Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Czech Reflections & American Applications

Cindy and I have been back from the Czech Republic for over a week now. I have had time to reflect upon this country and glean what I feel I am to take from this experience that I had with Northwest University’s MBA program.

To see another culture from the outside looking in can be helpful in more accurately seeing our own culture, as we are stuck on the inside looking out. When it comes to Europe, we see societies that are less God-conscious and even more “politically correct” than ours. It is like seeing what the U.S. will ultimately become as we increasingly embrace an unbiblical worldview.

The Czech Republic, along with Denmark, is one of the two most secular countries in Europe. There is reason for this in the Czech Republic. For about 300 years they were objects of spiritual oppression, I would say abuse, by the Catholic Church, as it was used by the Hapsburg Austrian-Hungarian Dynasty to institute the Counter-Reformation. It wasn’t about personal faith but about forcibly Germanizing the peoples in the name of the Christian religion.

The Hapsburgs were trying to stamp out the Protestant faith of the reformer Jan Huss among the Czechs and they did a pretty good job of it. But as they did, it created a sour taste in the mouths of Czechs about all religion.

Perhaps trying to counteract the dogma of the Counter-Reformation in Czech lands, the Protestant faith became accommodating to other beliefs and compromised so much that eventually there existed no viable picture of genuine Christian community in the land.

The Czech’s not only suffered under the Nazis in World War II but also literally jumped from the frying pan into the fire in becoming totalitarian and Communist from 1948 until 1989 and the “Velvet Revolution.” Under Communism the people were taught atheism and to not trust in what you cannot see. That lie resonated with the Czech people, as that was what their history had clearly taught them to believe.

As I see it, the greatest need in the Czech Republic is for Christians to be willing to humbly serve in order to give the Czechs a different picture of who Christ is. There is no other way that they will discover what a genuine Christian looks like. For that, the Christian must be seen “up close and personal.”

Are we in the United States much different? We must be willing to be friends with non-believers even if they are never interested in our religion. We must love them, as they are, not for what we want them to be, and leave the judgment up to God, where it belongs.

This is counter-intuitive. To care about another with an agenda falls into the same stereotype that we have been characterized by, sometimes unfairly but sadly, other times accurately. If that has been our attitude we need to confess it, repent of it and change course. I know I have needed to do that and continue to need transformation in this area. How about you?

A Slow Learner But Still On the Path By His Grace,


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