Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Foreigners View of America

Last week we had a family reunion. The highlight of the reunion was the presence of a German cousin who has researched the family. After the reunion, Haldor and I road tripped to Iowa to share information with our Hawkeye cousins.

Haldor’s definition of Iowa was this: corn field, bean field, ditch, pickup; corn field, bean field, ditch, pickup; corn field, bean field… Yes, Iowa in a nutshell.

Haldor was perplexed by some things in America. He said America is a land of extremes. America has the world’s largest porn industry yet to stop along a rural Iowa road and urinate opens one up to possible arrest for indecent exposure.

In the same small town we saw people living in shacks next to houses that are empty (in foreclosure). Around the corner is a 4500 square foot house with a 3-car garage occupied by only two people.

Haldor is an international businessman who has deep concerns for America’s wild spending and borrowing. Yet he found our roads in need of repair and our towns becoming seedy. I agree we have spent ourselves into financial slavery but what have we gotten or what are we going to accomplish with all our spending?

In the same time he said outwardly God is talked about; we pray over every meal. He asked “How can you, as Christians, tolerate such extremes?” Yes, how do we tolerate this? We tolerate it by keeping our head in the sand.

We may live in the Garden of Eden (great crops in Iowa and Minnesota). We have full bellies but at the same time we have empty, lonely hearts.

“I bet your pastors have a lot to say about this,” he said. I said, “No, not really.” It was quiet in the car for a long time. Our faith was for a moment exposed as lukewarm as best. I silently prayed, “Forgive me, Lord; change my heart.” American church, wake up!

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