Underdogs Don’t Win. Individuals Are Crushed.

Reflections on Ministry in Poland

911090_statue_of_liberty.jpgMaybe a year and a half in Poland has left me somewhat nostalgic, but I love America, I miss America. As we learn the language and observe this culture so foreign to our own, we often catch ourselves comparing the two. One culture is home, and the other, well … it’s growing on us. We can observe many similarities, but a few stark differences exist.

The longer I’m away from home, the more I see “American Individualism” emanating from across the Atlantic. We Americans love stories about people who overcome all odds. We root for the underdog. Whether it’s pilgrims surviving the first winter or sending the world’s great superpower back across the pond with its “tail between its legs” or a handful of men holding off Santa Anna’s army allowing Sam Houston to rally the troop, stories of one man or a handful of people making a difference are forever ingrained in our folklore. It’s why Sylvester Stallone made six Rocky films, and it’s why Jack Bauer of 24 has saved the country from certain destruction something like five times with yet another adventure planned for this fall. Though we know the outcome, we can’t avert our eyes.

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A Short History of American Exceptionalism in Letters and Speeches

Note: This article was originally published at SI on July 4, 2006.
Stainless Steel
American Exceptionalism is a concept that has been long debated, but by and large only men who have believed in such a concept have received the vote of their fellow countrymen to be their leader. Below are documents that proclaim the “exceptional” experience that is America. Anyone who has never read all of these documents is poorer by far, but those who have read them and thought on them are greatly enriched. It is these documents that have brought millions to our shores, “yearning to be free.” I encourage you to read them and to enjoy your heritage of freedom. These quotes are adapted from Jonathan Foreman’s book The Pocket Book of Patriotism.

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