Saturday 5 December 2015
Will success spoil Cuba’s revival? An interesting look under the hood at what’s going on for Christians in Cuba, and what could threaten enormous God-growth in the country: “Cuba’s Christians have thrived despite the island’s politics and poverty. Their improbable, decades-long revival is often described as being rivaled only by China’s. ‘It’s incredible. People just come on their own, looking for God,’ says a Western Baptist leader.” Read more here.
8 words from Jesus: A Syrian refugee worker offers eight things Jesus expects from his followers when it comes to refugees. “In trying to grapple with what it means to follow Jesus as it relates to the current refugee crisis, it is worth rehearsing at least eight things Jesus expects from those who follow him. May he give us all wisdom in how best to apply them.” Read more here.
What future? Samuel Tadros from the Hudson Institute’s Centre for Religious Freedom writes for ABC Religion and Ethics, says the outlook for the future of Christianity in the Middle East is bleak. “For many Middle Eastern Christians, the only answer is emigration, to pack their bags, to pack 2,000 years of history and leave the lands of their ancestors and go to the West, hoping for an open door there. The Middle East will lose a lot by their emigration.” Yet, he says, the decline of Middle Eastern Christianity is not a story that began with ISIS or the horrors we see in Syria or Iraq. It began with economic constraints, persecution and discrimination. Read more here.
The pitfalls of politicians citing Bible verses: “The trouble with politicians using biblical quotations is this: It’s hard, and most of them think it’s easy. The Bible-quoting politician usually ends up sounding self-important, disingenuous, ill-informed or all three at once. The quotation almost always sounds contrived, as if it’s been dropped into the speech because the audience expects something religious or spiritual, not because it clarifies or illustrates an important point. It’s a temptation plenty of 2016 contenders are also falling victim to,” writes Barton Swaim from The Washington Post. Read more here.
Prayer shaming? As news broke of mass shootings in California this week, social media was awash with people offering prayers. And then, it was awash with people criticising those who offered prayer. New York Daily News ran the headline, “God Isn’t Fixing This”, summing up a number of responses from politicians – particularly Republican politicians to suggest that prayer isn’t working. Christianity Today reports on the prayer shaming, here.
Dark side or light side? We’ve been amused at Google’s Star Wars lead-up antics, asking users to pick a side: dark or light and then changing some of Google’s apps to reflect your choice. Google.com/starwars/ offers a graphic that shows the “balance of the force” – tracking the number of people who choose light or dark to determine whether the world will fall to good or evil. At time of writing, it seemed pretty even. We’re not sure what the internet is more excited about: Christmas or Star Wars? But here’s a mash-up of both: