Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory.
Relate: One of the books I am currently reading is called Reclaiming Diversity. His core premise in the book is that Christianity was not historically just a White Man’s religion and that, despite many people’s perspective, it is not such now either. Honestly, the book is not really all that good. That is too bad because, even though the author is wrong on so many of the particulars, he is absolutely spot on with his core premise. A much better book for understanding this idea (at least for contemporary Christianity) is called the Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins. Through an abundance of statistics and numbers, he demonstrates that the Global South (Latin America, Africa, South, and SE Asia) Has a much bigger role and influence in current and future Christianity than does the West (N America, Europe).
I have seen this firsthand. In Turkey and the Middle East, right now, there are far more missionaries from S Korea than there are from America. It isn’t even close. And if it is not already true, within the next decade there will be more missionaries in the Middle East from China than from America and Europe combined. I also saw this when I had the privilege to visit Manila for a couple weeks back in January ’20 before COVID shut down all travel. On Sunday morning, I was attending a fairly large church. In the building with me, there were probably between 7 and 10 thousand people. That was for one of the five services they have on Sundays. They also simulcast the service to more than 40 other locations. In all, on any given week, this one church has more than 400,000 people attending. And to dispel the idea of “Patriarchy,” of the three services I attended while there, two of them had a lady preaching.
React: In Romans chapter 11, Paul is addressing a misperception among Jews and Gentiles. Although by this point, the number of Christian gentiles far outnumbered the number of Jewish Christians, there was still a debate whether Christianity was a Jewish or a Gentile religion. Paul picks up on imagery used both in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 37) and by Jesus (John 15) to say that both are correct. Salvation is for both Jews and Gentiles. To put it in modern parlance. Yes, Christianity is a Western White Man’s religion. It is also an Asian woman’s religion. And it is a religion for African children. And it is for Brazilian grandparents. And… You get the picture. Christianity is for everyone. And the only thing that truly predominates in Christianity is the cross, and the empty tomb, and the open invitation to come and join.
I am sorry for my narrow-minded thinking. All too often, I have maintained a very limited, ethnocentric, self-centric perspective on Your working in this world. Forgive me for that. If I have ever upheld or passed on any perspective other than that You are for everyone, please forgive me. You are not for America. You are not for the West. You are not gender-biased. You deeply and beautifully love and are for everyone. There is no one on this planet of any race or gender who has not been blessed by an open invitation to be blessed by Your love and mercy. No one is any more or less deserving than any other. Help me to reflect this truth in my own thoughts and interactions.
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