Sorry for not posting for the past few days, but I was at a conference all weekend. It was the biennial National Forge Summit. There was something in the order of 600 people there at all times during the weekend. Much was learned by many.
For the two stream sessions I went along and heard Phil Graff speak to about 6 people (I love small sessions). His topic was about stories from Europe as he has moved from the US to Amsterdam in the past few years. I got several interesting things out of his sessions:
- 54% of children in Amsterdam schools are from Muslim backgrounds
- Big old European cathedrals are only populated by tourists
- Many Muslim mosques are being built continually around Europe
- No ‘Churches’ are being built around Europe
- Small ‘house churches’ are growing very quickly in many parts of Europe
This creates a very interesting dichotomy within Europe, visibly Islam is becoming common but Christianity is also having much growth but it is all very below the surface.
Another cultural difference in Amsterdam that seams rather interesting is that homes are considered very private. Only very close and long term friends will ever have reason to see inside your house. All the entertainment of friends is done in public spaces, like clubs and restaurants. Arm in arm with this is that most houses don’t have anywhere to entertain people, which is the cause and which is the effect is unknown, but it is rather interesting.
Beyond those interesting points, lots of good comments about doing mission in a culture that is so similar but so different to ours.