When the academy and the field work together, a mutually enriching process of action and reflection emerges that strengthens mind, body, and spirit, both as individuals and as a community.
WeChat as Christian “Alter-Public”
Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s increasing oversight of Christian life in China today, there is a gray space between the nation’s political tensions, economic revolution, and spiritual revivals that begs for greater reflection and sustained inquiry: the “walled garden” of China’s internet.
The conversation taught me the importance of relational trust and humility in addressing sensitive historical topics and the vital role of self-critique in forming the most important of connections: ones that bring us closer to our shared sense of brokenness and the need for grace beyond what we can muster.
Could the entrance of Buddhism into China offer cultural insights on how to share the message of Christ in China today?
In China, the study of religion as an academic discipline has been gaining momentum in recent years. Centers and institutes for the study of religion have been established at numerous top-tier Chinese universities. As research on religion in China grows, indigenous theories regarding the role of religion in Chinese society and culture are also being constructed and debated. One theoretical framework of note is the “religious ecology” model.
Encouraging Dialogue between East and West
In recent months I have been delighted by the exposure Chinese Church Voices has provided to indigenous perspectives on faith and mission. The simple blog provides an important window for non-Chinese speakers into questions Chinese Christians are raising. In turn, it provides those of us in the West with an opportunity for greater dialogue and understanding.
Anyone who has worked in China for even a short period of time has likely been warned about bringing up sensitive topics, especially political issues and certain historical events. But for those who seek to be effective servants and trustworthy partners, addressing the pain and questions around such historical events may eventually be part of the work, especially if one is thinking holistically.