Monday, January 31, 2011

just for the record...

I'm not into self-loathing or hatred for my country or culture. And I'm not having tantrums.

I have a huge amount of affection for Australia. I like to live here. I've never lived anywhere else, nor do I intend to (till I'm part of the new creation. Then I intend to visit the new-creation-Australia of which this Australia is only a copy). I work to make Australia a better place. I vote carefully. I pray for our leaders. I long to see Australian people converted.

Not sure what I've done wrong. Not sure how I'm hampering the evangelistic effort by finding the whole Australia day thing tacky, a little concerning and a bit inappropriate on Jan 26. 


  1. Well, I was wondering if I was phrasing things too strongly, I guess that answers that. My apologies, Simone, not sure if I'd say that you're doing something 'wrong' as such.

    But if you're asking why I (and a couple of others) seem to have reacted negatively, you started by rejecting patriotism outright as wrong, and from there it's been hard to see anything unqualifiedly positive you've had to say about Australia, except for apologising. It doesn't come across as someone whose criticisms are motivated by love.

    Seeing patriotism as inherently bad is itself part of the problem in my view - especially playing love for one's country off against love for humanity. Providence gives us concrete people to love, people we don't choose - family, neighbours, fellow citizens. 'Love' is directed to people primarily. Love of 'humanity' is almost worthless - show me someone who loves the actual people they encounter, and they'll likely be the person who loves the stranger and alien when they encounter them as well. So rejecting love of one's country in order to promote love of humanity (as one of your points in your original post did) is, to my mind, like rejecting love of one's family in order to promote love of humanity. That would apply whatever the 'transfamily' social structure was we worked with - tribe, clan, city-state, etc. Love the people, in the way they are socially structured, you find yourself with, and you're on your way to love others as well.

    There is a big, strong, tradition in Western intellectual history to reject and feel guilty over its own past as a way of differentiating itself from what's gone before. And it is a form of self-hatred. I'm not advocating an uncritical love of one's country, but I think we have to very, very clearly differentiate ourselves from that other tradition as well.

  2. I don't think you've done anything wrong, Simone, but I think Andrew's original post was deliberately provocative and has thus provoked quite a strong response! I'm having a great time! Having said that, one thing I don't like about this kind of blog conversation is that it does encourage people to drop in, make fairly inflammatory comments and then exit the conversation entirely. Which I (having undoubtedly been guilty of in the past) think is unhelpful for good, sustained discussion.