Anne Jackson talks about a question posed to her and a (religious) leadership development team during a recent trip to Uganda:
“Would you rather your children grow up in Uganda or America?”
What would you say?
Seems like an easy answer, no?
One man — a pastor/father/Ugandan — said this (without hesitation):
Some of us seemed a little shocked. America. It’s the land of opportunity. It’s safe. You can get medical attention. At least three meals a day.
“Exactly,” the man said. “You know where your next meal is coming from. You have jobs. Paychecks. In Uganda, you may not know where your next meal comes from. You have no money. You have nothing to depend upon but God. And I would rather have my children rely on God more than I would want them to be distracted by everything else.”
I’m trying to figure this out — without any American bias on my part.
Given the choice between a wealthy country and a poor one, is there really any good reason to live in the poor one? Saying you’d want to live in the poor country so your kids would have to rely on God more seems tantamount to abuse (“I don’t want my children receiving better medical care in America; I’d rather they pray for it”). Why would anyone forego having the agriculture/health/schools/etc? It’s one thing to be talking about the distractions of material goods, but this guy is also including the essential resources.
I certainly don’t think this man is more pious than any other Christian that was there. If you believe in God, that’s that. I don’t rank people from least pious to most pious; it’s all the same (mistaken) belief to me.
Yes, you probably have more distractions, even at church, in America. But if you get “distracted,” that’s your own fault. I don’t think anyone’s accusing (non-hypocritical) Christians of not being as faithful as their third world counterparts. Christians thank God for what they have in life and they sincerely believe that. To say that you have to give up what you have in America in order to believe more strongly in God seems wrong. (Again, talking about necessities, not luxuries.)
Maybe this guy is just rationalizing his unfortunate (in my opinion) lot in life.
Anne’s commenters seems to be thinking along the same lines.