Eugene Cho

reasons to appreciate the united states of america

As we mark the “birth” and independence of the United States, I’d like to ask a simple question:

What are the reasons you love and appreciate the United States?

I often find myself in the company of women and men that are more inclined towards the art of deconstruction and cycnism.  We tend to criticize and often harp on the negatives.  The government can do no right. If you’re a christian, we’re often called “enlightened evangelicals” – people that have seen the light and thus, capable and enlightened to be self-proclaimed prophets against the horrible, evil, corrupt, and hypocritical regime of the United States.We tend to say that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

Really? 

Do you really believe that?  I don’t.  How about “some dissent is one form of patriotism?”  That’s what I believe.

Ok. I get it.  And I share the beliefs that for a country that has been given so much, we have fallen short.  I know the United States isn’t perfect.  There are things of the past and present that I do not understand; Stuff that embarrasses and angers me.  The perception of the USA around the world is in shambles.  Next week, I’ll share a little bit about the daily demontrations and [peaceful] protests that are going on in Korea because of the Beef Crisis.  Trust me…it’s more than the beef.  And maybe I’m inclined to share this post because I know next week’s post may be a little bit more “critical.”

So, while I’m sure it would attract more comments if the topic was entitled “reasons why you are embarrassed about the United States,” can you take a few moments to share your “reasons why you love and appreciate the United States?”

Why?  Because whether you agree with it or not,  the United States is an amazing nation.

Filed under: politics, religion, ,

24 Responses

  1. The thing I love about the United States is that everyone here has either left their home and bravely traveled to a new land, is a recent descendant of someone who has, or is a native who, against all odds, has endured a crushing and ceaseless invasion of foreigners.

    There’s a deep well of courage here.

    • Jared smith says:

      Um you seem to forget native Americans. Not everyone is a recent descendent of an immigrant my ancestors came here on the mayflower and other ships from England before the American revolution. They fought in that war to create this nation.

  2. Christine says:

    I’m grateful for the freedoms I have here as a woman. What a relief to be able to drive, work, walk in my neighborhood, and sit alone in public without ridicule. I wouldn’t say we’ve achieved total gender equality, but I do appreciate how Americans before me have lobbied and fought for the freedoms I now enjoy.

  3. Tyler says:

    i love that if for some reason my taxes don’t get paid that I cannot be abused in any way.

  4. Jaime says:

    Freedom of Religion!

  5. Randall says:

    I agree with Jaime…

    Actually, I think one of the things that makes America great is the First Amendment in general – freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech.

    The Second Amendment…not so much…although I’m not for a complete ban on guns. Regulation AND enforcement is the way, IMHO.

  6. iRise says:

    I’m not from the United States, but I went to school there… and will be going back to school there within the next month. It’s very different from home (Kuwait)…

    I think the greatest thing about American’s is how friendly they are. I could be walking down the street, or sitting at a coffee shop, and 5…10…15 strangers will say hello, with a smile. You don’t really see this anywhere else in the world (except for Canada maybe)…

    And although the rules can be a little overwhelming at times, you can always, without a doubt, depend on order. Order in the streets (driving anywhere else in the world is INSANITY)…. order in the super markets…. order at an American Football game…

  7. I love the optimism…it’s good soil to plant hope.

  8. emjay says:

    America is a nation built upon ideas–pretty dang good ideas!–and upon the rule of law. Our identity stems not primarily from a shared ethnic heritage but from our commitment to the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. (At least, it’s supposed to!) Can any other nation say the same?

  9. Sue says:

    The fact that students aren’t forced to wear uniforms. 🙂

  10. Kris says:

    I love the opportunities available in this country, for men, women, people of color, etc.

  11. “Next week, I’ll share a little bit about the daily demontrations and [peaceful] protests that are going on in Korea because of the Beef Crisis. Trust me…it’s more than the beef. ”

    I am curious what else it is about?

  12. susamachar says:

    United States of America is the only country, which was founded on Christian Principles . The Founding Fathers of this country believed in God of the Bible and Bible was their guiding book.. I am proud of becoming one of the permanent residents. The country has given me opportunity to grow in my Christian faith and become blessing to others and to my country people. My prayer is that it would continue to hold Christian values and virtues even though there are many in this country who forgotten their history and trying to take this country in other directions. I would continue to remind the citizens and people who come here for good life and freedom, which no other country in this world offer, that they should study the faith of the founding fathers and respect it.

  13. janowen says:

    1) Freedom of Religion – we can gather openly to worship and our right to do so is protected.
    2) Freedom of Speech – we take it for granted that we can speak up and even criticize, we are so used to this right we simply take it for granted and are no longer thankful.
    3) Equality – not perfect in some places but we’re not martyred or killed if we’re different. Again, something we simply take for granted.
    4) Respect of Women and Children – I just read “True Grit” about the vital statistics of women’s issues around the world and it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever read. It was horrible. Thank God I am not treated as property, I have equal rights, I can get a job or live alone, I am not beaten or mutilated or sold into sex slavery and I was not killed for being a baby girl – and if someone did it would be against the law.
    5) Readily available healthcare, clean water, food etc. We’re not fighting typhoid epidemics or starvation.

    I realize many people in the US do not have as much as I do, but it is more normal here to be cared for than in other places that are still developing and in civil unrest and still plagued by patriarchial societal norms.

    There are so many more. Being an American is something I don’t take for granted. I am thankful, thankful, thankful for the liberty I can experience.

  14. Eugene,

    After reading all these comments, I gotta stick with the optimism thing.

    And by the way, you’ve been tagged.

    Grace and Peace,
    Raffi

  15. Jeff Lam says:

    howard zinn made the comment that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” as kind of an off-the-cuff remark, and it’s had some lasting power because it’s catchy and sensational. it also didn’t hurt that howard zinn said it.

    certainly, there are many ways to be patriotic and there isn’t much of a scientific process to ranking them. part of his intent was to point out that (particularly over the past 50 years of american history), the voice of dissent in american politics has been marginalized by being labeled “unpatriotic” or “unamerican.” he argues that if patriotism in america means to uphold the ideals of democracy and the country’s founding documents, then expressing dissent may actually be (as you pointed out) the most patriotic act a citizen can make.

    or in other words, there’s probably not much disagreement here over dissent.

    i love how america often serves as as a refuge for people around the world fleeing oppression and war. it’s amazing to meet recent immigrants from all over who were just running from foot soldiers months before.

  16. I love the tapestry of ethnicities and backgrounds that makes up the United States.

    I too appreciate the freedoms available to women.

    I’m glad I can go and vote for whomever I want, without being harassed or threatened.

    I’m thankful for freedom of the press.

    I’m thankful for freedom of religion.

    And, having visited India, I’m thankful for the general consensus that toilet paper is a good thing!!

  17. P.S. Thanks for keeping it positive. I’m prone to cynicism myself, and I always find your blog refreshing…even when you’re tackling tough issues.

  18. […] reasons to appreciate the united states of americaAs we mark the “birth” and independence of the United States, I’d like to ask a simple question: What are the reasons you love and appreciate the United States? I often find myself in the company of women and men that are more inclined … […]

  19. chad m says:

    as we sang “America the beautiful” in church on Sunday i couldn’t help but realize my internal tension. i love my freedom to worship; to think out loud; to vote; to have received a free education; etc. however, i don’t want to worship these things. i don’t want to sing about these things in church.

    i thank God for the privileges i have as a citizen of this country, but don’t feel i am privileged before God for living in this country. important difference.

  20. joel says:

    Chad,

    that’s a tough one. I’d have a hard time belonging to a community that felt it was appropriate to ‘worship’ the US in church.

    It’s weird, but the stuff people are writing strikes me as odd and at the crux of what the likes of Shane Claiborne are hitting at: we speak with far greater hope and adoration for the US than we do of the cross. We try not to take the US for granted and yet we rest on the grace of Jesus to sustain us as we fail to love our neighbors. I have a hard time expressing an appreciation for something that i feel compels many a christian to love a country over God. Sure, most of us will suggest otherwise, but our actions and our voices ostensibly tell a different tale.

    We are privileged, no doubt about it, but is our faith better for it, or worse?

  21. Melissa says:

    Political/governmental stability.

    I have been kicked out of a country because of regime change, and have traveled in countries which were poor but stable, and watched this year as Kenya burned. I am so thankful for the stability and order which we are able to maintain.

  22. Terra:) says:

    we have our veterans who serve and protect us…….:)

  23. David says:

    I love the United States of America .. Taken care of my family and I .. I love the comments
    God bless

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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