Patriotism and the Fourth of July

I contemplated whether or not I should write a post for the Fourth of July. The holiday has never been wildly important in my family, though I’ve done my share of wearing red, white, and blue, and even temporarily dying my hair one year. I’ve made the trek to see fireworks at both the Washington Monument and the Air Force Academy, the latter an experience my father was particularly excited about, as a graduate of that particular school.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love my country, but I’d be just as dishonest if I said I never considered moving to another one. That wouldn’t be an act of anti-patriotism–I would happily call my self an expatriate, signifying my connection–but would reflect something else true of me; perhaps I wanted to attend a particular school or felt called to a mission field in another country. Celebrating the Fourth of July has always been fun, because who doesn’t like to have a day off and blow stuff up (maybe I couldn’t even say that if I wasn’t so American), but it has never been one of the ‘big’ holidays for me. Maybe it was because Independence Day didn’t get me out of school, or maybe that it wasn’t a directly religious holiday (Christmas or Easter), or perhaps I simply knew I could get the ‘best parts’ elsewhere (fireworks also come at New Years); regardless the reasoning, it was never high on my list of holidays.

This year, my celebration will be low-key, as usual. I’ll be heading off to see some extended family, but at the furthest point I’m no more than forty-five minutes away from home. It isn’t a long enough break to be a vacation, nor is it far enough to feel like a ‘get-away’ of any sort. I’m looking forward to it, of course, but not because it is a holiday; time with my family and friends is a good I can enjoy regardless of the day.

While I feel relatively unpatriotic in my celebration of the Fourth of July (is it patriotic to exercise my freedom to not celebrate the Fourth of July in a big way?), I will point you towards a great post on patriotism, written by author of Hipster Christianity Brett McCracken. It’s his debut over at Mere Orthodoxy, and it is as good an introduction to his thinking and writing as any.

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J.F. Arnold

James received his MA in Philosophy of Religion at Talbot School of Theology in 2013. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Biola University, and is a graduate and perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute. James blogs on a number of subjects, including technology, theology, and hip-hop. He has written for Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture, & the Arts, The Gospel Coalition, and he is an editor for Mere Orthodoxy. You can also keep up with him on Twitter (@jamesfarnold).