Roundup 121

New events

US Congress is sounding the alarm over Tunisia’s proposed NGO law – Link

The fight over oil offers opportunity to protect Libya’s wealth – Link
… ‘opportunity to broker an agreement… to resolve the political impasse…’
… but probably not in the next 4 quarters.

Egyptians divided as Sisi continues to extend state of emergency – Link
… for the fifth time since April 2017, this trend likely to continue.

Egypt: Ministry of Awqaf teaches imams, preachers foreign languages – Link
… “deliver Friday sermons in French, English”
… “spread moderate teachings of Islam in tourist areas”
… “allows tourists to learn, spread moderate Islam in their own countries”

Cameroon’s anglophone war, part 1: a rifle as the only way out – Link
… a longread from IRIN: “the line separating fighters from refugees is very thin.”

Violence in Somalia has declined significantly, but it’s not gone entirely…
… 7 injured in road-side bomb in Mogadishu – Link

Catholic Church express concern over escalating violence in C.A.R. – Link

CAR: Ebola deaths rise as patients turn to miracles over medicine – Link
… this particular outbreak seems contained, but this looks at some causes.

Nigeria: nearly 2,000 people killed so far this year – Link
… ‘despite gains against jihadists, unrest has intensified elsewhere…’
… ‘resurgence of deadly communal clashes between farmers and herders…’
… Amnesty Intl: 1,813 killed in 17 of Nigeria’s 36 states, 2x 2017 total.
… More than 200 people from Christian farming communities killed in Plateau State

Baku, Azerbaijan hit by worst blackouts in decades – Link

Op/Ed: Can the Saudis break up with Wahhabism? Link
… long read on the history of clerical power in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia allegedly boosting efforts to take over admin of Jerusalem’s holy sites – Link

Syria: How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria – Economist
… “The Christian quarter is reviving… churches lavishly restored…”
… note how Sunnis are the ones who mostly left, demographics have changed

Syria: the regime has the upper hand, but violence not done yet
… South Syria offensive rages, thousands flee – Link
… US pushes for Plan B in Syria – Link
… ‘collapse of de-escalation zone has prompted a flood of 45,000 refugees…’
… UN calls for assistance: 320,000 now displaced near Jordan border – Link

Yemen: US State Department issues a level-4 warning: don’t go there.
… ‘no part of the country immune to violence… world’s worst cholera outbreak…’

Turkey: How long can Erdogan’s alliance survive? Link
… failure to secure absolute majority in parliament has ‘complicated the picture’
… my estimate: he’s nowhere near to ‘gone’; expect more machinations to keep control

Iran’s people keep getting poorer – Atlantic
… ‘perfect storm of currency in free fall, economist mismanagement, US sanctions…’
… ‘driving shopkeepers into the streets… largest anti-govt demonstrations in recent years’
… and more protests in southwest, over water shortages – Link
… expect more protests in headlines, but still unlikely to topple govt with R Guard backing

Instant verbal divorce rips families apart in Iran’s Kurdish region – Link
… ‘triple talaq’ isn’t common in the Muslim world, but where it is, it can have awful effects

Pakistan is running out of fresh water at an alarming rate – Link
… and has an outbreak of drug-resistant typhoid fever – Link
… I estimate they’ll deal with this, but tensions will be high in some areas
… for context, India also is dealing with water issues

Mob lynchings fueled by WhatsApp messages sweep India… Link
… authorities struggle to combat fake news, demand WhatsApp address issue

India: is it really the most dangerous country for women? Link

With anti-Christian sentiment growing in Nepal… Link
… the community must band together, study legal provisions to keep up the good fight

China’s Belt and Road: Exporting Evangelism? Diplomat
… “aided by the networks created by the Belt & Road, Chinese missionaries are headed abroad, much to Beijing’s dismay.”
… “ one-quarter of all Bibles printed worldwide are printed in China, and the world’s largest Bible printing factory opened in Nanjing in 2008.”

China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions – Link
… ‘planned city clusters far larger than any others around the world’ 

China’s push for more babies is proving costly – Link
… longer maternity-leave policies strain insurance funds… 

Understand the Chinese Communist Party – ChinaSource
… features links to great resources and other material.

China: Dozens of Uighur children of detainees sent to live in orphanages – Link
… their parents are in political re-education camps.

China to increase military role in Africa – Link
… leaders from 50 African countries in Beijing to discuss regional security partnership

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – Link
… a long read on the impact and risks of CPEC, one of the largest Belt&Road projects

Is China bringing peace to Afghanistan? Link

Once hidden, the history of Japanese Christianity gains UN recognition – Link

Op/Ed: The North Korea Nuclear Agreement and Human Rights – Link
… “to have a new relationship, it must include the human rights dimension”
… presently, all the denuclearization machinations aren’t impacting freedoms

Russia’s role on North Korea: more important than you might think – Link
… long shot: might Russian-passport Christians have an opportunity?

Evidence North Korea hasn’t stopped its nuclear program, yet – Guardian

China’s rust-belt region has a new hope for revival: North Korea – SCMP
… could bring prosperity to whole region, incl China’s vast northeast

Christian persecution escalates in Vietnam – Link
… sporadically, and intertwined with tribal issues.

USA: Multicultural churches increase as blacks, whites learn to worship together – Link
… this trend, if it grows, could impact mission mobilization?

USA: Fertility and the decline of American religion – Link
… Obviously correlation is not causation, but this is an important topic.

Violence drives immigration from Central America – Link

Raw Data / Resources / Collections

The Network Effects Manual: 13 different network effects and counting – Link

Pew: Government restrictions on religion increased from 25% to 28% in 2016 – Link

WEF: 1% of the world’s population are now refugees – Link
… 70 million, “the highest number in modern history”
… Great charts of where they came from, and where they’re heading – Link

The number of countries with violent conflicts is highest in the last 30 years – Link
… fatalities in battle now 10x 2005’s total

WEF: The world’s most connected airports – Link
… this graphic demonstrates some of the logistical challenges of reaching the unreached


“Can secondary cities bridge urban and rural economies in Africa?” – Link
… “rapid urbanization is the norm… nearly doubled between 1995-2015…”
… “secondary cities, connect rural and urban areas… pops of 100k to 500k”
… transition points have been strategic areas for gospel proliferation elsewhere

Noteworthy is a community platform that shares free coaching and content so you can lead more like Jesus. –

How to identify and tell your most powerful stories – Nancy Duarte

Park farthest away: 5 simple pastoral habits to defy our “me first” culture – CT
… “leadership is an opportunity to serve… anyone who doesn’t see it that way is not a leader, just a boss.”

Sharing Jesus with Hindu friends – Mark Pickett

Why “find your passion” may be bad advice – Stanford
… belief that interests arrive fully formed and must simply be found can lead people to limit their pursuit of new fields, and give up when they encounter challenges.

Future, Tech

Well-known animal health drug could stop outbreaks of malaria, Zika – Link

The surveillance and control aspects of driverless cars – Link

WeChat: if you use it, you’re watched. If you don’t… ChinaSource
… ‘can mean being hamstrung both at work and in daily life’

WhatsApp just launched “announcement” groups – Link
… where only admins can send messages to the group.
… could be very useful for folks in sensitive locations

Smartphone/social media usage up globally, but big gaps – Nieman
… don’t rely 100% on smartphone access for evangelistic resources, coaching

Internet reaches just 25% of adults in India, says Pew – TOI
… again, not the silver bullet for evangelism/missions/finishing

Social media rises across developing countries, plateaus in developed ones – Pew

4 ways to maintain FB performance amidst the latest news feed shift – Link

How to use FB’s custom audiences to boost your social marketing efforts – Link
… “use data from your existing business database…”
… it says “in a privacy-safe way,” but I wonder. This seems like a fairly easy way for FB to get more data about people.

Context: FB seeks patent on tech that turns on your smartphone microphone – Link
… ‘embed high-pitched inaudible audio signals in broadcast content (TV ads)’
… ‘signal instructs phone to record ‘ambient audio’ surrounding it, then…’
… ‘send back to FB for analysis… identifies corresponding individual & content item…’

Gmail isn’t reading your emails. But others may be, and you let them – Link
… third-party developers might be reading your emails
… think of groups like TripIt, which scan for airline reservations
… I use apps like these, but one needs to be aware of privacy policies, risks vs rewards

Ransomware – not dead, just getting a lot sneakier – Link
… file-encrypting malware is adapting and still potent

Virtually alone: real ways to connect remote teams – Link

Why you should hope your next tomato is grown indoors by robots – Link
… the strategy of “unscaling” and profiting from smaller and smaller niches

Ways to think about machine learning – Ben Evans
… State of AI: a 156-slide PPT look – Link

Read More

Mission Frontiers’ new issue focuses on Kevin Greeson’s work in movements. Lots of case study material and useful lessons here. I know Kevin well and commend the articles.

Believe me: the Evangelical road to Donald Trump.” John Fea
… reviewed in Christianity Today here – Link
… based on the review this looks like an interesting book. It at least gives a perhaps helpful look at evangelicals in America who are caught on one side or the other of a political divide that is already impacting mission strategy and mobilization.

Smarter, faster, better.” Charles Duhigg.
… “The transformative power of real productivity.”
… I’m halfway into this and already finding it very helpful. Duhigg wrote the enormously useful “Power of Habit.”


“If all of your prayers were answered this week, would it change the lives of others, or just yours?” ~Todd Adkins

“Conversion to Christ does not produce a bland universal citizenship: it produces distinctive discipleships, as diverse and variegated as human life itself.” ~Andrew Walls

“People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete–the things that should have worked, but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.” ~Peter Drucker

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