Christianity is growing not in North America or in Europe but, rather, in Africa and in much of the Southern Hemisphere.
But African Christianity views Western Christianity with some suspicion and a great deal of caution while Western Christianity sometimes imagines there is nothing to learn from the new converts in Africa -- or from the Christians who have a long history there but a history that includes different approaches and different positions on theological issues.
Indeed, the question of how to deal with homosexuality is one that now is troubling African Christianity. This report, in fact, says that many African Christian leaders think of homosexuality as some kind of horrible Western import and that nothing good can come of it.
We've certainly seen that attitude in places like Uganda, where at one point legislation was proposed to make homosexuality a capital offense. And the story to which I've linked you describes a campaign to ban homosexuality in Kenya. (Good luck with that.)
The fascinating question of what Americans can learn from African Christianity and vice versa will be the subject of a four-week conversation at my congregation led by Dr. Israel Kamudzandu, assistant professor of New Testament studies at St. Paul School of Theology.
Kamudzandu will present “Learning Faith from African Christians: A Global Conversation” at 6 p.m. for four consecutive Wednesdays starting March 12 as part of Second Presbyterian Church's Wednesdays Together series of dinners and classes in Lent.
The global Christian community is wildly diverse, and yet there are things we can learn from one another even as we disagree about some things. I hope you'll consider joining us for this conversation about the relations between Western and African Christianity. If you want to enjoy a light 5:30 dinner prior to the classes, call the church office at 816-363-1300.
(I found the graphic shown today here.)
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A PAPAL ASSESSMENT
As we near the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, what's your assessment? I found this one to be pretty interesting. But it's still way too early to be drawing hard conclusions about his place in the history of the church. So let's let him be pope and see.
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P.S.: Do you have my new book yet? Read about it here.