Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Mission and the Margins

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

Mission and the Margins

Article excerpt

A margin is the blank border of a printed page. To be marginal is to be of the edge, neither central nor significant. Some 150 million human beings officially qualified as "migrants," of which an estimated 20 million were refugees, according to United Nations figures for 2002. Such ciphers mask the angst of social dislocation--with its attendant miseries, humiliations, and dangers--endured by specific individuals, each with a name, a story, and modest hopes. Refugees are on the margins of the marginalized, significant only to the extent that they constitute an inconvenience or a security threat to their comfortably incumbent host populations.

In his lead article, Jehu Hanciles explores the impact of migration on church and mission, arguing that the Christian faith depends for its survival upon cross-cultural diffusion--one of the inevitable side effects of population dislocation. Lalsangkima Pachuau's wonderfully informative study takes a close look at some of the most vital churches in the world, whose combined membership represents nearly a quarter of India's Christian population. Inhabiting the disdained edges of mainstream Hindu society, the peoples of Northeast India have affirmed and grounded their indigenous identities by embracing an extraordinarily missional Christianity.

In Great Britain, as elsewhere in Christendom's traditional heartlands, a once confident establishment church, having atrophied into a spiritually enfeebled, demographically decimated, and missiologically tentative vestige of its former self, now struggles to survive. …

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