February 25, 2007

Sunday punch...

From a piece by Father Raymond J. de Souza, on demographics, the growing churches of the Global South, and the Anglicans...(Thanks to Wretchard.)

....Or more to the point of the Anglican travails: Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola is more central to the future of Anglicanism than Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In less than 20 years, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the world’s 2.6 billion Christians will be comprised of 623 million Latin Americans, 595 million Africans, 513 million Europeans and 498 million Asians. The growth of Africa has been astonishing, from 10 million Christians in 1900 representing about 10% of the population, to some 360 million in 2000, representing about 50% of the population. In such a world, the concerns and cultural mores of the Upper West Side of Manhattan are marginal at best.

The impact of this shift will shape Christianity in the 21st century, and it will be a muscular Christianity in which the biblical drama of sin, chastisement, repentance, mercy, healing, salvation and liberation will reassert itself. The this-worldly social projects of deracinated northern Christians will be cast aside. The old-time religion will emerge from the newest churches.

An oft-quoted Christian poet from Ghana, Afua Kuma, has a contemporary hymn that would no doubt drain the remaining colour from the pallid faces in a typical northern Anglican choir:
If Satan troubles us/ Jesus Christ/ You who are the lion of the grasslands/ You whose claws are sharp/ Will tear out his entrails/ And leave them on the ground/ For the flies to eat.
Most Anglicans in the north likely tend toward polyphony at evensong rather than torn entrails, and so the cultural expression of southern Christianity may seem alien at first. Yet if the contest is between torn-entrails spiritual-warfare Christianity and pat-on-the-back, spiritually-compromising Christianity, where the greatest offence is giving offense, it seems clear that the lion of the grasslands is going to be the one with the growing band of disciples. And the roar you hear disturbing the tranquility of the Anglican Communion might just be the Lion of the Tribe of Judah in
African cadences.

Change. Plenty of it happening. Well, that's what RJ is about.

Posted by John Weidner at February 25, 2007 6:25 AM
Weblog by John Weidner