Uniquely American

OscarMayer_MiniWienermobile

This year, for the 4th, I’m planning to celebrate in ways that are Uniquely American.

Here we go!

1.  THE HOT DOG!

What could be more uniquely American than the hot dog?  Globs of mustard and relish dripping off onto your fingers. Grill marks searing in the flavor.

But you know what? The Frankenfurter (and the Wiener) are distinctively German innovations, from back in the 13th Century.

So…let’s try something else.  How about…

2.  FIREWORKS!

There’s nothing that says “The 4th of July” like big booms and bright flashes. The kind that sizzle and cascade.  The kind that expand and blossom. All the colors and the sounds of the holiday.

Of course, not only were those fireworks probably made in China, but fireworks, themselves, were ACTUALLY made…in China.

Fireworks date back to the 7th Century in China, where they were used to celebrate all kinds of festivals, long before July 4th was anything but just another day.

Hmm.  That’s disconcerting.  What about…

3. WAVING THE FLAG!

Even moderately patriotic people are known to fly the flag for the fourth! It may just be a piece of fabric, but it stands for a people, and an ideal.

Actually, people have been waving flags since the time of the Roman Legion, back in the time of antiquity.  And Denmark has been flying its country’s flag from as far back as the 13th century, a powerful symbol for her people.

Well, this is getting hard.

Wait! I know!

4.  ICE CREAM!

You want uniquely American?  Here you go! Ice Cream is the official dessert of summer, right?  Put a couple scoops on my cone and I’m a happy camper.

But wait!  The Persians were making their version of ice cream as early as 400 B.C.!!!!

400 B.C.?????

HEY!  ISN’T THERE ANYTHING UNIQUELY AMERICAN WE CAN USE TO CELEBRATE THIS 4TH OF JULY?

I know…

WHAT ABOUT GOD?

We sing “God bless America”, or “God bless the U.S.A.” all the time.  We talk about being in “God’s Country” or even this being “The Promised Land”.

Doesn’t that mean God is an American?

I say Yes.

But not uniquely.

As we celebrate this wonderful country of ours this week, let’s remember that God is the God of the Persians.  And the Chinese.  And the Danish.  And the Germans.  God’s Grace shines upon all of God’s children, and that’s perhaps the most important thing we could ever celebrate.

As for the 4th of July?  I plan to eat my hotdog and my ice cream.  I plan to set off some fireworks, and wave my flag.

I plan to celebrate everything and everyone that has gone into making our country so great.

Then I’ll ask God to bless us.  All of us. 

I’ll raise a toast to the world, my cup overflowing with Coca Cola, which is, I’m happy to say…

Uniquely American.

Have a great 4th!

Mitch

220px-San_Diego_Fireworks

QUIZ: Do you love the USA?

In honor of Independence Day in the U.S.A., here’s a little quiz.

Let’s see just how much you love your country!

Question 1: How many states have you visited?

A) 1-10   B) 11-25   C) 26-49   D) 50

Question 2: How many national, state, or local elections have you voted in?

A) None. Never registered.  B) None. I’m too young!  C) Oh, a few  D) Too many to count

Question 3: How many civic or military organizations have you served in?

A) None  B) Armed Forces  C) Rotary, Optimists, Lions, etc.  D) B & C

Question 4: How much $ have you spent on fireworks?

A) None!   B) Less than $100   C) $100-$500  D)  More than $500

Question 5: How have you tried (other than voting) to make your voice heard?

A)  Nothing.  B) Signing petitions  C)  Canvassing neighborhoods   D) Posting political things on Facebook    E) Protest Marching

Question 6: When you’re at the ballpark and they sing the national anthem, do you:

A)  Keep talking with your friends  B) Take off your cap and stand silently  C) Put your hand on your heart  D) Sing your guts out

Question 7:  How many American flags do you own?

A) None   B) One   C) Two  D)  More than two.

Scoring:  For every “A” give yourself 1 point, for “B”, 2 points; “C”, 3 points; “D”, 4 points, and “E” 5 points.

If you got anywhere from 7-25 points…

     I have no clue how much you love your country.

Sorry!

The truth is, you could do all of these things out of a sense of duty, or guilt, or habit. Actions are important, but they don’t always reveal a person’s true feelings.

So, while I strongly suggest singing the National Anthem and voting whenever possible, actions can’t  be the judge of how much you love your country.

Only you can really know that.

The same is kind of true for loving God.

You can go to church every Sunday, drive your next door neighbor to the grocery store, pledge a million dollars, and keep all 10 commandments, but that doesn’t mean you love God. Not necessarily.

The truth is, you could be an active church member your whole life, and never really know the love of God. (Let’s hope not!)

Actions really are important, but Love is what matters most.

The more you are in touch with Love, the more authentic and God-centered your actions will be.  That’s true whether you’re out on a date or worshipping in church or even waving the flag.

So… back to the U S of A.

A couple more questions:

Question 8. Do you care for the welfare of the people of this country? Do you hope for our common future?  Do you cherish the freedoms you have?

A) No  B) Yes

Question 9. Even if you don’t always agree with how things are done, and even if you don’t always show it, does this country hold a special place in your heart?

A) No  B)  Yes

If you answered “B” to Question 8 or 9, then chances are you love America!

NOW that we have that established…how are you prepared to show it?

(Please go back up to #1)

Happy 4th,

Mitch

photo by http://www.robins.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123051993