From the West Courtyard

From the West Courtyard—thoughts about working and serving in China from our staff and others with experience and insight to share. 

The name comes from a Chinese phrase that was taught in an early 1900s Chinese language curriculum, “有一个人,从西院子过来,”meaning “a man came over from the west courtyard." The idea of moving from west to east, of journeying between these two courtyards, reflects our desire to root our observations in the non-western context and allow the local Chinese context to determine what is culturally normative for life and work in China. 

Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by ChinaSource.   


Aug 31

Urbanization and the Church: East and West

by Brent Fulton

As China has urbanized the challenges facing the church increasingly mirror those in other urban societies.

Aug 29

Is Confucianism a Religion or an Ethical System?

The Debate Goes On

by Joann Pittman

In the 17th and 18th centuries there was a dispute between Jesuit and Dominican missionaries in China about whether or not Chinese converts should be allowed to continue practicing traditional rites and ceremonies that were rooted in Confucianism, such as ancestor worship. The Jesuits said they should be allowed; the Dominicans said no.

Aug 26

The Wrong Approach to Living in China

by Jim Nelson

I love living in China and have immersed myself in Chinese culture. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go since I arrived here in 1991—many who approach China with negative attitudes and misconceptions.

I’d like to share my thoughts about how to enjoy this culture that God loves. Specifically, I want to note some wrong approaches to China that I hope will instruct us in a better way.

Aug 24

Why Crosses? Why Zhejiang?

by Brent Fulton

The massive campaign against church crosses in China’s Zhejiang province is in the news again with the release this month of the US State Department’s 2015 Report on International Religious Freedom.

Aug 22

Daoism: Yesterday and Today

by Joann Pittman

I once had a discussion with my Chinese professor about the influences of Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism) in the worldview of Chinese people. “You have to understand,” he told me, “that we are Confucian when things are going well, when we have position and authority, and when life is hard for us and we are ‘down and out,’ we are Daoists.”

Aug 19

Mountains May Depart

A Film Review

by Hannah Lau

In the sphere of international film, Jia Zhangke, is a key player that’s putting China on the map. As a part of the “Sixth Generation” of film directors in China, this group has left behind the epic tales of mythical history and instead, focuses their efforts on capturing the raw realities of today’s China. For Jia, this means that films are more than just ways to tell stories. He carefully uses his craft as a vehicle to commentate on contemporary Chinese society.

Aug 17

How to Pray for China

by Brent Fulton

I recently received the weekly prayer list from our church. Each week we pray for a different nation of the world. This particular week we were to pray for China.

Aug 15

“Arduous” and “Oppressive”–the Life of a Chinese Athlete

by Joann Pittman

It’s been a long time since I have watched the Olympic Games on American broadcast TV, and not CCTV5, the Chinese sports channel, and there are several things that I miss. I miss the 24-hour coverage of events and watching them in their entirety, not just highlight reels. I miss watching ping-pong and badminton. And I miss getting to know the Chinese athletes.

Aug 12

When Families are Separated, How Can We Help?

by Sarah Stone

“She doesn't know me anymore,” my friend Xiao Min remarked offhandedly one day, as though this fact didn't bother her. As the weeks went on, I would slowly discover that this statement reflected a very deep pain in Xiao Min's heart. The first time she brought it up, though, I was surprised she would treat the matter so coolly. After all, she was talking about her own daughter.

Aug 10

We've Come this Way Before

by Brent Fulton

Throughout history as various attempts have been made to introduce the gospel to China, a series of “perennial questions” have arisen regarding the relationship between the Christian faith and Chinese culture.