|The Global South is Coming|
|Written by Sherry|
|Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:13|
Michael Gerson of the Washington Post Writer's Group had a fascinating piece published on Sunday.
As he put it:
"AN EPOCH-DIVIDING event recently took place in the religion that brought us B.C. and A.D. Too bad hardly anyone noticed."
"The intense, irrepressible Christianity of the global south is becoming -- along with Coca-Cola, radical Islam and Shakira -- one of the most potent forms of globalization. When I visited Martyn Minns, the missionary bishop installed by Akinola, his first reference was not to St. Paul or to St. John but to St. Thomas: Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. "The Church is flat,'' Minns told me, paraphrasing the title of Friedman's best-selling book. Rigid, outdated church bureaucracies are proving unable to adjust to the shifting market of world Christianity. "People used to pronouncing from on high,'' he said, are now "gasping for air.''
In 1900, about 80 percent of Christians lived in North America and Europe; now more than 60 percent live on other continents. There are more Presbyterians in Ghana than in Scotland. The largest district of the United Methodist Church is found in Ivory Coast. And many of the enthusiastic converts of Western missions have begun asking why portions of the Western church have abandoned the traditional faith they once shared. Liberal Protestant church officials, headed toward international assemblies, are anxiously counting African votes, because these new voters tend to take their Bible both literally and seriously.
This emerging Christianity can be troubling. Church leaders sometimes put more emphasis on communal values than on individual human rights, and they need to understand that strongly held moral beliefs are compatible with a commitment to civil liberties for all. Large Pentecostal churches are often built by domineering personalities making easy promises of health and wealth.
But the religion of the global south has a great virtue: It is undeniably alive. And it needs to be. A mother holding a child weak with AIDS or hot with malaria, or a family struggling to survive in an endless urban slum, does not need religious platitudes. Both need God's ever-present help in time of trouble -- which is exactly what biblical Christianity claims to offer."
Indeed. It's worth a read.