In 1998, Mandy Smith and her husband, a New Testament professor, moved from their birth country of Australia to the United States.
The pair had planned to stay in the U.S. for two years while attending school, but things quickly changed when their family started to grow. In the end, they wound up spending over two decades there before returning home.
During that time, Mandy worked as a lead pastor at University Christian Church, a campus and neighbourhood congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio.
She says, that is when she noticed that Western culture was in a tailspin, and the Christian faith was entangled in it.
"Western approaches to faith leave us feeling depressed, doubting, anxious, and burned out. We know something is wrong with the way we do faith and church in the West, but we are so steeped in it that we don’t know where to begin to break old habits," says Smith.
Mandy, who is also a speaker and author, is inviting Christians to detox from the deeply ingrained habits of Western culture so we can do kingdom things in kingdom ways again.
“I think what Jesus is inviting us into is a way to engage as whole beings again, as we did as children, with minds but also with bodies, emotions and instincts,” Smith explains. “Also, as we did as children, engaging in a way that it does not assume that it's all up to us, which is very unusual for us as western adults.”
She writes about this in her book, Unfettered: Imagining a Childlike Faith beyond the Baggage of Western Culture.
Today on Connections, Mandy shares with us the inspiration behind her book and what she has learned along the way.