Diane and I arrived at our first church late in 1974. Two churches actually, Venedy and New Memphis, Illinois. A little known fact always impressed me about our area in Southern Illinois. Only a few miles away was the population center for the United States for the decade of the 1970s. That population center moved every 10 years, starting out east and today? Lord knows where it is.
Today we have a pope from Latin America. Think about the moving population center of the Christian Church. It started in Jerusalem, went north to Antioch, then to Greece, to Rome, to Europe and to America. Today Christianity is most vibrant below the equator, in Africa, in Latin America, and, yes, Christianity is even thriving in China. In his book, "The Reason for God," Timothy Keller points out that, "The center and majority of Islam's population is still in the place of origin -- the Middle East. The original lands that have been the demographic centers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism have remained so." By contrast, "Today most Christians in the world live in Africa, Latin America, and Asia." (41)
Christianity is a vibrant religion that can adapt to different languages and cultures and change people. Theologian Karl Barth wrote of the Church,“Here is an ancient and venerable institution, capable of change and yet constant, ancient and usually modern as well (though it does not like either word), often and severely attacked from outside and still more often and more severely compromised from within, but possessed of an inexhaustible ability to live..." (The Word of God and the Word of Man in “For All the Saints,” ALPB IV, 423f.) "Follow Me," said Jesus. It's an exciting time to be the Church!