Violent tensions between Chiapas Catholics and evangelicals is easing, reports New York Times

The Times' Ginger Thompson reports on the building of the first evangelical church in San Juan Chamula, a Mexican town known for its persecution of evangelicals by Catholics. "On Sunday mornings, its bare sanctuary--furnished only with handmade benches and a folding table for an altar--fills with color and life that is at once exotic, yet familiar," Thompson writes. "As the worshipers arrive, they are greeted by music from an electric keyboard that sounds like it might introduce an American hymn, until the soloist begins singing in Tzozil, the language of the Chamulans." But if the evangelical service is familiar, "Little is recognizable about the Catholicism practiced there. There are no pews, and the air is hazy and pungent with incense. Worshipers kneel on a carpet of pine needles. They stand candles on the floor in front of them, as if it were one big birthday cake, and light them as they pray. And they drink a clear homemade corn liquor called posh from used Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottles." Tensions seem to be easing—at least they're less violent—but there's apparently a long way to go in this Chiapas town.

Russian Orthodox Church opens important synod

The Russian Orthodox Church's Council of Bishops is meeting in Moscow this week. Though the possible canonization of Russia's last czar and his family has received the most press, more important decisions will be made over relationships with non-Orthodox Christian churches, and the church's first "social doctrine," which will reportedly cover everything from "genetic engineering, contraception, organ transplantation, transsexualism, homosexuality, reproductive technologies and attitudes ...

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