:: Saturday, August 27, 2005 ::

More signs that the western church is out of step with global Christianity
I swear, every church leader in the United States -- of every denomination and nondenomination, every youth pastor, worship leader, choir director, Sunday school teacher, emerging church leader, etc. -- should read Philip Jenkins' book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. We really need to gain some perspective about what the faith looks like from other places of the world.

This opinion piece, "The Plight of African Christians," by Bigalo Chilume, offers one such perspective. (Link via ChristianityT oday.com Weblog.) Pointing out the concerns many African Anglicans had over the consecration of an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in the U.S. Episcopal church, the author also addresses the cultural chasm between African Christianity and the European-North American version that still claims to speak for the rest of the world's Christians.
Traditional Christian teachings frown upon homosexuality, as does African culture. It is against this background that the majority of African Christians, Anglicans in particular, are agonising over the consecration of Gene Robinson. ... Most are horrified, and the consecration was met with harsh condemnation across Africa. The Kenyan Anglican archbishop is reported to have lamented that, "the devil has clearly entered the church. God cannot be mocked".

The majority of Anglican churches in Africa were against the consecration, with the notable exception of the South African church. Obviously, mindful of the provision of his country's constitution, Njongokulu Ndungane, the Archbishop of Cape Town, is reported to have welcomed Robinson into the church's fold: "Robinson has been consecrated by his province and that makes him a bishop of the church".

In white societies, homosexuality is an accepted lifestyle - even same sex marriages are recognised under law and enjoy the same legal rights as heterosexual marriages. Robinson's appearance at his nomination victory celebration with his gay partner by his side didn't cause much of a ripple in the white Christian movement. His consecration had been a foregone conclusion despite spirited opposition from church leaders of non-white races, who make up about 70 percent of the worldwide Anglican membership.

The author also notes that the global majority of Christians must simply "toe the line and conform to the dynamics of the cultural values of their white masters, even if these are at loggerheads with their own African values."

He adds this disturbing comment: "Christianity is a religion of the white race, and therefore impervious to the cultural and social needs of its African and other non-white followers." Lest you think he's focusing only on the issue of gays in the pulpit, the writer also points out the Vatican's "near-hysterical opposition to contraceptives" -- an opposition that "is incomprehensible, to say the least" -- as yet another example of how the institutional church ignores the issues of global Christians. "Widespread poverty in Africa, where economic growth is largely stagnant, at best, makes it absolutely imperative that modern family planning methods be employed to contain runaway population growth; yet, the Roman Catholic Church instructs its many followers in Africa (and other developing parts of the world) not to use contraceptives. What is this?

"Christianity is a white man's religion that he rightly wants to be in tandem with the dynamics of his own culture, and, needless to say, culture evolves over time to accommodate changing needs of society."

Christianity may very well be "a white man's religion" for the time being. The west still has a hold of the power structure, from the Vatican to seminaries to theological journals. But if Jenkins' book is correct, Christianity won't be a white man's religion for much longer. The time is ripe for a global Christianity. But I doubt many of us in the west are ready for the change.


:: Andrew 12:04 + ::

bloggedy blog recommends

Save the Net

bloggedy pod (my podcast page)

Independent hotels
in Missouri

Get Firefox!


eMusic's Power Charts: The Most Interactive Music Charts Online.

Never Mind the Bibles

In rotation

What I've been listening to lately. Click album cover or hyperlink to hear track samples and learn more.

Sermon on Exposition Boulevard Rickie Lee Jones, Sermon on Exposition Boulevard

Children Running Through Patty Griffin, Children Running Through

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Tones of Town Field Music, Tones of Town

The Girl Collection De Bossen, The Girl Collection

Robbers & Cowards Cold War Kids, Robbers & Cowards

Carinvore Simon Dawes, Carnivore

Until Death Comes Frida Hyvonen, Until Death Comes

Tratore Basics 2: New Brazilian Rock Tratore Basics Vol. 2, Novo Rock Brazil

Modern Times Yusuf: An Other Cup

Modern Times The Beatles: Love

Two Thousand The French Kicks: Two Thousand

Paper Television The Blow: Paper Television

Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler, Vol. 1 Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler

Beast Moans Swan Lake: Beast Moans

Prototypes Prototypes: Prototypes

Violence Is Golden Scanners: Violence Is Golden

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives Voxtrot: Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives

Your Biggest Fan Voxtrot: Your Biggest Fan

Translate Macon Greyson: Translate

Get Evens The Evens: Get Evens

Veruca Salt IV Veruca Salt: Veruca Salt IV

Modern Times Bob Dylan: Modern Times

Look Your Best Pink Tuscadero: Look Your Best

Blue On Blue Leigh Nash: Blue on Blue

I Am  Not Afraid Of  You And I Will Beat Your Ass Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Boys and Girls in America The Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America

The Longest Meow Bobby Bare Jr.: The Longest Meow"

Hello Love The Be Good Tanyas: Hello Love

The Lemonheads The Lemonheads: The Lemonheads

Ben Kweller Ben Kweller: Ben Kweller

We Are The Pipettes The Pipettes: We Are the Pipettes

Surprise Paul Simon: Surprise

Sev7en Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners: Sev7en

A Hundred Highways Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways

For the Best of Us The John Doe Thing: For the Best of Us

Runaway Bombshell The Fondas: Runaway Bombshell

Flat-Pack Philosophy Buzzcocks: Flat Pack Philosophy

Citrus Asobi Seksu: Citrus

The Loon Tapes 'n Tapes: The Loon

2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler Various Artists: 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler (24 free tracks)

News and Tributes The Futureheads: News and Tributes

Zoysia The Bottle Rockets: Zoysia

Let's Get Out of This Country Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country

Bang Bang Rock & Roll Art Brut: Bang Bang Rock & Roll

A Blessing and a Curse Drive By Truckers: A Blessing and a Curse

Broken Boy Soldiers The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers

The Life Pursuit Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit

The Greatest Cat Power: The Greatest

bloggedy tags

from our sponsors

for your viewing pleasure

the Richard Show

where in the world?

Locations of visitors to this page