My American Arrogance

Three weeks ago I was in a small group discussion at a local coffee/bakery shop regarding the progression & effectiveness of the church in the midst of cultural trends.  As there were a dozen people clumped around several tables, one of our friends had brought with him a church leader from Eastern Europe who could understand very little English.

As I reflected back on this incident, I realized I was saddened that he could not understand English and take part in our discussion.  However, as I analyzed deeper, I realized that I was disheartened solely because he couldn’t hear the “enlightened” thoughts we had to say about church effectiveness, instead of me understanding what he had to say.  At the core of my heart, I assumed he had nothing to offer since he wasn’t American.

It’s interesting how we as Americans, and the American Christian church are so programmed to see our egocentric selves as the headquarters of all that is progressive and “right.”  But today’s American church must soon come to grips with that fact that we are no longer the trendsetters of effective church ministry.

In a world where 50% of South Koreans are Christian, and by 2040 30% of the population of China will be Christian, we must be prepared for tomorrow’s “typical” Christian to have a different face, language, and culture.  In all likelihood, we will find Christianity primarily being an “Asian thing” (Kelly, 2010), with the American church sitting on the sidelines admiring their “kingdom building.”

Are we American Christians truly open and receptive to the wisdom and knowledge from our overseas brothers and sisters?  Are we prepared to see Christianity take on new and radical cultural methods while still remaining integral to the core foundations?  How will we react when an Ethiopian missionary buys a home in our neighborhood to start a church?


~ by Dave Smith on April 8, 2010.

2 Responses to “My American Arrogance”

  1. Awesome thoughts there. I’m so guilty. I wonder how American Christians – who seem to view our democratic form of government as a natural expression of our faith – will deal with Chinese Christians living godly and contented lives under a communist regime?

  2. Wow. I didn’t even think of that. I guess some would say communism in its truest form best resembles Acts 2?

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