Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Allegiance seems misunderstood

Sorry that it's been over a year since my last blog post. I plan to get back into it starting now.

Last week I made a post on my band's Facebook site to spread the word about a startup orphanage I had visited during my last stay in Ethiopia. Surprisingly, that post caused some controversy because there are a number of people who feel I should instead be putting my efforts into helping my own country. I can only assume these comments come from people who pledge their allegiance solely to America. I've said and done a lot of stupid things in my life before I fully understood an issue, so I'd like to give those who made these ignorant comments on my Facebook post the benefit of the doubt while doing my best to shed some light upon this topic.


While some believe there may be some reasonable grounds to justify pledging allegiance to one's country, I also think that those willing to pledge allegiance to the USA can only seriously do so if they're also allowed to pledge allegiance to their families and friends. There is not a magical line in the earth somewhere that says our allegiance must solely remain on the grounds to which we were born. Additionally, I know very few people who do not have at least one distant family member of friend from another country. I'm not trying to get into a new topic, but doesn't that logically necessitate questioning which demands the greatest allegiance between family, friends, and country.

I personally pledge allegiance to no one. Though, this does not mean that I don't have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for my country. For most people with any type of religious belief, the lines of family and empire are blurred. Specifically for me as a Christian, I believe God desires for all of the world to be in his family, and those in his family belong to God's kingdom before any man made empire. For those who disagree with the very concept of God, it still becomes difficult to close out one human being from basic aid or human affection because the reality is that we are 99.99% the same people on a genetic level even for those not in our biological families.

I want to help all Americans suffering oppression. I want to help all Ethiopian children lonely and starving in devastating poverty because their parents died from common preventable diseases. More than either of these things, I want to help ANYONE ANYWHERE that I can while knowing that the time and resources I've been given will responsibly be put to use. Naturally, we're most capable of helping those whom we've come into contact with. As of this moment in time, what stands out to me is that I've come across a tremendous amount of need in the area where my son comes from in Ethiopia. I'm sure there is equally as great of a need in other places, but at this point in time I am responsible for what I know is certain. I have yet to across these places in the USA with a similar urgent need and I'm not sure if ever will unless one of you out there takes my hand and guides me into the hidden or forgotten parts of our country. In my last post I was simply trying to make the point that there is at least one location I can recommend to anyone that I know with full confidence their money will be responsibly put to excellent use. There are plenty of charity scams out there, so if you've personally visited a similar place and know for certain where the money is going, then you should be spreading the word about that place instead of going out of your way to tell fans of As I Lay Dying that they should be helping their own country without given them even the vaguest direction.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally, although I don't believe in 'a god' of any kind, what you said does hold value. In the interest of not sounding treasonous, I think I can safely say that other than people in One's own circle of family and friends-- the only other people I can bring myself to care about helping are those who're in other countries where certain freedoms and rights are taken away. I for one am very curious to see if, by the time I am ready to die (hopefully of old age), I will be able to see a world which is under one form of government, no religious connection to that government and a universal money system; while still allowing for the freedoms of speech, religion, and so on (minus the right to bear arms, guns are unnecessary).

Anthony said...

Said oh so perfectly tim.

Jason said...

Great post. I think sometime we Christians lose sight of the world because of our loyalties to our own country. While I am all for patriotism, duty to Christ and his kingdom comes first. Patriotism, or any other ism, before Christ is idolatry.

Anonymous said...

Tim thank you so much for posting this. You are a good human being, and your message is clear, well stated, honest, and true. I have been a long time fan of the band, but can honestly say that never before have I had such a high level of respect for you guys, and especially for you personally.

Jon said...

To the first anonymous poster:

What you have idealized will likely happen in your lifetime, but there will not be any freedom of religion.

Mike said...

well said Tim. I don't believe in any particular religion, to each their own as i say. its sad in our world today when so many people struggle in other places of the world, dont have food, medicine, anything for that matter, other than the desire to live a better life. im so sick of people nowadays seeing life only inside the borders of their country. as you pointed out we are all 99.99% the same genetic makeup, which means shouldn't we all aspire to help those in need? everybody nowadays is so concerned with material wealth and things that you dont take with you in the afterlife. people need to start thinking about the worlds population and overall wellness cause if we dont help all those poeple over there, more and more disease and unneccesary deaths will occur. not to mention its just the right thing to do. Much respect to you Tim, as well as the band. Any time you can put the word out on good places is a very charitable act. keep up the great work professionally and personally \m/ \m/
\*.*/
||
/\

Matt said...

Dont let go of your beliefs Tim, i appreciate them, I appreciate your band, and I appreciate those values we share. I agree with your post whole-heartedly.

Thanks-Matt

Ben K said...

Anybody who would complain about that is a terrible person. Just tell me who it is, Tim and I'll punch 'em in the face. Unless they're zombies, then I'll stab them in the brain with a wooden stick.

JanineD said...

Tim, thank you for posting this!! everyone everywhere is our family and we need to help them.

I cant think of any where more deserving than this orphanage... We are so blessed in this country, that we have a terrible misunderstanding of what poverty really is. These poor children are living in it.

God bless you

Elijah said...

whoever this was to got owned by a smart christian:-) i strongly agree with tim, i read your little bio thing, i am also a boston terrier lover...i have one named pebbles, she was named by an angel and she has 3 dots on the top of her head...its amazing hot much energy those little dogs have

Anonymous said...

This world is still to primitive(as a whole) to able to acheive such a thing..a human being at its core is a selfish being when it comes down to it..i myself have found it a little easier to grasp the concept of helping another country because ive fought for another country and the lives that have faith in our abilities to give them a better way of living.

Then again our country is slowly dying because we do so much for the rest of the world..so that being said i feel for the people and countries in this world that cant afford a better way of living, but i think we need to help our country first and and help others later.The world aspires to help its self, because i gaurentee most others in a differant country would still help themselves before they helped one of us..

Anonymous said...

If there was really a God? Would he put us all through what we're currently going trough?

inb4 it's a test

I don't think a "God" would put us through any sort of test where the whole world would suffer just to be able to realise what we're doing to the Earth.

Anonymous said...

God doesn't kill people. People kill people.

To even be under the impression that the state of the world is some sort of "test" is absurd and simply bad theology. God is the epitome of Love. The reason for the state of the world is their blatant disregard for Him. Above all things God gave to man, perhaps the most heartbreaking is free will. He doesn't want a race of robots who can only serve Him, He desires a people who CHOOSE a relationship with Him. You obviously don't. Check this out, it was written thousands of years ago, and God still hasn't been taken up on it:

"If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:13,14 [Holy Bible]

Roy said...

I, personally, love being an American. We have all benefited from being Americans (freedom or religion, speech, etc.). One of the greatest benefits we have is the freedom of CHOICE! That basic freedom allows someone like Tim to choose where he wants to use his time and energy. By saying that Tim isn't somehow using his time or money or whatever in the "right way" is, in itself, un-American... You taking away one of his basic human (and American for that matter) rights... So its a mute point... By helping people in need Tim is showing the rest of the world why America is the greatest country in the world... In the end it's Tim's choice how he wants to do things and how dare someone give him a hard time for that... Just ask yourself as your getting ready to type some half hearted response, when was the last time you did anything for some poor person in America much less Africa... It's easy to call shots from the sidelines... If you think Tim should have sent money to some kid in Detroit, YOU SEND DOUBLE! That should make you feel better...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
If there was really a God? Would he put us all through what we're currently going trough?

inb4 it's a test

I don't think a "God" would put us through any sort of test where the whole world would suffer just to be able to realise what we're doing to the Earth."

Its not God that is "doing" or "allowing" these things to happen its the punishment of sin that causes all of those things. (famine, death, you name it)

Anonymous said...

Ryan P. Landry

I think your efforts to help those in need are tremendously selfless. Right on man! If you ask God to guide you by His Spirit, then you will be led by His Hand to the places in America where there is a dire need for your assistance. But that is only if you are able to do so. You are only one person Tim, and the leaders of this world(in my opinion) I feel are more obligated to help those in need. I think if we had anybody to point a finger at, besides ourselves, one name comes to mind. . . Bilderburg. But that's a whole other issue entirely. God Bless Tim.

Emre said...

Tim you really are a good man.

Franklin Wallace said...

Tim, it bothers me that there are people in this world who do not understand the concept of people, in the world as a family. As i lay dying is solely my favourite band only because the lyrics you write are very true and so inspiring which pushe me and many more to do what they do, and i thank you for putting it in such a way that almost nothing more can be said or added to it. :)

-Franklin Wallace

derliebewolf said...

Well put, thanks man!

Keep up the good work and be blessed!

John California said...

Hey Tim thank you for your post and using your status as a well known artist to bring awareness to the cause of the weak who don't have enough of a voice in our day. I have so much to say about your blog, your statement is right on man. I feel like you laid it out really well, crap... when writing to such a broad spectrum of readers, or in your case listeners it must be hard to know what to say that will not piss somebody off. Claiming to be a Christian nowadays is so hard because of so many connotations, but im with you as a fellow Christian. Crap I really am writing too much so I'll just say one thing. I don't know what sort of structure man can devise, no matter how big or how efficient, that can ever change the way things are; I see many good attributes and bad ones but none are perfect. So I look to a heavenly structure in which God intended man to play a very important role in, the main rule of this kingdom is love your neighbor. I guess I'll leave it up to the reader to determine what that means.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim , Can you please say what are you studying in College ???

danny said...

We in America are tremendously blessed to not have the struggles and diseases that are lurking in areas such as Ethiopia. I understand that there is suffering in America but I think compared to a place that suffers from thousands of deaths in starvation, children with no parents living in overcrowded orphanages, and dying from diseases that can quickly be prevented by shots that we so greatly take for granted, i would say they have a greater need. My wife will be going to Africa and the Ethiopian area soon because she has a heart for the least of these. It is her calling and ministry and to simply deny aid to people who need it much more than we do simply because we are American and want to only help Americans is simply ignorant.

Anna said...

I love that there are still people left who care to help where they can.

Tim if you are looking for issues in the U.S. look at:

http://sharedhope.org
polarisproject.org
notforsalecampaign.org

Child sex slavery is a semi well hidden but raging issue in our own back yards... it's despicable and heart wrenching...

Anonymous said...

Tim- I think it's amazing what you're doing. To open up your heart and your family up to children that need nothing more than love. I'm a huge fan, and I got to meet you a couple times and your son once. Let me tell you, he was the cutest thing I have EVER seen!!! He's perfect. God bless you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Some people here thing that this is about christian or no-christian.

Im a christian, but i dont like when people change the conversation to a atheist or christian topic. SHIT!! this is about doing something for people who need help! We can overcome if only whe stop figthing our believes, christian or atheist please lets do something for the orphans

God Bless all

Oliver

Anonymous said...

First, I want to say that I believe that all children are just children. Borders of countries are just lines drawn by governments. They don't mean anything to children that are suffering and need help.
Second, I wanted to comment about the poverty that children here in America face, poverty that you might not know about since it is overlooked and covered up. America has some of the poorest places of any developed country in the world. These places include rural western West Virginia, southern Texas along parts of the boarder with Mexico, and parts of North Dakota. In these places, large numbers of people live without access to running/clean water or health care of any type. Children may only eat once a day, if that. In addition to this, there are urban areas with children and families living in horrible conditions. In the book Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscious of a Nation by Jonathon Kozol, the author describes children who must live through extreme violence, housing that is dangerous, and hospitals where people die waiting for days in the emergency room. I'm not sharing this to say that these children are more or less in need or worthy than any other children, just to say that these situations are closer than we would like to believe.

Tom Geswein said...

My wife and I adopted a boy from Ethiopia in June - our trip to Addis was life changing! The lady we stayed with has a feeding program near Addis - seeing the way people live there is very eye-opening. "Beyond Our Suffering" has a very personal message for me after staying there for a week to pick up our son. God bless you for having a heart for the broken... I will be praying for you and your family.