Originally published on the Forge Scotland blog.

Scotland is in the throes of massive campaigns as we head towards the independence referendum in September 2014. Some reports suggest that a positive result could lead to independence as early as March 20161. As St Andrews Day (patron saint of Scotland) came and went last weekend, I paused to wonder again about the nature of national pride.

Some of the guys from Forge here in Scotland went over the Sentralized conference run by Forge International in Kansas City back in September. One of the speakers there, Lance Ford, spent some time talking about patriotism vs nationalism2. I think we tend to look down our noses at the extent of American national pride - we’re much too canny (read: cynical) to think too much of ourselves. And yet there is a pride in being Scottish.

I don’t want to get caught up in discussions of a Christian response to the independence referendum; I, like others before me, bemoan the tangled web that is religion and politics in the US and don’t want to suggest that there can be one definitive “Christian” way to vote on such a matter. I do, however, want us to consider our position when it comes to our nation, and our national identity.

As I was pondering all this, I wrote a poem. Not something I normally do, so I hope I don’t offend the more literary-minded of you. Here it is:

As an Englishman in Scotland,
I was forced to embrace an identity I had never owned.
As an Englishman married to a Scotswoman,
I entered a tenuous mixed-race armistice.
As an English father to Scottish children,
They love their Daddy, but are taught to hate his nation
As an Englishman in Scotland for over half his life,
I would leave that which I never owned,
But could not take that which scorns my birthright.

As a Christian who will walk the lochs and hills,
Until the day he dies, or is called away,
I am neither English nor Scottish,
But an ambassador for another,
Citizen of a Kingdom far greater,
For there is neither Scot nor Angle,
For he who is in Christ Jesus.

As we seek to culturally engage with people for the sake of the Kingdom, as we rightfully endeavour to translate the eternal truth of the gospel into the language of the people, let us make sure that the only culture we conform to is the culture of Heaven.

  1. “Proposed date for Scottish independence named” 

  2. You can see a brief snippet of this session here 

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