A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘germany

[BRIEF NOTE] On different religions and irreligions, in Germany and France and the world

Deutsche Welle had an interesting article up, “Ghanaian pastor seeks to ‘re-Christianize’ Germany”. An evangelical Christian is trying to convert Germans but finding little success beyond the immigrant sector.

In just a decade, the number of evangelical Christians in Germany has doubled – and Ghana-born evangelical Rev. Edmund Sackey Brown has grand plans to ride this new wave. In 2011 he purchased a former Edeka supermarket in Mülheim an der Ruhr, in the heartland of Germany’s industrial region, and converted it into an evangelical house of worship: The House of Solution.

He is convinced that within 10 years his 600-member congregation, comprised mostly of African immigrants from the surrounding areas, will swell to 5,000. He has pledged his commitment on the number plate of his Mercedes “MH FJ 5000″ (Mülheim for Jesus 5000). “Centuries ago, Europeans came to Africa with the word of God. But these days Europe is a godless center. It needs redeeming,” says Sackey Brown, “My mission is to re-Christianize Europe.”

According to Sackey Brown’s vision, Christianity’s sweeping re-embrace of Europe will not come from an increase in African immigration, but from first-generation African-Germans spreading the word of God to their peers. “Hope is with the new generation. They can be disciples of God,” he says. But the children of African immigrants are a minority group within a minority group – hardly the catalyst for a near-future boom – and the fact that the church’s weekly youth service has been scaled back to every other week is a signal that things are not going to plan.

[. . .]

German-born Jan Sickinger, now the coordinator for community outreach programs at The House of Solution, is the son of a Protestant pastor. As he came of age, he grew wary of Protestantism’s increasingly “liberal social theology” and craved a closer connection to the Gospel. So he found salvation as a born-again believer, married an African evangelical and started working at

Despite handing out thousands of advertising pamphlets and organizing expensive stage productions in the city center, Sickinger has struggled to bring outsiders to the church. “I don’t think there’s any church in Germany that is actually growing at the moment,” he says, defending his own church’s sagging numbers more than lamenting the larger situation in Germany. “I mean, the first German missions to Africa and South America didn’t change things overnight.”

But in the greater historical context, The House of Solution’s plan for radical growth in just 10 years is ambitious. Other German evangelical churches, however, are enjoying steady growth. Though evangelicals account for only about 3 percent of the German population, they are an relatively devout group; the number of those who attend church regularly is comparable with the Protestants, one of Germany’s two major faith groups, together with Catholics.

This reminded me of a 2005 post where I noted that evangelical Christianity in France tended to be dominated by immigrants, whether from the French Caribbean or eastern Europe or elsewhere.

Territory like this has been explored elsewhere, by Philip Jenkins among other scholars. I’m skeptical as to whether or not missionary endeavours in multiethnic societies will actually take off. Different religions, and irreligions (non-practice of a dominant religion is not the same as practising nothing), can plausibly survive for quite some time.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 19, 2014 at 2:59 am

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Al Jazeera follows the story of the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians deported from Saudi Arabia and observes that Russia is competing for influence in Central Asia with a rising China.
  • Businessweek suggests that, coffee notwithstanding, McDonald’s still has significant troubles business-wise. As well, the secession of Crimea may undermine Ukraine’s potential for offshore oil, while Israeli migration to Germany–especially Berlin–in search for a better standard of living is a problem for Israelis.
  • CBC notes that Ontario car manufacturers are worried by the new free trade agreement signed by Canada with South Korea, and presents Canadian doctor Danielle Martin’s defense of medicare in front of a questioning American congressional committee.
  • Der Spiegel‘s English edition notes that crystal meth use is taking off in Germany.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the sufferings of African migrants to Europe and observes that a railroad in a poor north Brazilian state has not brought riches to the locals.
  • Wired examines the evolution of extinct aquatic sloths and notes weirdness in the centre of our galaxy that may indicate dark matter is somehow being annihilated there.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • io9 links to a map showing the Milky Way Galaxy’s location in nearer intergalactic space.
  • The Big Picture has pictures from the Sochi Paralympics.
  • blogTO shares an array of pictures from Toronto in the 1980s.
  • D-Brief notes the recent finding that star HR 5171A is one of the largest stars discovered, a massive yellow hypergiant visible to the naked eye despite being twenty thousand light-years away.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes recent studies suggesting that M-class red dwarfs are almost guaranteed to have planets.
  • Eastern Approaches argues that the lawsuits of Serbia and Croatia posed against each other on charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice will do little but cause harm.
  • Far Outliers explores how Australian colonists in the late 19th century feared German ambitions in New Guinea.
  • The Financial Times World blog suggests that, in its mendacity, Russia is behaving in Crimea much as the Soviet Union did in Lithuania in 1990.
  • Geocurrents notes that the Belarusian language seems to be nearing extinction, displaced by Russian in Belarus (and Polish to some extent, too).
  • Joe. My. God. notes the protests of tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews in New York City against mandatory conscription laws in Israel that would see their co-sectarians do service.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that, in pre-Israeli Palestine, local Arabs wanted to be part of a greater Syria.</li?
  • Otto Pohl notes the connections of Crimean Tatars to a wider Turkic world and their fear that a Russian Crimea might see their persecution.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes that Venezuela has attacked Panama in retaliation for a vote against it by confiscating the assets of its companies there. In turn, Panama has promised to reveal the banking accounts of Venezuelan officials in Panama.
  • John Scalzi of Whatever is unimpressed with the cultic adoration of Robert Heinlein’s novels by some science fiction fans.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Centauri Dreams notes that some astronomers have come up with methods for measuring the densities of the atmospheres of difference exoplanets.
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram thinks that the state of the migration debate in the United Kingdom is grim, given what he thinks is the toughness of even a liberal proposal.
  • Eastern Approaches notes that the Czech Republic and Slovakia aren’t as vocal in their support of Ukraine against Russia as Poland.
  • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer explores the role of justifications and excuses in culture.
  • Far Outliers notes that, on the eve of the First World War, Germany lacked settler colonies.
  • The Financial Times‘ World blog worries that Croatia might not be able to make effective use of European Union funds.
  • Language Hat notes that Western-style romance novels were popular samizdat in the Soviet Union.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair argues that, between influence from foreign languages and technology, the Chinese language is evolving rapidly.
  • Marginal Revolution notes an argument that state-formation in Europe might have been driven by economics not military affairs.
  • Towleroad notes the recent progressive court ruling on gay sex in Lebanon.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster writes about a need for some paradigm to support extraterrestrial colonization.
  • At Crooked Timber, Henry Farrell is skeptical about the long-term environmental effects of the Crimea crisis, as domestic fracking in Europe will start looking to be more secure than Russian imports.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the support of Poland for Ukraine.
  • Far Outliers notes the plight of German ships, civilian and military, in the Pacific at the time the First World War was declared.
  • A Fistful of Euros links to the first George Bush’s infamous “Chicken Kiev” speech of 1991 counseling against Ukrainian independence.
  • Geocurrents’ Asya Pereltsvaig reviews recent media coverage of the Crimean crisis, and wonders about the consequences for Russia.
  • Marginal Revolution links to some recommended books, fiction and otherwise, on Crimea.
  • The Planetary Society Blog invites regular non-astronomers to join the hunt for an asteroid.
  • Otto Pohl places the issues of the Crimean Tatars in the context of the forcible homogenization of European nation-states. Other communities also vanished.
  • Towleroad notes Republican Congressman Steve King who apparently doesn’t believe in protecting LGBT right because it’s not immediately visible. (Like religion?)
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Ilya Somin argues that making Russian leaders pay personal costs, via passport bans and the like, is a good thing.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO chronicles the time when Toronto bus transit went as far as Niagara Falls.
  • The Burgh Diaspora’s Jim Russell notes that falling global mobility is combining with low fertility rates to produce labour shortages.
  • Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster, thinking of pulsar planets, starts a discussion about science fiction set in extreme environments.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the complexity of discovering exoplanets around young–hence very active–stars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales, meanwhile, observes evidence that the Indus Valley civilization collapsed because of climate change.
  • Far Outliers observes the speed with which German and Austro-Hungarian fronts collapsed in 1918 and comments on American respect for their German counterparts in the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a paper claiming that immigration doesn’t undermine public support for welfare states.
  • Livejournal’s pollotenchegg maps the distributions of Russians and Crimean Tatars in that autonomous–and contested?–Ukrainian peninsula.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer thinks that, though things are bad in Venezuela, they aren’t nearly as bad as one database on democracy claims.
  • Peter Rukavina shares the story of how much he cost the Prince Edward Island health system and how he found out.
  • Towleroad goes into greater detail about the changes in royal nomenclature forced by same-sex marriage.

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

  • National Geographic notes the high intelligence and capability for suffering of elephants, wonders if given California’s pressing need for water the Salton Sea can survive, and notes that building a Nicaragua canal to supplement Panama’s could create an environmental catastrophe.
  • io9 notes that, economically, we’re heading for a cyberpunkish “Blade Runner” future of disparities, and observes that apparently the first animals on Earth didn’t need much oxygen.
  • The Atlantic observes that casual sex app Tinder works in Antarctica.
  • The Daily Mail tracks fertility in the United Kingdom’s different immigrant groups by nationality.
  • The New Republic suggests that Pussy Riot’s recent arrest by Cossacks in Sochi might have been a PR ploy on their part.
  • The Huffington Post notes that Tennessee, by cracking down on unions in its Tennessee Volkswagen plants, may have discouraged Volkswagen from making further investments in the area. (In the German co-management system, unions have a critical say in determining investment.)
  • Al Jazeera notes the plight of the Hindus of Pakistan, persecuted in Pakistan but unwelcome in India.
  • The New York Times observes that a decade of tunnel-digging has given geologists in New York City wonderful crosssections of the city’s geological structure.
  • The Dodo notes the discovery of a feline species, Pallas’ cat, in the Himalayas.

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • National Geographic notes the cultural and political revival of the Nubians, an ethnic minority originally from far southern Egypt displaced by the flooding caused by the Nasser Dam.
  • thenews.pl claims that a half-million Poles emigrated last year, most to the United Kingdom and Germany.
  • The Havana Times wonders why, after the reforms of recent years, so many Cubans want to leave. (I think that the wonder is tongue-in-cheek.)
  • thejournal.ie notes that, for all its woes, Ireland is a desirable destination for young Venezuelans.
  • NASA’s press release on the Ganymede survey is great.
  • Al-Jazeera notes that many male Syrian refugees in Lebanon are turning to prostitution to make ends meet.
  • The BBC notes that dredging won’t necessarily do anything to stop severe flooding in the United Kingdom.
  • The Global Post provides background into Nigeria’s impending ascent to largest economy in Africa, based on everything from better measurement in Nigeria to South African stagnation.
  • The Wall Street Journal‘s Emerging Europe blog traces much Ukrainian anger to its underperformance economically since 1991, relative to Poland and Russia and the Baltic States.
  • The South China Morning Post contrasts and compares income in Singapore and Hong Kong, arguing Singaporean figures are inflated by foreign investment.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

  • io9′s link to the eye-catching pictures of spaceships pictured on British science fiction paperback novels remains appreciated.
  • The Globe and Mail notes the growing Iranian community in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill.
  • BusinessWeek observes that video chain Blockbuster, defunct in most of North America, is doing fine in Mexico and on the Mexican border.
  • Bloomberg notes that Japan outside of Tokyo is hoping to attract foreign investors to property outside the Japanese capital.
  • Der Spiegel points to a new study suggesting that Bavaria’s famed mad King Ludwig II wasn’t clinically insane at all, and notes evidence of truly massive campaigns of state-sponsored torture and massacre in Syria.
  • An older link from the New Zealand Herald: is the large emigration from New Zealand to Australia, driven by the search for a higher standard of living, about to run down?
  • The Village Voice critiques the urban myth that sex traficking peaks at the time of major sporting events like the Superbowl.
  • National Geographic tracks down the magazine photo that inspired Lorde’s hit song “Royals” and observes the ways in which Mexicans of indigenous background immigrate to the United States.
  • Jezebel takes a long, hard look at gay male sexism directed towards women.
  • Rolling Stone‘s extended article arguing that Miami is set to drown as sea levels rise is a gripping read.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Centauri Dreams has a guest post from Jason Wright talking about using infrared telescopes to pick up waste heat from extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Cody Delistraty opposes a boycott of the Sochi Olympics, notwithstanding Russia’s human rights issues, on the grounds that the Olympics have essentially no relationship to whatever country is hosting them at the present.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to reports on plans for a future united Africa.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports that apparently close-orbiting binaries–stars within 20 AU of each other, like Alpha Centauri–are bad for planetary formation, and comments on the discovery of brown dwarfs near multiple stars including fabled Gliese 581.
  • Eastern Approaches reports on the disarray at Sochi.
  • Amitai Etzioni argues that the United States and China should be clear on their red lines regarding Taiwan.
  • Far Outliers reports on the United States’ constitution of an intelligence service from nothing in the First World War.
  • Language Hat notes a proposal to give Russian official status in Austria-Hungary to defuse pan-Slavism, and observes how language clues within the Bible give hints as to authorship.
  • Language Log notes the creative use of different scripts and languages in Taiwanese product advertising.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the role of Sochi in the final suppression and expulsion of the Circassians by the Russian Empire.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the huge economic problems of Puerto Rico: shrinking economy, emigrating workforce, growing debt … The disinterest of young Germans in apprenticeships is also noted.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla reports that the world can’t communicate with the returning ICE/ISEE3 probe because it no longer has the technology to do so.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer argues that Argentine currency controls which make imports increasingly unaffordable are soon going to have to fail.
  • Discover‘s Seriously Science notes a study claiming that fish can use tools.
  • Steve Munro quite dislikes false savings on TTC expenditures claimed by, most recently, the Toronto Star.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little takes a look at social science takes on the Chinese revolution, examining first Lucien Bianco’s early study then Theda Skocpol’s comparative study contrasting French and Russian revolutions.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the rise of Islam is the North Caucasus is partly a consequence of Arab-funded global networks, comments on the role of Crimean Tatars in keeping Crimea for Ukraine, notes that some Russians would like to start revising borders across the post-Soviet region, and observes that many Russians are surprisingly OK with Finland’s Second World War leader Mannerheim.
  • Zero Geography notes a paper commenting on uneven geographies of user-generated content.
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