Are those hot-dogs a fraud as Americans recognize the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July?
Tomorrow, over 150 million hot dogs – and incalculable burgers – will hit the grills across America, as Americans celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the document certifying the agreement of 13 colonies to break from the most powerful nation in the world and stand alone, for values they no longer found applauded in their country of origin.
Declaration of Independence
It’s relatively easy to sign a petition; it’s another thing to put on a uniform and face the most powerful army of their generation on the battlefield. To declare independence is bold; to fight for it – at the risk of life and limb – is both bold and brave. Without the bravery, boldness is untested; it’s easier to run your mouth than to run into live fire.
The barbecue frenzy on the Fourth will be joined by millions of Americans who – if transported back in time to the conditions that led to the federal holiday – would opt-out of the movement. The question on the table: would you be willing to fight for your country?
It’s an intriguing proposition; Gallup has put their survey sophistication into the mix, and have results from countries across the globe. What did they find?
If this was an Olympic event, the Gold goes to Morocco: 94% are willing to enlist. Fiji takes the Silver, with a photo-finish 94%. Bronze is a tie between Pakistan and Vietnam, with 89%; apparently, Muslim oppression and Communist suppression engender deep loyalty.
Selected call-outs: Afghanistan at 76%; Israel at 66%; Russia at 59%; Palestinian Territories at 56%; Serbia at 46%. Way down there – finishing at 39th position – is the United States, with only 44% of the population willing to put themselves in harm’s way to defend the country they’re taking a holiday today – or, reaping holiday pay – to commemorate. For the 56% majority of Americans today, their hot-dogs and hamburgers are frauds…
Tom and JoAnn Doyle are great friends and ministry partners. Tom’s ministry resumé looks pretty generic. Accepted Jesus through Young Life, in high school. Biola University for undergraduate; Dallas Seminary for grad school, then pastoral positions in churches across New Mexico and Colorado. The new Millennium opened a new ministry for the Doyles: they left their safe spot – as senior pastor in a church where the malicious sniper fire came from the back rows in the sanctuary – and joined the front-line troops bringing the Gospel to the Mideast (Israel, and 40 Muslim-majority countries in the neighborhood).
Tom’s books – among them, Dreams and Visions, Killing Christians, Standing in the Fire – chronicle some of the stories that come out of real spiritual combat, where following Jesus can get you in front of him, fast. The Revolutionary War lasted for eight years; the Redemption War has been running for nearly 2000 years, and may be close to the ultimate victory.
Tom and JoAnn reflect on the journey that led them to their wartime assignment. Their leadership pastoring Christians in America was – too frequently – engaged in moderating trivialities that preoccupy church life in suburbia. Music styles; Sunday morning dress codes; predictive speculations over the exact order of prophetic events in the future, about which God has chosen to be frustratingly fuzzy. The misery attached to the minutia became burdensome…
Today, where a personal testimony of faith in Jesus is enough to cause an honor killing by a fanatical family member, the questions they pose are far more foundational: 1) do you love Jesus? and, if the answer is “yes,” 2) would you die for him? Two affirmations, and you’re “in,” for them.
Today, on the c, the qualifying questions: 1) do you love America? and, 2) would you fight for it? If that was payment for the picnic, most dogs and burgers would be unclaimed.
Everyday, the questions: 1) do you love Jesus? and, 2) would you die for him? If those questions got you a seat next Sunday at church… how full would the auditorium be?