What do these three things have in common? I am learning something about each one in Thailand.
First, elephant poop floats. I learned this as we were walking *in* (not across) a river on a 1 hour long elephant ride near the Myan-mar border this morning. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Second, polygamy is legal, and if not common, certainly not rare in Thailand. This poses a particular problem for ministers seeking to implement family ministries in Thai churches. We had over an hour of discussion on this question yesterday morning.
Third, the church is amazingly similar world wide. This one is honestly a bit depressing to me. I was hoping to learn of the great commitment of Christians in this overwhelmingly Buddhist country. After all, it is swimming upstream just to call yourself Christian here.
What I have learned is that most Thai Christians are like most American Christians. They tend to get “Thai” and “Christian” a bit mixed up. Just as American Christians have overwhelmingly fallen into a an “American” lifestyle–whether it matches scriptural teaching or not; Thai Christians are apparently constantly wrestling with the demands of being “Thai” and their implications for Christians.
The problem seems to be that we forget we belong to another kingdom. That isn’t picturesque speech, it is a literal and very real fact.
If we belong to Jesus, we are NOT American Christians. We are Christians who live in America. Our allegiance must be first to Christ and his kingdom. Our “culture” should be built on the norms of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Instead, we so often find ourselves fitting into the world quite nicely, and not following our Lord.
Nothing new, considering Paul told the Roman church to STOP (it was already going on) letting the world conform them to its own mold.
Churches all over the world seem to be wrestling with this, because Christians all over the world are wrestling with it. I’m not saying the answer is easy–or even simple.
I am saying that if we ask FIRST “what does following Jesus look like in this situation?”, we will inevitably be stronger in our relationship with the Lord.