|No. 44||[ Home Page ] [ Index ]||January/February 1996|
Advantages to telecommuting
Telecommuting is growing. People prefer to work at home and commuteto the office by modem (and other electronic communications) insteadof commuting to the office by car or train. Now enough studieshave been done to show the benefits to employers as well. Manystudies have shown telecommuters have greater productivity thantheir office-bound colleagues; some studies have shown they haveabout the same; no studies have shown they have less. Reasonsfor greater productivity include:
1. Telecommuters are not interrupted by office gossip and other chat.
2. Telecommuters lose fewer days to illness.
3. Telecommuters tend to invest in work the time saved by not driving.
Employers are warm to situations that allow their people to costthem less, to produce more per hour of work, and to have moredays in which to work. Two other positive points: since telecommutingis attractive to people it is easier to recruit people, and thebetter people, for positions that offer this option. Also, telecommuterstend to stay longer with the same company. They know a good arrangementwhen they have it, and they tend to want to keep it.
So what is the downside_ One disadvantage: the telecommuter mayrequire expensive computer hardware at two sites, both at homeand at the office. In such cases, experts recommend the obvioussolution: equip the telecommuter with a powerful-enough laptopcomputer that can be used at both sites. Another supposed disadvantageis in fact a myth: that telecommuters are less available to co-workersand supervisors. Noel Hodson, a British-based expert in the field,has calculated that they are 15% more available than the peoplephysically in the office (MicroTimes, 26 June 1995:40, 42).
All this is instructive for Great Commission agencies with largeor medium-sized headquarters offices. As to field missionaries,telecommuting of a sort has been a major way of operating fora very long time. It is good news that advances in computer andcommunications technology allow a missionary who works from hisor her home to do more than before, especially to work in greaterharmony and coordination with co-workers and colleagues in theirown missionóor in other missions, denominations, or GreatCommission agencies. For home or field staff, missions shouldnot be afraid of telecommuting arrangementsóand insteadshould explore and encourage them, while keeping abreast of whatis being learned in the world of secular commerce in this area.
Putting empirical variables in context
American general Colin Powell writes in his new autobiographyof experiences as a soldier in Viet Nam, including a particularlyharrowing exchange of deadly fire in the A Shau Valley. In reportingthe incident, he learned of the American armyís methodsof quantifying progress in the war. "Body counts"were central: how many of the enemy had been killed_ Geographicalprogress was measured by "secured" hamlets. To qualify,a village had to have "a certain number of feet of fencearound it, a militia to guard it and a village chief who had notbeen killed by the Viet Cong in the past three weeks."
At one point in the war, American defense secretary Robert McNamaravisited Viet Nam for 48 hours and declared, "Every quantitativemeasurement shows that we are winning the war" (Time, 18September 1995:64). But he was wrong; America was definitely notwinning the war. Powellís interpretation: "Measureit and it has meaning. Measure it and it is real. Yet nothingI had witnessed in the A Shau Valley indicated we were beatingthe Viet Cong. Beating them_ Most of the time we could not evenfind them."
The story presents an illustration of the limits of quantification.Obviously, as a first empirical indicator of success or failure,a body count is an important piece of information. But assessmentshould not be limited to the quantifiable htmlects of a situation.And the points and methods of quantification need to be designedin such a way as to reflect, and monitor, the reality of a situation.There is a need for both science and art, math and reason, skilland wisdom, in the process. For the most part, the world missionsenterprise suffers from lack of sophisticated quantification resultingfrom innumeracy. But it also suffers from misquantification, asdid the American defense department during the Viet Nam war. Forassessment of important matters, like war, or evangelization,quantification must be done with insight and professionalism.
The complexity of languages
Missionaries have always faced the complexity of language in theirtask of evangelization. Daniel Boorstin presents two examplesin The discoverers (Random House 1983).
The inarticulate society and our communication task
by Todd M. Johnson
As missiologists, mission agency executives, missionaries, churchleaders, mobilizers, teachers, and others try to communicate theneeds of the world, an essential factor is their ability to articulateclearly. A new book by Tom Shachtman, The inarticulate society:eloquence and culture in America (Free Press 1995), offers guidelinesand advice. Although the book is written primarily for an Americanaudience, its diagnosis of a decline in articulate behavior hasglobal context and implications. Shachtman observes that the image-basedculture of the 1990s is moving us further and further away fromthe written and spoken word. "The direction and emphasisof these changes are in all cases the same: away from precise,reasoned, thoughtfully argued, verbally adroit, idea-laden communication"(p. 1).
Great Commission Christians have a particular need for clear communicationsince their subject is Godís plan for human history. Articulatingthe responsibility of Christians to obey Godís commissionrequires leadership and vision. Shachtman does not apologize forthis element but sees it as intrinsic. "Eloquence and excellenceare sometimes derided as elitist concepts. In many ways they are,but so are any concepts that incorporate the idea of leadership.Excellence and eloquence are desirable in part precisely becausethey are leadership qualities" (p. 4).
What are the elements of articulate behavior_ The prime ones arethe "ability to think critically and creatively; to reasoncarefully; to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information andarguments; and to communicate effectively to a variety of audiencesin a variety of forms" (p. 76). This is precisely the contextin which most of us advocating mission to World A find ourselves.
Shachtman uses examples from the home, the schools, the entertainmentindustry, and the political arena to show that articulate behavioris a rare commodity. These four areas serve as a backdrop forhis discussion of the problem and his proposed solution. The mostinteresting example of declining articulate behavior is a carefulcomparison of Walter Cronkiteís first newscast in 1963with one of Dan Ratherís in 1993 showing that todayíscommentators employ a lexicon of about 5,000 words, down from10,000 in Cronkiteís day.
At home, children are often set in front of a television or givenover to an inarticulate sitter. The disintegration of the familyalso adversely affects a childís ability to express himself/herself.At school, didactic methods predominate in which feeding childrena certain amount of information is stressed. Shachtman advocatesusing the Socratic method for teaching children, or "reciprocalteaching" methods which utilize listening and questioning.
Producers of television shows work at the lowest possible levelto appeal to the broadest audience. They certainly share the blamefor this approach but "as an audience we show every signof liking them. Not satiated by the mass media products we alreadyhave, we seek greater stimulation, embrace the latest technologicaladvances, desire more cable channels delivered to our homes, andchannelsurf restlessly among them by means of a remote controldevice" (p. 145). Shachtman offers evidence that TV viewerswould be happy to be challenged more by what they watch.
At the political level we donít often engage in the meaningfuldiscourse that is essential in our democracies. Slogans and phrasessimplify and keep people from thinking more deeply. "Aforcing of the language away from direct expression is one ofthe ways that tyranny always employs to eclipse true eloquence"(p. 196). The solution is to take an active role and encourageour leaders to rise to the challenges of the issues before us.
Shachtman also comments on the effect of inarticulate behavioron the culture wars. He writes of our "demagogic speech"where we use dehumanizing or demonizing labels to portray ouropponent's position. "We seem to have more jargon todaythan in the past, and much of it has come into existence for thepurposes of excluding, confusing, and misleading outsiders ratherthan for facilitating the communication of insiders" (p.197).
We are also too quick to polarize. "All extreme positionson any issue are easily and quickly caricatured. To finely differentiatethe various stances cutting out subtle distinctions and shadesof difference adopted by dozens of more moderate and central politicalstripes requires lots of abstract concepts and words. Oversimplificationgoes hand in glove with the impulse to denature the abstract wordson which subtleties of explanation often depend" (p. 202).
Shachtman closes with this challenge: "To be free, therefore,we must insist on extending meaning. We must all resist the temptationto define narrowly; we must all settle on the best words and notthe shortest words or those whose intent is euphemistic, so thatwe may properly and fully express ourselves and our politicalunderstanding of the world" (p. 206). In world evangelizationwe should portray needs and opportunities with the greatest ofclarity and veracity. Articulate communication is becoming toGreat Commission Christians. In this we best imitate the One whoseplan we seek to implement and for whose glory we are striving.
On Truth and Literacy
"Truth is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error,and has nothing to fear from the conflict"
"Literacy is not merely the capacity to understand theconceptual content of writings and utterances but the abilityto participate fully in a set of social and intellectual practices."
ólegal scholar James Boyd White
European neo-paganism growing
A recent estimate by The Economist put the number of people practicingDruidism in England at 5,000 regular participants in Druid ceremoniesand 40,000 attending big events, such as the Solstice Celebration.The recently-formed Council of British Druid Orders serves asa lobbying and public relations group (EP news service, 14 July1995:12). Neo-pagan growth, a trend in the Western world, likelycomes more at the expense of the non-religious sector, but alsofrom older Christian churches.
Here are our comments on 5 more plans capable of evangelizingsignificant parts of the world. The first 3 are historical butare also "new" in the sense that they generate newawareness among todayís Great Commission Christians.
A global plan with a strategy which almost won
In AD 635, the Ancient Apostolic Church of the East launched itsmost ambitious global plan to evangelize the world by sendingAlopen, a Nestorian bishop from Syria, to China, then the richestand most civilized nation on Earth. Three elements immediatelyput in place a strategy resulting in notable success: 1) openingof numerous monasteries as centers of missionary outreach, 2)placing a copy of the Bible in the imperial library and also atranslation into Chinese, and 3) having Christianity declareda tolerated religion by imperial edict. A fourth unplanned factoróviciouspersecutionófirst spread the Gospel like wildfire, buteventually wiped Christianity out.
A 13th century "10-40 window" that failed
At a time when Islam was in retreat, the Mongol general who hadjust succeeded in defeating the Muslim armies of Baghdad and Syriasent a delegation to king Louis IX of France, then in Cyprus ona crusade, offering an alliance against the Muslim forces. TheChristian decision then that Christians would join only with otherChristians cut off the opportunity of restraining the militarypower of Islam in the Middle East, and also lost the opportunityto evangelize the key Central Asian power at that timeóoneof the greatest missed opportunities for world evangelizationin history.
Missed opportunities in Turkey
In 1926 Kemal Atatürk (Mustapha Kemal) introduced a drasticprogram of social reform in Turkey. He ended the sultanate, separatedthe state from Islam, adopted a new secular code of law, madecivil marriage compulsory, abolished the fez and veil, and abandonedthe lunar calendaróactions which, among many others, definitivelydivorced the nation from traditional Islamic culture (The discoverers,Daniel J. Boorstin, New York: Random House, 1983/1985:11). Thispresented an enormous opportunity for the evangelization of Turkeyand the wider Turkic world. Incredibly, the Christian world ignoredit and the opportunity vanished, leaving Turkey, with its 63 millionpeople, as the worldís largest least-evangelized nationtoday.
The attraction of an every nation" goal
In 1989 Evangelism Explosion International set the goal to beactive in every nation of the world by 1995. By March of 1995they were active in 182 countries, with (by their count) only29 left to enter (EP news service, 24 March 1995:9). At least500 other major mission agencies have announced the same goal.This pleases eachís loyal constituency but without coordinationresults in monumental duplication and rivalry.
A targeted training course for reaching World A
The Frontier Missions Centre of South Asia, located in India,offers a 5-week course to train people group advocates, i.e. Christianswho will study a least-evangelized people group, will seek waysfor them to be evangelized, and will serve as activists for theneeds of their group. The leader explains, "We will guide you in researching your group in local libraries, determining their needs, developing 100 strategies to reach the group, networking, mobilizing, promoting your group, and fundraising." Thecost: US$550. (Brigada network,6 October 1995).
This issue we are highlighting the Li of China by means of the facing profile on page 5. At first glance it poses a widespreadquestion that applies to many peoples across the world: Why isthis people not interested in Jesus Christ and his good news_
The two short paragraphs "History" and "Politicalsituation" indicate that the Li are a highly spirited andfreedom-loving people who are not going to allow themselves tobe pushed around by anyoneówhether emperors, Communists,bureaucrats, or even Christian missionaries or Chinese churchleaders. So they have stuck to their traditional ethnic beliefsand ritualsówhat Westerners call polytheism, which is worshipof a large number of spirits and minor deities.
The first answer to our opening question above is simple: theLi are not interested yet because 79% of them have never beentold about Christ and the Gospel.
Secondly, the fact that in all these centuries since the Gospelfirst came to China in AD 635, no-one has bothered to translatethe Scriptures into the Liís own language, is a shockingfact which explains everything: The Christian message mediatedthrough the Chinese language (Mandarin) and the Union Bible inMandarin, simply has not presented the Gospel adequately to theLi. So someone must revert to that time-honored first stepótranslatethe Scriptures into the mother tongue, "the soul of thepeople"!
Recent titles with bearing on our monitoring purpose
Diane Tong's Gypsies: a multidisciplinary annotated bibliography(Garland, 1995, 399p, $60.00) adds to a growing body of literatureon this much-maligned and misunderstood bloc of peoples.
Anthropologist Akifumi Iwabuchi has prepared an excellent ethnographicdescription of the Alas of Indonesia in The people of the AlasValley: a study of an ethnic group of Northern Sumatra (Oxford,1995, 281p, $65.00).
A good reference work is John Y. Fenton's South Asian religionsin the Americas: an annotated bibliography of immigrant religioustraditions (Greenwood, 1995, 241p, $79.50).
Probably the most comprehensive compact work on Sikhism is RameshChander Dogra and Gobind Singh Mansukhani's Encyclopedia ofSikh religion and culture (Vikas, 1995, 511p, $44.00).
World population projections for the 21st century: theoreticalinterpretations and quantitative simulations by Herwig Birg(St. Martinís Press, 1995, 490p, $65.00) argues that arevival of Malthusian population theory (and the drastic solutionsit generates) poses more risk to humanityís future thandoes population growth.
Leading minds: an anatomy of leadership by Howard Gardnerwith Emma Laskin (Basic, 1995, 400p, $27.50) attempts to constructthe foundation of leadership. The author argues that the mosteffective leaders resolve issues in their own minds and then changethe minds of othersóskills honed in childhood.
Church and synagogue affiliation: theory, research, and practiceedited by Amy L. Sales and Gary A. Tobin (Greenwood, 1995, 208p,$55.00) contains essays that explore the dynamics of congregationaffiliation and the motivations which impel people to join a congregation,drop out or remain unaffiliated in the context of contemporaryAmerica.
Islamic society and state power in Senegal: disciples and citizensin Fatick by Leonardo A. Villalón (Cambridge, 1995, 338p,$59.95) is a penetrating study of the relationship between IslamicSufi orders and the state.
The Khmers by Ian Mabbett and David Chandler (Blackwell,1995, 289p, $34.95) is a well-researched and well-written historyof this important World A people in Southeast Asia.
Religion, state & society is a new journal put outby Keston College (U.K.) that analyzes developments in religionin the former communist countries. Subscriptions are $72.00. Inthe USA write to Carfax Publishing Co., 875-81 Massachusetts Ave.,Cambridge, MA 02139.
Robert Young Pelton and Coskum Aral have produced a fascinatingguide: Fielding's The world's most dangerous places (Fielding'sWorldwide, 1995, 1,000p, $19.95). This compendium is full of danger,hostility, and annoyance in places like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina,Cambodia and North Koreaóa source of practical informationfor travel to very difficult places.
Mehrdad Haghayeghi asserts that Islam is not as powerful in CentralAsia as many are saying, and that secularism is much stronger,in Islam and politics in Central Asia (New York: St. MartinísPress, 1995, 264p).
32 major groups are each given 4-10 pages of text and picturesin From Afar to Zulu: a dictionary of African cultures,by Jim Haskins and Joann Biondi (New York: Waller & Co., 1995,212p, $18.95).
The manual that has been used for intensive research in least-evangelizedpeoples and cities by the Caleb Project/Joshua Project teams mainlyof students has been published as Exploring the land: discoveringways for unreached people to follow Christ by Shane Bennettand Kim Felder with Steve Hawthorne (Littleton, Colorado: CalebProject, 1995, 200p, $25).
Missions, prayer, and revival activist David Bryant shares hisexpectation of a great global spiritual awakening in The hopeat hand: revival for the 21st century (Baker, 1995, $12.99).
Protestants and Catholics: do they now agree_ by John Ankerbergand John Weldon (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1995, 297p, $9.99)is sharply critical of the recent joint statement "Evangelicalsand Catholics together" and its sentiments; this book emphasizesthe differences that remain.
Sacred worlds: an introduction to geography and religionby Chris C. Park (London: Routledge, 1994, 332p, $25) is a scholarlystudy, rich in detail, that explores such topics as the globaldistribution of religions, migration and religious change, religionand demography, sacred places, and pilgrimage.
Three specific movements (Spain and the Incas in the 14th century,Protestants and Tamils in the 19th century, and Pentecostals inChina 1900-1937) are explored in Indigenous responses to westernChristianity ed. by Stephen Kaplan (New York University Press,1995, 183p, $40).
Part of the story of the Jesuit contribution to the evangelizationof East Asiaís two greatest civilizations is told in Avision betrayed: the Jesuits in Japan and China 1542-1742 byAndrew C. Ross (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1994, 216p,$34.95).
Continuing the pattern of the earlier Mission Trends series, Newdirections in mission and evangelization 2: theological foundationsed. by James A. Scherer and Stephen B. Bevans (Maryknoll,New York: Orbis Books, 1994, 215p, $18.95) is a collection ofessays by leading contemporary missiologists relating to the AmericanSociety of Missiology.
A broad textbook in missiology, much of it essays translated froma Dutch textbook of 1988, is Missiology: an ecumenical introduction:texts and contexts of global Christianity ed. by A. Camps,L.A. Hoedemaker, and M.R. Spindler (1995, 498p, $24.99).
Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot, authors of Intrapreneuring,have written The end of bureaucracy and the rise of the intelligentorganization (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1994, 399p,$24.95) wherein they call for "free intraprise" whichreplaces bureaucracy with the combined interacting intelligenceof all within an organization.
Central Asia watchers look for Muslim Eurasia: conflictinglegacies edited by Yaacov Roíi (Frank Cass Publishers,1995, 330p, $25.00 pb).
Counterworks: managing the diversity of knowledge editedby Richard Fardon (Routledge, 1995, 240p, $18.95) discusses howglobal processes affect local cultures with examples from Bolivia,Cuba, Greece, and other countries.
Forms and meanings: texts, performances and audiences fromcodex to computer by Roger Chartier (University of Pennsylvania,1995, 128p, $12.95) considers how the different ways a text istransmitted shape its meaning and define its audience. Recommendedreading for those interested in communicating the gospel effectively.
The Bedouins and the desert: htmlects of nomadic life in theArab East by Jibrail S. Jabbur, translated by Suhayl J. Jabburand Lawrence I. Conrad (State University of New York Press, 1995,670p, $29.50) is the translation of a study of Bedouin life bya Syrian historian and literary scholar who lived from 1900-1991.
The new Latin American mission history edited by ErickLanger and Robert H. Jackson (University of Nebraska Press, 1995,233p, $16.95) contains essays on the actions and motivations ofEuropean missionaries and the responses of indigenous peoples.
Hong Kong, 1997: the politics of transition by Enbao Wang(Lynne Rienner, 1995, 230p, $45.00) traces the history of Chinaíspolicy toward Hong Kong and the colonyís transition fromBritish to Chinese rule.
The meanings of multiethnicity: a case-study of ethnicity andethnic relations in Singapore by Lai Ah Eng (Oxford UniversityPress, 1995, 240p, $69.00) examines ethnicity and inter-ethnicrelations in the context of nation-building in Singapore.
Population, consumption, and the environment: religious andsecular responses edited by Harold Coward (State Universityof New York Press, 1995, 319 pp., $18.95) examines how differentreligious traditions view the problems of overpopulation and excessresource consumption.
Items from various countries
Germany. Astudy commissioned by the German Ministry for Youth produced thefollowing findings. In western Germany, 45% of all young peoplebelieve God exists, and 12% attend church regularly; in easternGermany, 14% of young people believe God exists, and 4% attendchurch regularly (EP news service, 4 August 1995:8).
Uzbekistan.Christian Aid missionary Slavik Radchuk was surprised to discoveran active, lively church of 3,000 Christians in Tashkent (EP newsservice, 21 April 1995:11).
Tatarstan (in the Russian Federation). The largest Protestant church inthis Muslim region is Cornerstone Church, with 800 members (EPnews service, 1 September 1995:10).
France. TheUnion Nationale des Eglises Réformées EvangéliquesIndépendantes de France (UNEREI) has 49 churches, 2,000adult members, and 11,000 total Christian community, with 10 newchurch-planting works in progress (CRA quadrant, September 1994).
The fragmentation of Orthodoxy
Eastern Orthodoxy, long a monolithic entity, has begun to copyProtestantismís history of fragmentation.
When Bessarabia, then a province of Romania, was seized by theUSSR in 1940, the Orthodox church there was forced under RussianOrthodox jurisdiction. Now the Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia,a group of Orthodox churches in the nation of Moldova, has seizedindependence from the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.A recent court ruling supported their cause. They first appliedfor legal status in October 1992, with backing from PatriarchTeoctist of the Orthodox Church in Romania. The new group claims400,000 Romanian-speaking members, 50 parishes, 25 priests, and122 seminary students. The population of Moldova is 51% ethnicRomanian. (NNI, 20 October 1995).
Evangelization and militarization
A large percentage of the most militarized nations on Earth arealso among the least-evangelized. Consider first this list ofthe top ten nations in the world for defense spending as a percentageof gross domestic product (4th column), with the second columnidentifying them as from Worlds A, B, or C:
World Nation Defense
1. A Bosnia 48.7%
2. C Angola 32.4%
3. A North Korea 25.2%
4. A Iraq 15.3%
5. A Oman 15.3%
6. C Nicaragua 13.4%
7. A Saudi Arabia 13.1%
8. A Yemen 12.5%
9. A Kuwait 12.1%
10. B Sudan 11.6%
Certainly there are many World A countries that invest a verysmall percentage of their GNP and GDP in defense, so equatinglow evangelization with high military expenditures does not holduniversally. The presence of Christianity, and of Christian evangelization,can correlate inversely with the level of militarization in acountry. Following is a list of the top ten countries for sizeof armed forces per 1000 population (in the 4th column):
World Nation Troops
1. A North Korea 53.0
2. B Israel 36.8
3. B Syria 28.5
4. B Jordan 26.2
5. C Croatia 21.3
6. A Oman 21.3
7. A Iraq 21.2
8. B Taiwan 21.0
9. A U.A.E. 20.7
10. C Greece 20.3
World A countries are not a majority on this second list, butstill are 4 out of 10, and thus are greatly disproportionate.Only 13% of all the worldís countries are World A countries(28% are World B and 58% are World C). The idea that Christianityis a force for peace is not proven by these tables, but is supportedby them (The Economist, 10 June 1995:7). Great Commission Christiansshould be encouraged to know that their work has far-reaching,positive impact even in the sphere of geopolitics.
Recognizing the cross
Sponsorship Research International, a London sports marketingcompany, has conducted a survey of 7,000 people in six countries(Australia, Germany, India, Japan, U.K, and U.S.A.) asking peopleto identify 9 well-known logos. Results:
This study would seem to show a serious failure on the part ofthe global evangelizing force. Global commercial ventures understandthe functions of modern mass communications and symbol exposurebetter than Great Commission Christians. Or, possibly, the symbolof the Cross was so obvious and different from the others thatit confused the survey participants (EP news service, 1 September1995:10).
Which Christian traditions are growing the fastest_ The list belowis derived from our new annual table from the January 1996 issueof the IBMR. All figures are average annual rates of increase,covering 1970-1996.
Global population . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.75%
All Christians (in the 7 blocs below) . . . . 1.67%
Anglicans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.40%
Catholics (non-Roman) . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.62%
Marginal Christians . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.26%
Nonwhite indigenous Christians . . . . . . . 4.57%
Orthodox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.44%
Protestants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.73%
Roman Catholics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.37%
Good news on encryption
National governments and lesser forces in World A are often harshopponents of evangelization and of Christianity. In some placessecurity is a central concern for frontier missionaries and nationalChristians. One point of good news is that the encryption gameis presently well ahead of the decryption game. Computers canencode messages easily. But "breaking codes is far, farharder. The result is that, today, a modest piece of circuitrycan be used to encode a digital message in ways that no supercomputercan fathom. Nor are the codebreakers likely to catch up; the codemakerísadvantage is endlessly renewable. Every time the code is madea little more complex, the resources needed to break it increaseenormously" (The Economist, 10 June 1995:18). At present,some mission agencies use encryption extensively in their communications.Others avoid it, even in very sensitive countries. Some feel thepresence of encryption draws suspicion. Isnít it more likelyto be used by drug smugglers, illegal arms dealers, insurgents,spies, and other shady characters_ Others are convinced that encryptionis now so common in the world of legitimate international businessthat it is perfectly safe to use extensively. At any rate, thepresent state of computer encryption technology makes it a veryreliable way to keep information from being intercepted by unfriendlypeople.
War and networking
A fascinating illustration of the potential of networked communicationsis provided by Subcomandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatistas,Mexicoís southern rebels. He reportedly travels about ina jeep with his laptop computer plugged into the cigarette lighter.He constantly sends out messages promoting his cause to sympathizers,local newspapers, and a wide range of computer bulletin boards.When the Mexican government launched a new military thrust againstthe rebels, the Zapatistas responded with a weapon more powerfulthan guns. They quickly marshalled international support for theircause through networked communications to a broad list of NGOs(non-governmental organizations) around the world. The result:"Observers were sent and fusses made. The government campaignstaggered to a halt" (The Economist, 10 June 1995:19).
There are lessons here for World A activists, especially NRMs/SCs/PSAs.Be networked! And master the skills that guide an advocacy processthrough networked com-munications to solid results on the ground.
Watching history unfold
Centennia by Clockwork Software is a wonderful application ofCD-ROM capabilities to the unfolding story of historical geography.The user can click boxes and watch the nations and empires ofEurope wax and wane over the years and centuries. Maps of Asia,the Americas, and the rest of the globe are planned ($89 for DOS,Mac, and Windows.
Helpful web pages
One place to go for information on the many different segmentsof humanity relevant to world evangelization is the World WideWeb. Good web pages for searches by peoples, languages, cities,or countries.