04 July 2019

Dual citizenship… and picking a side.

Many Christians are fond of saying, “This world isn’t my home. Heaven is.”

To a degree that’s true. We’re part of God’s kingdom, with Christ Jesus as king. We recognize his reign, or try to; and follow him, more or less. Or at least we expect—despite our unloving, unkind, impatient, fruitless behavior, he’ll nonetheless graciously recognize us as his followers when he takes over the world. Maybe he will.

In the meanwhile we’re also citizens of our nations. I’m a citizen of the United States. As are many of TXAB’s readers, which is why I so often get U.S.-centric. Of course I realize the site gets readers from all over: You might be a citizen of Canada, China, France, Israel, Germany, the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom… and that’s the top 10, so if I didn’t mention your nation you’re just gonna have to enlist more of your friends to read, and bump up your stats. Anywho as Christians we’re all fellow citizens of God’s kingdom. Yet at the same time we have allegiances to our respective homelands.

In the U.S., if you’re both a citizen of this country and another one, we call you a “dual citizen.” We have lots of ’em. Officially the U.S. only recognizes one citizenship: Ours. (So pay your taxes. It’s why Americans who don’t even live in the States are still required to pay American taxes.) When people become Americans, our citizenship oath requires ’em to renounce their previous citizenship. But if their original homeland doesn’t care about that, and still counts them a citizen, they’re dual citizens. Most of the dual citizens I know are also Mexican citizens, and take full advantage of their Mexican citizenship whenever they’re in Mexico. One friend’s from the U.K.—and when he visits family in the U.K., he’ll even switch his accent from Californian to Londoner.

But here’s the catch with dual citizenship: The time might come when you gotta pick one nation over the other.

Say you were a citizen of both the U.S. and Russia. And say we went to war. (Hope we never, ever do, but let’s just say.) Well, you have to pick a side. Especially if you work for the government—of either nation. Neither country will let you stay neutral. You’ve gotta be wholly American, or wholly Russian. (Or you’ve gotta flee to Argentina.)

Well, that’s how Christians are when it comes to our national citizenships. I’m a dual citizen of God’s kingdom, and the United States. So what happens when the States does something hostile to the kingdom? Right you are: I gotta pick a side. And I’ll just bluntly tell you now I’m picking Jesus. Like any immigrant, I may have been born American, but I choose citizenship in his kingdom. So Jesus takes priority. Don’t even have to think about it.

Much as I love the United States, I’m fully aware when Jesus returns, he’s overthrowing it. When he raptures his followers to join his invasion, we’re gonna help him overthrow it. I’m gonna help him overthrow it. Willingly. Gladly.

If that sounds like treason against the United States, it totally is. And if it makes you as an American feel uncomfortable, it should. Because as a Christian you need to pick sides. This isn’t a hypothetical situation, y’know. Jesus is returning. Not “could return”: Is returning. Not in some “spiritual sense,” by which most folks think imaginary. He’s literally, physically coming to earth to take it over. Maybe not in our lifetimes… but maybe he will; we don’t know.

So where’s your allegiance? ’Cause when he returns, you’re gonna be on one side or the other. Better not be the wrong one.

Our “Christian nation.”

When I say I’m gonna help Jesus overthrow the United States, many Christians have no problem with such a statement. They expect to be doing it too.

And many Americans have a giant problem with it. They’ve watched The Handmaid’s Tale and are pretty sure any Christian takeover is gonna look like the Christian version of Iran, but more rapey. Me, I’m pretty sure if the least Christlike of the Fundamentalists took over (any more than they already have) it still won’t look like that TV show whatsoever; there’s a lot more leftist paranoia guiding that show than reality. But that’s another rant altogether.

The rest of the Americans who have a problem with the idea, have some really odd ideas about what Jesus’s return is gonna look like. They fully share my belief that once Jesus returns, we’re gonna help him set up his kingdom on earth. But the idea Jesus will overthrow America? It’s one they’ve never once considered. Because they actually believe he won’t.

See, they’re natonalists who believe the United States is a “Christian nation.” Founded by Christians. Run by Christians—well, run by Christians whenever the Christian party runs the Congress and White House and statehouses. Predominantly populated with Christians. Christianity embedded in our laws and customs. So it’s as saved as any individual Christian, precisely like ancient Israel was saved from ancient Egypt. Jesus has no reason to overthrow America; we’re on his side! This is his nation, under God, indivisible.

Well, so long as we remain on God’s side. Which is why Christian nationalists are thrown into utter despair whenever we pass a law, or the Supreme Court hands down a ruling, which confirms we’re actually not a “Christian nation,” but a secular one. If we are in fact secular, Jesus is gonna have to judge and overthrow us! So let’s repent, misquote verses about God healing our land, get good Christians elected to office, change the laws, ban the sins, build walls to keep out all the non-Christian foreigners, and make America great again.

This is the way too many Americans think. I know; I was one of ’em. Taught to think it by fellow Americans who believe likewise. It’s embedded in American history, whether we call it Manifest Destiny, our Christian heritage, a “shining city on a hill,” American exceptionalism, the American Dream… and believe it or not, it was actually the basis of the progressive movement. Yep. Today’s liberalism began with Christians who took the utopian view of the End Times.

But none of it’s biblical. This claim the United States is the one exception to the kingdoms of this world which Jesus must conquer? Pure civic idolatry. And people don’t even realize it’s idolatry—which is why all my treason-talk isn’t just treason to these Americans, but blasphemy. Hey, when you’ve made America your god, that’s what treason becomes.

Give your patriotism to Jesus.

My youth pastors liked to tell this story of a new Christian, a boy who gave his life to Jesus. His entire life, he claimed. But there were one or two things he really didn’t wanna surrender to Jesus. Usually the stories made ’em sins, like he couldn’t give up gossip, or porn, or rock music. (I grew up Fundamentalist, y’see.) Everything in his life belonged to Jesus but that. That, the boy insisted, he got to keep.

And just like a campfire horror story, the pastors invariably concluded with, “And it became an idol!” [Cue the shrieks of fear.] “Because that’s what happens to anything when we won’t surrender it to Jesus.”

True, it’s melodramatic. But they weren’t wrong. If we can’t surrender all to Jesus, the one thing we can’t give up, sinful or not, grinds our spiritual growth to a dead halt. Or turns us the other direction.

Yep, sinful or not. It’s much tougher when the one thing we can’t give up, isn’t a sin. Like our hobbies. Our goals. Our dreams. Our patriotism.

Much as we love the United States, we have to surrender the United States, same as everything, to Jesus. If it’s really his nation, it’s his nation to do with as he will. That includes destroying it. If he wants to shatter our nation like pottery, Ps 2.9 and replace it with his better, greater, eternal, multiethnic, multilingual, multinational, Rv 5.9 global kingdom, that’s his right as our king.

It’s profoundly ridiculous to imagine Jesus is gonna knock down every nation, every ruler, every government… but not ours. Every constitution set aside, but we Americans get to keep ours? Every world leader the world over, fired from office, but we Americans get to keep our Congress, our governors, our city councils? Have ya seen our elected officials? According to the polls, for the most part we want ’em gone. Why on earth would we expect Jesus wants to keep them?

The more we analyze the idea of Jesus keeping our nation intact, the dumber and dumber it sounds.

Jesus is our king, not our president. There’ll be no limited government keeping him to two terms, keeping him from creating laws, keeping him from interpreting and enforcing his own laws. There’ll be no separation of powers; he wields all the powers. There’ll be no democracy electing him to office, nor threatening to remove him when we don’t want him any longer; the kingdom isn’t a limited monarchy, but an absolute one, remember? Jesus will never swear to uphold the Constitution; it won’t apply to him, and he’ll set it aside. And since the Constitution defines the United States, it means he’ll overthrow the United States.

You already knew this. It’s just some of us never let it sink in. Our patriotism kept us blind. Idolatry does that, y’know.

This being the case, we Christians need to fight the urge to pin too many—or any—of our hopes in America. It’s a good nation, but a temporary nation. It’s a quick fix, really. Think of it like a busted sewer pipe, and till the plumber arrives we’ve wrapped several layers of duct tape over it. In no way is this an adequate replacement for a new pipe. But for now, we can use the bathroom without soaking the basement in crap. Well, much crap.

Civic idolatry tells Jesus, “Look at the fine job we’ve done!… You’re keeping the old pipe, right?” And it threatens to fight him if he won’t embrace our quick fix, and build his solution on top of it with shinier duct tape. It’s just that short-sighted.

No no no. Let Jesus do his work, and rip out the works like he has to. Help him—’cause those who fight him aren’t gonna inherit God’s kingdom. It must rise, and the United States of America must fall. Choose his side.