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 26

Chinese Christian Entrepreneurs

Beyond Weber

by Brent Fulton

An experienced business leader in China remarked that, while there is the expectation that Christians should somehow conduct business differently, the question of what exactly this should look like remains a difficult one.

Aug 24

Learning from a Bad Sermon

by Swells in the Middle Kingdom

The sermon was "not good," or at least that was my impression. 

Aug 21

"Zhong Yong"

The Moderate Way

by Joann Pittman

The fourth cultural element that Huo Shui highlights in his article “Living Wisely in China” is zhong yong, or “being moderate, which helps us understand what’s going on in situations where things are not seen in black-and-white terms but more in shades of grey.

Aug 17

"Mian Zi" (face)

The Treasure that Never Wears Out

by Joann Pittman

The third element that Huo Shui highlights for us in “Living Wisely in China” is the Chinese notion of “face.” This one is arguably the most important and the most difficult for westerners to grasp. He gives us a glimpse into how “face” plays out in everyday life in China.

Aug 14

“Theological Reflections on Urban Churches in China”

A Reformed Theologian Responds

by Bruce P. Baugus

Reformed theologian Bruce Baugus responds to the 2015 summer issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly, "Theological Reflections on Urban Churches in China."

Aug 12

Strengthening Marriages in the Chinese Church

by Brent Fulton

How the church in China is seeking to strengthen marriages in the face of an increasing divorce rate.

Aug 10

Eating and Drinking

The Passport to Chinese Society

by Joann Pittman

The second essential element of Chinese culture that Huo Shui writes about in “Living Wisely in China” is the importance of eating and drinking, particularly as it relates to forging and establishing relationships.

Aug 7

Scenarios for China

by Derek Seipp

From the series Positioning for Growth in Uncertain Times

Part two of the series "Positioning for Growth in Uncertain Times" takes a look at using the tools of strategic planning to develop future scenarios for China.

Aug 5

The Right Tools for Strategic Planning

by Derek Seipp

From the series Positioning for Growth in Uncertain Times

The first in a two-part series, we take a look at the need for long-term strategic planning tools and scenarios specific to China.

Aug 3


A Conversation of Hidden Strength

by Joann Pittman

In 2000, a Chinese writer named Huo Shui wrote an article for the ChinaSource Quarterly titled “Living Wisely in China.” In it he takes a look at four essential elements of Chinese culture that westerners must grapple with (and hopefully get) in order to be effective in China.

The first one is taiji (tai-chi), the slow-motion martial art that is popular among people of all ages in China. Taiji requires inner strength and patience, both of which are required in order to accomplish things in China.