Anyone with a taste for sharp satire will en­joy the wickedly funny 2003 film James' Journey to Jeru­salem, which uses the familiar device of a wide-eyed Can­dide figure to expose the foibles of contemporary society—in this case, the state of Israel.

For American viewers, one surprising feature of the film is the background of James himself. He is a devoted Afri­can Christian. Clearly, the idea of African Christians in Israel is not considered even slightly strange in the film, and a moving scene shows James gathering with other immigrant believers in a crowded church. He moves in a transplanted African world that differs little from the better-known Christian expatriate communities of Europe.

Recent events in Iraq and elsewhere have made us familiar with the idea of the Middle East's Christian population as a threatened species. Yet beside the real dangers of violence and persecution faced by ancient churches, we also see startling signs of new Christian growth across the region. So many African and Asian immigrants have flocked there to find work that Christians make up 5 to 10 percent of the populations of the Arab Gulf states, and even Saudi Arabia.