Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fun With Flags

If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory then you are aware of Dr. Sheldon Cooper's popular (in his own mind) web series called Fun With Flags. The purpose of the show is to discuss the rich history and variety of flags from around the world- or from his favorite sci-fi shows like Star Trek. He did an entire episode around the flag from the United Federation of Planets. Sheldon loves flags and the stories they tell. He is a true vexillologist. 

Lately it seems that the whole world is made up up amateur flag enthusiasts, all telling us which flags are important, which are offensive and which flags Jesus would have us waving as we walk the #NarrowRoad. The Confederate Flag, long considered a symbol of hatred by many and a symbol of heritage by others, has become a flashpoint in heated new discussions about racism. The Rainbow Flag, long a symbol of gay pride and the search for equality for LGBT community, has been both raised and ridiculed over the past few weeks as the "debate" over same-sex marriage continues even as the Supreme Court has "ended" the discussion. There is discussion of how our nation's flag is sacred and should be "worshipped" as a symbol of freedom, even as many citizens feel left out and left behind. Many churches have the USAmerican flag in the sanctuary; others find that to be offensive in a house of worship. Flags are in the news, and they are controversial. So the question here today is simple- which flag should we carry we with us as we walk the #NarrowRoad

There was recently a story about a family in NC who decided to fight this battle by flying the flag of Christianity on the flag pole of their home. They wanted to make a statement on behalf of her family that their citizenship was in the nation of God, a loyalty much more important than any political or geographic flag. And I get that, and agree with the point. The problem is, for many the Christian Flag is a political statement. Faith has been co-opted by too many politicians and organizations that seek to use the people of God and the name of Jesus for their own benefit. Christianity in 2015 can be the cause of discord in society just as often as it is the cure. The institution of the church, as represented by a flag, cannot save us. Only Jesus - his life, his love, his grace and his mercy- can do that.

So if not the flag of a nation or a cause or the church, then what flag do we wave on the #NarrowRoad? The answer is very simple. Christ-followers need to carry the white flag of surrender. Not to this world, or to evil, or to sin or to culture- surrender to Jesus. When we forget the power struggles of this world and surrender to Jesus, we take on the greatest of causes. When we model his love and mercy, we become the church as it is intended to be. And when we recognize Jesus as King, we become part of the Kingdom of God, a kingdom worthy of flag waving celebrations. The white flag of surrender may seem like symbol of weakness to many, but to those who get it- who understand that to be first you must be last and to be greatest you must become the least- it is the ultimate symbol of freedom and power. Because it is (like another "failure," the cross) the ultimate symbol of Jesus!

Everyone seems to be marching for a cause these days. There is only one cause on the #NarrowRoad. Love like Jesus loved. Surrender to him. And we WILL make a difference!

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous7/14/2015

    Greetings CJ. My name is Roger Borman, and I have been a faithful reader of your blog for several years now. You wouldn't know that because I never comment, but I love your posts and feel certain hundreds of others you may not know about do as well. But after yesterday and today I must say something. Your posts are often very good; yesterday was great and today is brilliant! I join you in asserting that the church in the U.S. too often abandons Jesus. We do need to surrender, not to a cause or an institution but to a Savior. That would be revolutionary. I join you in waving the white flag, and thank you for the bold calls to faith I read here so often. And just so you know, Barbara Ann is my favorite Beach Boys song. Keep pushing us, my brother!

    1. Roger, thank you. I appreciate both your kind words and the fact that you read me on a regular basis. I am always honored (and a little surprised) to discover that people read my little blog. I agree that surrender is revolutionary, and that the church is in bad need of a revolution. Thanks for the comment; do it again soon! And "Barbara Ann" will make an appearance on the countdown for sure!!!

  2. Anonymous7/14/2015

    Another home run post, Carl! And I suspect Roger is right and you have far more readers than you think you do. I never know quite what I'm going to get here each day, and I love that! Keep up the good work. ~ Chris Cooper

    1. Thanks as always, Chris!


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