In the outstanding PBS documentary series “God in America,” researchers provide compelling evidence to suggest that the United States was founded in large part on the concept of a national “contract with God.” That is, the underlying belief that we as a nation were called out by God to form a “more perfect union,” a union founded on certain commitments we would make to God, and as long as we held to those agreements, God’s blessing and favor would always remain on us.
The researchers go on to suggest that our national belief in that contract remains strong even today, in spite of the country’s ever-increasing secularization. It’s a fascinating exploration of our national story, one that I encourage every American to watch (regardless of your belief system). I especially recommend it to Christian faith leaders, as I think it provides great insight into the national narrative of the United States (i.e. who we tell ourselves we are), and how that works both for and against the work of God’s Spirit among us.
But nations aren’t the only ones to believe they have a contract with God. Most individuals I know do as well. It’s subtle, and we don’t often look at it directly, but for almost all of us, the contract is there, buried deep in our psyche. And once we really see it, it quickly becomes clear that it runs almost everything we do.