Friday, October 5, 2007
Last year Chinese intellectuals and business leaders debated a bestseller called Wolf Totem. One of its central points was that Confucianism had taught China's Han Chinese majority to behave like obedient sheep, accepting any leadership, as opposed to the more independent, predatory and successful Mongolian wolves in the book. Many rural believers lack spiritual discernment and follow leaders who have gone astray from Biblical teachings--particularly those who teach Success Theology and that God heals all diseases. Again, we remember those lost sheep and pray they will be quickly restored.
The government of China is behind the promotion of Confucianism because it encourages order and legitimacy by its emphasis on respect for authority. Party leaders have promoted this return to traditional values as an alternative to the present preoccupation with financial gain. Confucianism appeals to Chinese people but poses difficulty for Christian evangelistic efforts. We need to pray about this shift in thinking and for leaders to have wisdom to know how to present the gospel and Christian ethics to Chinese who long for morality but are excessively greedy. Thursday
The Ministry of Education has approved adding more courses in traditional Confucian culture. The government also supports 145 non-profit Confucius Institutes aimed at promoting the Chinese language and culture in more than fifty-two countries. Some want to make Confucianism China's national religion but other scholars insist it is impossible to turn a philosophy into a religion. Unbelievers often say filial piety taught by Confucianism is superior to the Biblical teaching of honoring one's parents. We pray that all believers are able to honor and love their parents as Christ commanded us to do and to support them financially.
While in many places in the world both the infrastructure and demographics of Chinatown appeal only to older people, Chicago's Chinatown is drawing both new immigrants as well as American-born Chinese. Many shops and restaurants cater to these younger English-speaking Chinese who go there to meet friends. Overseas Chinese churches nowadays must offer services in English in order to retain and attract younger believers. Let us pray for the great need for English-speaking pastors in Chinese churches as well as the challenging work for all those who serve in the English ministry of Chinese churches.
There was no college education at all during the 10 years of the Cultural Revolution. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the reinstitution of the college entrance examination, a bold move by Deng Xiao Ping. Today, college student ministry is the bright spot of Christianity in China, with Bible study groups and many conversions on every campus. As they gear up for the new school year, we pray for all the new students who will be invited to these groups this fall. Sunday
Many fear that the government has lost control of the gender imbalance in China so that it now exceeds the 105:100 male to female ration considered proper. Even various promotional campaigns to give girls free tuition and health care have failed to reverse people's favouritism toward having boys.In Chinese churches women outnumber the men by three to one. We take this time to remember all the young believers who struggle under pressure from both of their families to have an ultrasound to find out if the child was male or female and then decide about abortion.
The Foreign Ministry published guidelines for Chinese citizens travelling abroad teaching them to behave in a civilized manner. Don't talk too loudly. Don't throw trash around, etc. Many are now calling for teaching younger Chinese about civility and ethics.It takes a decade to grow a tree and a century to change people. We have faith that God will do great things as He transforms China's churches from being full of pride and inward-focused to being those that care for their communities and even neighbouring countries.
As in the days of Noah....