Read the Weekly Roundup: April 20

By Justin D. Long, ed.

Perspective, Insight, Context, Analysis

Don’t Miss

Last day to order Steve Smith’s new book, “Spirit Walk,” at big discount: Link. “Behind the methodologies for personal life transformation as well as multiplying disciples is a much-forgotten spiritual dynamic. Through training thousands of hard-working disciples of Christ around the world, I realized that many were using good biblical methods apart from the daily empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I spent much more time emphasizing the spiritual dynamic behind life transformation and disciple-making movements. Out of these countless interactions, the time-tested content for Spirit Walk was born.” (pre-order deadline 4/20)

Beyond’s 12th Disciplemaking Nugget training: how to have spiritual conversations with Muslims – Register Link In our next Nugget Training, two of our workers will discuss their experience with ministering to Muslims. We often assume Muslims want nothing to do with spiritual conversations, but this training will help break down that misconception. In reality they tend to be open to friendships, and are happy to have these types of conversations. Come learn from our team who has served in South East Asia among Muslims for over twenty years, and discover practical ways you can engage your Muslim neighbor in spiritual dialogue. Our team will share helpful “Do’s and Don’ts” of interacting with Muslims. God is doing something miraculous among Muslims all around the world – will you join Him?

My blog posts

Is USA’s Millennial/GenZ generation post-Christian? Link

Why movements succeed. Link

Sharing stories: security vs. fear vs. pride. Link

Surveillance in China: an extended review with lots of links. Link

Small Spaces and Security. Link

Control vs. Empowerment Structures. Link


A report of increased persecution of Algeria’s Christians as Christianity grows – Link
… ‘apparently more like 100,000 Christians, Muslims are quietly converting…’
… ‘not quiet enough for Isl. conservatives
… govt persecutes to keep Islamic parties weak’
I haven’t seen this report confirmed anywhere else. -Ed.

Tunisia’s democracy: freedom is disappointingly messy, but there may be hope – CSM

Libya split between two governments; now, attack in East puts that half in jeopardy – WSJ

Egypt, unsurprisingly, extends its state of emergency – Naharanet

Kenya: declining fish stocks, increasing populations = the problem. Link
… Frozen farmed imports from China = the answer? Fish exports to Kenya = $30 mln biz
… Kenyans look at fish farming to try to increase competitiveness with Chinese fish

Modern Christian mission docs (and the Jewish philanthropist who supports them) – Link
… ‘These are the most effective people I’ve ever met.’

New report reveals religion and secularism in Kazakhstan – Astana Times
… ‘a completely different model of state secularism’
… ‘increasing number of restrictions … most prominent in aftermath of terrorist attacks…’
… ‘outlawed religious congregations in homes… foreigners from registering…’

Nearly 13 million Syrians are displaced – Statista infographic

Israel & Iran headed for a collision in Syria, as the old war gives way to new ones – Atlantic

Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial in Turkey is getting mainstream media attention – ABC
… Turkey rebuffs US appeals over detained American pastor – NYT
… US warns of consequences if jailed pastor isn’t freed – Seattle Times

Also: Erdogan calls for snap elections on June 24, to solidify hold on power – NPR
… EU warns of curtailing rights under Turkey’s state of emergency – Al Jazeera

A senior cleric in Iran wants money changers executed to help end currency crisis – RFE
… rial lost 35% of its value against the dollar this week

Afghanistan: spreading conflict, chronic displacement = powderkeg – IRIN
… “aid is in short supply for thousands of families forced to etch new homes into once-barren land”

India: BJP alleging Christian missionaries vandalized Ambedkar statues – Hindustan
… short piece that illustrates how BJP is trying to make scapegoats of missionaries

India’s girls are taking free self-defense courses from police in New Delhi – NYT
… nation struggling with sexual assault issues: “men treat us like we aren’t human”

How the extended rule of China’s president will influence Africa’s future – Quartz
… the influence of the Communist Party on young Africans through education; Belt & Road and the implications of debt control; global military role; repressive African governments using Chinese Internet surveillance/control tech.

China’s Communists rewrite the rules for foreign businesses – NYT
… ‘the party is strengthening its influence—often gaining direct decision-making power—over the international firms doing business in China’
… ‘Honda changed legal documents to give Party a say in how Chinese factories were run
… Indiana-based Cummins tried to appoint a new manager for one of its China businesses, the party said no…’

Carrot & Stick: How Beijing controls its diaspora – China Digital Times
… veiled threats, blackmail against anti-China diaspora, encouragement of pro-China through UWF The CCP is setting up cells at universities across America – FP
… strategy to tighten ideological control, happening around the world
… Question: should college ministries engage these cells through some form of witness/evangelism?

Rural exodus leaves shrinking Chinese village[s] full of aging poor, few children – SCMP
… rural regions of poor provinces feel the drain as young parents migrate to the cities

A museum chronicling Japan’s persecuted Christians opens in Nagasaki – Japan Times
… at a major Catholic church, and is a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site

USA: Buddhist Temple blends Christian practices with Buddhism – Argus Observer
… pews, weekly Sunday services, songs instead of chanting

NKor & SKor “reportedly intend to announce an official end to war” – NightWatch
… “NKor fond of using the word ‘sincere’… compliance with agreements is far from ‘sincere’
… context for four months of ‘cordiality’ is 65 years of duplicity and armed hostility.
… Challenge is not just denuclearization but reduction in conventional forces
… NKor still totals more than a million personnel, mission always reunification by force

Most think of the Rohingya in Bangladesh (1.1 million), but 400k still live in dire situations at home in Myanmar – UN

Castro steps down, replaced by Diaze-Canel, Cubans indifferent – Link

Iraninan asylum seeker whose church attendance dropped off loses immigration fight –
… authorities did not believe he had genuinely converted to Christianity

Raw Data

State of Digital Advertising 2018, 21-slide deck – Link


Lake Chad: can the vanishing lake be saved? BBC
… source of water to millions, shrunk by 90% since 1973, “it’s a ridiculous plan,” maybe…

South Sudan’s refugee flow is often a children’s crisis – AP
… more than 60% of over 1 million refugees in neighboring Uganda are under 18.

More than 40 million displaced by conflict, 25 million displaced by disaster – IOM

How Syria came to this – Longread from the Atlantic
… “ethnic and sectarian conflict, international connivance and above all civilian suffering.”

A glimpse of life along China’s border with North Korea – Wired

Belt & Road’s real aim is to expand China’s global influence and military presence – SCMP
… fascinating that this US study in AP article was included in Hong Kong-based newspaper

Xi Jinping hasn’t really changed China – China File
… “The Party’s essential political role of leading a Party-state under strict one-Party rule has not changed…”

Changing dynamics of church growth in China could impact predictions of just how many Christians China might one day have. Brent Fulton
… growth doesn’t always continue forever, inexorably toward some distant benchmark.

Who are the expats in China? the case of Suzhou. CPI Analysis
… ‘increasing numbers of foreign nationals in large Chinese cities
… Koreans & Japanese are largest foreign national group
… increasingly growing demand for English education, a lot of Americans, mostly singles, found in Chinese cities…’

Too many men: in China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million – WPost
… “the consequences are far-reaching: an epidemic of loneliness, imbalance distorts labor markets, drives up savings rates in China, drives down consumption, inflates property values… parallels increases in violent crime, trafficking, prostitution
… consequences not confined to China, India, reach deep into Asian neighbors…”

Pew: Muslims in America – Link
… immigrants & and those born in U.S. see life differently in many ways
… 42% of American Muslims were born in America

Blogs & Opinions

What it’s like being the only doctor in war-torn Sudan’s Nuba Mountains – ABC Video

Baku: this ancient Silk Road City is now a modern marvel – National Geographic

Op/Ed: Turkey’s youth are losing faith in Islam, embracing deism – Al-Monitor

Cut through the Small Talk and connect in Catalytic Events – Link
… “Lessons from 130+ dinners, summits and salons”
… Covers six components of catalytic events: curated guest lists, moderators, discussion prompts, targeted content, question forum, preparation.

Peak-end rule: why you make terrible life choices – NirandFar
… “we tend to recall the most intense events most easily
… and remember events differently depending on how they end.”
… to be considered when designing mission events, courses, vision trips, etc.

Question your Lens – CGCS
… see others as God sees them, be aware culture and experience shape how you see,
… don’t jump to conclusions when you don’t understand…

The disciple-making shift – Alvin Reid
… “For too many…Christianity is focused on pleasing ourselves, not rocking the boat, and giving more attention to moralistic behavior change or simple felt-needs advice on making it in the world rather than living out the mission of God…”
… “Here’s a suggestion to begin recalibrating your disciple-making: Rehearse the gospel of Jesus every day until it consumes your affections, informs your perspective, and guides your decisions.”

Future, Tech

Social media analytics: 12 hidden reports, is your social strategy is working? – Neil Patel
… long, deep dive into Google Analytics with tons of screenshots and examples

Facebook uses AI to predict future actions for advertisers – Intercept
… it’s like Minority Report, but for businesses & advertisers instead of police:
… “based on how they will behave, what they will buy, and what they will think
…. using facts of your life to predict in the near future you’re going to get sick of your car
… ‘loyalty prediction’: apply that to digital surveillance, couple w/China’s Social Score

4 types of machine intelligence you should know – InformationWeek
… explainer on diff between cognitive computing, AI, machine learning, and deep learning.

Reach of West Africa’s mobile money sector is 13x wider than local banks – Quartz
… and still less than half the population is connected/subscribed

64-slide deck on how to get the most out of Twitter. Speakerdeck.
… pretty good, especially if you’re fairly new to Twitter, which works diff from FB

13 critical podcast statistics of 2018 – Convince & Convert
… 64% of Americans have heard of podcasts, 44% have listened to one
… 26% listen to podcasts monthly, 1/3rd of 25-to-54-y.o. listen monthly
… (and more stats, obviously)

Tajikistan: when #surveillance may not be real. Link
… “strong suspicions that the [security] system may not be real, and that its stated existence is merely an excuse for the government to retain total control over the [telecommunications] industry”

Israeli #surveillance companies build massive facial recognition database by scraping Facebook – Forbes

Russia asks Google and Apple to remove Telegram from app stores – Reuters
… blocks access to Telegram after they refuse – Reuters
Iran: countdown starts for banning Telegram – Asharq Al-Awsat
… govt/admin workers banned from using foreign apps to communicate
… half of Iran pop. uses Telegram to communicate; fears it will be blocked entirely – RFE
… a global map of where Telegram is blocked – RFE

Google engineers develop a technique for isolating the speech of a single source in the midst of a noisy environment (e.g. a cocktail party) – Link
… it’s pretty amazing. Now, apply this to surveillance anywhere.

Gmail is testing self-destructing emails – Link

Google’s new search tool will answer any question by reading thousands of books – Quartz
… “Talk to Books” is fascinating, but it perhaps needs to be sorted according to date. asking it “how many Christians are in China” delivered answers ranging from quite old to 2010.

App faith: how religions are embracing technology – UK Guardian


“Money cannot create movements.” ~Travis Kolder

“We cannot pray in love and live in hate and still think we are worshiping God.” ~A.W. Tozer

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” ~G.K. Chesterton

“What is becoming more predominant in our information age is the lack of ability to discern wisdom and truth in the avalanche of opinion dressed up as fact.” ~Dallas Willard

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.”  ~JRR Tolkien

“There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.” ~D. L. Moody

Justin Long, a missionary researcher serving with Beyond (a Missio Nexus member) provides the Weekly Roundup. Sign up to get it every week or visit his daily blog: Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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