April 21, 2009
Jesus in Cuba
In recent days, American foreign policy, President Obama, and Cuba have been in the headlines.
But honestly, the mainstream media is too pre-occupied about cell phone markets, tourism, and foreign policy to be thinking much about Jesus in Cuba (which has one of the world's highest concentrations of evangelical house churches).
I guess that's our job. CT has done two cover stories about Cuba in the past 16 years or so. And, we have talked about the three phases for religious freedom since the Cuban Revolution:
1. Persecution of the church and the faithful flock. (a dark and dangerous time)
2. Discrimination against faithful Cubans. (no jobs for open Christians)
3. Tolerance of Christian faith to the extent it does not actively resist rule by fiat from Fidel and Raul. (don't color outside the lines)
Here's the big question:
Do Cuba's Christian leaders fear lifting the embargo?
Recently we have talked with a few Cuban church leaders or those Christian leaders doing ministry in Cuba. To tell the truth, many are quite concerned about a sudden lifting of the embargo.
Those concerns include:
* Look at what happened in the former Soviet states after 1989. The free-for-all had harmful (and beneficial) results.
* Consider how local Cuban churches might be thrown into competition with each other for the flood of new faith-based money and Christian resources coming onto the island.
* Realize that lifting the embargo would introduce much more consumerism. In reality, the failed socialist experiment in Cuba has stimulated Cuban longing for a relationship with Christ.
As much as I might want to have the embargo lifted tomorrow and the Castro regime wiped out, these kinds of sudden changes often have a dark side.
Am I wrong to think that way? What's your point of view?