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The Changing Religious Landscape of the West
The religious landscape is changing quickly for our neighbors to the North. Immigrants arrive in Canada from all over the world, bringing with them a wide variety of religious practices and beliefs. Particularly in urban centers that attract a majority of recent immigrants, the Canadian church is looking at a situation where they are ministering as a minority faith.
In light of such changes a group of Christian leaders, along with TIM centre, Centre for Community Based Research, and World Vision Canada, came together to study the demographic shift, its implications, and the ways various churches have responded.
You can read their full report here.
This is not an uncommon story in the West, it might be the reality of the day in Europe and Canada, but it is on the horizon in America as well. People of all different faiths gather here, as they always have, but in ever increasing numbers. And if the church is going to minister to these communities we must understand what they believe, where they are coming from, what they hold dear. Sadly, we have often avoided such study, assuming we know more than we do, or operating out of fear of the unknown.
Thankfully there are resources that will help us understand our neighbors, and develop relationships with them based on love, respect, and a desire to see God work in their lives. One such resource is Irvin Hexham’s Understanding World Religions.
Hexham serves as a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, and has written extensively about world religions and the changing religious landscape in the Western world.
As we consider how best to live out the mission of the church in a changing context, it is a blessing to have access to such a studied and practical resource.
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