I love America. The first time I travelled through was 1985. The church we planted in South Africa had just completed a 3 week fast [soup and fruit juice], when the leaders felt it would be good for us to come to the USA to get some new and fresh lenses for the next chapter in the community's evolution.
It was a very fun trip - from eating the biggest burgers I have ever seen, to tripping down the LA freeways in an old Cadillac, to doing the Disney thing, to meeting some of the most humble, sincere, Jesus loving people I have ever met. We simply never thought we would end up here.
I love America. She has enlarged me and my family. Her natural entrepreneurial juices keeps the economic energy pumping [even in these times of economic uncertainty]. There is a belief that we will ride out this downturn and emerge afresh from this wave.
I love America. She has served the nations of the world. She is often amongst the first to send in help to tsunami ravaged areas, earthquake torn nations and the poorest of the poor. [OK and been in wars she probably should not have been...]
But I am saying this because I do want to focus in on some of the weaknesses of the American church. There is much to applaud and it does come easy, but we cannot look in the mirror, see the zits and shadows then walk away and ignore.
I am aware that the word "curse" is a strong one. Can I use it in the broadest possible sense? I would like us to reflect on those things that is ensnaring the American church - putting her in bondage, limiting her true Spirit led power to advance the kingdom.
If there is a question I ask most often when I work with leaders and churches it is this: "How biblical do you want to be?" I know you are probably reading this saying "Chris are you serious, that is such an obvious question, why is it even asked?".
The answer lies in the fact that the limp of the church is that the leaders want "the shortest route to success" [as a pastor of a megachurch told me]. That is the primary value and priority.
We want to explore what these "curses" may be and the way back from this wilderness. My objective is not to be critical but to be empowering, to rescript a way back to a greater biblical American church, loaded with grace, freedom and passionate mobility.