Archive for the ‘Machines’ Category

One of the first stories in the book, The Meeting of the Waters, is about my trip into North Korea.  My host sternly told me to disable my cell phone, battery and all, so that the government couldn’t hack into it to listen to our conversations.  A recent New York Times article describes another example of cellphones in North Korea, and how they are being used to transmit information and messages to the outside world.  Cell phones in North Korea are a perfect example of  the Global Current of Machines: a fast-moving, unstoppable trend penetrating even North Korea, a place called “The Hermit Kingdom” because of its secrecy and paranoia.

An expert told me that only .003 percent of North Korea’s 23 million citizens are Christians.  Possession of Bibles or any Christian literature is punished harshly…as is any communication with the outside world. Further, change in North Korea is rare and precarious.  The information transmitted by cell phone informants in North Korea is not sensitive, but there is every reason to believe that the government will soon clamp down on this activity.  From the sound of this article, though, tiny cracks are appearing in the country’s previously impenetrable society.   The very fact that information is flowing out of the country is astonishing.

(T)he fact that such news is leaking out at all is something of a revolution for a brutally efficient gulag state that has forcibly cloistered its people for decades even as other closed societies have reluctantly accepted at least some of the intrusions of a more wired world.

Very bright, innovative, and courageous Christians are undoubtedly monitoring this situation and considering possibilities for evangelism and aid.  Machines, in the form of cell phones, are constantly ushering in new opportunities for the global church, and it is important for the rest of us to watch and pray about these developments.

Read the full article here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/world/asia/29news.html?pagewanted=1&emc=eta1

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Fundraising is a reality that vexes many ministry leaders.  As a frequent asker, myself, I know well that these are difficult financial times for all nonprofits, and fundraising has never been harder.

The fundraising field is always innovating, though, and this article describes new technology-based ways to seek funds.  This is an example of the Global Current of Machines in action, transforming yet another field.  As a fundraising veteran used to phone calls, direct mail or email, and brochures, I was especially interested in the iPhone app that keeps track of birthdays, and allows users to blow out virtual candles through the device’s breath sensor!

With its mobile application, the American Cancer Society is also attempting to strengthen existing connections and expand its reach. The charity released its iPhone application More Birthdays in November. The tool carries the same name as the charity’s campaign to promote itself as the official sponsor of birthdays, since reducing the number of deaths from cancer means more birthdays for survivors.

Maybe none of the ideas mentioned in this article apply to small or technology-challenged ministries, but I believe it is important to observe these trends.  For today’s global church at the Meeting of the Waters, today’s cutting-edge event is tomorrow’s trend… and next year’s norm.

To see the article referenced above go to:  http://philanthropy.com/article/For-MoreMore-Charities/64271/

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Tamar Lewin reported in her article from the New York Times about a Kaiser Family Foundation study, which finds that children between ages 8-18 spend almost every moment that they aren’t in school using some sort of electronic or media consuming device.

The average young American now spends practically every waking minute—except for the time in school—using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device….

Thanks to time leveraging provided by multi-tasking, your average 7+ hours of time with electronics is supersaturated to contain 11 hours of media.   Machines are changing not just the individual lives of today’s children, but affecting whole generations.  I’m no luddite, but this is astonishing. It is incumbent upon the global church to determine how best to respond, to reach a generation more wired than we ever dreamed possible.

See article:  http://www.starbulletin.com/news/nyt/20100120_Children_awake_Then_theyre_probably_online.html

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