Unintentionally or not, I took the summer off, and hope you had as good a one as we did.
At the moment I am spending a lot of my time adding to the database of articles which is one of the sources of the prayer handbook Operation World. If you mine this database horizontally, you can dig any number of fascinating seams.
- The rise and perhaps the teetering, of the autocrat.
- The way autocracy vs. liberal democracy has turned rural areas against urban ones, with the rural ones in the ascendancy over the past few years, to the consternation of city-dwellers, who like to set the trends. You can see this in the UK, the US, India, Russia, Turkey, Japan and almost wherever you care to look.
- The decline of radical Islam, or at least its popular decline as a fashion-statement and rallying point for the underwhelmed-with-life.
- The non-impact of the church in India (Christians in 1950, 2.3%, Christians in 2020, 2.3%)
This is all good stuff and enjoyable in its way. It also happens to be a big piece of what I do for a career. But it’s also like walking around a housing estate rather than striding out across the fields. Where in all that is play? Texture? Subtlety? Creativity? Ambiguity? Beauty? Carefreeness? Where does the soul get fed? Where’s the joy of walking with a creator who is extraordinarily big, extraordinarily beautiful, extraordinarily tolerant of me, and extraordinarily, and unsettingly, original?
Much of this blog over the years has been about how my Christian faith animates these latter things, rather than the workaday business of machining truth – vulnerable, lovely, lively, teasing, elusive truth – into tidy journalistic widgits.