Last night on my flight home I finished reading Marcus Borg’s latest book, Speaking Christian. As is typical, this book was provocative, thoughtful and edgy. Borg has a way of making folks take a second look at many of our deeply held Christian assumptions. In the concluding chapter he took edgy to a whole new level.
“The combination of being Christian and American creates a very ambiguous situation. We are the most Christian country in the world – and yet we are the world’s greatest military power… Not surprisingly, the United States Air Force is the most powerful in the world. More surprising is the second most powerful air force: the United States Navy… Though our national motto is “In God We Trust,” clearly what we really trust is power, especially military power.”
My initial reaction was, “Really? We have the number one and the number two air forces?” That sounds ridiculous at best and wasteful at worst. How can we as a country justify maintaining the top two air forces in the world while cutting things like education and social programs. It just seems wrong. Can’t we be content with just having the top air force in the world?
The real question, especially for Christians, is not about being number one and number two. It is a question about what we trust and who we serve. After all, Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” This is a verse that is easier to ignore than to deal with. Is Jesus just taking about money? The verse ends by saying you cannot serve God and wealth. Or is Jesus saying something more? For example, can you serve both God and country? Being a believer has something to do with putting our faith and trust in God. Is this really the case for American Christians? When things go bad where to we turn?