Our country has always been known as the “melting pot” which “is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements ‘melting together’ into a harmonious whole with a common culture or vice versa… Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States.” 
I can recall my Grandparents on both my Father’s and Mother’s sides regaling us grandkids with a great multiplicity of stories centering around the difficulties and joys that they endured as they struggled to become “Americans” after immigrating from Italy and have the opportunity to live the “American Dream.” And while they always enjoyed many of the aspects of our Italian heritage, like family unity, a love for gardening and mouthwatering Italian cuisine, they let it be known that they were first and foremost proud Americans! I can still remember how proud my Grandpa was for his service with the US military in WWI and how he took great care and respect in flying the Stars and Stripes of our flag on the front porch on national holidays.
Over the last eight years though, the idea of America as being a “Melting Pot” has come under attack as the idea of “Identity Politics” where the ideals of maintaining one’s ethnic background, life-styles and even their culture’s laws in difference to American ways were espoused from the political party inhabiting the White House. This to me is like a Christian who knowingly or unknowingly continues to follow the old ways of the world after becoming a born again believer.
I sometimes find myself shaking my head as I see new immigrants coming to live in America, only to stay within the same circle of life that they had in their former country. What’s the use of wanting to come to America if you do not want to become an “American” and enjoy the structure, standard and advantages of life that makes America great? Likewise, as a Christian… why get saved and then not take advantage of all the blessings and benefits of being a child of the King? Isn’t that the whole idea of becoming a Christian… or is it just to escape a future eternal damnation while your life on this earth continues to be the pits?
Have you ever considered the question of “what defines who you are?” As American citizens my Grandparents took advantage of the possibilities that their new citizenship offered them. My Dad’s Father became a landscape gardener for the wealthy in San Francisco while my Mom’s Dad, along with two Jewish partners, owned a successful dress design and manufacturing business in New York City. (I was telling my cousin the other day that although I’ve only been to New York once when I was two and don’t remember a thing about the trip… that I always feel a tinge of home whenever I see one of the many cars out here with New York plates on them… just because of all the happy childhood stories our Mom’s would tell about growing up there!) My Grandparents made a point to leave behind the poverty of their youth and strived to become happy and productive members of society!
And that’s the way I want to live my Christian walk on this earth… don’t you? I don’t want to barely get along with the negative and selfish standards of this world, but to “Study earnestly to present myself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 MKJV-personalized) In praying to His Father, Jesus stated that “They (His followers – ie; you & me!) are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world.” (John 17:16 The Message)
So… let me ask you again? Who or what defines you… your lifestyle, your thoughts, your words, your actions and what you expect on a daily basis? My Grandparents didn’t live their lives in their adopted country according to what they left behind in the old country… but according to the possibilities and advantages of their new home. What will you do?
Have a great rest of this 4th of July week! And as you do, keep asking yourselves… “What or Who’s ways and words am I expecting to live my life by today?”
 United States. Bureau of the Census (1995). Celebrating our nation's diversity: a teaching supplement for grades K-12. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census. pp. 1–. Retrieved 27 November 2012.