Liberian Now Blogs

 

The-Next-ChristendomThe Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins is at the top of my to-read list. Jenkins is a respected Christian historian who is the Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University. He also is a contributing editor for The American Conservative and writes a monthly column for The Christian Century.

When this book came out a little over a decade ago, it made many headlines both in the Christian and secular press. This third edition, published in 2011 continues to make the case for a Christianity that will soon be based primarily in the global South and especially throughout the continent of Africa. It is one I can’t wait to read.

 BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM AMAZON.COM & ENDORSEMENTS

In this new and substantially expanded Third Edition, Philip Jenkins continues to illuminate the remarkable expansion of Christianity in the global South–in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Drawing upon the extensive new scholarship that has appeared on this topic in recent years, he asks how the new Christianity is likely to affect the poor, among whom it finds its most devoted adherents.  How should we interpret the enormous success of prosperity churches across the Global South? Politically, what will be the impact of new Christian movements? Will Christianity contribute to liberating the poor, to give voices to the previously silent, or does it threaten only to bring new kinds of division and conflict? Does Christianity liberate women, or introduce new scriptural bases for subjection?Philip-Jenkins

Acclaim for previous editions of The Next Christendom:

Named one of the Top Religion Books of 2002 by USA Today

Named One of the Top Ten Religion Books of the Year by Booklist (2002)

Winner of the Christianity Today Book Award in the category of “Christianity and Culture” (2002)

“Jenkins is to be commended for reminding us, throughout the often gripping pages of this lively work…that the history of Christianity is the history of innovative–and unpredictable–adaptations.”

The New York Times Book Review

christianity-Africa-graph“This is a landmark book. Jenkins thesis is comprehensively researched; his analysis is full of insight; and his projection of the future may indeed prove to be prophetic.”

Baptist Times

“A valuable and provocative look at the phenomenon widely ignored in the affluent North but likely to be of enormous importance in the century ahead…. The Next Christendom is chillingly realistic about the relationship between Christianity and Islam.”

–Russell Shaw, Crisis

“If the times demand nothing less than a major rethinking of contemporary global history from a Christian perspective, The Next Christendom will be one of the significant landmarks pointing the way.

–Mark Noll, Books & Culture

To purchase this book on amazon.com, click here

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The-Fate-of-Africa

This seven hundred and six page book is not for the weary of heart but for those yearning to know more about this mysterious continent. Meredith’s masterpiece is comprehensive in its scope, covering what has happened in all of Africa since the independence of Ghana in 1957. Due to the colonial era, Africa was broken up into countries that had neither natural borders nor contained people groups, which would typically unite together to innately form a nation.

This book focuses in on the result of that. It peers deeply into the crimes and corruption of the charismatic African leaders in the post-colonial era. The meticulous research of Meredith substantiates the cyclical horror story, which consumed Africa for the first five decades of its independence.  africa.png.opt276x279o0,0s276x279

It chronicles the dozens upon dozens of successful and unsuccessful coup attempts, which were the scourge of Africa.

It details the decades of tyranny and torture, which engulfed Africa, while also demonstrating how entire countries went bankrupt because of their corrupt leaders.

The Fate of Africa, which was originally published in 2005 and was revised in 2011 with updated material, ends on a somber note. It documents through various indices how Africa still faces problems of epic proportions and leaves the reader with a sense of no hope for the continent.

As worthy an undertaking I believe this book to be, I do deem it to be only part of the African story. No doubt, a very important part which people need to read in order to really grasp what is going on in Africa today. The problem is, Meredith chooses to leave out the multitude of African success stories, especially the ones that have dominated the African landscape this past decade. (To learn more about these African successes click here)

corruption-is-deadly

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Africa's-Moment.png.opt407x269o0,0s407x269Rather than regurgitating what many media outlets are now picking up on, it would be more meaningful for you to read for yourself why Africa is on the rise. I have taken four short excerpts from a variety of venerable publications, which have written extensively about this issue. I would encourage you to check out the full articles from the first three excerpts. 

 

NY-TIMES-LOGO-

“Six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies between 2001 and 2010 were in Africa, according to The Economist. The International Monetary Fund says that between 2011 and 2015, African countries will account for 7 of the top 10 spots….Africa isn’t just a place for safaris or humanitarian aid.It’s also a place to make money. Global companies are expanding in Africa; vast deposits of oil, gas and minerals are being discovered; and Goldman Sachs recently issued a report, “Africa’s Turn,” comparing business opportunities in Africa with those in China in the early 1990s.”  (excerpt taken from Nicholas Kristof’s article entitled Africa on the Rise in The New York Times dated June 30, 2012)  Click here to read the rest of this article.

 

The-Economist-logo“Human development in sub-Saharan Africa has made huge leaps. Secondary-school enrolment grew by 48% between 2000 and 2008 after many states expanded their education programmes and scrapped school fees. Over the past decade malaria deaths in some of the worst-affected countries have declined by 30% and HIV infections by up to 74%. Life expectancy across Africa has increased by about 10% and child mortality rates in most countries have been falling steeply.”  (excerpt taken from Oliver August’s article entitled A hopeful continent in The Economist dated March 2nd, 2013)  Click here to read the rest of this article.

 

Foreign Policy logo“Africa has been the second-fastest-growing region in the world over the past 10 years. It has posted average annual GDP growth of 5.1 percent over the past decade, driven by greater political stability and economic reforms that have unleashed the private sector in many of the continent’s varied mosaic of economies…Poverty is also on the retreat. A new consuming class has taken its place: Since 2000, 31 million African households have joined the world’s consuming class. At this point, when their household incomes exceed $5,000, measured at purchasing power parity, consumers begin to direct more than half their income to things other than food and shelter. The continent now has around 90 million people who fit this definition. That figure is projected to reach 128 million by 2020.” (excerpt taken from Susan Lund, & Arend Van Wamelen’s article entitled Lions on the Move in Foreign Policy dated August 31st, 2012)  Click here to read the rest of this article.

 

 

world-policy-journal-logo“Africa has had its moment of hope and optimism, but this is the one that promises a genuine lasting, takeoff.  Across the diverse continent of 54 sovereign nations and more than a billion people, a growing number of Africans are finding success. With six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies over the past decade, Africa’s despair and penury, violence and intolerance are increasingly being left behind. Civil wars and despots are giving way to prosperity and democracy.” (excerpt taken from Ray Morris’ introduction in World Policy Journal’s Winter 2012/2013 issue titled Africa’s Moment) Click here to purchase the World Policy article.

 

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