This week we read the prophet Amos. We have to begin by remembering that he was a prophet during the divided kingdom.
This is important because while he was from the southern kingdom, his prophecy was to the northern kingdom.
The reaction was as expected, how dare this outsider critique us?
As we approach the 4th of July perhaps this warns us there are healthy and unhealthy forms of patriotism. One of the unhealthy ones is the one that becomes defense of any critique from outside
Expressions like "you can't see the forest for the trees" remind us that sometimes we are too close or too attached to see a situation objectively.
As individuals we recognize that sometimes we need someone with objective distance. The same is true collectively. Sometimes we need an Amos someone from another "kingdom" to help us see our faults.
If we really love our nation we recognize it is imperfect and want it to be better.
We listen, we evaluate, and where needed we change.
Prophets by their nature tend to incite anger. And the closer they are to the truth the angrier it makes us.
Amos was nothing but a farmer. But he spoke the truth. Are we willing to hear the truth no matter what the source?