S2E2: Patriotism vs. Nationalism And Ministry Leader’s Role In Addressing Nationalism

Good Wednesday! Below is season 2 episode 2 of Theology in the Dirt! My show notes are posted below the podcast. Please listen, like and share it! Also, please email topics and questions to theologyinthedirt@gmail.com

You can find multiple episodes right here: https://anchor.fm/theologyinthedirt

Theology in the Dirt is produced by Chris Hayes and Kayla Saner is our fantastic artist!

Thank you for listening!


1. Especially since last Wednesday’s fun at the Capitol, I’ve heard some people try to differentiate between “Christian nationalism” and “Christian patriotism.” What is your take on that? Is it a legitimate distinction or a deflection away from the negative aspects of nationalism?

Patriot – A person who loves, supports, and defends their country / state / city / home and it’s interests with devotion. A person who is a defender. 

Patriotism – The active display of being a patriot.

Positive example – paying appropriate taxes; voting; civil debate on city/stat/national issues and work for a middle way between two ideas that will be best for everyone (hard won unity rather than crippling polarization); serving in the military; federal/state/local civil service (DFCS)

Negative example – Using my loyalty or the loyalty of others to incite one group against another; 

Nationalist – One who asserts a nations interests as separate from the interests of other nations; 

Nationalism – The active display of being a nationalist. 

Positive example – The consideration of national security and personal protection practiced for the protection of citizens domestic and abroad during a national emergency (9/11). 

Negative example – Japanese internment camps for Japanese / Americans during ww2. Favoring / highlighting one demographic, socio-economic, religious group, political party, of citizens over another group that is different as though others represent foreign interests. 

Patriot is adjectival in how I see it. Patriotism describes a way I can seek the good of my nation because it’s good is my good and my tribe’s good. 

Nationalism is a noun to me. Nationalism becomes an identity that defines the essence of who one is. 

When the identity of “Christian” gets attached to another identity, such as nationalism, I begin to see competing narratives and ends. 

When the identity of “Christian” (noun) gets attached grammatically to a modifier for it’s setting, such as patriot”, I see an appropriate inculturation for a temporary season for where I am in God’s timeline. 


2. What responsibility do pastors and other Christian leaders have to calm down the extremist rhetoric we hear and read so much now? I ask because yesterday I read a quote from a woman who said she was part of the crowd that invaded the Capitol because her pastor told her he had a “burning bush” dream where God told him she should be part of the demonstration. 

A few hard lessons learned the past few weeks: 1. I can’t move the consciences of people who attend or are in covenant fellowship with other churches, and it’s not my job to oversee them. 

  1. Focus on writing and preaching and teaching those God has given to you.
  2. Preach the Bible from stem to stern, and work to make application. 
  3. Exposit the text so that those who hear can mimic the method to get to the same conclusions. 

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