It was Saturday afternoon, so there was nobody else around the small, square, gray Baptist church – so incongruous from the soaring double-spired cathedral down the street – in Vysoke Myto, Czech Republic. Its pastor, my friend Zdenek, and I had just finished loading our team’s luggage into the church (a relief after three days of travel). It was 2013; we were preparing for an English camp the upcoming week.
In the quiet afternoon heat, Zdenek locked up the church, then paused and reached out with his foot to brush away cobwebs from the corners of the front steps.
It was all too symbolic.
The Czech Republic is what the United States could become in a few decades on its present course – spiritually dead. Don’t let the cathedrals fool you; despite a spiritual heritage arguably stronger than America’s, the Czechs now trust mostly to atheism. Less than 1% of its population profess Jesus Christ. Unlike impoverished, spiritually attuned nations in Asia or Africa, the Czech Republic is amongst the toughest spiritual soil on earth – rational, material, and self-determined.