Roundup 152

Don’t Miss

4 April: We at Beyond will be doing a new Online Event called “The Unexpected Missionary: Katie’s Story”. One of our candidates will be giving her testimony of how God called her into missions. If you know anyone who’s thought about being a missionary but felt they didn’t have the right “gifting,” come hear from this self-professed “shy, fearful, introverted scientist” who is now headed out to the field! Register at https://www.beyond.org/events/.

New events

North Africa

Algeria protests
Pres. Bouteflika warns of ‘chaos’ ahead of protests – Link
A quick read about the protests – some good myth clearing – Link
Reuters also has some reports on the factions involved – Link

Sudanese protestors defy emergency measures to rally in capital – Link
BBC video explores the protests – Link

Unshackled but far from free, former slaves struggle in Mauritania – Link
… “Activists say improving their lot is harder than ending slavery, and just as crucial to repairing race relations and maintaining peace.”

West/Middle/South Africa

“Central Africa is now the most dangerous place in the world for children” – Link
… Muslim v Christian militia violence, 1 million displaced, thousands dead, brink of famine

Burkina Faso: deteriorating security situation = 70,000 displaced – Link

West Asia

“This is love: bringing worship to underground house churches” – Link
… SAT-7 broadcasts to Persian believers in Iran: helping with local music-based worship

Op/Ed: Afghanistan’s post-9/11 generation – Link ($)
… “I was 4 when the Taliban took over my town in 1998.”

Iranian restaurants in capital close as meat prices soar – Link

South Asia

Azerbaijan and ‘the worst cultural genocide of the 21st century’ – Link
… ‘over the past 30 years, engaging in systematic erasure of the country’s historic Armenian heritage’
… ‘denude Nakhichevan of its indigenous Armenian Christian past’

The violent toll of Hindu nationalism in India – Link
… “A populist Prime Minister has legitimized India’s more militant groups, and targeted attacks against religious minorities are on the rise”
… “In several states, local governments have also passed “anti-conversion” laws that make it illegal to forcibly convert people to a new religion. The ostensible purpose of the measures is to shield Hindus from aggressive Christian proselytizing, or to protect them from Islam. But conversion has historically also provided members of lower castes a way out of the caste system’s repressive strictures. The Bajrang Dal also cited the statutes as a justification for attacks against Muslims and Christians.”

Kashmir is in a perilous state because of India’s pivot to nationalism – Link
… Long read analysis. Kashmir is #36 of Top 40 least reached provinces
… and, India bans Kashmir religious group Jama’at-e-Islami – Link

Pakistan seizes religious schools in intensified crackdown on militants – Link

East Asia

Beijing plans to continue tightening grip on Christianity and Islam – Link
… “uphold the Sinicisation of religion in China”

“He needed a job. China gave him one: locking up his fellow Muslims” – Link
… “China’s vast detention program for Muslims has required more and more police officers. And recruits are coming from the very ethnic groups that are being suppressed.”

Propaganda 2.0 – Chinese Communist Party’s message gets a tech upgrade – Link
… “the new propaganda push means political study now consumes more of their time than ever before”

What Christianity in Macau is like – Link

Megacities and more: a guide to China’s most impressive urban centers – Link

Well, that was short: North Korea is allegedly rebuilding key missile-test facilities – Link
… and, its food production was lowest in a decade – Link

Southeast Asia

Bangladesh will no longer take in Myanmar Rohingya refugees – Link
Dozens of Rohingya in Myanmar, Bangladesh in boats trying to reach Malaysia – Link

Why Bangladesh’s divorce rate is rising – Link ($)

Shared Buddhist faith offers no shield from Myanmar military – Link
… a deep look at the tensions in Rakhine State, with lots of photos

Second pastor kidnapped by militant Buddhist forces in Myanmar – Link
… “warned more abductions of Christians were likely because their missionary work made them a target”

Changing dynamics of Islamist terrorism in the Philippines – Link
… “The 1/27 Jolo church bombing might signal a tactical shift…”

Data

Major new research: declining, plateaued, growing churches in USA from Lifeway – Link
… 70% of churches are subtracting, declining or plateauing.
… Only 7% of the churches are reproducing (Level 4), and 0% are multiplying (Level 5).
… context, Sep 2017: “More Americans now say they’re spiritual, not religious” – Link

The Mormon church in the USA, however, is not losing members. Here’s why – Link
… as Rodney Stark has analyzed before, the stronger the obligations and distinctions of a religious community, the less likely it is to lose members and the more likely it is to attract them.
… plus, “Mormons more likely to be married and have larger families, and to marry within the faith.” They have mastered the demographic growth side of things.

ResourceWatch.org: A “real-time” look at various factors around the world – Link

A third wave of autocratization is here – Link
… evidence the world’s governments are getting more autocratic by “seeping” away democratic freedoms.

Youth unemployment is a serious issue in the Middle East.
… Here’s a long-read analysis from Brookings – Link
… note that unemployment & corruption are major factors in Algeria, Sudan

Reading

I’m going to binge-watch this: Chinese food doc “Flavorful Origins” hits Netflix – Link
… big h/t to ZG_Briefs for this link

Rev Dr Chan Nam Chen: Five reality-checks for mission – Link

Church of England: first service in Farsi after a huge rise in Iranian converts – Link

March 2019 Mission Frontiers: Movements Everywhere, why so few in the west? Link

Rule thinkers in, not out: why a few bad ideas shouldn’t deter us from a thinker – Link
… people who have a lot of ideas will have a few good ones and a few bad ones.

We are terrible at predicting how long things will take; do this instead – Link

Future, Tech

Mark Zuckerberg long post: “A privacy-focused vision for social networking” – Link
… “Over the next few years, we plan to rebuild more of our services around these ideas.” If actually implemented, huge: a sharp turn about from a previous focus on public sharing

An ancient Japanese shrine debuts a Buddhist robot – Link
… “world’s first sutra-chanting android deity”

Cool: Excel will now let you snap a picture of a spreadsheet and import it – Link

Twitter users in China face detention and threats in new Beijing crackdown – Link
… I missed this from January. 100s, maybe 1000s, called in by police for expressing opinions about China.

The NSA shut down its phone monitoring program in the USA – Link

Quotes

“Our goal as disciples is never just to believe God’s Word; our goal is to obey God’s Word.” ~David Platt

“You don’t measure demand for a bridge by counting how many people swim across the river.” ~Horace Dediu

“Wherever you find a multiplying movement of disciples, you will always find a foundation of extraordinary prayer.” ~C. Anderson

“The true test of a person’s leadership is the health of the organization when the organizer is gone.” ~J. Oswald Sanders