grace, political theology

The Problematic Theology of Blessing

“Count your blessings.” “America is so blessed.” “God bless the United States.”

I think blessings are a curious thing, for often, the receiver proclaims what blessings are. It is almost as if blessings are self naming from the perspective of the receiver, and that is the way they’ll always be. That said, it does seem that blessings are something we receive. In fact, as Christians, blessings would best be understood in terms of Grace. However, in order to do this, one must realize what Grace is and where it comes from.

It seems when people on the 4th say count your blessings, they’re talking about what America has gathered — the freedom to achieve the American dream of wealth and security and what people have already in terms of wealth and security. This is not necessarily God’s doing, but rather, America’s civil religion draped in its own theological language.

The method at which we get our blessings or receive Grace speaks to whom it comes from. Jesus died instead of killed others. The kingdom of God didn’t, nor does now, function as a colonial power like Rome. Therefore, on days like today, we ought to interrogate which blessings are really from God and which ones have been achieved through force and theft.

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