Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.   

-Martin Luther


I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ. 

It’s always bothered me to pledge allegiance to a country that can neither save my soul or secure my future.  While I’m an American, in no way do I consider God and country in the same ball park.  Hey, I’m all for baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie—although I do prefer a nice import to a Chevrolet (go figure—I was born and raised in the Motor City).   

America is the land of the free but she didn’t die an innocent death at the hands of sinners on my behalf so that I could be forgiven an ocean liner full of sins.  I could be living in a poorer than poor remote third world country and Jesus would still be the Savior of mankind—America or no America.

 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…’   (Luke 14:25-27, ESV)

Wow.  Pretty tough talk there.  Jesus wasn’t fooling around and after considering the rest of what he taught—you might get the idea he is delusional without a further look into what he was really saying here.  What Jesus isn’t advocating or sanctioning is—hate for ones’ family (let alone anyone else).  We know that by the whole of what he teaches elsewhere.   Bear in mind, this is the same Jesus who taught his followers to not only love their neighbors but to love their enemies—to not only turn the other cheek but to offer your abuser the shirt off your back.  He wouldn’t possibly then turn around and shoot out the other side of his mouth Oh, and while your at it—hate your families. 

No—Jesus is saying nothing of the sort.  What Jesus is saying is this: Nothing and no one should compete for our allegiance to him—not our jobs—not our money—not our pleasures—not our passions (such as writing or our yoga class)—not our country—not even our families.

In comparison to him—we should hate all others.