What do these four news stories have in common?
One: This Washington Post headline received global attention: “‘You are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks,’ chopper tells Calif. beachgoers.”
Two: A computer virus locked up more than 200,000 computers over the weekend and threatens to wreak more havoc today. The virus, which exploits a security flaw in Windows XP, is “beyond anything we have seen before,” according to the director of Europe’s cybercrime center.
Three: Emmanuel Macron became France’s youngest leader since Napoleon when he was inaugurated as president on Sunday. He takes over a country beset by internal divisions and a sluggish economy; his party is so new it has no seats in Parliament.
Four: North Korea launched a missile Sunday morning that flew 430 miles and landed in the sea between North Korea and Japan. It announced today that this missile can carry a large, heavy nuclear warhead and warned that US bases in the Pacific were within its range.
If the world seems smaller than ever before, that’s because it is.
I’m old enough to remember a day when the news was confined to thirty-minute evening television broadcasts, occasional radio updates, and the daily paper. What happened off a California beach wasn’t news beyond California. A software problem might infect one computer, not 200,000 in 150 countries. France’s economy was their business, not everyone’s business. North Korea didn’t matter beyond North Korea.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: “In Globalization 1.0, which began around 1492, the world went from size large to size medium. In Globalization 2.0, the era that introduced us to multinational companies, it went from size medium to size small. And then around 2000 came Globalization 3.0, in which the world went from being small to tiny.”
Now you can change the world with your cell phone. What happens anywhere affects us everywhere. While this can make for bad news in the news, it is good news for God’s kingdom.
In Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times, well-known evangelical Os Guinness claims that Christianity is the world’s first truly global religion. He cites five facts in support of his thesis:
1. Jesus of Nazareth has the greatest number of followers of any religion on planet Earth.
2. The church is the most diverse community on the earth.
3. The Bible is the most translated book in human history.
4. Churches are the most numerous social service agencies across the world.
5. In many parts of the world, the Christian faith is the fastest growing religion and is growing through conversion rather than simply through the birth rate.
During our recent study tour of Israel, our group stood atop Mt. Arbel and looked out across the region of Galilee. Here, a Nazarene carpenter and his followers launched a movement that spread on borderless Roman roads (the Internet of the day) using the universal Greek language (the English of the day) to “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6, KJV) and take the gospel “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Now it’s our turn.