Ethnocentrism defined….


…America, that is.

That’s right, American people are the single most ethnocentric people in the world today. We may say that we don’t like the French because they are stuck on themselves but in reality there is no group of people more stuck on themselves than we are. Don’t get me wrong, America is a fantastic country. I’m thankful that I’m from here but I do not believe that America is “the best country in the world.” I’m at the point where I don’t know of any country that can say that. Sure, you might say that the US has wealth and freedom but let’s also remember that as a result of that we have rampant immorality, general disregard for the things of God and a horribly lethargic church. Sure other countries, like China and Cuba, may have tyranny and communism but they also have the fastest growing churches in the world today. We have pushed our culture and our way of life on so many countries for so long now that they’ve even begun to see themselves as 2nd class citizens unless they’re just like us. I am convinced that a God who relishes diversity must be disgusted when we strip that [i.e. diversity] from the world by imposing our way of life on others. Too many countries want to be like us and they have become so. They have horrible divorce rates, unfortunate abortion rates, blatant disregard for God, and the list could go on.

In this same vein I need to comment on my disdain for patriotic “worship services.” There may be nothing I despise more in evangelical churches than these services. First of all, the vast majority of the time we end up worshipping the country much more than God. I still remember sitting in a service in a large, conservative SBC church during a 4th of July service and watching as they concluded the choir special by raising a giant American flag and covering up the cross in the process. I literally felt my stomach turn over. Secondly, since when did our Sunday morning worship time become a pat on the back session for our military? Now, don’t get me wrong, I value their sacrifice for our freedom immensly. It’s tough growing up on military bases without appreciating our military. I do however, have a problem when we elevate this extremely secular institution at the expense of worship. If we are going to recognize anyone in an annual service why would it not be the persecuted church who are experiencing their martyrdom at a faster rate than ever before in history (and are also recognized as little as at any other time in history)? Or how about our pastors that serve for little pay and labor for long hours in order to honor God? Or what about our missionaries who serve fearlessly in dangerous places without the benefit of military personnel or weapons to protect them and occasionally forfeit their lives as a result?

Maybe we need to rethink our priorities?

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & (soon to be) Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainer Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

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