I enjoyed watching The Avengers recently at the movie theater. I loved how the Marvel Studios’ superheroes avenged the forces of evil from beyond this world, and how the globe was delivered from harm. Captain America was certainly one of the more subdued characters in the film. He’s a selfless superhero, quite a contrast to Iron Man’s Tony Stark. Steve Rogers as Captain America is a throwback to an earlier time in America’s history, a veteran of WWII. It’s hard to find such throwbacks today. But they are around us. I meet military people, for example, whose commitment to their country’s ideals far outweighs their sense of self-importance. So refreshing. On the Fourth of July, those of us who are Americans celebrate this country’s independence, and remember the courage of those whose ideals of freedom for the people and emerging society whom they served led them to put themselves in harm’s way.
I hate to recall on such a hallowed occasion that we have not always championed our country’s ideals of freedom. Thomas Jefferson and others were known for keeping slaves. Some people were and are certainly more free than others. As a Native American friend of mine said, “The reason why they call it the land of the free is because they never paid us for it.” The reservation system still exists, and it causes me to be rather reserved as I celebrate our country’s freedom today.
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths. This volume can be found wherever fine books are sold.