The rising South

THAT LOOKS LIKE A SERIOUS BOOK," my dental hygienist said. I'd put The Next Christendom next to her picks, hooks, and scrapers. "Yeah, serious," I said, "but not as dense as it looks," leaving out the fact that I like books that help me think outside the chair.

She hooked the green paper bib around my neck and asked, "But isn't Islam the biggest religion in numbers?" No, actually there are more Christians. To many European and American eyes, though, Christianity looks to be declining. But Philip Jenkins, the author of that book, says that in Africa, South America, and Asia, it's growing rapidly and will continue to expand in coming decades. Christianity's center is shifting southward. "That's a surprise," she said.

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August 4, 2003
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