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“AIN’T DUTCH, AIN’T MUCH” – July 18

July 18, 2013

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, …” Ephesians 2:19

NETHERLANDS HOLLAND

NETHERLANDS HOLLAND (Photo credit: LachieB1)

I have never been around more Dutch people than in the Church of my youth.  It was generally know as the “Dutch Church” while there was actually only one family from the Netherlands.  The vast majority of the other members had been born and raised in the United States.  However, many could claim a Dutch ancestry but their motherland dead-ended in Minnesota.  They knew very little of the actual Netherlands much beyond windmills, tulips, and canals.

However, that did not prevent a very real ethnic identity within that Church.

Netherlands

Netherlands (Photo credit: Vicki Devine)

There was distinct passion and pride for all things Dutch.  Most members’ homes contained some knick-knack, trinket, or lawn ornament paying homage to Holland.  I remember one family friend who wore a baseball cap emblazoned with “If You Ain’t Dutch?, You Ain’t Much!”.   Many in this small community held that opinion and those outside felt its sting.

Christus in the storm on the lake; Rembrandt (...

It was a bit ironic how fiercely loyal they could be to a heritage which was more American than Dutch.  Most had no idea of the providence in the Netherlands, from which their ancestors migrated; that there actually are providences; that there is no country called Holland; that the Kingdom of the Netherland extends to the Caribbean; that Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh were Dutch painters; that the war of the United States of Independence was significantly financed by the merchants of Holland.  They do not know anything of the politics, geography, or culture of their heritage but they sure were proud of it.

I don’t think that my experience was unique.  Every major city has ethnic neighborhoods.  There is little, Saigon, Pakistan, Italy, Moscow, Manila, and Poland, just to name a few.  There is Chinatown, Germantown, Koreatown, Japantown, and Frenchville.  All are areas with a very distinct ethnic identity; an identity for a place that is not the inhabitants’ current home.

I realize that there can be a lot of negatives associated with these communities.  However, there is one aspect that I like:

The zeal for a place that most in the community have never known.

The Apostle Paul writes that all who are in Christ are citizens of the Kingdom of God.  Now, there is a reason for some zeal.  The Kingdom of God is better than any kingdom of this earth; being a child of God is better than being a member of any nationality.  Fierce loyalty is an appropriate response of someone who has been adopted as a fellow heir with Christ.

I should be zealous for this place that I have never been.

The good news is that this place of my hope and zeal is not exclusive.  My heritage is Dutch.  My son and daughter are Korean.  They can never be Dutch.  I can never be Korean.  Yet, the origins of our pasts do not prevent us from being fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.  The community of God does not have barriers of discrimination or superiority.  God’s kingdom is open to all who will come to him regardless of race, gender, or nationality.

That should get us passionate about who we have become in Christ.

How can any of us “ho-hum” this place of our hope?

How can any follower of Christ prefer the world more than the place of our new citizenship?

We should be fired up about who we are in Christ!

While it is silly to think that if you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much, it is true that if you ain’t got Christ, you ain’t got anything.  We should want others to be like us because it is better to have eternal life.

Our zeal for the Lord should fire us up to boldly proclaim our true citizenship and call the world to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Lord, you have given me a heritage that is far better than anything this world has to offer.  Father, thank you for adopting me into your family.  Thank you for giving me an inheritance and a hope.  Thank you for saving me.  Lord, may my zeal for You be seen.  My hope in you be evident in all that I do.  Help me to boldly proclaim the free gift of citizenship that You are offering to all people.  May your name be praised and glorified.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Fun and Informative Video on the Netherlands:  Holland vs the Netherlands

8 comments

  1. May we avoid making cliquish “ghetto” instead of building the Kingdom of God! BTW, I love Dutch Reformed theology, and have benefited much immensely


  2. A prayer for us, in a troubled time. For the Church to connect with different countries is a powerful privilege. I love the Rembrandt painting of the storm. The scripture … in Mark? … is one of the greatest stories ever told … my opinion, of course. Keep writing. T


  3. good read….I can relate to your words as my wife is from Germany…..


  4. Reblogged this on "Scattershooting" and commented:
    Great blog that addresses a Christian’s true citiizenship.


  5. Great comments that can be expanded to pride in any nation. As Christians our residency is in a nation but our citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven.


  6. Thank you, JD, for this “cheerleading” piece that gets us excited about our citizenship in heaven. I join you in praying: May my hope in God be evident in all that I do; may I boldly proclaim the free gift of citizenship He offers!


  7. What a good reminder. Christ was not a bigot, and we should not be either! Great post.


  8. Good one! Love the title. It sounds like something my dad would say! 🙂 How have you been anyway?



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