Like many Catholic Churches throughout the world, the biggest challenge faced by pastors is the materially-driven challenge of consumer capitalism. As seen in this recent photo essay, not much has changed from my own research on Chinese Catholics in the 1990s – there is still an ageing population of regular church goers that is not being replenished by younger generations. This is more of an issue in the cities than in the countryside, but as this photo essay shows, perhaps this trend is becoming more visible in Chinese villages as well.
(Updated: the old CNN video was taken down by youtube; this update is directly from CNN)
In Global Post, Rena Singer describes how Buddhist monks are attempting to reach out more by going to bars in Tokyo. One monk explains his rapping as such:
“In the modern world,” Natori said, “we need to deliver. If people won’t come to my temple because it still feels like a foreign place, I must take Buddhism to the people. I am a delivery man.”
Discussion with the Filmmakers, Rudy and Shirley Nelson
“Precarious Peace: God and Guatemala”
Thursday, 12 Feb, 8:30-10:00 pm
International Studies Lounge, Duke Hall
(Description from amazon.com)
Religion can motivate people to violence. But religion also represents a powerful force for reconciliation. However, effective peacemaking demands risky engagement with the issues and genuine dialogue with those who differ. Guatemala, as Martin Marty points out, is an ideal case study of how these complex and controversial issues can play out when religion and politics interact.
Precarious Peace, a documentary, explores the Guatemalan peace process, past and present, and the complicated role religion plays in that drama. Story-driven, the video focuses first on the brutal violence of the recent war, seen through the lives of a Mayan family in the rural highlands, then on today’s more insidious levels of violence–economic, racial, and religious marginalization. Woven through these stories is frank commentary from a wide variety of perspectives, including a former military officer, a Roman Catholic bishop who faces constant death threats, a Mennonite educator, an internationally known poet/activist, and a Lutheran clergyman who was instrumental in getting the warring parties into dialogue. Over a dozen denominations and faith groups are represented in this ecumenical production. Featured at the heart of the documentary is an authentic Mayan fire ritual.
While I was impressed by the piety of the Tibetans, both sangha and lay, the realities of global life today are very much a part of their lives. Their Buddhism is a lived religion, not a life that is one-hundred percent a mystical, other-worldly experience. [Read more…]
This news story on “An Evangelist in Central China” gives voice to many of my own findings on the impact of Christianity in China. Check it out.