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Mission to the South, Words to the North: Reflections on Communication in the Church by a Northerner in the South

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Limitations in the possibility of clear communication, even when the language in use (English) is supposedly international, form the foundation for this post-Jenkinsian view of the relationship between Southern and Northern churches today. Presented by a Northerner living in the South this perspective suggests that Northern domination of Southern Christianity (as well as of the South in general) is a threat to the Southern church. Colonial, and particularly post-colonial North/South relations aggravate corruption in the South, and promote a shallow imitation of Northern ways which forms a thin veneer over lives that are deeply rooted in magical/witchcraft worldviews. The widespread negative evaluation of Northern Christianity is here identified with a linguistic idiosyncrasy arising from the preeminence of secularism in the North. 'Southern English' makes different sense of the term 'religion'. Christianity is a way of life. Secularism is also a way of life, and it was its being omitted from Jenkins' look at the world religious scene that has given it a misleading singular status. Christianity is alive in the north, but needs a jerk to arrest its current injurious southwards impact.

Affiliations: 1: School of Theology, Birmingham University, UK


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