DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

MINE’S BETTER AND BIGGER

Written by: on January 11, 2017

Author Anderson, Imagined Communities ….

After reading Anderson’s book addressing “nationalism”, my mind thought of many clichés. I am a Houstonian by birth living in the largest state in the United States of America, Texas. At least we were until Alaska, but who is considering Alaska. We even have the slogan, “everything is big in Texas.” This term, “nationalism” identifies with power, superior, better, bigger, and any other term that gives life to the separation of our society by fruitless power.

Anderson compared nationalism to a neurosis individual. He was making reference to society in the 80’s yet our countries current situation seems to mirror this comparison that he described in his book. He proposed “a nation: is an imagined political community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.” (Anderson, 6, Kindle) Limited because they won’t ever know everyone, and sovereign because the “Enlightenment and Revolution were destroying the legitimacy of the divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm.” (Anderson, 8, Kindle) He referred to them as a community because “the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.” (Anderson, 8, Kindle)

There were several examples Anderson used to define and demonstrate his position on nationalism. For example, how “a nationalist has no concern regarding the identity of the unidentifiable dead soldier. They take little concern in identifying the gender and nationality of the soldiers. They even go as far as placing bones from another source in the coffins, so they don’t bury an empty coffin. They did not want to bring in the spiritual or religious view of death.”  (Anderson, 9, Kindle)

Anderson touched on culture as it relates to demographics, nationality, gender, and race. He discussed how nationalism feeds on defining and categorizing people based on where they live, born, their gender, or the color of their skin. He wrote on “patriotism and racism” including making references to white and black relations and the derogatory names designed to dehumanize and devalue the black race, as well as, the Vietnamese, and Jews.

These and other social stigma feeds nationalism and the need for one group of people or a nation to be greater than others by defining them to be less than who they are. Many of us have experienced that on a personal level where one of our peers, teachers, co-workers, parents, and others have said words to us or identified us as inferior to promote their superiority. That person can be identified as neurosis. Where a government is dominant in infrastructure, technology, etc., some promote themselves as superior, for example, in history Germany, Russia, etc. American has always been viewed and considered by the world as a powerful nation based on its infrastructure, technology, and other areas. We have now moved to become a powerful nation with a leader who demonstrates neurosis behavior. That leader’s success was limited to a particular party, demographics and racism often overlooked as well as sovereign because of the strong evangelical presence. Are we the definition of “nationalism.”

An article, written by George Friedman, he states that “there are some articles and statements asserting that fascism is rising in Europe and that Donald Trump is an American example of fascism. This is a misrepresentation of a very real phenomenon.” [1] He continued to identify what’s really going on. “It is the return to nationalism in Europe and America. Fascism focuses on self-determination on its local government, whereas, nationalism focuses on national self-determination on a universal level.” [2]

Do nationalism and fascism breath in the Christian church and it overseer organization? With many structures of denominations designed and implemented to control the actions and lifestyles of their leader and members around the world, could it be placed under the umbrella of nationalism? Christian leaders refer to it sometimes as God’s desire “for decency and order” in the church.[3]  Many church leaders have lost their position or members in the church because of their self-determination. We as leaders must realize that we are not exempt and we must “self-examine ourselves” to preserve integrity.[4]

[1] Gordon Friedman, Nationalism is Rising, Not Fascism, https://geopoliticalfutures.com/nationalism-is-rising-not-fascism/

 

[2] Ibid.

 

[3] 1 Cor 14:40

 

[4] Acts 24:8

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

5 responses to “MINE’S BETTER AND BIGGER”

  1. Mary Walker says:

    Wow, Lynda, you are so right. What comes to mind for me is the thing we were taught as kids, “America is a melting pot.”
    We are definitely not a benevolent melting pot when we have derogatory names for others who are not anglo-saxon, white, protestants. I grew up hearing words like “whop” “nigger” “wetback” and “slant”.
    Is it just too hard for people to really become one?
    I agree with you that it is time to ““self-examine ourselves” to preserve integrity.”

  2. Thanks Lynda, good to hear your voice again. What a dismal thought to consider our president is misrepresenting so many Americans! Great reminder too about keeping the integrity of the church by walking in our own integrity. Like you, I want to be a beautiful representation of our God as we are members of His great nation.

  3. mm Katy Lines says:

    What it comes down to, Lynda, is identifying ourselves FIRST as followers of Jesus, adopted sons and daughters of God. This does not mean we lose the rest of our identity. But it is in that primary identity that we then understand ourselves in terms of gender, race, orientation, CITIZENSHIP, and relationship. In other words, my identity as female doesn’t cease when I am identified as a follower of Jesus. But I now seek to see my female-ness IN LIGHT OF my primary identity. I do not cease to be a mother or a wife, but I seek to interpret my relationship with my family in light of my primary identity. I do not cease to be an American, but it is no longer my first loyalty.

  4. Great points, Lynda. I do wonder, though, whether two separate things are happening in our country. There seems to be a strong nationalistic movement in those who support the incoming president, but there is a power grab in that government that smacks of fascism. I didn’t read Friedman’s article, but in my study of history, fascist rose to power on the coattails of extreme nationalism. Unfortunately, that nationalism has crept into the church.

  5. Lynda the question you pose in your post “Do nationalism and fascism breath in the Christian church and it overseer organization?” I see the affect of what can be similar to nationalism asthe bonds that form within denominational social constructs. Leadership within these organizations tend to urge memebers to have an affinity and loyalty to their denomination. Those who do are publicly rewarded for their allegiance. Although the bond itself is not problematic, it is the superiority that is associated with the bond that is problematic because we are all believers no one group of believers has more power or superiority than another. This way of thinking only leads to group thinking and strife within the community of believers. We have to remember that while we are here on earth this is not our eternal home. Our understanding of the here and the not yet should change the way we engage in this world.

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