Travel Notes 2: Christian Community and the Future (again)
A few days ago I had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Juan Martínez of Fuller Theological Seminary. Martínez grouped his comments around the research showing that by 2040 white folks of northern European origin will no longer constitute the majority of the population in the USA. He observed that this will happen much sooner in churches because a higher percentage of whites identify as having ‘no’ religious affiliation than do members of other ethnic groups. So not only is the bulk of the church moving south globally, but the face of the church in NA is changing, and changing quickly. (My guess is that these dynamics are accelerated in Canada.) Another interesting point Martínez made is that while NA has historically been a missionary-sending part of the world, recent immigration has meant that some of the most vibrant Christian communities on this continent are those of immigrant groups who have brought their Christian faith with them to NA—a sort of reverse evangelization. One takeaway among others is simply that Christians in NA have to embrace ethnic diversity if they want to participate in the church of the future. It’s as though sociology is testing whether we truly believe in the church’s catholicity or not.