Introduction 1 – Mennonite Pledge of Allegiance

July 9, 2006

So what is out there in terms of short introductions to liberal Christian faith? Until I get bored I’m going to find and post (short) descriptions of faith.

I’m deliberately ignoring important differences in intent and audience between creeds, confessions, statements of faith, pledges of allegiance, catechisms, short introductions, etc. If it’s short, and it describes a liberal Christian faith, then it’ll do.

First off the line, the pledge of allegiance by June Alliman Yoder and J. Nelson Kraybill, president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary:

I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ,
And to God’s kingdom for which he died—
One Spirit-led people the world over, indivisible,
With love and justice for all.

(hat tip to Philocrites)

Initial Impression:

Wonderfully short but packing quite a theological punch. Focusing on the Kingdom and not on individual salvation; leaves open universalist understandings of the triumph of God’s love without expressly proclaiming them.

Specific Comments:

The phrase “I pledge allegiance to” probably works better for Americans who are used to the concept than, eg, Brits and Aussies who usually find it rather strange and weird. That is, I understand the attempt to undermine and radically co-opt the USA’s nationalist pledge of allegiance in favour of a commitment to the Kingdom of God vs. the Kingdom of Caesar; but I only understand it from an intellectual point of view. It doesn’t speak to me on an emotional level.

Like many of these creeds that I’ve found, a lot of complex theology is hinted at, but never fully faced.

This pledge obviously keeps things vague by mentioning that Jesus died for the Kingdom, but not mentioning the classics of credal Christianity – atonement and resurrection.

Is the “One Spirit-led people the world over, indivisible” the same as the “One holy catholic, apostolic Church” as understood from a Protestant ‘invisible Church vs. visible Church’ perspective? And if not, why the emphasis that the (Holy?) Spirit-led people are indivisible? Because it is patently obvious that Christians are hardly indivisible – there are divisions all over the place.

Not sure I like “with love and justice for all”. It’s not so much what it says as the phrasing – it’s like “Drinks for everyone!” or “Ponies for all!”. Maybe it’s just me.


One Response to “Introduction 1 – Mennonite Pledge of Allegiance”

  1. Scott Wells Says:

    The Pledge of Allegence leaves this (US) American quite cold, and this pledge — which I have seen before; seminary I think — suffers from that association.

    Are there any other Americans who can’t hear “the Pledge” without thinking of Superman?

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