11.17.2005

World Christians

Although we (Christians living in America) can boast of having freedom to express our faith, I wonder how much we have become bound by the American version of Christianity that is prone to be self-centered, consummerist, nationalistic, shallow, and lazy? I am afraid that our American freedoms have lulled us into being unconcerned, complacent, compromising Christians. Very rarely do we experience the persecutions that many of our non-American sisters and brothers face on a daily basis, yet their faith seems bolder and stronger. I have to admit that I do not want to suffer, but maybe we need a little more suffering and persecution in America so that we will wake up from our comfortable slumber. I am afraid that we have come to expect that we each deserve peace and prosperity; rather, we must remember these words: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you as though something stange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:12,13). Christ died for us. Many people die for Christ each day. Can we not at least live boldly for him? In his book Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller confesses:
If I live what I believe, then I don't live very many noble things. My life
testifies that the first thing I believe is that I am the most important person
in the world. My life testifies to this because I care more about my food and
shelter and happiness than about anybody else.
Sadly, I think that most of us are self-centered. We care more about safety/shelter/etc. than we care about Christ.
Also, "American Christianity" has led too many people to take more pride in being American than being Christian. One of my favorite chapters from D.A. Carson's book, The Cross and Christian Ministry, is called "The Cross and the World Christian." In the chapter Carson writes:
[Christians] can be caught up in flag-waving nationalism that puts the interests of my nation or my class or my race or my tribe or my heritage above the demands of the kingdom of God. Instead of feeling that their most important citizenship is in heaven, and that they are just passing through down here on their way "home" to the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22-23), they become embroiled with petty priorities that constitute an implicit denial of the lordship of Christ. What we need, then, are world Christians--not simply American Christians or British Christians or Kenyan Christians, but world Christians"
I pray that a day will come when we will no longer hail our loudest allegiance to America; rather, let us lay down our American "badges," and proclaim that our allegiance is to Christ and His kingdom!

2 comments:

Travis said...

Good stuff man. I've been thinking lately about ours or any culture's impact on the individual human, and how we are just so sumberged in it, how pervasive it is on our thoughts and values. It's always there with an answer, but is it the right one? We act like it is too often.

BlindBeggar said...

I almost wish we would see a little more "persecution" here in America. I think it would do wonders for our commitment. When you talk to many Chinese Christians, then don’t ask that you pray for the persecution to be lifted, they ask that you pray that they will have stronger backs. They understand the value of hard times.