Roundup 136

My Blog Posts

Every place and people group needs a worker, and a thought about monitoring – Link

Money on missions vs. Halloween pet costumes – Link
… yep, we spend more on pet costumes (and dog food, for that matter)

Events, Data Points in Trends

#War, #Unrest

Egypt extends state of emergency for yet another three months. Ironically this was engendered by attacks on churches. – Link

The Russians have moved in to Central Africa Republic: with weapons, contractors, training for local soldiers, in order to secure mining projects. It’s Russia’s highest profile military foray in Sub-Saharan Africa in decades – Link

More than 200,000 have fled Cameroonian government  crackdown on English-speaking regions – Link

Somalia still less-stable: 16 dead in pair of bombings in Baidoa – Link

Syria says it’s ready to fight for Idlib if jihadists reject deal – Link

In Afghanistan’s season of crisis, ‘words do not have strength’ – Link
“no one remembers a season quite like this, w/peril & hopelessness at every turn”

The Diplomat says: Be prepared for an India-Pakistan limited war: just because they’re keeping away from nuclear exchange doesn’t mean a war won’t be fought – Link

Myanmar: a bit on how Bible school students forcibly recruited by ethnic militia – Link

Two Koreas, UN command wrap up first talks on disarming border. Apparently reached an agreement to reconnect railways and roadways cut since 1950s. I’m watching this fairly closely due to its implications for a further opening NKor – LinkNYT

#Disaster – earthquakes, famines, plagues, droughts…

1 in 2 face starvation in South Sudan: extreme hunger in more states – Link
Afghan drought “displacing more people than Taliban conflict” – Link
The Sichuan Earthquake, 10 years on: multimedia from SCMP – Link

#Religious Freedom, religio-nationalism…

WorldWatch has a good overview of Brunson freed in Turkey – Link
And, another worker arrested: he was released but given 15 days to leave the country – Link

Hindu nationalist-led Uttar Pradesh changes Muslim name of Indian city Allahabad to Prayagraj. This is part of a wider trend of renaming, erasing Islamic influences – Link

China is now, finally, publicly acknowledging its work in Xinjiang: taking a new tack of a PR spin to legitimize it.
… Official says ‘sanitization’ of religion in Xinjiang must go on – Link
… Detention camps are ‘humane’ – Link
… Paranoia and oppression in Xinjiang has a long history – Link

“China’s Great Leap Backward”: This FP essay on the burgeoning police state: ‘personal power play risks undermining everything that made China exceptional’  – Link

Lao: There’s a push against the sweeping decree last year abograting the right to personal belief – Link

#Crimes, Structures of Sin

UN: Some #s of Rohingya girls being trafficked, sold into forced labor in Bangladesh – Link

#Platforms

Tourism in Tunisia – a platform for entry in many countries, returning here slowly – Link
… Al Jazeera: visitor #s to hit 8m by end of the year – Link
…Economist, fascinating: 600k Russian tourists saved the fledgling tourism industry – Link

A series of economic slumps = Kazakh laborers heading to S Korea for a better life – Link

US pledges $300 million so Iraq’s Christians can return home. This will likely affect religious demographics within the nation – Link

In China: “Young friendly, and living in a retirement home” – Link
… new project pairs cash-strapped graduates with lonesome elderly

#Religious Climate in Sending Countries

When houses of prayer become places of shelter – Link
“… hurches and other places of worship are testing their standing against the state…”

Out of wedlock births have stabilized as the norm in US, European countries – Link
… 40% of US births, ~50% of European births are outside marriage.

58% of Americans think abortion should be legal in all/most cases – Link
… 37% think abortion should be illegal in all/most cases
… partisan divide very wide, nation polarized on issue 

Russian Orthodox Ch cuts ties with Constantinople over Ukraine Orth independence – Link

Raw Data / Resources / Collections

Global population set to grow another 2.2 billion by 2050 – Link
… more than half of that, 1.3 billion, is likely to be in sub-Saharan Africa
… Africa’s share of the world population will grow from 17% (2017) to 26% (2050)

Americans spend over $70 billion on pets – Link
… More than the combined GDP of the 39 poorest countries of the world
… Chinese spend $2.6 billion on theirs

“Over 40,000 churches in the SBC. Over 80% of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is given by just 5000 churches.” @ZanePratt
… Pareto’s Law (80/20), a bit more pronounced. 20% of 40,000 = 8,000.

Population growth in Iraq raises concern (+1m p.a.) – Link
… 38m 2018, Baghdad 8m, incr demand for food, water, power, housing 

Noteworthy

J. D. Payne. “Church planting is not the single most effective methodology.” Link
… read this carefully. He’s not saying all church planting is bad. I completely agree w/him.

Samuel Chiang. “The importance of narrative: utilizing the entire Bible to train up well-rounded leaders.” Link

Brother Liu: “Responding in a time of testing.” re China, but applies tochanging climates all over the world. Really good insight – Link

Brent Fulton: “A Look in the mirror: research and the indigenous church” (in China) – Link
… introducing a series of articles on indigenous research on Chinese church growth

UPG Stories

How Chinese cuisine become India’s comfort food – Link

Tebu cultural awakening: “We may not be Arabs, but we are Libyan” – Link
… “now have their first alphabet ever and a cultural center”
… Al Jazeera program focused on the work of SIL translators!

Religion and women’s rights crash violently at a shrine in India – Link

Japan’s 700,000 hikkomori isolate themselves for years in their apartments – Link

The sand diggers of Mali, in pictures – Link
… building boom in the capital has sparked a surge in demand for bricks

Big Wata: the surfers of Sierra Leone – Link
… “the first and only surf club in Sierra Leone is at the heart of the local community…”

Telling the stories of Somalia’s lost warriors – Link
… “from refugee to storyteller, a Danish Somali filmmaker challenges stereotypes about young Somalis”

Future, Tech

Dramatic slowdown in global growth of Internet access – Link
… From 19% p.a. in 2007 to 6% p.a. in 2018
… Slowing because now they’re getting in to the tough areas? Mirrors unreached? -Ed.

Life at the bottom of the global league of Interest access – Link
… “In Somalia, to be caught with a smartphone in the wrong place can mean death”

Mobile money transfers have taken off in Somalia – Link
… “Even superseded the use of cash in the country … But it’s a risky business”

5 takeaways on the state of AI from Disrupt SF – Link

MIT announces $1 billion commitment to AI – Link

Google AI claims 99% accuracy in metastatic breast cancer detection – Link

DeepFake: someone used AI to insert Harrison Ford into Solo: A Star Wars Story – Link

All Google Assistant headphones and Android phones now feature real-time Google Translate – Link

New ShakeAlert earthquake detection system being beta-tested – Link

Efficient robotic warehouse fills orders in 5 minutes, and fits in city centers – Link

Children as young as 4 encouraged to use online selfie apps to appear more beautiful – Link

USA: TSA expands facial recognition to automate bag drop, ID verification, flight boarding – Link

Reading More

“Giving up control: why movements are preferable to revivals.” A. J. DeJonge, $0.99 on Kindle, https://amzn.to/2yOvPTI. On the strength of the title (which combines swarms and movements in one headline) and on quotes, I instantly bought the book. Haven’t read it yet, but I figure if the rest of the book is as good as these quotes, it’s easily worth the price of a Coke. H/T @TimCasteel for bringing this to my attention:

  • “We don’t grow movements by leading activities;we grow ministries by leading activities. A movement is continually growing, a ministry [grows] only to a size in proportion to the staff team. Movements grow by developing students who are committed to lead” 
  • “Part of our role as staff became that of a team of documenters who seek to learn, capture, and pass on the best ideas to the coming generations of students.”
  • “When I started church planting, I wrote manuals on the topic that became thicker & thicker over time. The complexity became their downfall… it has to be simple. So simple you could fit it on a bookmark & use the Bible for a manual.”