I just finished Mark Steyn's, America Alone. This is a fine book and should be read by all who want to get a grasp on what is happening, religiously, in Europe. He boils the whole mess down to two main issues. Fruitfulness and will. In Europe, white people don't have babies, and Arabs do. More specifically, Christians don't have babies and Muslims do. The ethnic makeup in Europe is changing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The most popular baby name in Europe will continue to be Mohammad. The fact is that the European nations are being invaded, there are no arrows in the quiver to defend her, and this bodes ill for the West, as we know it.
Although this is a terrific book, it is depressing. Steyn does offer some solutions to this dilemma. He is trying to give European and American politicians a wake up call. But it is clear that these solutions will not be followed. The powers that be have crafted a view of the world that is utterly powerless against such a natural invasion.
Having depressed myself sufficiently with Steyn, I moved on to two other books that are as encouraging as Steyn's book is discouraging. Jesus in Beijing by David Aikman is an account of the growth of the Christian Church in China. It is quite stunning. Europe as a Western, and by historic definition, a Christian force, is in trouble. Christianity, itself, is not. The Church continues to grow and flourish. The example of what God has done in China while Europe was gearing up to commit suicide, is a lesson we all should note. It strikes me as divinely ironic. As a WASP, I have reason to be discouraged. As a Christian, where all my first allegances should lie, I am greatly encouraged.
The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins is perhaps even more powerful. Amerca's people are also darker. Latinos from Mexico, central America and even South America continue to stream across the border. Our national media, and perhaps especially many conservatives, continue to paint this as a very sad and dangerous situation. But many of these people are Christians. While the face of the country is changing dramatically, what does this mean for the growth of the kingdom of God?
Perhaps we should not be so interested in protecting our national borders as we are in seeing the kingdom of God in Christ expand to the very ends of the earth. We were once that 'ends of the earth'. But now the church is expanding in dramatic fashion in Africa and Latin America, what Jenkins calls, Southern Christianity. By mid-century, the greatest centers of Christian population will not be in Europe. In order, the masses of Christians will reside in the USA, Brazil, Mexico, Phillipines, Nigeria, Zaire, Ethiopia, Russia, China and Germany. No Britain, no France, no Italy. But imagine a billion Christians in Africa by 2050, another billion in Latin America, perhaps another billion in Asia, and you begin to get a very encouraging picture.
God is doing something big and for the most part we are missing it. Or at least, just not paying very close attention. We need to look at this situation with new eyes, embrace what God is doing and figure out how to be participants in this new Great Conversation. If we don't, we will simply get swallowed up by this glorious brown wave and be another footnote of history.