A lot is spoken (and written) today regarding a growing sense of nationalism in America: economic nationalism, America first nationalism, isolationism, nativism, and such. Comments come regularly out of Washington, out of social media, and even out of some Christian faith-based leaders. I tire of such talk.
I don’t know much about the particulars of our economic and trade structures. I don’t know exactly what trade deficits mean or how to interpret the GNP, GDP, or the findings of the CBO. But I do know that “going it alone” is no longer possible, and has not been possible for a long time. We are a world community and a world economy.
America is very fortunate and rightly called to be a leader in that world economy. But this also means we are called to look beyond our own interests.
We have a common humanity as a gift from God. Therefore, we are to bear witness “…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The witness of the 4th Gospel speaks clearly: “God so loved the world…” (John 3:16) Such witness may not have been as possible to understand or exercise a century or so ago; but it is clear today.
Love for God and love for neighbor must be exercised in the widest possible arena. We cannot burrow into a self-contained entity on the North American continent and thrive or even survive. We cannot view only our own interests and growth at the expense or avoidance of a vast world of hurt and longing. We are, after all, a “nation under God.”
I frankly admit great disappointment in the trend toward self-promoting nationalism in an age when opportunity and responsibility extend to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 again)
I am not so naïve as to believe that every entity of our governing system must commit to the values Jesus taught. But I do believe that the people of the Christian faith community have a special call to advocate for Jesus’ world view in every regard. Each of us is called to live a lifestyle that reflects that view with great intentionality. Leadership in this regard is timely and crucial. Such efforts will make a world of difference.