TALKING THE TALK
Afghanistan's government is using religious language to appeal to the Taliban to do the right thing.Well, to communicate, you have to know the right language.
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THE FATE OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE HOLY LAND
Because my family was next headed to Egypt, we couldn't go into Israel because Egypt wouldn't let us in if we were coming from Israel. Rather, we had to stay in Jordan, but a good part of Jerusalem then was in Jordan, as was all of Bethlehem, where we went to the Church of the Nativity for Christmas Eve services.
It seemed to me that along with many Jews and Muslims, there were lots of Christians, both visitors and local residents.
But things have been changing, especially in recent years.
And now, as this report indicates, life for Christians in the land where Christianity has its roots, is tenuous and difficult. In fact, Christian numbers in the area are dwindling quickly, and it's hard to imagine what the future holds for Christians there in the near future.
The writer of the piece to which I've linked you reports that the proportion of the Jerusalem population that's Christian has dropped from 18 percent in 1910 to 2 percent in 2000. And it's probably below that today. Similarly, Bethlehem was 80 percent Christian in 1948 but only about 20 percent today.
In some ways, I suppose it doesn't matter much to the global health of Christianity that these numbers suggest trouble in the religion's place of origin. After all, Christianity is booming in the Southern Hemisphere, and especially across Africa. But to me, as a Christian, it seems sad that the Christian population of the Holy Land is struggling so much to maintain itself.
And yet it's also true that the faith historically does best when it finds itself persecuted or under other kinds of duress. So maybe there's a comeback in the making. Stay tuned.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.
P.S.: I was in Cooperstown, N.Y., yesterday to see my good friend Denny Matthews, the radio voice of the Kansas City Royals, get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Great ceremony. Beautiful day. And I hope to do a blog entry about it this coming week, but it won't be for today because as I write this Sunday night I'm back in Rochester, N.Y., with family and it's late and I need to get ready to fly back home tomorrow. So stay tuned -- because there's something I want to say about the connection to religion of what I witnessed today.