Although it’s doubtful our founding fathers planned it this way, the placement of our nation’s birthday mid-summer is genius. Warm weather, longer days, children free from school—all these put our hearts in a celebratory mood. We are primed and ready to gather with friends and family for picnic feasts and yard games. Our collective pause acknowledges the freedoms and blessings we’re afforded in this country.

But this July Fourth—more so than any other, it seems—I’ve heard rumblings that are less than mirthful. Many in our country are weighed down by our social ills and the world’s tragedies. It’s hard to celebrate when there is so much disappointment, fear, sorrow, and loss.

How are we to celebrate properly on this day of mixed emotions? There are plenty of things to appreciate about our country, to be sure. But there are plenty of things to grieve as well. Truth is found in this tension. And because Christians are called to be people of truth, we must grapple with the whole story, the good and the bad and even the horrific.

Some might worry that acknowledging the bad and horrific in our country will dampen the good and deflate the day’s joy. But I believe the opposite is true: our celebrations are lacking when we refuse to go deep. Over the years, many writers here at Christ and Pop Culture have called us to the deep waters in regard to patriotism and faith. Here’s a roundup to help you celebrate in full.

On July 4, Celebrate America, But Don’t Worship It

A Country Rightly Loved

False Promises of the Security Gospel

Loving My Prodigal Country

Prosperity Empire: Donald Trump’s Alliance with the Health and Wealth Gospel

Huckabee and the Heresy of Americanism

Of Gods and Men: To Be a Nation of Christians

America the Foreign Land?

The Separation of Church and Patriotism


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