I wonder how many Americans understand the difference between Globalized Christianity and World Christianity?
If my experience with American Christian, American Atheist and American Pagan blogs is anything to go by, I would have to conclude … only a minority. For example, in a recent conversation about Rob Bell, some Emergents said,
“…there are two completely different conversations taking place in Christianity today. One version is concerned with defending the religious assumptions rooted in the all important “either/or” duality that blankets American Christianity. The other conversation has already mourned the death of the previous conversation and has turned to page to a completely different set of questions.”
Only two conversations? One exclusively American and the other emerging out of the old American one? Give me a break! These champions of holism and bigger perspectives all seemed oblivious to how dualistic and colonial these comments actually were.
Not that Pagans or Atheists fair any better. “You mean Christianity is different in different countries? You mean even evangelicalism is different in different countries?” After hours of explaining just that. Slaps head against brick wall. Ah, the privileges of empire.
So, to hopefully enlighten at least some folks in America, here is the difference.
Globalized Christianity is that which you export to everyone else. It’s synonymous with global Americanization and cultural colonization. Think Rick Warren. Think Brian McLaren.
World Christianity is the Jesus movement in all its diversity, where you are just one of many voices, and hopefully amongst the many listeners.
The two mutually interact but they are definitely distinct.
Now here is the red pill. When you confuse Christianity, unqualified, with national conversations, you’re talking Globalized Christianity, not World Christianity. When you identify Christianity, unqualified, with national voices, national conferences, and national networks, you’re talking Globalized Christianity, not World Christianity. And I don’t care whether you’re Megachurch or Emergent.
Think I am being harsh? Test youself. How many non-American bloggers do you listen to? How many do you link to? Proportionately? If less than thirty percent come from a country other than your own let me suggest you think seriously before considering your conversation as being informed by World Christianity.
Here endeth the rant. For those of you who do get the difference between Globalized Christianity and World Christianity already, you are precious, you are gems.