:52

there was no mention in the quotes from

18:53

jefferson

18:55

that he owned and raped his slaves

18:58

there was there was no mention of any of

19:00

the

19:01

you know the genocide against native

19:03

americans

19:04

when you're standing at the washington

19:06

monument looking up at that grandeur

19:08

that's just not present there it's very

19:11

intentionally excluded actually

19:13

from that kind of experience and so i

19:15

have a really hard time now

19:17

feeling proud to be

19:21

a recipient of a system that is so

19:24

oppressive

19:25

and has always been so oppressive it's

19:27

not like

19:28

we made some bad decisions halfway

19:30

through and got away from the ideals

19:32

and now it's bad the ideals were

19:34

intentionally designed to be oppressive

19:37

so you read the the constitution and it

19:40

sounds awesome

19:41

it's got all this stuff in there about

19:42

everybody being created equal

19:44

and everything and then you read it in

19:46

context you read a bit about the people

19:48

that wrote it and you realize they met

19:50

if you're a white dude that owns some

19:51

land

19:53

then maybe you were equal but nobody

19:55

else even counted as human

19:57

at least not as fully human so they

19:59

weren't intended to be in the scope of

20:01

that

20:02

um so even even the sort of beautiful

20:04

ideals that we we think were set up at

20:06

the beginning i no longer see as

20:07

beautiful anymore because they weren't

20:08

set up for

20:09

they were set up for people like me but

20:11

but no one else really

20:13

and i have a really hard time getting on

20:14

board with even the ideals now

20:17

if it really had been the statue of

20:19

liberty thing all the way back

20:21

that'd be one thing but that's just

20:23

anachronistic

20:24

but that really happened like we got

20:28

all the immigrants and all the people

20:30

who were desperate

20:32

in desperate places in their in their

20:34

home countries

20:35

and just gave up everything to come here

20:38

and

20:39

of course they came here and found you

20:41

know all sorts of hatred and all sorts

20:43

of exclusion and all sorts of

20:45

things but that really happened sure

20:48

yeah and of course i'm sure there were

20:50

pockets here and there where

20:52

the kind of american dream of having a

20:55

really multicultural community

20:57

where everybody has a chance to succeed

21:00

when they start with nothing

21:01

there have probably been pockets here

21:02

and there where something like that was

21:04

approximated but that's just not been

21:06

the norm for the overwhelming majority

21:09

of

21:09

immigrants and and so when i see

21:12

somebody flying the flag or

21:14

putting it on their truck or whatever it

21:16

just makes me wonder what they

21:18

what they think it represents what does

21:19

that symbol

21:21

mean to you and do you understand that

21:25

it means something entirely different

21:26

for most people

21:28

mm-hmm absolutely lived in the united

21:29

states yep i totally agree with that

21:32

here's my here's what i'm wondering kyle

21:35

you're far more liberal than i am and

21:37

what i find

21:38

in extremely

21:41

quite liberal people is an inability to

21:46

look at an issue and and parse it as

21:49

like

21:50

good and bad it's it feels very

21:52

dualistic to me

21:53

that you wouldn't be able to say i can

21:56

celebrate the goodness and the beauty

21:58

of fill in the blank ex tonight we're

22:00

talking about

22:02

america and our nation that it's all bad

22:04

because

22:05

it's it's quite a bit bad right that

22:08

that i don't understand

22:09

yeah it's not an inability so much as a

22:13

choice

22:14

um and and many liberals i can't speak

22:16

for all liberals obviously

22:18

would say it's a forced choice because

22:20

yes it's not all bad but enough of it

22:22

was

22:23

and enough of it is um and and and those

22:26

who tend to say it's not all bad

22:28

are the recipients of the system that

22:31

was designed for

22:32

that kind of person sure so

22:36

there it's not an accident that high

22:39

levels of american patriotism

22:41

are concentrated in the white population

22:45

that if you were to survey people of

22:46

color you would notice

22:49

a lot fewer of them being patriotic that

22:52

that's by design so

22:54

yes i can recognize there are good

22:56

things

22:57

about the country there are good things

22:59

about the way it was structured just

23:01

politically speaking and there are some

23:04

good things about some of the ideals

23:06

not all of which were original to the

23:07

founding of it

23:09

but we have very rarely in our history

23:11

lived up to those ideals

23:14

it's happened but it's the exception

23:16

rather than the rule

23:18

and until it becomes the rule i have a

23:20

hard time being really gung-ho about

23:23

being a product of this

23:24

particular political system yeah

23:28

so i can't resist just for a minute i

23:30

want to go back to the mike pence quote

23:32

kyle when we were off mike a little

23:34

earlier you

23:35

had a take on this that caught me a

23:37

little off guard share that here so the

23:39

funny thing to me about this quote is

23:40

that

23:41

uh and this will come out a little more

23:42

clearly when we do our bible episodes

23:44

so stay tuned for those but uh i'm

23:47

actually okay

23:48

from like a hermeneutical perspective or

23:50

an exegetical perspective i'm okay with

23:52

this kind of use

23:53

of scripture so the kind of because

23:56

you're a heretic

23:57

farvey for me to defend mike pence okay

23:59

but uh don't don't misunderstand

24:01

but so the kind of use where you

24:04

you draw on a piece of text that you

24:07

know your audience is going to recognize

24:09

and you know they're going to recognize

24:10

it as important and you know they're

24:12

going to recognize it as

24:14

the sort of thing that they have used to

24:15

define what

24:17

what membership in their community means

24:20

and so you

24:21

you appeal to that in an obvious way

24:24

uh so you know that they're in on it

24:26

it's it's not deceptive

24:28

presumably i don't know if mike pence

24:30

whether or not it's manipulative depends

24:32

on the context right so there was

24:34

uh there's a philosopher who's gonna get

24:36

a little heady there's philosopher named

24:38

hp grice and he wrote about

24:40

norms of conversation and he said there

24:43

are certain maxims that are assumed in

24:44

conversation with people and a lot of

24:46

these depend on context so

24:48

one of them is you assume people are

24:49

going to tell you the truth when you

24:51

talk to them and you assume they're

24:52

going to give you

24:53

the right amount of information when you

24:54

talk to them that's another norm

24:56

and he says you can violate these norms

24:59

and dishonesty would be a way of

25:00

violating them

25:01

but you can also flout them which means

25:04

you violate them but the person your

25:06

audience knows that you're violating

25:08

them and they're in on it

25:10

and that's what happens when we when we

25:11

use metaphors for example

25:13

so i'm i'm flouting when i use the

25:15

metaphor

25:16

the maxim of quality which means

25:19

i'm saying a thing that we both know is

25:21

obviously false

25:22

it's not really raining cats and dogs

25:25

but i'm not lying to you and i'm not

25:26

manipulating you i'm

25:28

i'm speaking in a way that you're in on

25:30

the joke and so if that's what pence is

25:32

doing here i'm okay with that

25:33

and my view of scripture is such that

25:36

it's not immune to that and it shouldn't

25:37

be

25:38

held apart from that sort of thing i'm

25:39

totally okay with that use

25:41

for me what controls what should control

25:43

the use

25:44

is not some kind of adherence to the

25:47

authority of the text

25:49

or the you know the

25:52

purity of the text or something like

25:54

that it's

25:56

morality so so what should control the

26:00

use is what is actually

26:02

good what is actually edifying and in

26:05

this case it seems to me that pence is

26:07

is using the text for something immoral

26:10

it's not that he's using the text

26:11

inappropriately

26:12

because it's the bible it's that he's

26:14

using this text inappropriately

26:16

because its goal is immoral which is

26:19

which is to uphold the united states as

26:22

a bastion of equality

26:24

and freedom which it isn't this is

26:27

immoral

26:28

and it would be immoral if you did it

26:29

with the great gatsby

26:31

it'd be immoral if you did it with the

26:32

quran as it's not my faithfulness to the

26:35

text that

26:36

makes this bother me it's my

26:37

faithfulness to a moral code

26:40

so that's the philosopher's take which

26:41

is legit the pastor's take

26:44

is this is just the epitome of not only

26:47

nationalism but

26:49

and if you're if you're a trump pence

26:51

supporter

26:52

and you're listening god bless you we

26:54

love you but

26:55

this is also the epitome of heresy if

26:57

we're just going to be honest

26:58

right i mean the early church if the

27:00

early church would have taken hebrews 12

27:02

1-2

27:03

which is let us fix our eyes on jesus

27:06

the author and perfect of our faith

27:07

if the early church would have replaced

27:10

jesus

27:11

with the roman empire that person's

27:14

baptism would have been revoked and they

27:15

would have been

27:16

seen as heretics literally i mean

27:19

it's just so counterintuitive to what we

27:21

find in the in the early church in the

27:23

roman empire

27:24

in the the roman empire calling for

27:26

worship calling for caesar worship

27:28

this is actually giving america the

27:30

american empire

27:32

caesar worship replacing jesus with all

27:34

glory

27:37

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28:12

[Music]

28:14

maybe i should maybe i should say this

28:16

and this could be a something i could

28:18

grow in i suppose

28:19

i tend to probably collapse the

28:21

distinction between patriotism and

28:23

nationalism that we've been making

28:25

so for me to to have a feeling of

28:27

patriotism

28:29

and this is just my experience it

28:32

implies the exclusion of other ways of

28:34

doing things or other

28:35

countries or other political systems

28:37

much like

28:38

i'm not a sports fan but i imagine that

28:40

when you're a fan of a sports team

28:42

being a fan of that sports team implies

28:44

you're not a fan of many other teams you

28:46

think your team is objectively better

28:48

no i know the peckers are objectively

28:50

better exactly

28:51

you're making so you know i do not

28:53

believe

28:55

that the united states is an objectively

28:57

better political system

28:58

than all of the other ones in the world

28:59

that would just be not consistent with

29:01

the evidence we have as far as i can

29:03

tell

29:04

so if it's if it's not actually

29:06

objectively better

29:08

as a political system as an economic

29:10

system as you name it as its history

29:13

whatever

29:14

then what else is it that would make me

29:15

feel proud of it well so

29:18

i i don't think you can say you could

29:20

probably say it's not

29:21

you couldn't you can't prove it's the

29:23

best political system

29:25

but it's a really good one i mean if you

29:27

if you like

29:28

consider other political whatever

29:31

metrics we could use and i'm speaking

29:33

here not as a political scientist not as

29:35

a

29:36

political philosopher even it's not my

29:38

field but

29:39

it seems that whatever metrics we would

29:41

use to determine what makes for a good

29:43

country

29:44

there are quite a few other countries

29:46

that would do at least as well on all of

29:47

those metrics as the united states would

29:49

and some of them would do better across

29:51

the board and some of them

29:54

like took their model from us and

29:57

well some of them are much older than us

29:58

too though sure um

30:01

yeah so i mean well i don't want to get

30:03

into

30:04

specifics of other political systems and

30:06

economies but it's just like

30:08

i'll say this much people who are

30:10

political scientists

30:12

people who are political philosophers

30:14

people whose job it is to study these

30:16

things

30:17

they do not tend to believe that the

30:19

united states is superior

30:21

to all the other countries in the world

30:23

that's

30:24

i haven't done any hard studies here but

30:26

i'm pretty certain that you would see

30:28

a declining if you were to graph it out

30:31

that the people who

30:32

have that kind of expertise would be

30:34

much less likely to view it that way

30:36

than the people

30:37

who don't have that kind of expertise

30:39

and that tells me that

30:40

just comparatively from a totally

30:42

objective point of view

30:44

the united states is not vastly superior

30:47

and it seems like

30:48

to be a patriot you have to convince

30:50

yourself that it is in some way superior

30:53

and if it's not according to those

30:54

objective metrics then what is it

30:56

maybe it's the ideal and that's fine

30:58

that they're good ideals

31:00

but then we don't always live up to the

31:02

idea yes now i mean i would agree

31:04

with you in that political scientists

31:06

wouldn't universally say that america

31:08

has the best

31:09

political system some would for sure but

31:11

i would again say

31:13

i mean just because britain is is way

31:15

older than we are

31:16

we were a republic or democracy whatever

31:19

you want to say it

31:20

far l far before we were and we probably

31:22

actually started their

31:23

parliamentary system because they didn't

31:24

become have the parliamentary system and

31:27

didn't become a democracy until early in

31:29

the in the 20th century

31:30

while we were rolling in that so i do

31:33

think it's important to

31:34

to see that we in some ways and some of

31:37

you historians and political science

31:39

buffs are going to just

31:40

write us in and talk about how terrible

31:43

uh maybe we should interview one i mean

31:45

that would be

31:46

useful yeah i feel like we're kind of

31:47

grasping for example yeah the phone

31:49

lines are open

31:51

but i would say i don't i don't know of

31:53

many nations who established a

31:56

democracy in a re republic way of going

31:59

about business

32:00

i don't know of many before america i

32:02

mean that's that's why we were started

32:05

okay so let me ask this you know as

32:08

somebody who

32:09

who grew up in the church and who

32:11

subscribes to the ways of

32:12

of christ tries to live that out how

32:15

should i be thinking about my

32:17

my christianity in regard to my

32:19

patriotism you know if i

32:21

you hear the adage that this is a

32:22

christian nation and you know in many

32:24

ways our roots are there

32:26

but at the same time it feels it it

32:27

feels so odd the way that

32:30

patriotism has sometimes become so

32:32

enmeshed in the church like i i remember

32:35

singing like you know like a flag or

32:38

things like that

32:39

yeah on a sunday around the fourth of

32:41

july we're doing that

32:42

how do i deal with this as a christian

32:44

though that's that's the

32:46

it they're so enmeshed and it just

32:48

doesn't feel like they should be

32:49

uh and yet i feel like there's some

32:51

faith-based duty to my country

32:54

that i can't quite put my finger on

32:57

i'll just say this and then i'll let

32:58

randy talk the only church service i've

33:00

ever walked out of

33:02

was a fourth of july service they had is

33:05

a mega church so they had these huge

33:06

screens with the

33:07

you know the lyrics or whatever and they

33:09

had waving american flags as the

33:11

background behind the lyrics and they

33:12

were singing that lee greenwood song and

33:13

proud to be

33:15

and it just and they had the american

33:16

flag on the stage right next to the

33:18

the christian flag and everybody they

33:21

get to the chorus and everybody

33:22

spontaneously stands

33:24

whoa and it's the exact same feeling you

33:26

would have in

33:27

any worship service except that it's

33:30

about america not jesus

33:32

and i just it was the closest idolatry

33:34

i've ever felt and i just

33:36

had to go i mean pure idolatry yeah

33:39

yeah yeah no i remember growing up and

33:41

we would be in the north woods on

33:42

vacation during

33:43

the fourth of july and we'd go to a

33:45

little

33:46

northwoods church that doubled in size

33:49

because of the tour season

33:50

and we our favorite service of the year

33:54

maybe third favorite after easter and

33:56

christmas was fourth of july

33:58

where we'd sing all the patriotic songs

34:01

and the pastor would

34:02

preach about it and my family loved it

34:05

i mean just straight up loved it to now

34:07

when i think of

34:08

having something like the battle hymn of

34:10

the republic saying in

34:12

a church it makes me want to throw up i

34:15

mean it just

34:16

blows me away but let's let's not talk

34:18

about the extreme because that's obvious

34:20

that's nasty that's terrible we i mean

34:22

but that's important because

34:23

the extreme like the the exact service

34:26

you were talking about kyle

34:27

that's what people see right that's part

34:30

of why

34:32

more and more people especially more and

34:34

more younger people in our world want

34:35

nothing to do with the church

34:36

because they see the idolatry they see

34:39

the the

34:40

the absolute disgusting practices of

34:43

bowing down

34:44

in front of the flag and they want

34:46

nothing to do with it so i think that's

34:47

important in and of itself

34:50

and then i think we find

34:53

that i mean we let our theology be

34:55

shaped by so many things as human beings

34:57

we're we're human beings with

34:58

with filters and with experiences and

35:01

you know kyle would do well to talk

35:03

more about that but one of those things

35:05

is us being americans and us being

35:07

republicans us being democrats us being

35:09

liberals us being conservatives

35:11

and what i'm finding as a pastor more

35:13

and more i've been a pastor for

35:15

shoot almost 14 years and i've

35:18

i'm just seeing this huge escalation of

35:21

people who

35:23

completely let their face faith be

35:24

formed around their ideology

35:27

and their theology is completely

35:29

politicized and i think that's a form of

35:31

nationalism i think we've

35:32

we've given our nation and the

35:34

conversation about our nation and our

35:36

political world and our political

35:38

you know chaos and we've actually let

35:41

things

35:42

like race and racism and racial

35:45

injustice and inequality

35:48

the way you feel about that the way you

35:49

talk about that probably

35:51

is determined not by your faith not by

35:54

whether or not you follow jesus it's

35:55

probably determined

35:56

by what political party you're part of

35:59

and how you see that

36:00

whether we're talking about all sorts of

36:03

things

36:03

i've just noticed and been shocked by

36:05

how much

36:06

christians right now in america have

36:09

given our

36:10

faith in our theology over to

36:13

politics in our nation and that is

36:16

that's idolatry yeah if you were to ask

36:20

the average

36:20

evangelical what the most important

36:23

issues

36:24

facing the church and christianity

36:28

are or culture in general are most

36:30

likely you'd get a list that

36:32

aligns pretty closely to a political

36:34

party and has very little to do with

36:36

anything you read the new testament

36:37

some of the major themes of the new

36:39

testament dying to self

36:41

greed taking care of the poor

36:44

privileging

36:44

the you know the perspective of the

36:46

marginalized or god loving your enemies

36:48

these are not part of any current

36:50

political platform that i'm aware of

36:52

but things that never get mentioned in

36:54

the new testament are

36:56

you you'd think that they were what the

36:57

whole book was about to attend some of

36:59

these church services regularly

37:01

yep absolutely yeah so that's i think

37:05

that probably elliot is why you looked

37:06

at a flag thought oh that looks cool

37:08

yeah

37:09

but i don't think i'd ever be able to

37:10

fly that in my fl my house

37:12

yeah it carries too much of those other

37:15

meetings with it

37:17

yeah one of the things too that's going

37:19

on with the flag

37:20

i think we're touching on it but there's

37:22

like such an alignment right now of

37:25

the especially the evangelical church

37:27

with the

37:28

the political right that like it it

37:30

works for

37:31

uh when pence is in pewaukee next week

37:33

that's the first stop of

37:34

the faith in america to her which oh boy

37:38

which is like it's it's intended to

37:41

smash these two things together

37:43

for a large subset of people who call

37:46

themselves christians that's

37:47

like that is the thing they cling to i

37:49

don't know

37:50

we've talked a lot about politics

37:52

already

37:53

i don't know how helpful it is to go

37:55

deeper there but that's a

37:56

i know for me that that feeling of not

38:00

being able to hang an american flag is

38:01

much more acute in this

38:03

setting than it was even four or five

38:05

years ago

38:06

because you know you fly it and you mean

38:08

one thing by it but you know

38:10

that if somebody drives by and sees it

38:11

on your house they're going to

38:13

immediately lump you in with

38:14

the kind of thing that you hate i mean

38:17

the kind of thing that you actually

38:18

think stands against the symbol

38:20

yeah that you mean you intend to say

38:22

something in a really

38:23

unfortunate way it's become a symbol

38:26

this is extreme to say but it's become a

38:28

symbol of hatred because it

38:30

it's the symbol most clung to by the

38:32

voices that i see propagating the most

38:35

uh divisiveness hatred and oppression in

38:39

our current discourse yeah yeah i mean

38:43

it's it's part of this mixture of

38:47

faith and nation and patriotism and

38:51

nationalism

38:51

and in politics where

38:54

you know you see faith in america to her

38:56

and you would just

38:58

hope that christians were smart enough

39:00

to see to see

39:01

how they're being pandered to and how

39:04

they're being just

39:05

completely used by a person

39:08

who said it's okay to grab women by

39:11

their genitals and a person who calls

39:13

other nations [ __ ] countries and if

39:15

you're offended by this language

39:17

i'm just quoting a president if a person

39:20

who

39:20

has is notorious for being a sexist

39:24

misogynistic sex crazed

39:27

has having affairs i mean you could just

39:28

go down the list making fun of just

39:30

mentally disabled people you know

39:32

there's just so much to it

39:34

and yet he stands in front of a church

39:36

and holds a bible up

39:37

a week or two ago and now they start

39:39

this faith in america

39:41

process and or show

39:44

and i want to say so many other words

39:46

but i don't want to offend people

39:48

well i wonder if there will be any flag

39:50

hugging in this one that was a

39:52

a favorite feature of the last round of

39:55

boy really remember that yeah he hugged

39:58

the flag like two or three times

39:59

without without consent yeah

40:04

and and to be fair i mean joe biden is

40:06

pandering to the black community

40:08

of course he is and he's pandering to

40:10

all sorts of people

40:11

um but when when a politician panders

40:15

towards the church that's when i get a

40:16

that's when my hackles go up and that's

40:18

when i get a little suspicious and

40:20

that's when i get a little angry

40:21

and so that i think is where we see this

40:24

intersection of nationalism and the

40:25

church

40:26

becoming an extremely dangerous thing

40:28

because what we've done in america now

40:30

in particular in evangelical church is

40:32

give away our unique

40:34

gospel identity and just given it over

40:36

to the nation and to a political party

40:38

and that

40:40

is not christianity yeah

40:43

yeah and it wouldn't here i'm about to

40:46

do the thing that i sometimes get onto

40:47

other people for doing i'm going to

40:48

point out a problem on the other side

40:50

too

40:51

good yeah it wouldn't be any more

40:53

christian if

40:54

the political tables were reversed right

40:57

i mean we could find times in american

40:58

history not that long ago

41:00

when the democratic party did the same

41:01

damn thing and

41:03

it was no more christian there then

41:05

absolutely just as disgusting

41:07

the state of things now is that one

41:09

party is much much much worse than the

41:11

other one

41:11

uh that's just the historical moment

41:13

that we're in but

41:14

anybody can do this any any american

41:17

can begin to think in a way that

41:21

their political beliefs and their

41:22

religious beliefs are

41:25

they can't be separated they're

41:27

basically one in the same thing

41:29

and we all have friends and family like

41:31

this i think

41:33

and that's just straightforward idolatry

41:36

seconds

41:37

it's it's the exact kind of thing that's

41:39

described at several instances in the

41:40

bible as the sort of thing you might

41:42

ought to stay away from absolutely but

41:45

when it happens to you it's so difficult

41:46

to see

41:47

yep i mean as and as we continue this i

41:50

mean you think about

41:51

um what's happening in our nation right

41:53

now where you know i

41:54

just this afternoon marched through my

41:57

neighborhood

41:58

with a black lives matter sign and we

42:00

went to a police station asking for

42:03

that police chief to be fired and an

42:05

officer who's killed three black

42:06

young men in within five years to be

42:09

fired as well

42:10

right and but what what we find is this

42:13

reality that

42:14

the same people who are telling us to

42:15

shut up in in quiet down

42:19

are telling us to do that when this was

42:22

all started by

42:23

a police officer kneeling on a black

42:25

man's neck for nine almost nine minutes

42:28

and we get to watch this man die not

42:31

even die

42:31

be murdered watch his body drain of

42:34

urine and it's the most disgusting thing

42:36

i may have ever seen

42:37

on on video and those people

42:40

are saying you need to shut up black all

42:43

lives matter

42:44

this is not a thing please be quiet go

42:47

home don't protest that this this should

42:48

be done

42:49

those same exact people when colin

42:51

kaepernick is taking a knee

42:53

in an nfl stadium for a stupid football

42:56

game now i

42:57

friggin love football and love the

42:59

packers but it's

43:00

football and these same people who were

43:03

who are telling us to

43:04

sit down and shut up don't talk when

43:06

colin kaepernick is taking a knee

43:07

because

43:08

during the national anthem because he's

43:10

wanting to protest police violence

43:12

towards black black and brown people

43:14

those people were the ones posting

43:16

like nobody's business all over social

43:18

media all sorts of anger

43:20

having our president say get that get

43:23

that son of a [ __ ] off the field i mean

43:25

and they're cheering they love it that

43:28

is nationalism gone wrong and that is

43:30

there's there's

43:31

no christ in that whatsoever it's devoid

43:34

of christ

43:36

yeah sorry i got preachy i didn't leave

43:39

a whole lot of room for you kyle

43:41

that's okay and i'm i don't know how

43:44

deeply we want to go into this but a a

43:46

major reason

43:47

that that's so antichrist

43:51

is the implied violence

43:54

in it um explain that so you know so

43:57

trump has literally stood at rallies and

43:59

encouraged violence

44:01

and then when he says violent things

44:03

violence

44:04

happens you know you see upticks and

44:07

politicized violence

44:09

and it's my view and we could have a

44:10

whole separate episode on this but it's

44:12

my view that christianity is inherently

44:13

non-violent

44:15

that if you're going to be a follower of

44:16

jesus that means quite literally

44:19

divesting yourself of the use of

44:22

violence

44:22

and force to get your way or to get the

44:25

way of the kingdom

44:26

jesus very explicitly says my kingdom is

44:29

not of this world

44:31

and the evidence that he provided for

44:32

that was that if it were

44:34

we would use violence to accomplish our

44:36

goals

44:38

and instead we approach those who use

44:41

violence against us

44:42

with love and with

44:46

trying to absorb their violence and

44:48

wishing good on them instead

44:50

serving them that see it seems to me is

44:53

the the dna of christianity that's what

44:55

really makes it unique among the world

44:57

religions that i that i found

44:59

is that kind of really strong emphasis

45:01

on love of enemies

45:03

and the insistence on peace-building and

45:06

non-violent approach

45:08

and that is like the opposite of

45:12

how nations like ours function

45:15

so so another i guess another reason i'm

45:18

realizing that i have

45:19

an issue with being a patriot even in

45:22

the good sense

45:22

[Music]

45:24

is that at the end of the day what i'm

45:27

feeling proud of is something that is

45:30

inherently violent

45:32

that defends itself with force

45:35

and has to i mean you can't have

45:38

a world power without a strong military

45:43

and in my reading of the new testament

45:45

the use of the military at all

45:48

is already non-christian so i have a

45:51

real hard time

45:52

that's probably another reason i have a

45:53

real hard time because i feel like

45:55

my allegiances are divided if i'm going

45:57

to be a patriot for this thing then i

46:00

can't really be a full-fledged

46:02

member of the kingdom of jesus that's a

46:05

strong claim

46:06

absolutely yeah and i mean here let me

46:08

tell you the most patriotic i've been

46:10

in a very very long time it just it's

46:12

been these last few weeks

46:14

when i'm marching often alongside elliot

46:18

and my daughter

46:19

and there's these chants that happen and

46:21

they're really fun i just

46:23

just telling ellie before we came in

46:24

that i i have them going through my head

46:26

all the time now but one of them says

46:28

this there's always it's

46:30

always a call and response and the guy

46:32

with the megaphone or the

46:33

girl with a megaphone goes tell me what

46:35

democracy looks like

46:36

and we all say this is what democracy

46:39

looks like

46:40

as we're marching through the streets of

46:41

our city closing them down

46:43

and the police are standing by watching

46:46

hopefully

46:46

right as you as we chant that over and

46:49

over again

46:50

tell me what democracy looks like this

46:52

is what democracy looks like

46:54

that makes me proud that makes me

46:57

patriotic even though

46:59

the real patriots would say that's not

47:01

being patriotic whatsoever but

47:03

that that's pretty cool as we're walking

47:06

down the street shutting it down

47:07

and we're saying chance like if we don't

47:10

get what we need

47:11

shut it down and that's what we're doing

47:13

is shutting down streets shutting down

47:15

you know all sorts of things so that's

47:18

fun

47:18

yeah yeah and i assume you're

47:22

you're committed to a non-violent

47:23

approach to that shutting down of course

47:25

which not all activists are no we have

47:27

to just be honest about that and there's

47:29

some

47:29

very well argued perspectives against

47:32

that approach

47:33

and the reality right now is that most

47:35

of the activists are not doing the

47:36

looting and the violence it's

47:37

mostly agitators who are trying to cause

47:39

chaos

47:40

sure but yeah peaceful protest but but i

47:43

don't want to like you know totally

47:44

discount the view that says no sometimes

47:46

violence as a as a form of political

47:49

activism is acceptable

47:50

but for me as a christian i don't feel

47:53

like i can say that

47:54

absolutely i feel like i'm committed to

47:56

the view

47:57

that non-violent peacemaking is is the

48:00

only way

48:01

of jesus's kingdom and so insofar as i

48:04

can take that way

48:05

and also apply it to political purposes

48:08

to

48:08

to affect real positive change in a in a

48:11

democracy like ours

48:12

that's a great thing but it still feels

48:14

to me as though

48:16

i i am pulling in values from my

48:20

christianity that are maybe at odds

48:23

fundamentally with

48:24

the thing i'm trying to fix which is

48:28

you know the united states political

48:29

system does that make sense

48:31

yeah it does and you're touching on

48:33

something that

48:35

has often been attention for me is in

48:37

how

48:39

when much more patriotism is tied to uh

48:42

our veterans people who have who have

48:46

fought for us and

48:47

my my grandpa is a world war ii vet and

48:50

and that's something that

48:52

all my life i've been taught to honor

48:53

and it and it seems like such a

48:55

sacrifice

48:56

and such a truly like it's a valiant

48:59

effort

49:00

uh and and a an effort that wasn't

49:04

wasn't self-serving uh as much as it was

49:07

to to right severe injustice this was

49:10

the best

49:12

the best of america and yet it was

49:14

extreme force and

49:16

extreme violence and so

49:19

it seems like there's some first there's

49:22

some rightness

49:23

to to that in moments uh it might not be

49:26

the kingdom way it might not be ideal

49:27

and yet

49:29

here we are and then also as somebody

49:31

who's

49:32

who is not enlisted myself and who

49:35

who that it's such a foreign concept to

49:38

me that i would

49:40

take orders from a commander-in-chief

49:44

you know through through ranks

49:46

doing doing things that i might not even

49:47

agree with to put my life on the line

49:49

like that's a

49:50

that would require some pretty

49:51

significant acrobatics mental acrobatics

49:53

for me

49:55

yet it feels like there's a place of

49:56

honor

49:58

even of those some of those most violent

50:01

efforts

50:02

what do you think of that this is a

50:06

sticky

50:07

thing for me i think it's possible

50:10

to honor someone and someone's actions

50:14

and the selflessness of their actions

50:17

while simultaneously believing

50:19

that those actions are unfortunate

50:23

you you can make great and courageous

50:25

sacrifices for things that are not worth

50:27

your sacrifice

50:29

and so you know i have family too that

50:31

were

50:32

veterans of the military my own father

50:36

my grandfather on my mom's side i have a

50:40

great deal of respect for

50:41

[Music]

50:42

a lot of veterans that i've known in

50:45

fact one of my

50:46

personal heroes is a medal of honor

50:48

recipient

50:49

a guy named desmond doss but but the

50:52

reason he's my hero is because he was

50:53

the only conscientious objector to ever

50:55

receive the medal of honor

50:57

and and he was a pacifist because he was

50:59

a christian for the same reasons that i

51:00

am and so he he made is that's the clint

51:03

eastwood movie

51:05

it was a hacksaw ridge i think it was

51:07

mel gibson the director yeah what a

51:08

movie what a story fantastic and it's

51:10

all

51:10

true i mean he he he made the same kind

51:13

of sacrifice he just

51:15

refused to kill he refused to use

51:18

violence to harm others and so instead

51:21

he literally pulled bodies off the

51:22

battlefield that to me is a great

51:24

picture

51:26

of the christian's role in the state as

51:28

far as i can tell

51:30

so so i simultaneously want to honor the

51:32

kind of

51:33

courage and selflessness that it takes

51:36

to join

51:37

a fight like that especially when the

51:39

costs are as high as they were in world

51:41

war

51:41

ii which is when he got his medal of

51:43

honor but

51:45

i don't think i don't think i can say

51:48

because of my christianity because of my

51:49

understanding of jesus's ethic

51:52

i don't think i can say that that in all

51:55

cases

51:56

when veterans make that sacrifice

52:00

that it's overall a good thing or that

52:03

they're that their sacrifice is

52:04

worthwhile that it that it's for

52:06

something that actually improves the

52:08

world

52:09

war is a terrible thing it's a great

52:11

evil

52:12

and it's not a good way to solve

52:15

problems

52:16

it's a fundamentally irrational thing in

52:18

many ways

52:20

i had actually a quote here from a

52:22

philosopher named blaise pascal

52:24

i love pascal you've heard of who was a

52:27

christian

52:28

a devout christian and

52:31

he's i just read a little snippet of

52:32

this quote he says

52:34

can anything be more ridiculous than

52:36

that a man should have the right to kill

52:38

me because he lives on the other side of

52:40

the water

52:41

and because his ruler has a quarrel with

52:42

mine though i have none with him and he

52:46

goes on in a similar vein and the rest

52:48

of the passage and

52:50

there's there's like a deep sense of

52:52

irrationality

52:53

in war the idea that that i have the

52:56

right to take the life of another person

52:58

for reasons that i don't understand

53:00

when i have nothing against that other

53:02

person and they have nothing against me

53:04

and that at

53:05

a single order from either of our

53:06

authorities we could just be friends

53:09

instead uh there's something deeply

53:11

irrational and deeply immoral about that

53:14

and so while i can admire the

53:17

willingness

53:18

of someone to sacrifice for a cause that

53:20

they believe is greater than themselves

53:23

i still because i'm a philosopher must

53:24

insist

53:26

that the cause really is worthwhile

53:29

and the fact of the matter is it usually

53:31

isn't uh now we can find

53:33

major historical exceptions world war ii

53:35

was an obvious exception

53:37

uh but for the most part wars are not

53:39

wars are not rational and they're not

53:41

moral if you're listening and you're

53:43

perhaps even a veteran or you're you

53:46

love a veteran you're married to one or

53:48

you know you just vehemently disagree

53:50

with what kyle just said which i'm pr

53:52

pretty sure many of us are or you are um

53:56

here's something to just hold and take

53:58

seriously

53:59

in the early church it was just taken as

54:01

a given that if

54:02

a soldier of the roman empire converted

54:05

to christianity

54:06

they were just expected to lay down

54:08

their arms and give up being a soldier

54:10

that was just the expectation the the

54:12

call to non-violence was

54:13

very very clear in the early church very

54:15

clear

54:17

through all the church fathers so if we

54:20

are you know gun-toting

54:23

you know war rallying war crying

54:26

patriots

54:27

we need and we call ourselves christians

54:29

we need to take seriously the

54:31

foundations of our faith which was very

54:32

clearly non-violent

54:34

and arguably pacifistic

54:38

so you need to wrestle with that that

54:39

being said i'm not completely a pacifist

54:42

i think war is atrocious i think war is

54:44

ugly i don't

54:45

like i used to watch i grew up in a

54:47

family where we watched war movies all

54:49

the time and those were some of the best

54:50

movies we watched i loved

54:52

them and i still think there's some

54:53

really good war movies

54:55

like 1917 we just saw that it was

54:57

amazing movie but

54:59

i for in general can't watch war movies

55:02

anymore because they disgust me

55:03

because we're being entertained by human

55:06

beings being maimed

55:07

and tortured and brutally killed i can't

55:09

do it that's that's just

55:11

awful and people are making millions of

55:13

dollars basing off

55:14

you know being entertained by that and

55:17

we're establishing a culture then that's

55:19

just completely

55:20

desensitizes ourselves to violence all

55:22

that

55:23

most of the wars i will say most of the

55:25

wars in history

55:26

i would disagree with but then there is

55:30

for instance and you know where i'm

55:31

going to go world war ii

55:34

how i i don't this is where i can't be a

55:37

pacifist kyle and we've had this

55:38

conversation a number of times but

55:40

six million jewish people were tortured

55:43

and brutally murdered and millions more

55:46

than that

55:47

made it out alive but were traumatized

55:50

like no other human being maybe has ever

55:52

been traumatized

55:54

and for and hitler was an absolute

55:58

nut bag he was just a maniacal tyrant

56:01

who

56:01

thought he could take over the world and

56:02

he started trying and he was pretty good

56:04

at it

56:05

and he was very strategic with it i mean

56:06

he he rolled through paris

56:08

like nobody like it was just they laid

56:11

down

56:11

arms and rode through one of the biggest

56:14

most powerful cities and nations in

56:16

in western europe and really thinking

56:18

about

56:20

a pacifist nation saying now we'll just

56:23

and it's of course you as a pacifist

56:25

wouldn't say oh we'll just let that

56:26

happen

56:27

but i i mean you couldn't you couldn't

56:30

be smart and seriously look at me and

56:31

say

56:31

i think i could have talked hitler out

56:33

of it right or i think there's other

56:34

ways to

56:35

you could have stopped hitler without

56:36

war i don't buy it and

56:39

un until you can convince me that you

56:41

could stop a person like a maniac

56:43

like hitler and a bunch of people who

56:45

he's brainwashed

56:46

from torturing and killing and trying to

56:49

literally

56:50

wipe out a human race

56:54

i can't be a pacifist i i couldn't stand

56:56

by and watch that happen and be okay

56:58

with it because we we can't

57:00

use violent means to put us to put an

57:03

end to utter awful evil and i know that

57:05

you're using evil to defeat evil

57:07

but i just can't i can't stand by and

57:10

let that one

57:11

walk by yeah

57:14

so we should have a separate episode on

57:17

pacifism i don't want to go

57:18

too into the depths on that right now

57:21

i'll just say i don't think pacifism as

57:23

a view as a doctrine stands or

57:25

falls with its ability to reply to that

57:28

question

57:29

there's a whole spectrum of views within

57:31

the umbrella of pacifism

57:33

some would go to the extreme of yeah

57:36

combating hitler with force

57:38

was morally wrong despite the cost i

57:41

wouldn't go that far

57:42

but there are other views within the

57:44

umbrella that wouldn't go to that stream

57:46

but fundamentally it's focused on the

57:49

positive

57:50

form of action rather than trying to

57:52

answer all of the what-if questions

57:55

and it's a positive ethic it's about

57:58

our primary focus being on peace

57:59

building even when things are good

58:02

like long before a threat like hitler

58:05

comes to the fore

58:06

what can we do in our society to to

58:09

ensure that that sort of thing

58:10

doesn't happen so once it gets that bad

58:13

yeah maybe the pacifist is in the same

58:15

boat with everybody else and you have a

58:17

case like dietrich bonhoeffer who was a

58:18

pacifist and was very conflicted about

58:20

what he should do

58:22

but if we had been acting according to

58:24

pacifist principles all along we

58:25

wouldn't have been in that

58:26

situation that's a very idealistic way

58:27

of looking at it but okay if people

58:30

yeah i mean the gospel is fundamentally

58:32

idealistic

58:33

it's the idea that you can be a perfect

58:34

human if you adopt the ethic of

58:37

this guy that came and showed it and

58:38

that's a big if that's that's that's it

58:40

right there

58:40

is yeah if we can turn the world into

58:42

christians praise the lord although

58:45

yeah i'm not sure if you look at

58:46

christianity in america but i i'm

58:48

committed to the view this part of my

58:50

theological uh direction of

58:53

anabaptism i'm committed to the view

58:55

that uh to be a member of the kingdom of

58:57

jesus

58:58

means to live like jesus did it means to

59:01

embody the sermon on the mountain now

59:03

even if it's unpopular and even if it

59:05

seems unrealistic and even if it's even

59:07

doomed to failure in many cases

59:09

if we don't do it now later generations

59:12

are going to have no model for how to do

59:13

it

59:14

i don't think that you know i don't take

59:16

the view that

59:17

the church just sort of does the best it

59:20

can and then waits for jesus to come

59:21

back and fix things i mean

59:23

it's our job to the first things jesus

59:25

fixes things through

59:26

us so yes it's idealistic yes it's

59:28

difficult to believe but it's also what

59:30

jesus said

59:31

it's in about individuals and if i'm

59:34

committed to that

59:35

yeah yeah and guess what the only

59:38

christians are individuals

59:40

there's no such thing as uh you know

59:42

[Music]

59:44

you can't have a christian community

59:46

without christian individuals

59:48

jesus didn't really seem very interested

59:50

in

59:51

just you know describing how a good

59:52

political system works

59:55

his kingdom was different from that and

59:57

it was based on the faith of individuals

60:00

yep so we well i've got things to say

60:02

but we can stop that now

60:04

but one last thing to go go back to your

60:06

question elliot about how do we can we

60:07

or should we

60:08

honor veterans even or you know people

60:11

who have sacrificed

60:12

i baptize somebody i don't know three

60:14

four years ago

60:15

who's this wonderful man really really

60:17

good man who is a veteran

60:19

and who he told me is part of like

60:22

everyone who i baptize i

60:24

just get to know them and i get to know

60:25

their story and where they why they're

60:27

wanting to be baptized and he said he

60:29

joined the military because he wanted to

60:30

help people

60:32

that's why he joined the military

60:33

because he wanted to go on peacekeeping

60:35

missions

60:35

and and the reality is that a huge part

60:39

of the american military

60:40

still today is in places that we really

60:43

don't need to be but we're actually

60:44

keeping the peace we're actually

60:46

bringing aid to impoverished

60:49

areas that's not like the universal case

60:51

obviously but

60:52

there are people who get into the

60:54

military just because they say

60:56

i want to do good in the world i want to

60:58

help

60:59

those who can't help themselves around

61:00

the world and i know that the american

61:02

military is doing that

61:05

so you're you're a good uh you're good

61:08

lutheran boy right or you were yeah

61:10

baptist and lutheran both sides so the

61:13

lutherans as i understand it have this

61:15

view

61:15

they call it two kingdoms view if i

61:17

recall it's the idea that you

61:19

hold kind of a dual allegiance so

61:23

you're you're you're a member of the

61:25

kingdom of jesus but you're also a

61:26

member of the kingdom of the state that

61:27

you exist in

61:29

and it's almost like you have these

61:31

separate spheres and separate

61:32

responsibilities

61:34

how would you respond to this it's give

61:36

to caesar what is caesar's and

61:38

gift yeah i mean there's a little bit of

61:40

pollen there right

61:42

so i ca i can i i don't totally flush it

61:46

but when we talk about allegiance again

61:49

all of my allegiance goes to to christ

61:52

goes to the lamb

61:53

and his kingdom and and absolutely no

61:56

other

61:57

so so i get it why luther and lutherans

62:00

would say that but

62:00

at the same time i don't think we need

62:03

to do that i don't think jesus is asking

62:04

us to do that i think

62:06

jesus is asking for all of our

62:07

allegiance and all of our

62:09

all of our stuff yeah do you pledge

62:11

allegiance by the way

62:13

no i haven't done that yet yeah just

62:14

tend to avoid settings where it could

62:16

potentially happen

62:17

i mean honestly you don't have to put

62:19

this in the podcast but i'm closer to

62:21

burning an american flag than i am

62:25

like i feel more patriotic when i see

62:27

videos of black people yeah no i'm with

62:28

industry yeah than i do

62:30

when i see yeah i think the upside down

62:31

flag is nice i think that that feels

62:33

patriotic to me yeah i think it's

62:35

yeah it's still it's the flag but it's

62:37

also recognition that something was

62:39

deeply wrong

62:40

i like that yeah maybe that's what i'll

62:41

do on my front porch

62:44

right yeah so kyle when we have

62:48

when we talk about patriotism and

62:49

nationalism we talk about in the church

62:51

there's this another kind of ripple to

62:54

it

62:55

in that it feels like we christians many

62:58

christians

62:58

particularly again sorry not sorry

63:01

evangelicals

63:02

give this feel that americans and

63:05

probably israelites right like

63:07

that god favors the usa and israel over

63:11

any other nation any other people group

63:13

that we are the chosen ones we are the

63:15

favored ones we are the you know we are

63:18

god's nate one nation under god and

63:20

well israel's israel of course right so

63:22

of course god loves them more than

63:24

most others have you obviously you felt

63:26

that i mean

63:27

tell me tell me some thoughts on that

63:29

yeah i

63:30

i'm a pentecostal or converted to a kind

63:33

of pentecostalism in

63:35

college and i remember a lot of

63:38

pentecostal preachers making

63:40

this kind of point they think that if

63:42

you're not for the nation of israel

63:44

as it exists today then you're somehow

63:46

not consistent with the bible

63:48

because god intentionally blessed israel

63:50

not any of the other countries of the

63:51

world he chose israel

63:52

ignoring of course the fact that he

63:54

chose israel in order to bless to be

63:56

blessing to all the

63:58

you know they focus on israel itself and

64:00

they seem

64:02

it displays a remarkable lack of

64:04

historical

64:05

creativity that they seem unable to

64:07

separate israel as as it existed in the

64:09

bible from israel

64:10

post 1940s oh as though the the state of

64:14

israel that exists today is

64:15

the identical entity that was described

64:20

so i i guess my take on that is i just

64:22

don't see anything in the bible that

64:24

that actually necessitates that i take

64:26

any view about the current state

64:28

of the state of israel it just doesn't

64:30

it kind of like uh

64:31

the issue of evolution i just don't see

64:33

anything in the bible about it

64:35

so i'm free to take any position i want

64:38

on that

64:38

i don't see anything in the bible about

64:39

the modern day state of israel so i'm

64:41

free to take any position on that i want

64:43

and i can consider the evidence just

64:45

like i would with any other state

64:46

and i can notice for example that israel

64:49

is guilty of

64:50

a gross amount of human rights

64:51

violations against palestinians and i

64:53

don't have to pretend

64:54

that that's okay because the bible

64:55

somehow necessitates that i take a

64:56

positive view of israel

64:58

yeah and i mean we in the church need to

65:00

be pro-israel

65:02

i actually mean that because and i mean

65:05

that because

65:06

every single person who lives in israel

65:09

or considers themselves

65:10

themselves an israelite has the imago de

65:12

on them

65:13

and bear the image of god and so

65:16

therefore they have uncertain that's

65:17

what we call a bait-and-shit

65:20

so of course because they have

65:21

conservatives for getting excited

65:23

because they bear the image of god they

65:25

have unsurpassable worth and value

65:27

and i think we need to be pro-palestine

65:30

as well

65:30

and pro-palestinian because every single

65:33

palestinian person who exists

65:36

who is alive and breathing right now

65:38

bears the image of god and so that means

65:40

they also have

65:40

unsurpassable worth and value and so you

65:43

can go on

65:44

down the line no person no nation can

65:47

have more value than another because

65:49

every human being who is alive is

65:51

completely loved by god and

65:54

has unsurpassable worth and value

65:55

because of the imago day

65:57

and god there's a going back to

66:00

revelation there's this picture of

66:02

every tribe tongue and nation worshiping

66:04

god together

66:05

and it's a picture that comes over and

66:07

over again and so it seems like

66:09

you know like we're saying now don't

66:11

saying i'm colorblind is really just a

66:14

tone-deaf thing to say also saying

66:18

god doesn't care about nationalities and

66:19

cultures and all that stuff i think is

66:21

silliness as well because god

66:23

all of that comes from god and is unique

66:25

and bears the image of god in the imago

66:26

day in a unique way

66:28

and so i think god really loves that and

66:29

celebrates that and we find in that in

66:30

the book of revelation where we get

66:32

maybe the truest picture of what god

66:34

really cares about and what the

66:36

what's going to be in the end after god

66:38

judges all things which

66:39

by that i mean that god sets all things

66:41

to rights so yeah be pro is a real

66:43

be pro-palestine and if you don't you

66:45

got to read your bible a little better

66:46

yeah i mean it's

66:47

it's remarkable that in the book of

66:49

revelation it's a very multicultural

66:51

setting it's celebrating a lot of people

66:53

seem to miss that

66:54

very explicitly all the nations of the

66:55

world gather together yep

66:58

and one thing worth one thing worth

66:59

noting here and

67:01

again we could have a whole separate

67:02

episode on this if we wanted to

67:04

is that uh looking to the

67:07

bible for your current

67:10

foreign policy maybe not a great idea

67:14

uh looking to the old testament for what

67:16

you should believe

67:17

about nationalism also maybe not a great

67:20

idea

67:21

because all of those books were written

67:23

by nationalists

67:25

in the negative sense i mean the the

67:27

oldest portions of the old testament

67:28

aren't even monotheistic they are

67:31

henotheistic which means they accept the

67:33

existence of multiple deities

67:35

and they think that their deity is the

67:37

best and most powerful because it is

67:38

their nation's deity

67:40

um so you're gonna get a lot of

67:43

nationalism in the text and which

67:45

partially explains why there's are so

67:47

many nationalistic christians because

67:49

they read the bible kind of uncritically

67:51

and assume that anything represented

67:53

therein

67:54

is didactic yeah it's something that i

67:56

must believe and now you're opening up a

67:58

can of worms that we should

67:59

hermeneutical approach now you're

68:00

opening up a can of worms that we should

68:02

wait we really have a separate

68:03

conversation

68:03

but i'll just say this not only what is

68:07

you know that probably true that the you

68:09

know books of the bible were

68:10

written by nationalists but also the

68:13

whole of the bible

68:14

was written by marginalized people and

68:17

to me

68:18

of course if you're a marginalized

68:20

people group who have been enslaved and

68:22

and conquered over and over again of

68:25

course you're going to have this

68:26

really strong national identity because

68:29

every freaking nation around you has

68:31

tried to strip you of it

68:32

and of course you're going to have this

68:34

different way of seeing reality and

68:36

history and all that stuff right so

68:38

the bible being written by marginalized

68:39

people has astounding

68:41

effects on our sacred text and we would

68:43

do well to see them but

68:44

let's let's have some fun with that in a

68:46

later episode

68:48

yeah for sure so randy

68:51

to close here's a zinger for you uh do

68:55

you think

68:55

that christians ought to say the pledge

68:58

of allegiance

69:00

well i mean i will tell you this one

69:02

doesn't and can't

69:03

and i probably think yeah i hope every

69:07

christian

69:08

reevaluates whether or not you think

69:10

it's appropriate to say the pledge of

69:11

allegiance

69:13

i said the pledge of allegiance all the

69:14

way through until several years ago

69:16

where i studied the book of revelation

69:18

and really got down into it for a sermon

69:20

series fell in love with it

69:22

and now that's probably really weird

69:24

because

69:26

most christians think that the book of

69:27

revelation is all about

69:29

fire and judgment and end times and when

69:32

everything's gonna happen and all that

69:34

stuff but really the book of revelation

69:36

is a book about allegiance and by that i

69:40

mean

69:41

the earliest christians that john was

69:43

writing to from the island of patmos

69:45

were

69:46

persecuted people because they couldn't

69:48

give their

69:49

allegiance to caesar the most powerful

69:51

man in the world right

69:53

the book of revelation is about empires

69:55

and kingdoms and which one we give our

69:56

allegiance to

69:59

caesar when the book of revelation was

70:02

written

70:03

demanded and his soldiers demanded pure

70:06

allegiance to caesar into

70:08

the roman empire they not only demanded

70:10

pure allegiance they demanded

70:11

worship of caesar there's this it's

70:13

called caesar cult

70:15

and you actually had to sacrifice to

70:18

caesar

70:18

like he was a god caesar called himself

70:20

the son of god

70:21

that's on coins it's literal history

70:25

the when the roman soldiers would

70:27

conquer a city

70:28

they would come out and recite the

70:30

gospel of rome the gospel of the roman

70:32

empire how you have been delivered

70:34

now by lord caesar and now all of a

70:36

sudden you have a bunch of people

70:38

who say your lord is not caesar your

70:40

lord's name jesus

70:41

and you cannot bow a knee to any other

70:44

any other ruler any other

70:45

authority besides jesus your allegiance

70:48

belongs completely to jesus and that's

70:51

what the book of revelation

70:52

is really in large part about

70:55

is jesus coming to his church and then

70:57

say stand strong be strong even in the

71:00

face

71:00

of oppression even in the face of

71:02

persecution even in the face of death

71:04

your allegiance belongs to me and i will

71:06

give you the crown of life if you

71:07

persevere

71:08

through it all and that to me is we have

71:11

the sword

71:12

of the empire on one hand asking for our

71:14

allegiance in our

71:16

our our our commitment and our worship

71:18

and we have the lamb of god

71:20

this who was slain before all eternity

71:24

who the empire murdered but he has

71:26

triumphed over it

71:27

and now he's saying your allegiance

71:29

belongs to me and so once i saw that and

71:31

once i fleshed that out a little bit i

71:33

just

71:33

i went to my next my son's next boy

71:36

scout meeting

71:37

and had the moment where we put our

71:39

hands over our hearts and stand at

71:40

attention and i was like holy crap

71:43

i can't say these words i can't do it

71:46

and so now i'm that

71:47

awkward dad who stands off in the corner

71:49

with his hands folded during the pledge

71:50

of allegiance when all the other dads

71:52

and moms are doing it and

71:54

all the kids are saying and i just can't

71:55

do it i've got one other christian

71:57

friend with me who thinks the same and

71:58

we stand together

71:59

and hope that no one else notices us

72:03

so randy kyle thanks for taking on this

72:06

topic i i know it's a big one

72:08

um i can't say you resolved a lot of the

72:10

tension that i still feel around this

72:13

but jeez it's uh i think it's

72:16

it's a good reminder as in so many areas

72:18

we have to

72:19

to keep clinging to the the beauty and

72:22

the truth

72:23

that we might find kind of stacked

72:26

several layers deep

72:27

in in really complex issues as we think

72:30

about nationalism

72:32

man we could leave that one out so you

72:33

think about patriotism and

72:35

and how that fits i think it's it's been

72:38

helpful to me to think critically about

72:39

this hopefully to our listeners as well

72:41

so thanks for taking this on