01: The founding of the Brandywine Review of Faith & International Affairs demonstrates the growing interest and involvement of Christians (and notably evangelicals) in diplomacy, human rights and religious freedom.
The quarterly, intended both for practitioners and academics, is published by the Institute for Global Engagement, which was founded by Ambassador Robert Seiple, a leader in the largely evangelical movement pressing for religious freedom. A lead article on evangelicals as the “newest internationalists” attempts to lay down principles for world engagement, and concludes with a statement critical of a one-sided policy favorable toward Israel and calling for justice for Palestinians. The issue includes other articles on how evangelicals should relate to China and on the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
For more information on the journal and Institute, visit the web site: http://www.cfia.orgi or write: Institute for Global Engagement, 1300 Eagle Rd., the Gate House, Eastern University, St. David’s, PA 19087.
02: Many lamented the disappearance at the beginning of this year of Keston News Service (KNS), a useful resource for monitoring issues of religion and religious freedom in the former Communist countries..Keston will continue its work from its base in England, but won’t be able to revive its news service. Fortunately, there is now a replacement.
Most of the former contributors to KNS now report in Forum 18, a news service active since March, with headquarters in Norway. The content provided by Forum 18 is very close to what KNS used to be (incuding being free). It is available online as well as via e-mail from: http://www.forum18.org/index.php
— By Jean-François Mayer
03: The Chinese new religion Falun Gong comes under in-depth examination in the April issue of the journal Nova Religio.
The issue brings together nine articles covering a wide range of developments and aspects of this syncretistic religion and its ongoing conflict with China’s government. Noteworthy articles include an overview of Falun Gong’s role in the history of China and the growth of apocalyptic rhetoric and teachings in the group.
Although much has been made of the spread of Falun Gong through the Internet, two articles discount this view, finding that this technology has not necessarily aided the rate of conversions nor helped in sidestepping Chinese control of the group (in fact, the government has successfully countered such Internet activism within China).
Another article documents the growth of tensions within the main body as well as the emergence of a splinter group as its leader Li Hongzhi and the New York leadership in general has attempted to moderate its political activism and protests.
For more on this issue, write: Nova Religio,University of California Press, Journals Division, 2000 Center St., #303, Berkeley, CA 94704-1223.