This week’s article comes from Paul A. Wee: it's an excerpt from his book, American Destiny and the Calling of the Church, published this year by Augsburg Fortress as part of its “Lutheran Voices” series. Wee is an ELCA pastor who teaches at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Previously he worked for the Lutheran World Federation. The book calls on Lutheran Christians who are U.S. citizens to critically examine our roles and responsibilities in the world.
This week’s feature: Are America’s values universal?
When official U.S. policy speaks of the values of freedom, democracy, and free enterprise as being “right and true for every person, in every society,” the church needs to take a giant step back. Just as “not every one who says ‘Lord, Lord’ is fit for the kingdom of God,” so can it be said that everyone who speaks these cherished words—freedom and democracy, for example—do not always mean the same thing. This week's front page features:
Anyone who is familiar with life in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) during the communist period can testify to one gross misuse of that cherished word. Or consider the various meanings associated with the word freedom. Over the past decades, representatives of developing countries at the United Nations have complained that, in the North Atlantic region, the word freedom is invariably understood in individualistic terms (freedom of speech, religion, and so forth), while less attention has been given to the freedom of the community, including freedom for integrated community development and the freedom to have a guaranteed source of food.
We love the ring of these great words—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—but we need to gather with friends at home and abroad to ask what they actually mean in the context of the real world. Although we Americans enjoy a pluralistic society, it is also true that we can be insulated from the ways in which people from other cultures use language and how they view the world (pages 47-48).
This week on our blog:
This week in our discussion forums:Are you in the call process?
"I almost fell in a stampede," blogs Andrea Pohlmann. "I wasn’t attending a rock concert—just trying to get inside a church."
Elizabeth Hunter writes about three movies in which faith and re-inspired faith are the main dramatic element.
"Thar be treasure!" Amber Leberman blogs about a nugget of spiritual wisdom from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Kathleen Kastilahn writes about waiting for late passengers on Flight 8611.
Sonia Solomonson (right), who has just returned from a three-month sabbatical, writes about the value of getting away from the routine to "just be" with God.Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >
Tell us! The big goodbye.
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