Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Turn

This came from a thread on the adoption board I frequent. I thought it was very interesting and reminded me of my visit to Ethiopia where the calls to prayer (both Muslim and Orthodox Christian) could be heard round the clock. While we could debate the bad points of feeling obligated to pray at certain times of they day, the over all culture in Africa was more reverent toward God! What has happened to Christianity that we are making such a small splash in the world these days? Why are we so afraid to even speak the name of Jesus among our friends and family? When did it become so "taboo" to be religious? Let me know what you think after reading the follow:

From Mark Noll's latest book, The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith:

It is as if the globe had been turned upside down and sideways. A few short decades ago, Christian believers were concentrated in the global north and west, but now a rapidly swelling majority lives in the global south and east. As [a Christian] Rip Van Winkle wiped a half-century of sleep from his eyes [after awaking this past week] and tried to locate his fellow Christian believers, he would find them in surprising places, expressing their faith in surprising ways, under surprising conditions, with surprising relationships to culture and politics, and raising surprising theological questions that would not have seemed possible when he fell asleep. [pp. 19-20]

Noll observes that "the Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last fifty years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history. . . . More than half of all Christian adherents in the whole history of the church have been alive in the last one hundred years. Close to half of Christian believers who have ever lived are alive right now" [p. 21]. To give some teeth to these "mind-blowing realities," here are a few of the examples Noll gives, showing the magnitude of these recent changes:

This past Sunday it is possible that more Christian believers attended church in China than in all of so-called "Christian Europe." Yet in 1970 there were no legally functioning churches in all of China; only in 1971 did the communist regime allow for one Protestant and one Roman Catholic Church to hold public worship services, and this was mostly a concession to visiting Europeans and African students from Tanzania and Zambia.

This past Sunday more Anglicans attended church in each of Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda than did Anglicans in Britain and Canada and Episcopalians in the United States combined--and the number of Anglicans in church in Nigeria was several times the umber in those other African countries.

This past Sunday more Presbyterians were at church in Ghana than in Scotland, and more were in congregations of the Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa than in the United States.

This past Sunday the churches with the largest attendance in England and France had mostly black congregations. About half of the churchgoers in London were African or African-Caribbean. Today, the largest Christian congregation in Europe is in Kiev, and it is pastored by a Nigerian of Pentecostal background.

This past week in Great Britain, at least fifteen thousand Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work evangelizing the locals. most of these missionaries are from Africa and Asia. [pp. 20-21][/color]

1 comment:

MzzLily said...

It is sad that so many of 'us' sit in church on Sunday morning, and then go out and forget about it all week long. We're afraid of offending people by telling them about Jesus. An atheist recently spoke on TV about evangelicals... "If they truly believe I'm going to hell, why wouldn't they tell me?" Yes, I wish our culture was stronger in the Christian faith.