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American Evangelicals

Posted by Colby Kinser on

I recently heard a challenging thought:

American evangelicals are worried about prosperity. Many evangelicals overseas are worried about poverty.

These are broad generalizations, but when you look at the aggregate, it's far, far more true than we care to admit.

We are blessed with relative safety and prosperity. Whether or not we should have this much comfort is a different question, but the present facts are that we (American Christians) are the most comfortable generation of Christians in church history. The dominant thoughts of the culture are inescapable, and so we as a group think more about our prosperity than the poverty of others. There are glorious exceptions - but we're looking at the whole.

It's an uncomfortable realization. But it got me wondering how else might we make comparisons like this? Consider the following possibilities:

  • American evangelicals are worried about resources. Many evangelicals overseas are worried about rescue.
  • American evangelicals are worried about being the dominant group. Many evangelicals overseas are worried about the dominant group's actions.
  • American evangelicals are worried about retirement. Many evangelicals overseas are worried about renewal.
  • American evangelicals are worried about competition. Many evangelicals overseas are worried about community.
  • American evangelicals are worried about keepsakes. Many evangelicals overseas are worried about Kingdom.

We could go on.

This is not intended to make us feel guilty. Indeed, we could also make a list of comparisons where we look pretty good as a group. It's intended to give us world perspective, to put our Christian experience in the context of Christian experiences around the globe. Without inciting guilt, perhaps we are due for some changes in our perspective.

What would it be like to think like a Christian who lives in an underresourced, even persecuted context? How might the perspective of our brothers and sisters help us to think more in terms of God's Kingdom and less like the world that immediately surrounds us?

Tags: america, perspective, world

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