By Melissa Wuske
Chinese Forbidden to Display Crosses
Over the past few years, the Chinese government has been removing crosses from church buildings. Now believers in the eastern province of Zhejiang have begun an online campaign calling on people to make small wooden crosses, paint them red, and display them in their homes and vehicles. “Each time they take a cross down, we will put more up,” said an anonymous church leader.
In addition to removing crosses, the government has set up regulations about the size, color, and placement of crosses on church buildings. As a result, most remaining crosses, which are typically large, red, and set on the tops of the churches, must be removed.
In a Pushi Institute for Social Science analysis, Lude Wang predicts this conflict will become a “pain point” in the church’s development in China. “At its core, the Zhejiang Cross Dispute has revealed that in light of the backdrop of a new society, neither the church nor the state has sufficiently prepared to enter into a mature and constructive dialogue. How the church will coexist within a community holding different values to itself is an urgent question.”
Where Do Americans Live?
A Barna Research Group study looked at what kinds of communities Americans live in, why they moved there, and if they intend to move. The data shows that nearly half of Americans (45 percent) describe their area of residence as suburban. The rest of the population is split fairly evenly between urban (25 percent) and rural (24 percent).
Nearly a quarter of Americans were born in the same area they live in now—not surprisingly that percentage is highest with the Millennial generation and lowest with Elders. Many Millennials plan to move in the near future, but 32 percent of adults don’t plan to move at all and 27 percent aren’t sure they ever will. For all generations family is the primary motive behind the place they live—42 percent of adults live in or moved to their current area because of family.
“Churches and ministry leaders in particular, should pay attention to the significant pull that relationships have on people,” said Roxanne Stone, a vice president at Barna Group and the lead analyst on the study.
India Blocks Porn Websites
“This site has been blocked as per the instructions of Competent Authority.” Without warning, this message greeted Internet users in India. It’s a result of a government ban on almost 1,000 objectionable websites.
“Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check,” said N. N. Kaul, spokesman for India’s telecom department. “We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.”
The ban was motivated by Kamlesh, a lawyer and activist, who has been fighting against pornography and sexual violence since the 2012 gang rape in Delhi that killed a college student. “Nothing can more efficiently destroy a person, fizzle their mind, evaporate their future, eliminate their potential, or destroy society like pornography,” Vaswani said.
Decisive Football Victories
If your favorite football team has hit some midseason doldrums or has had painfully disastrous games, think back to the summer when the American team dominated the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) world championship. U.S. trounced Japan with a score of 59-12 in the gold medal game. And if you need an even more sound victory for comfort: the U.S. beat the French 82-0 in the semifinals.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).