Thursday, June 03, 2010

Tweeting from Edinburgh

Some tweets from the Edinburgh 2010 Mission Conference, which has been taking place over the last couple of days or so. These are rather randomly listed - I copied the ones that most interested me....

First some stats:
In 1910, 80% of Christians lived in countries of at least 90% Christians. In 2010, 33% of Christians live in 90%-Christian countries – from Edinburgh 2010.

Across all faiths, the world is “less religious” in 2010 than 1910 - and yet, the world in 2010 is more religious than it was in 1970.

In 2010 about 27% of all Christians are "Renewalists": Pentecostal, Charismatic, Neo-Charismatic - Todd Johnson's report is context for...?

In 1910, 66% of all Christians were European, with an additional 15% from N America; in 2010, 25% in Europe, 12.5% in N America.

86% of Muslims, Hindus, & Buddhists do not personally know a Christian. This lack of interfaith *friendship* is a crisis in mission.

These statistics mentioned by Todd Johnson for #th2 are from the Atlas of Global Christianity project.

And some pithy statements, some of which take a bit of unravelling:

Fr. Jan Lenssen: Real, radical "communities of hospitality" make more of a difference than sheer numbers of Christians.

1910’s urgency to conquer diversity has paradigm-shifted into 2010’s reluctance to smother diversity..

In order to reach people in contexts of secularism and pluralism, witness must embrace religious tolerance rather than confront it.

*Understanding* other faiths is a priority, before either dialogue or evangelism: there is a place for the Qur'an in Sunday school...[This one struck me as adding more complications - Sunday School often seems to struggle to teach Christianity, let alone the Qur'an!]

priority: Inter-generational dialogue. Dialogue between "native speakers" of modernity and "native speakers" of postmodernity.

priority: Deepening our understanding of God's mission, rather than inventing and carrying out our own.

The secular world also adds to our discourse – it helps us “discern the spirits”. Indeed, we cannot uncritically affirm religion..

Rev Roderick Hewitt from the United Church of Jamaica talks to participants about child resiliency & building ‘youth friendly’ churches. [This should please NZ's Presbyterians, who have a Kids Friendly programme in place, and running very successfully.]

Our plurality today - diverse cultural, theological, ecclesial flourishing - is a sign of hope and vitality, not lack of direction...

"How can we possibly claim to be a credible witness community if we are still far from practicing equality, charity, etc, in our lives?”

How easy it is to be confused or dismayed when what we see in the world does not match our learned categories of understanding!

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