Let me first clear up any confusion about my patriotism. Yes, I am patriotic. At one level I appreciate nations, freedom, comradery, checks and balances, and so forth. At the same time, I must not be naive concerning the ideologies that have shaped governments and how those same ideas have shaped my worldview. The idea of separation of church and state, for example, is grounded in the philosophical ideas of John Locke.
Not long ago I was listening to Bill Cloud, an insightful Bible teacher I like listening to. He said something that's stuck with me. "In actuality, I don't think there's a dime's worth of difference between a democrat and republican." In context, Cloud wasn't slandering conservative values; instead, he was merely pointing out that both ideologies fall painfully short of God's ideal. Frankly, I think he's right.
Here's a good question. Do you think there are people in the world who are so smart they've not only figured out ways to shape entire societies, but they've shaped those societies in such a way that the people part of them think in predetermined ways? The answer is yes on both counts.
Believe it or not, God set out to do this, too. At Sinai, God prescribed an entire political system: one that would shape people's thought processes. But, because those thought processes were immediately at odds with the Israelites' sin nature, they rejected God's government and set out on their own.
Here's my point - be aware. Although I know my writing is ethereal at times, it pains me when people blindly go through life unaware of the cause-and-effect relationships that exist in how we do things. None of it is benign. John Locke knew it. Thomas Jefferson knew it. God knows it. I know it. Although allegiance to a nation is commendable, let us continually scrutinize our understanding of a Kingdom politic (i.e., church life) in light of God's directives, making adjustments even if it's a bit uncomfortable.