In recent months, I decided to take use of Google's offer to mail you news updates based on keywords you provide. I chose Symfony (the web based PHP framework which I use), Israel (I don't have a TV and want to keep up to date with the going's on there) and Christians. I've noticed that many of the Christians headlines don't make it to the mainstream google news site. I've also noticed, that much of the news is about persecution cases around the world. This is happening today, and many people are just not aware.
A while back I added a persecution.org widget to this blog on the left hand column, showing highlights from a Christian based advocacy group. Take a look from time to time at those links. That being said I move on to the reason for this post:
I recently got a book called "The Persecuted Church Prayer Devotional" - Which is an overview of some of the most hostile countries to find yourself in, if you are a Christian, or involved in Christian ministry in any form. The back of the book states a little known fact: More Christians were martyred in the twentieth century than all the previous centuries combined, and this onslaught has continued unabated into the new century. I agree with the conclusion of the write up, which says that it is our duty to be knowledgeable and to take action on behalf of those who are persecuted. Also that one of the most essential actions we can take is to stand in the gap by being on our knees in prayer.
I happen to know both that modern persecution is very real, knowing someone who travels to Sudan now and then to assist with ministry there. Also I know some people in the East who go to places like Tibet and China. It is interesting that many people that I speak to do not know things that are not well represented in modern media.
In the next few weeks I want to take a look at the top ten ranked countries, for violations against Christians and the kind of violations that occur. My aim is twofold: to create awareness, and hopefully by so doing, to create a desire for intense prayer, regarding what is going on there. The book contains many more than ten countries, detailing these violations in an easily accessible format - well worth looking into. The first country we will look at, is ranked tenth in it's intensity of persecution against Christians. It is Afghanistan.
Before I start with that (in my next post) - look at the samples I got from today's Google news alert via email on the word Christians:
The cross they bear - Persecution going on in parts of India by the hand of Hindu extremists.
China's crackdown on Christians worsens - 2007 proves to be a tougher year for Christian leaders and people in house churches.
Pakistani Christians released by abductors - Five Christians had been abducted my militants on the suspicion of selling liquor.
Note: after a period of time, these links may no longer work.