April 12, 2009
African Exports: Religion
The New York Times has had a couple of surprisingly good religion beat pieces in the last few weeks and today's long essay on the Nigerian based Redeemed Christian Church of God is another example. It's a much better presentation of a genuinely relevant global religious trend than Jon Meacham's recent (and over covered) Newsweek piece on the end of "Christian America." Pentecostalism is one of the four or five most important trends currently shaping Africa and the global south and thus, by definition (or population, if nothing else), the world. If "Christianity" emerges as another truly global force in the future it will certainly not be an American variant but an African one. This piece is a decent introduction and for further reading start with Philip Jenkins's The Next Christianity and The New Faces of Christianity.