This weekend has been one big celebration for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. On Sunday at St. Stephen’s Church in Shepherd’s Bush we sang “God Save the Queen” and had a BBQ after the service while watching the floating parade down the Thames. Yesterday, we gathered with our neighbors in the street to party and ended the evening in front of the TV watching the Jubilee concert. Today, a small group of us had a picnic in the park, playing football and bocce.
I’m feeling proudly British.
Then again, maybe it’s not so strange. This is the country that my family and I have lived in after moving to London from St. Louis in 2005. We now have permanent residency and are not planning to move to another country any time soon.
I speak with an American accent. I am culturally American in many ways but my internal cultural understanding is changing. After a recent three week trip to the US, I was ready to get back home to Great Britain. Not only to Josephine and the kids but to my normal life in London. This place called Great Britain is becoming home.
I’m still glad to be American but my love for Britain has grown over the years, in part, because I know my nationalistic identity is only my secondary identity. My first identity is with King Jesus. My cultural and nationalistic identity is second to my understanding that I am a child of the living God.
As my first identity has become move secure over the years, it has allowed me to understand and appreciate my secondary identity as a white, American middle-class man who is slowly becoming culturally British. I was born in the state of Missouri to parents who are very rooted in America – nothing will ever change that. But that heritage does not give me ultimate meaning and self worth. I can therefore grow to love other cultures and even let them change me.
I will celebrate the Queen and continue to hold my American passport. But there is only one true King and that King has my first allegiance.