Saturday, September 27, 2008


I am presently sitting in a hotel room in Chongqing China.  When in the USA, I think of China as a sort of rising superpower bent on world domination.   When I am here, another impression sets in that is much more complex.  

China is filthy.  There is no way to be subtle in this area.  It is simply filthy from north to south and from east to west.  Dirt is everywhere.  In the air, in the water...everywhere.  China is ancient. Visiting the Terra Cotta warriors the other day I was told that these clay soldiers date back to 210 BC.  Imagine looking at images from real faces that old.  It was stunning to think of how much history China has.  China has a history of tyranny and much of this in the last century.  The Japanese brutalized much of this country during World War II.  The rape of Nanjing killed up to 300,000 over the course of just a few days. Mao seized power and held it so tightly it cost the lives of up to 70 million Chinese.  Even though it is generally known what Mao did, his face can still be seen all denominations of Chinese currency.  His body is embalmed and on display in Bejing.  His image is evident all over the country.  How can they continue to venerate him in this way?  China has embraced a form of captalism and their economy is growing faster than any other in the world and yet poverty is rampent.  As I look out my window I see evidence of families living in the equivalent of bombed out buildings.  On previous trips to this country I could not make a blog entry.  Since last March that has changed and I can now post here but no pictures allowed.  They have a banned book list.  I met a man in Shanghai who shared my affinity for a certain Chinese author whose books are all banned in the PRC.  I asked him how he obtained his copy and he informed me that he purchased the book in Hong Kong.  The Church is thriving here but not openly.  Repression is handed out for any outward expression of faith.  China is in many repects, a basketcase.  They have myriad problems to deal with further complicated by the government's fear of unrest.  There are no elections here so how do you control a country of 1 billion when they become dissatisfied?  We would ventilate in an election and throw the bums out.  They do not have that option.  

After one week here, I can't wait for a long deep breath of clean air or a smoke free day.  I take for granted the freedom of expression that allows me to worship God without fear of reprisal.  The billion images of God who live here do not have these luxeries.  They must live in air so think you could cut it with a knife.  They may hear the gospel of grace but it is a faint voice heard in whispers.  Can you imagine the despair of living with no hope of God in the context of modern China?  Do you realize that God made the billion who live here and loves them as much as he loves the rest of his creation?  I wonder what concerted effort the church in the west can make to help these people here.  

I have heard it said that the gospel has so infected the Chinese church here that they want to "push through to Europe" with it!  They want to charge through the Soviet Union sharing the good news with all irrespective of nationality or race.  Given what they are going through, I find that amazing!  Pray with me today for the Chinese people.  Pray that the church here would be encouraged and strengthened.  Pray with me that God would give them favor to move throughout China with hope for the poor and oppressed.  Pray with me that pastors and other church leaders would find favor with the government. Pray with me that the slumbering church in the west would stop admiring her own image in the mirror and look to the world around her. Pray with me that she would think twice about that multi-million dollar building project while the bretheren in China are having difficulty feeding themselves.  Pray with the church here that their dream of carrying the gospel through China and beyond would be realized. 

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