Sayid Qutb was born in 1906 in Southern Egypt. He was sent by his government to America to study special methods of education. Upon returning from the United States, Qutb joined the hostile Muslim Brotherhood movement. His experience in America left him with opposing emotions of envy and hatred. He later wrote, Nowhere else on earth could I find people that excel in education, knowledge, technology, business and civilization like the Americans. However, the American values, ethics and beliefs are below the standard of a human being. His conclusion was Americans waste their resources on materialism.
It's the following statement that gripped me like the stomach flu. No one else in the world has built more churches than the Americans....You will find Americans in church on Sunday, Christmas, Easter and special religious occasions, yet they are so empty and do not have a spiritual life. The last thing that an American would think about in everyday life is their religion. This statement was written some fifty-five years ago.
They are so empty and do not have a spiritual life........I spent years as a church leader from the pulpit guilty of this man's accusation. If spirituality took awhile to break in on an up-in-front-of-everybody church leader, how must the person in the pew struggle with similar issue. More importantly I find myself greatly lacking, yet. While strides of improvement are experienced, I don't believe I'll ever arrive.
My great sadness over this man's observation also serves as my ambition. America is sick while church houses sprinkle our metro, suburban, and rural landscape. We are faint being without God; yet, full of church gatherings. Our spirituality has suffered setback precisely at Qutb's observation; materialism. We are ill in our dividing up our wonderful communities into competitive churches and gathering in our Sunday School classes to peck away at the ignorance of the "other" and "those" church teams. Accusation of being unfaithful to the Word of God should settle in on every divisive church group including those of us reading this blog. We've terrorized our own land without the Muslims. We've polluted the glory of God's heart with our doctrinal smugness and, worse yet, our indifferent shrugs. The result? They are so empty and do not have a spiritual life.
Sayid Qutb? He is regarded to be the founding father of the radical Muslim jihad. He received his ambition to arise to power by living among us and noting our basic lack of spiritual connection. Muslim terrorism is a world problem. America didn't create it. But we had a strong influence as the jihad pot began to boil.
We will want to consider how it is we develop a healthier spirituality by being as faithful to God Monday morning as on Sunday morning. Uniting over the name of Jesus will be a good start.