In the narration, I say, "Religion flows almost unchecked around the world. It's part of what we call "globalization" -- a process that was slowed by the Cold War but it's now unleashed again. What you're seeing is the global flows of ideas, and religion."
At the end of the film, I observe, "Christianity has always been an evangelical relgiion. It's a faith that exhorts believers to go to the ends of the earth to bring the news of personal salvation through Jesus who died on the cross. It has always been global, bringing a message its followers see as universal."
In recent years the term "globalization" has become a shorthand way of referring to the extraordinary speed with which cultural fads in clothing, music, and so forth, move across seemingly all barriers of language, nationality, and culture. It also refers to the massive numbers of people who are moving from their homelands as political refugees, economic migrants, tourists and travellers, and temporary workers. Globalization includes the almost instantaneous flows of capital, and the transfer of labor-intensive jobs from Europe, the United States, and Japan into the poorer nations of the world.
The "communications revolution," made possible through satellites and digital technologies, makes these flows seem new, and radically different. Only time will tell whether this period is as fundamentally new as that ushered in by the industrial revolution.
But we do know that, with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War in 1989, the pace of change has quickened.
A century ago millions of people poured out of Europe, into the rapidly industrializing cities of the United States and Canada, helping populate Australia, and Argentina. The Borgognonis, and the other Italian immigrants from Ancona, Italy, who built Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Lake Village, Arkansas, were part of that migration. Some say that capital flowed as freely then as it does now, and the barriers erected by nation states were far lower.
Now, unlike then, global institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the International Standards Organization, govern many aspects of globalization. Much has changed since the late 19th century.
The Catholic Church, as Father Okpara makes clear, has always seen its mission as global, and the Protestant denominations that split from it carried on the evangelizing tradition. These African missionaries are, therefore, part of an ancient tradition -- one reaching back 2000 years. They are also representatives of the new era, when Africans, not Europeans, seek new lives beyond their homelands. And return a renewed Christianity to the peoples who once carried it to them.