Monday, January 2, 2012

Self-Sufficiency—the American Dream and the Gospel

As a new year begins and the political season heats up in America, I'm drawn to another topic I revisit from time to time—self-sufficiency and the Gospel. Self-sufficiency, along with self-reliance, is a key character trait of Americanism, or the American Dream (however you might define it). Self-reliance was a defining element for survival as the American nation emerged from a colonial struggle with England, and the European economic powers of that era. As a nation, our culture is still defined by DIY and self-help books and blogs (it is its own industry). You can learn how to do just about anything online and on YouTube.

A cursory reading of America's emergence as a nation during the 18th and 19th centuries indicates that "God shed His grace" on us (Americans). If you've never read any history of the American Revolutionary War, you've missed out on some extraordinary stories.* I like history when it focuses on the people involved rather than dates, events, and geography. The American nation and culture is built upon personal freedoms and rights, and we have a written constitution that defines these. Although we claim a heritage of religious freedom, history reveals a somewhat different story. Today this is even more relevant.