I’m working on a post about the possible political shift of Evangelicals and the latest Pew Research findings about the changing religious landscape of America. Those are two huge topics and two areas that interests me greatly. Because of the breadth and depth of those issues (and my crazy work schedule right now), it may take me awhile to get something up on those. Hopefully I can get to them before they are no longer newsworthy.

Another area that always grabs my attention is the persecuted church. Too often it goes unnoticed by American Christians more concerned about the inconvenience of rainy weather or expensive coffee, but around the world  followers of Christ are routinely persecuted to the point of death. Their situation concerns me, while their faith inspires me. Perhaps you will be motived to pray for them and learn from them along with me.

From Christianity Today:

1. The situation for Christians, their churches, and pastors has taken a turn for the worse as violence in Sri Lanka is on the rise. The cease-fire between the government and the main rebel group, the Tamil Tigers, is pretty much history.

2. Because of the 20th century explosion of Christianity in Africa, by the year 2050, Griswold writes, the demographic and geographic center of Christianity will be in northern Nigeria, where the country’s Muslims live. This fact makes any tensions in the country religious ones. With 140 million people, oil revenues that never seem to help the people (half of whom live on less than a dollar a day) thanks to government corruption, and a changing regional climate that has wiped out many traditional livelihoods, the country has plenty of tensions.

3.We reported last November on the raids on Grace Church, a network of Korean Presbyterian church-plants, in Kazakhstan. The country’s secret police (formerly KGB, now KNB) are back at it, Forum 18 reports. They raided the Grace Church in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.

From DMN Religion Blog:

1. Steven Spielberg abandoned his role in the Beijing Olympics, accusing China of failing to stop the deaths of 200,000 people in five years. He was one of a host of prominent figures who slammed China for not doing enough to press its ally Sudan to end devastating violence in its province of Darfur. [Aaron – much of the violence is religious based, as the Christianity Today link points out; violence between Muslims and Christians in Africa is on the rise. Dafur is just one area.]

2. Open Doors, a Christian Web site that tracks such things, has listed the 10 countries where persecution of Christians is the most severe. North Korea ranked first, as it did last year.

"More Christians were arrested in North Korea in 2007 than in 2006," the Web site says. "Many have been beaten, tortured or killed because of their religious beliefs." Open Doors estimates that as many as a quarter of the country’s Christians have been locked up in prison camps, "from which people rarely get out alive."

Here’s the infamous top ten:
1. North Korea
2. Saudi Arabia
3. Iran
4. Maldives
5. Bhutan
6. Yemen
7. Afghanistan
8. Laos
9. Uzbekistan
10 China