Americans want to save people from themselves. It is just in our natural character. Usually this means making them more like us whether they want to be more like us or not. This is infinitely more true when you look at the church in America, so concerned as we are with saving the savages around the world. Not from hell mind you but from being not American. After all, who wouldn't want to be an American?
So let me tell you about Saturday. We woke up Saturday morning to news of the earthquake in Nepal. With a child heading there soon on a mission trip, it was a jarring news story so we spent a lot of the morning watching the news, trying to get updates from the people we know in Kathmndu and prayer. It was a deeply troubling morning for us and those who were suffering, and especially the church ministering in that part of the world, were at the forefront of our minds.
Saturday night was a different matter. We went shopping and thanks to a fortuitous confluence of special offers and coupons we got an enormous haul of groceries that will last us a long time. Like a really long time. Anyway as we were checking out we were all pretty whiny. It was late, I was on my last nerve, it was taking way too long to check out. I was wallowing in self-pity while at the same time I was taking home several carts of staple foods that would have been quite literally life saving in the hands of my brothers in Kathmandu still reeling from aftershocks. My concern was getting it all put away at home.
What in the world is wrong with me?
I don't think I am especially unique in this regard, American Christians are just as impatient and entitled as the rest of the country, sometimes more so. We have no interest in suffering for the sake of the Gospel. We don't even want to be slightly inconvenienced while getting our supposedly superior religious fix on Sunday. I suspect that while the church in the much of the world welcomes our money to deal with issues on the ground, they are probably not as interested in importing our American form of culture and religion. We are like an especially irritating but rich cousin that dispenses unwanted advice at every family reunion on all sorts of topics and often we have no idea what we are talking about (but that doesn't stop us).
More and more I think that maybe we should stop using our money to send American missionaries to the heathen and unwashed overseas and instead spend that money to help missionaries from other countries come here to teach us a little humility.