I am grateful for the United States of America. I am very grateful for the soldiers who have purchased and continue to protect the freedom I enjoy and often take for granted. I do realize as I think about the freedoms I enjoy that they have impacted the way I view faith, specifically the gospel of Jesus Christ As a believer I am committed to Christ before I am committed to a country. Although I am very grateful for this country, I do have to wonder how growing up here has shaded my view of the gospel.
I read a book by David Brooks titled, “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There.” It was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. He is a senior editor for The Weekly Standard and writes an op-ed column for the New York Times. In his book, Brooks writes a chapter on the emerging spirituality and the effort to reconcile two opposing realities. He says this about American spirituality: “[We] are trying to build a house of obligation on a foundation of choice.” This sentence is provocative. As an American I am inundated with the notion of freedom, democracy and capitalization These are all great things. One of the consequences of this environment is that I can begin to think that my freedom is paramount. It is not.
The “house of obligation” that Brooks’ refers to in his book is the fact that as a believer I am enslaved to Christ. I am free from sin, but I have been bought with a price and I am no longer my own (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I am a free man, but I am also obligated, or indebted, to the gospel. This is why the apostle Paul said he was a bond-servant to Christ. So, how do I reconcile my freedom and obligation? I walk humbly in the freedom that this country affords me to pursue Christ freely and openly, while being reminded that the gospel of Christ corrects my understanding of true freedom and true obligation. I am free. I am enslaved.