Roundup 114

My blog posts


The people clusters where the task will be nearly 3X by 2050. Link

This is not the end. Link

Not saying yes. Link

News & Events


Concerns over freedom of expression in Tunisia – Link

Who rules Libya? A brief 1 minute video explainer – Link

More violence in Northern Mali – Link

US builds drone base in Niger, “crossroads of extremism fight” in Sahel – Link

Christian mass becomes a massacre: herdsmen kill worshippers – CT
… attacks by Fulani now outnumber Boko Haram

Rwanda weeds the church plants – CT

Somalia: Fears persist as Mogadishu dares to rebuild itself – Al Jazeera
… 6 months after the deadliest bombing, life is slowly returning to ‘normal’

Kazakhstan’s government squelches the last hint of dissent – Economist
… while insisting its president is “universally adored”

A hopeful moment for Uzbekistan – NYT
… Still a highly restricted environment, one of the most closed in Central Asia

Turkey: US renews threat of sanctions over imprisonment of American pastor – Link

Iran: Friday prayers and protests – IranWire
… “Given these realities, the fact that protesters have essentially invaded Friday Prayers venues, making them sites of protest, is significant.”

The deadly Spring Campaigns in Afghanistan have begun; in 2015, 100 died. Link

India: Christian missionaries are a threat, says national politician – Link
… Hindu-nationalist parliamentarian tells reporters “missionaries control Congress”

Opposition to interfaith marriage in India puts many couples at risk – Link

Sri Lanka: When countries are tinderboxes and Facebook is a match – NYT
… “False rumors set Buddhist against Muslims, the most recent in a global spate of violence fanned by social media.”

How China trapped Sri Lanka under a mountain of debt – Axios
… now Sri Lanka is selling infrastructure projects back to China

China: Religion by the numbers – an analysis of State-published data. Link
… Joann Pittman looks at numbers released by the government.

China: Protestant 5-year plan for Christianity – UCA News
… “Translated document outlines strategy for Sinicization that will adapt religion to China’s socialist society.” I have briefly skimmed this; it deserves to be read and analyzed in detail.

“Small town kids” shape future of China’s consumption – Reuters
… “The hinterland is catching up fast, due to industrialization and rapid urbanization”

Various people groups in China:
… The “other” ethnic minorities in China – Link
… Hong Kong’s “cardboard grannies”: elderly box collectors living in poverty – Link
… China’s Lisu aim to save crossbar culture – Link
… Holidays, history and dumplings with a Hui family – Link

“Historic” meeting between North, South Korea – NYT
… pledge the denuclearization of the peninsula, an end to the war
… notably big on declarations and goals but short on specific timetables
North Korea says it will suspend nuclear testing to focus on the economy – Link
Reality is: North Korea’s underground testing site collapsed. Link
… Nightwatch: “Confirmation of the collapse would alter the threat.  North Korea’s nuclear deterrent would have declining value as a security guarantee because it could not be replaced or enhanced.  Assuming the North’s warheads are reliable, they can do significant damage … once. The collapse of the test site, however, would convert the nuclear forces from a deterrent to a last resort.”
… “The biggest impact would be on negotiating positions. The North would have a strategic deterrent that is at a dead end, not by choice. The North Koreans could not threaten to restart nuclear testing as a negotiating ploy, unless they threatened atmospheric tests. Last year, the North threatened atmospheric nuclear tests over the Pacific Ocean, but that threat incurred worldwide negative reaction.”
… Clearly this is a huge event; I am somewhat cynical and will continue to watch. While it could reduce tensions on the peninsula and bring new aid money to N Korea, I’m not sure it will lead to increased openness in that state any time soon.

South Korea: churches lose young congregants, who view religion as irrelevant – Link

Indonesia: “A vigilante state”: citizens of Aceh take shariah law into their own hands – Guardian

USA: “Southern Chinese” in the Mississippi delta – Facebook Video
… interesting look at a contextualized community 

Raw Data / Resources / Collections


30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World, launching May 15 – Link

Analysis


Latin America: a breathtaking murder crisis – UK Guardian
… more than 2.5 million murders since the start of this century

7 demographic trends shaping the US and the world – Pew
… generational shifts, changes in marriage, diaspora, more – impacts both mobilization & diaspora ministry

80% of Americans believe in God – Pew found out what we mean – CT
… 56% believe in God of the Bible; 32% in higher power/spiritual force.
… just 10% do not believe in any higher power/force of any sort.
… the full report here: Pew

How do you control 1.4 billion people? – The New Republic
… yet another look at China’s Social Credit System, mandatory in 2020

Energy intelligence briefing – CFR
… automated warfare, asymmetric risks, and Middle East conflict
… lots of stats on youth unemployment and other risks

Iran among the ruins: Tehran’s advance in the turbulent Middle East – Foreign Affairs

Will Europe’s Muslims ever be accepted as Europeans? Slate

Blogs & Opinions


Christian hospitality is radically different from “Southern Hospitality” – CT
… wonderful interview with Rosaria Butterfield on missional evangelism via hospitality
… important strategy in the light of the unreached “moving near to us”
… “Hospitality is about meeting the stranger and welcoming that stranger to become a neighbor—and then knowing that neighbor well enough that, if by God’s power he allows for this, that neighbor becomes part of the family of God through repentance and belief. It has absolutely nothing to do with entertainment.”

An interesting infographic: “The art and science of networking” – Link

Why companies need to build a skills inventory – Link
… short read on practicals. Could apply to missions as well, esp. mid-sized ones.

“The little tradeoffs” – Link
… “the moments when we succumb to what feels most pressing in front of us, at the expense of what our company needs down the road to be successful”

“You are what you attend to” – Link
… or, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”
… 3 practical keys: intentionality, curiosity, challenge & variety

“Why startups should grow slow before they grow fast” – Link
… written for tech startups focused on exponential growth. This early growth period is slow becausecompanies are focusing on building a product that grows by exponential multiplication rather than aggressive mass acquisition marketing.
… related: “Start slow to move fast” – Will Herman
… “No one wins when a startup optimizes all its success for the short term. Yet, uniformly applying speed to everything you do does just that. As a startup, you need to deliver more than just a first product to a handful of customers, you need to continually deliver to a large number of customers over a long period of time to be successful. We refer to this as scaling. You can’t scale if you’re always firefighting and scrambling. Scaling requires at least some structure and methodology. Especially early on…. “
… the point of all this is equally applicable to church planting movements. Going slow at the start to make sure that the movement is growing due to multiplying growthrather than rapid member acquisition through unsustainable growth hacking practicesis important.

Jeff Bezos apparently banned Powerpoint in favor of narrative memos – Link
… this article discusses why this is successful. 

Future, Tech


BBC Sound Effects library, 16,000 sounds, now available for non commercial use – Link

“The false prophecy of hyperconnnection” – Niall Ferguson
… “how to survive the Networked Age”
… I’m presently reading his book on social networks and movements, “The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Facebook releases a new guide on community standards and acceptable content – Link
… worth reviewing by mission agencies to make sure what we post conforms
… we should especially watch the sections on “hate speech” as some could make this accusation

Iran blocks video, images on Telegram – Link

“China’s Xi says Internet control is key to stability” – Reuters

Chinese AI is half as good as U.S. capability, report says – Axios

ZenScreen is a new app that helps you manage phone/screen usage – Link
… Track screen usage, limit screen time, give simple “nudges”, family members (kids?) too.

Fingerprint prick test reveals fetus’ sex during first trimester – Link
… as early as 8 weeks. I wonder what the impact of this tech in China, India. 

Quotes


“If you have a God powerful enough to be mad at because of evil, then you have a God great enough to have reasons that you can’t fully get.” ~Tim Keller

“We need the witness of Christians of other cultures to correct our culturally conditioned understanding of Scripture.” ~Lesslie Newbigin

“For too many, the opposite of fear is not courage, but conformity.” ~Alvin Reid

“You can do with 12 disciples what you cannot do with 12,000 consumers.” ~Alan Hirsch

“‘That church has good suffering. Let’s join.’ Who would ever say that? Paul would.” ~Bradley Bell

“The newsfeed in heaven is very different than the newsfeed on earth.” ~@SamAllberry

“The cost of discipleship is great. The cost of non-discipleship is far greater.” ~David Platt

“The solution to sin is not to impose and even stricter code of behaviour.  It is to know God.” ~Philip Yancey

“We are often exponentially more disgusted with the sin in other peoples lives than we are with the sin in our own.” ~Eric Geiger

“It is easier to be orthodox than it is to be loving.” ~Jeff Robinson

“Much of our praying is only our giving God advice.” ~Leonard Ravenhill