After several clashes this past summer, Christian members of the Guantou church in Wenzhou, a city known as China’s Jerusalem, saw the Chinese government remove the cross from atop their church. Church members were told by their government that if they resisted further, the whole building would be torn down.

Activists and academics believe this is part of a renewed Communist Party crackdown on faith that began in the eastern province of Zhejiang earlier this year.

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A few weeks ago, you likely saw pictures of Christian owned buildings in Mosul marked with the symbolic “Arabic nun” (the first letter representing Nazrani or Nazarene), for evacuation or destruction. Some on social media took on the Arabic letter as an icon or profile picture to show solidarity.
 
So, what happened to those buildings? Since taking over Mosul on June 10, ISIS has destroyed, occupied, converted to mosques, converted to ISIS headquarters or shuttered all 45 Christian institutions in Mosul.
 
Following the jump is the complete list of the Christian institutions formerly in Mosul, grouped by denomination. Since radical Islam knows no doctrinal distinctions among Christians, the list includes places of worship, residence or office formerly used by Evangelical Presbyterians, the Syriac Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Chaldeans and Armenians, and others.

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Displaced Iraqi Christians attending a worship service in northern Kurdistan.

Displaced Iraqi Christians attending a worship service in northern Kurdistan. Photo credit: Barnabas Fund UK.

In light of the advancement of ISIS and ISIL in the Middle East and the resulting decimation of numerous religious minority communities, I’ve received texts and phone calls asking how to navigate the large swath of media voices, and asking how Christians in particular can respond wisely. 

By God’s gracious design, I was invited by Jemar Tisby and Beau York of Pass the Mic to discuss the humanitarian situation in the region, and present a reasonable response for concerned Christians watching from a distance. By way of an update since the interview, humanitarian agency Barnabas Fund UK reported this week that the Islamist organization has clearly set its sights on territorial expansion in the region, with one of its primary aims the eradication of the Christian community. in other words, what has happened to religious minorities in Mosul may soon become normative for all dissenters in the region.

I’ve been encouraging people not to approach the suffering church with tepid pity, but rather with compassionate identification. Understanding the internal, historical and ideological dynamics while avoiding sweeping rhetoric seems a good place to start. Listen to the interview here.

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In July 2014, I was invited to the Creating Options Together Conference by John Sather, the National Director of CRU Inner City, to give a presentation on the current condition of the global suffering church. At the conference, I was honored to share the platform with my husband Carl Ellis, Bob GreyEagle, Adam Edgerly, Sunish Abraham, Edrin C. Williams, Kenneth Stokes, and the legendary Dr. John Perkins.

Among other things, this lecture:

1. explores the sociological similarities among persecution tactics through recent history,

2. examines the theological contours behind the dynamics of Christian suffering and its redemptive potential,

3. outlines how concerned and sympathetic human rights advocates can effectively respond to the current crisis.

Watch the fifty-minute presentation here, and thanks in advance for checking it out. (And yes, in answer to an often asked question, I do sing occasionally in the course of the message).

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The New York Times covers ISIS’ final blow to remaining communities of Chaldeans, Assyrians and others who claim the name of Christ in Iraq’s Mosul.  Many made their home on the plains of Nineveh in the north of the country, an area mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Genesis.

Read the full story here.

 

Originally posted on Daniel Hill's Blog:

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A bunch of you asked me on FB and Twitter if I’d write a little bit more about the trial yesterday, so here is the more extended version.

I drove down to Murphysborough, IL yesterday (this is their courthouse above) to testify on behalf of a young woman that has been part of our congregation since she was a teenager. It is a case that’s been dragging on since her senior year of college at SIU, and yesterday was the sentencing.

It’s not unusual for me to be in court with one of the younger members of my congregation. I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that even the smallest offense can turn into an epic punishment for someone that doesn’t have the luxury of being white.

That reality was on full display yesterday. Usually when I go as a character witness to speak on behalf of someone…

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Guest writer  Camille J. Hallstrom provides a rarely reported glimpse of Ugandan Christian leaders as they have attempted to “inject charity into lawmakers’ understanding” of the issues leading to that country’s recent legislation passed regarding homosexual behavior.  She examines pivotal events in Ugandan history  that greatly inform the culture on this issue, and presents insight into the effects of the involvement of Western rights activists.  

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If Western rights activists wish to actually help conditions in Uganda to improve and not worsen, they must develop cultural sensitivity and humility, seeking dialogue with those on the ground who have a proven track record in pursuing mercy and charity with lawmakers. – CH

As is not uncommon, when the West deals with a different society, it can be culturally insensitive and consequently heavy handed.  Those who deplore the current Ugandan anti-homosexuality legislation must realize that the West’s behavior and tactics have helped to push the law into existence.  Furthermore, those who deplore the legislation should be careful of whom they call enemies, since they may be attacking the very persons who have worked to keep draconian laws from being put on the books. Continue Reading »

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