Thursday, January 06, 2011

Gathering 2

First of all, let me apologize for yesterday’s post.  After being here for a day, I can see that those who put the program together did a good job of setting things up.  The problem was mine—I don’t know any of the Wesleyans on the program.

I was delighted yesterday to meet with a number of new friends from the church in Puerto Rico, heard Gabriel Salguero speak on the difficulties of bringing multiple ethnicities together in worship, met Dr. Samuel Pagan who is from Puerto Rico but teaches in Bethlehem.  I did not realize the connections between Christian Palestinians and the Spanish-speaking world!  Dr. Pagan’s wife Naomi has published a children’s book that has Spanish, English, and Arabic side by side—amazing!

I’m also very curious about what strong sub-currents might be running within the denomination below the surface.  I’m picturing a river where you see a gentle flow on the surface but where strong and independent currents are running below, almost as if a completely different river.  Anyone else feeling that?


::athada:: said...

Could one of the undercurrent tugs be theologically cross-pollination among the majority world churches without the "approval" or oversight (or even knowledge) of the industrialized seedsowers?

Just finished "The Next Evangelicalism" by Soong-Chan Rah (a must read for any 'global christianity' classes or what not). He points out that the 82% of Christians in 1900 were found in N. America and Europe. In 2005, that dropped to 39%.

State-side, he tries to counter the much-reported decline of the U.S. American church by pointing out that it is usually white commentators looking at ageing white churches. Boston, for example, went from 200 churches in 1970, to 412 churches three decades later. Many of these churches have services in Spanish, Creole, or Portuguese, and are located in poorer neighborhoods. Hence the overlook by the opinion makers.

I have a feeling that the Wesleyan church is well-positioned to learn from the majority world and becoming a multiethnic community that mirrors heaven. The seeds of potential are there... but who will water and tend? Or maybe I've just been hanging around Norm Wilson too much :)

::athada:: said...

p.s. by "industrialized seedsowers" I was trying to keep within the picture of cross-pollination, that's all. and the picture of a western church that still imagines it has authority and even numbers, but hasn't looked outside the window in a few years. Poorly written I suppose.

Also, I would recommend Soong-Chan's book, but he does see to be a bit angry or perturbed in it, and hits the sames points over and over. Still, it's worthwhile.