From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church

From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church

From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church

From Times Square to Timbuktu: The Post-Christian West Meets the Non-Western Church

Synopsis

In the last century, amazingly, world Christianity's center of gravity has effectively moved from Europe to a point near Timbuktu in Africa. Never in the history of Christianity has there been such a rapid and dramatic shift in where Christians are located in the world.

Wesley Granberg-Michaelson explores the consequences of this shift for congregations in North America, specifically for the efforts to build Christian unity in the face of new and challenging divisions. Centers of religious power, money, and theological capital remain entrenched in the global, secularized North while the Christian majority thrives and rapidly grows in the global South. World Christianity's most decisive twenty-first-century challenge, Granberg-Michaelson argues, is to build meaningful bridges between faithful churches in the global North and the spiritually exuberant churches of the global South.

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Excerpt

The New York taxi was taking me from Midtown Manhattan, near Times Square, to the Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Drive, often called the “God Box.” This structure was built to house most U.S. mainline denominational offices and ecumenical agencies, although several have since moved out of the city. I was speaking that day to one of the remaining denominational agencies on the changes in world Christianity, and the new challenges posed to Christian unity.

My friendly taxi driver, I learned, was from Ghana. So I asked him if he happened to attend a church. Enthusiastically he told me he did. So was it, perhaps, a congregation from the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, or something similar? No. Well then, I asked, was it a congregation more Pentecostal or charismatic in style? Yes, most definitely!

His congregation, he explained, was made up almost exclusively of Ghanaians and had a lively, vibrant worship, Bible study, healing ministry, and outreach. While it was independent, there were deep ties to particular congregations back in Ghana. Once in a while, the driver shared, he also attended a large, multicultural congregation in Times Square comprised of those from many nations around the world.

Delighted to meet a pastor who had visited his country, the driver dropped me at my destination. He had never heard of the Interchurch Center and the church agencies it housed. in the few steps I took from that taxi to the door of that building, I traversed a growing gulf in world Christianity.

I felt compelled to write this book to describe the dimensions of this gulf, to explore its implications for the life of the church both globally and locally, and to discover bridges that could cross vast cultural . . .

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