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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Texas Faith: The Global South’s influence on religion

 If a Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple or any place of worship delivers a sense of home – a feeling that permeates in your heart and soul when you walk out of the place of worship with a feeling of  ‘malice towards none’,  then it earns the larger congregation. Those places of worship that pound ill-will towards others will fade.  

TEXAS FAITH: The Global South’s influence on religion

 “Pentecostal and Charismatic religion flourishes at some of the most fluid and hotly contested boundaries — cultural, religious and economic — in the age of globalization. Broadly categorized as renewalist movements, these religious communities are experiencing their most dramatic growth at the frontier between Christianity and Islam in Nigeria; in the vast factory towns of China’s interior; among members of the rising middle class in Kenya; in the slums that ring the rapidly modernizing urban areas of Central and South America; in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Hindu-majority India. Encompassing more than half a billion adherents and blurring many of the traditional distinctions between Protestantism and Catholicism, renewalism is widely believed to be the fastest-growing religious movement in the world.”

Looking into the future, how do you see this movement affecting religion in general? Are the patterns of the Global South going to keep making their mark on various faiths, not just Christianity? If not, what trends do you see most affecting religion over the next 
decade?


MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas, and Speaker on interfaith matters, diversity and pluralism


The renewalist movements can be likened to the industrial revolution of the 19th century that dissolved the traditional nationalistic boundaries to reach out to new consumers and new producers. 

The product of revolution was “improved life style” with new conveniences in transportation, communications and the day to day living, where as the product of renewalist movement is charismatic entertainment that is crossing the traditional religious boundaries to form a new enclave.

The post denominational movement is the new face of protestant church, according to Rachel Tabachnick at talk 2 action organization, “Their ideology and relational networks have taken root in the block of 400 million independent charismatics, sometimes referred to as neo-charismatics or neo-Pentecostals. This is an often overlooked mega-block of Christianity that is larger than all Protestant denominations combined, according to world missions statisticians.”

The future of renewalist movement is based on entertainment; whoever can deliver the most mesmerizing sermons will gather up a larger flock. After all who wants to hear boring sermons week after week? Indeed, the trend is similar in Islam, and great oratory is making a comeback to cross the traditional boundaries.

The United States sets the new tone for cultural, religious, entertainment and social trends around the globe, and the underlying theme is  renewed inclusivism; i.e., acceptance of diversity of humankind in work place, church, weddings and schools.

As a pluralist my concern is the growth of Hagees, Jeffress and their likes who sell exclusion in the name of Christ. They act like they want to give birth to the Christ of their making, and ruthlessly clear the path for his speedy arrival compromising on the centrality of his message; love and forgiveness. 

If a Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple or any place of worship delivers a sense of home – a feeling that permeates in one’s heart and soul when you walk out of the place of worship with ‘malice towards none’,  then it earns the larger congregation. Those places of worship that pound ill-will towards others will fade.   

I am optimistic about the future. The renewalist movements would be sensitive to the needs of the diverse congregations and build upon positive things about their own movement as opposed to focusing on what others don’t have. The anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-idolatry or anti-Islam rants will drive the congregants out.  


To read contributions from all the panelists go to:http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/03/texas-faith-the-global-souths-influence-on-religion.html/
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer onpluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building aCohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes inStanding up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

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