Independence Day is definitely one of my favorite holidays! Together as a nation, we remember the heroic beginnings of our nation when “the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” We gather as families to remember, rejoice, and just have fun.
But as a believer and follower of Christ, my deepest allegiance is not to my nation, but to the God in whom we trust as a nation; the God whose principles on which this nation was founded and still stands. And I not only celebrate our independence, but also our interdependence with other followers of Christ from many nations the world over.
It is an exciting time to be a Christ-follower and to partner with other Christians from Africa, Asia, and even the tumultuous Middle East in reaching out with the love of our Savior to those who are lost and hurting. Our generation is experiencing growth in Christ’s global Kingdom at lightning speed due to the cyberspace technology we enjoy.
My co-writer, Jackie Hilliard, has observed that believers from other nations model a faith that is both winsome and contagious: “As I have been learning more about believers from other worldviews and cultures, the one aspect that I have grown to admire is that they live, breathe, move, act, and speak their beliefs every moment of their lives.”
I am eager to learn from our sisters and brothers who live, breathe, move, act, and speak about the Lord Jesus Christ in every possible moment, displaying an allegiance that strengthens every nation -- including the United States, "land of the free and home of the brave."
Worldview Exposure: Christian U.S. Worldview
By Jackie Hilliard
In beginning our series on Worldview Exposure, and in light of July 4th, what better place to start than our own Christian U.S. worldview? Please allow me to explain two things before we begin. First, we say “our own” Christian U.S. worldview because the majority of our blog readers and participants are from this worldview (but we would love to hear from our international partners on this subject). And second, we say “Christian U.S. worldview” because, like it or not, 76% of Americans self-identify as Christian1 and the majority of the world sees us as a Christian nation.
In this series, our goal is to seek God’s truth, to let Him expose the darkness of our worldviews, and to let His light in – to free us and to heal us.
Let’s think about our “culturally developed set of assumptions/values” in Christian America and how these values may be affecting our development. Whether it’s due to an attempt to make Christianity “more appealing” to the masses or due to an attempt to break out of the “religious rituals” of our ancestors, we have entered into a post-modern or post-Christian era in the U.S. Some call it “homogenized Christianity” where the particles of our Christian beliefs are broken down so small that they blend right into our culture. Others call it “compartmentalization” where we carefully segregate each aspect of our lives – work, friends, family, church – and it’s important, even responsible, to make sure that these parts do not intersect or overlap. As character George Costanza on Seinfeld once put it, “Worlds are colliding, Jerry,” when “relationship George” mixed with “friend George.” But how is this hurting us? Is it possible that we are lacking developmentally somehow because “church Jackie” refuses to mingle with “friend Jackie”?
Many commentaries on the book of Revelation compare the Church in Laodicea2 with the U.S. Church, saying that we are “neither cold nor hot,” but rather lukewarm in our faith. What causes us to be lukewarm? Compromise. We, like the Laodiceans, have developed a brand of Christianity that allows us to live in relationship with Jesus in our private, church realm and then live the values of our world in the public, secular realm.3
I recently read a blog post by Gloria Furma, who is living with her husband in Dubai where they are working with a church plant. In her story about her hesitation in sharing Jesus with the women in Dubai, her friend told her, “They wear their religion on their sleeves. They expect that you do, too.”4 As I have been learning more about believers from other worldviews and cultures, the one aspect that I have grown to admire is that they live, breathe, move, act, and speak their beliefs every moment of their lives. And for us, who know a Lord who pursues us, loves us, desires for us to seek Him, and promises “you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart”5, how much more could we develop our relationship with God and with each other if we, too, wore our religion on our sleeves? Please join our conversation by adding your thoughts, questions, and comments below.
1Kosmin, Barry A. and Keysar, Ariela. American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS 2009). Copyright ISSSC 2009.
3Johnson, Darrell W., Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through the Book of Revelation. 2004. Regent College Publishing. p. 121
4Furman, Gloria. “Tell Me That Story Again: Talking About Jesus in Dubai.” www.redeemercitytocity.com/blog/view.jsp?Blog_param=430