Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

An Unbiased Look at Hans Rosling!

Written by: on April 17, 2023

Being a pastor can be difficult at times, especially leading a multicultural church. It seems I am always offending a different culture and beliefs each month.  Mentioning such words as Easter Egg Hunt, WHO, Economics, Enneagram, Vaccine, a person or culture gets offended and leaves. In all of this, I feel as if I have failed God, I try and help that person have a different perspective, but often I am accused of allowing witchcraft into our church. Just getting the vaccine for the doctoral program and hospital visits, was even more detrimental as many felt I sold my soul to the devil and received the mark of the beast.

In 2022 I mentioned the Enneagram personalities in our church and many families pulled their kids from our school and left the church. It seems people can no longer have a conversation, disagree, and still honor and love each other. It has become easier to hate each other, rather than being obedient to Christ and love one another. Mentioning and honoring the work of Rosling would not be accepted or tolerated in my local denomination. Or honoring any work where that author believed or cited any works of evolution and not creation. It seems people no longer want to grow and change, but reject and hate.

Life of Hans Rosling

Hans Rosling is a global health expert who was born in Uppsala, Sweden on July 28, 1948. He studied statistics and medicine at Uppsala University and public health at St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India. In 1981 he began studying an outbreak of Konzo, which is a paralytic disease that originated in the Congo. Rosling spent two decades studying outbreaks and in time became health advisor to the World Health Organization and several other aid agencies.

Unbiased Look at Rosling’s Work

Rosling’s family Ola Rosling, built the Trendalyzer software that compiled data for the UN and the World Bank. Rosling’s daughter in law Anna Rosling helped contribute by taking international statistics into graphics. Together this family has left an incredible map for us to follow. Hans Rosling struggled with personal health issues, however he did not allow that to stop him from his great ambition to leave this world a little better. In Rosling’s book Factfulness, he provides the ’10 Dramatic Instincts’ which can be considered tendencies we all may have. He provides an in depth look at statistics, current happenings, and realities from a lens that may not be an accurate representation of reality. These ten instincts are:

  • The Gap Instinct
  • The Negativity Instinct
  • The Straight Line Instinct
  • The Fear Instinct
  • The Size Instinct
  • The Generalization Instinct
  • The Destiny Instinct
  • The Single Perspective Instinct
  • The Blame Instinct
  • The Urgency Instinct

Application to our program

Rosling provides a great amount of data in conclusions, especially statistical data. Rosling also provides strategies through each section. Through this book and other books we have studied in this program:

Kahneman: Identifying which system being utilized in our thinking and making decisions. As system 1 is more reactionary, system 2 lets us be more aware of the world around us.

Van der Kolk: Developing critical thinking skills needed to make sound and rational statements and decisions.

Friedman: The need to be a well differentiated leader. To be able to identify instincts in themselves and others.

Chivers: The importance of accurate and reliable information and statistics.

Personal Thoughts

Through this program, I have come to make new friends. I enjoy listening and gleaning from each person in our cohort. I have come to realize some of my own downfalls. Rosling lived a life dedicated in helping make this world a better place. His knowledge and research helped pave the way for many programs to help understand and prevent future outbreaks.

Ernest Hemingway said this quote, “if you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” From this, it is hard to share the feelings, excitement, food and  culture of Paris with someone unless they have experienced the city of Paris together.

For me personally, especially after Covid, many people have left our area and relocated out of the state of Washington. I long to have conversations with people, to discuss different thoughts and ideas without people getting upset and leaving. This fall will be 25 years in ministry, I often ask myself are things getting better in our community? Is our church having an impact?

In Conclusion

Rosling’s life, research, contributions are pretty amazing. However mentioning his work publically, would not be beneficial and I would suffer heavy criticism and labeled as a traitor. I give Rosling honor for his contributions of trying to make this world a better place. Through God’s Word, we are commanded to love our neighbor, before God and His Word, I can honor the works of Rosling. I have found that any child that continues the work of their father, that father did something pretty amazing with that child. This is what stands out the most to me with Rosling, his son and daughter in law contributed to his work. A life well lived and contributions that many will benefit from.

About the Author


Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in the Machias area . The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to gather food and counsel. The Church has a small school that is bearing good fruit. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing and hiking.

7 responses to “An Unbiased Look at Hans Rosling!”

  1. Greg,

    I appreciate you bringing the cultural awareness component yo your post. How you acknowledge that culture plays a role in how we receive information and the context in which we bring it into can play a role in how it is received. Context matters and cultural awareness is so important. I often wonder how to beware of this while also encouraging growth and challenging unhealthy cultural mindsets. Such a hard place to be.

  2. Sara,

    Thank you for commenting on my post. It is an interesting time we live in, often people no longer take time to learn something new, therefore people often reject new information. I appreciate what Dr. Clark and this program has emphasized to get as much information as possible before coming to a conclusion.

    Bless you Sara, I hope you and your family are enjoying Montana.

  3. Greg – I’m so glad I get to learn from you in this program and wonder if it might open some opportunities to share your wisdom in a more global context in addition to your more local context. The world needs more prophetic voices that are willing to look at all sides of a story.

  4. Laura,

    Thank you for your comment and recommendation. It is encouraging, thank you.

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    “It seems people can no longer have a conversation, disagree, and still honor and love each other.”

    I feel this in my soul. Im often afraid to say anything at all….

  6. Michael O'Neill says:

    Oustanding post. Way to weave so many authors into your thought. I will keep praying for your and your congregation. It must be so difficult to juggle so many instincts, opinions, drama, views, etc. Keep the faith, my Friend.

  7. Audrey Robinson says:

    Greg, your heart for your people and the dilemma you are in are heard through the words of the post.

    I was reminded of words from Leonard Sweet in his book Rings of Fire. A question he raises on page 23 is:
    “Western Christianity is beginning to face some “Pilates,” whether in the form of religious authority, pop culture, the court of public opinion, or the power of the state…As we navigate these pressures, in what ways are we denying Christ and pushing his lordship to the back seat of our lives and faith communities?”

    This question may not resonate with you but I do encourage you to read his book. It is prophetic in terms of the most significant challenges faced by the Church in the next decade.

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