Sasha Savich is a good, truth-telling brother.
I wrote earlier about his thoughts on our USAmerican "cheap grace." With our "repeat after me" prayer followed by our rock-solid affirmations of eternal security, we produce a cadre of people convinced of heaven when they die without any shred of evidence that the seed of truth has taken root in the soil of their lives. I don't think this "gospel" is either Jesus's or Paul's.
Sasha is stunned by another USAmerican church feature. We have the luxury of church-hopping. We are so use to this feature that it is hard to understand the spiritual horror that this feature generates in our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. With our franchizing everything in the USA, including church, we cater to the consumer mentality, to the shopper spirit, to the hopper syndrome.
I report this to Sasha and he sucks in his breath like I am lying to him. I'm not. Sasha shakes his head and looks so bewildered.
"Oh, John, that does not happen here. When we unite to the church, it is a covenant decision. It is serious. We would be horrified to see Christians in Lutsk shifting around from church to church. We pastors would not allow it."
In Ukraine Christ-centered, Bible-informed, mission-minded churches are hard to find. You find a family of believers and you become part of that family.
Imagine if our own children shifted around from family to family in our neighborhood, saying, "I don't like my current family. I think I'll go join the Smith family. They have a swimming pool and a large screen HD TV." We would be shocked. That's how Sasha responds to the USAmerican church-hopping mentality.
Serious. That's the word that describes the faith of Ukrainians. Utilitarian. That's the word for our USAmerican faith. What will my faith get me? My family?
Serious, but not somber. Committed and saturated with joy. United and living in a wide-open freedom. One of the reasons I like going to Ukraine is that it gives me a reprieve from the evangelical bubble of feel-good, me-centered, "I-deserve-to-be-served-today" faith.
Some of our luxuries are killing us.