Since it's the end of the year, we decided to jump on the "Top Posts" bandwagon that is careening through the blogosphere. However, since each ZGBriefs post includes dozens of stories, we are highlighting here the top ten most clicked links of the year in other words, your favorite stories.
1. A Xinjiang Pastor on How to Discern True and False Gods (May 7, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
This article, posted on the mainland site Christian Times is a summary of an internet post by a pastor from Xinjiang Autonomous Region on how to discern true and false gods. The context of the article is resurgence of the Eastern Lightning cult last winter. The pastor reminds believers to focus on the attributes of God when discerning false teachings from true teachings. He then spells out five categories of false gods in Chinese culture.
2. The Milk Powder Crisis as a Christian Spiritual Lesson (May 24, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
On March 6, 2013, the mainland site Christian Times published the article translated below, under the title, "The Milk Powder Crisis as a Spiritual Lesson: Have You Mixed Additives to Spiritual Milk?" In it, the author urges Christians to keep their focus on Christ and the Word, and not rely on works or other "spiritual additives."
3. In Remote Village, China's Leader Faces Awkward Question: Who Are You? (November 4, 2013, Sinosphere)
It must have been a slightly uncomfortable moment for the village official. China's top leader, Xi Jinping, had come to Shibadong village to gauge conditions in a poor corner of Hunan Province. Upon entering the home of a family whose sole electrical appliance was a fluorescent bulb, the most powerful man in China was asked by the 64-year-old matriarch, "What do I call you?," according to a report from Xinhua, the state-run news agency. It was a polite way of saying, "Who are you?" The village official stepped in quickly, telling his constituent, "This is the general secretary."
4. Why China Matters for Doing Theology: Biblical Truth (September 19, 2013, Jackson Wu)
Why would someone need to know more about China in order to understand the Bible better? Isn't the Bible bigger than any particular culture? Yes. And that's exactly why theologians (and anyone else who reads the Bible) should learn about China.
5. China Releases Final Draft of New Visa and Residence Permit Regulations for Foreigners (July 25, 2013, China Briefing)
The Chinese government released the "Administrative Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Entry and Exit of Foreigners (Order No.637 of State Council, hereinafter referred to as 'Regulations')" on July 22, which updates the current visa system and introduces several changes to the application of the residence permit. The Regulations will take effect on September 1, 2013, with the previous administrative regulations on the entry and exit of foreigners scheduled to be abolished concurrently. Detailed information can be found below.
6. Foreigners and Chinese Working Together: A Local Perspective (Summer 2013, ChinaSource Quarterly)
As a Chinese Christian, Jenny has worked alongside foreigners in Christian organizations for over a decade. She opens her heart and shares insights from a Chinese perspective to help new workers (and those already in China) avoid points of misunderstanding and friction as they serve with local brothers and sisters.
7. Why oh Why? 5 Bewildering Chinese Activities Explained (July 1, 2013, eChinaCities)
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why it is that Chinese restrooms are lacking in toilet paper? Why pregnant women wear those apron-thingies on their way to work? What the obsession with keeping noisy, screeching crickets is about? Why people walk backwards in the morning, all the while clapping their hands rhythmically? Or why that peddler wakes you up with his yelling early in the morning? Everyday activity can astound and bewilder us when we're not familiar with the culture. So why is it that Chinese people do what they do?
8. 10 Troubling Tendencies in Chinese Evangelism (July 16, 2013, JacksonWu)
The Chinese know how to do multiplication. Evangelism is a trademark of the Chinese church. One cannot help but be encouraged and spurred on by Chinese brothers and sisters. It's easy then to forget that even Chinese believers may have certain weaknesses or troubling tendencies. Chinese Christians are famous for their boldness. However, boldness is not the sum total of evangelism.
9. A Novel Approach to Chinese History (September 1, 2013, ChinaSource Blog)
If you're a China buff, here are 10 books I recommend for learning about Chinese history through what I'm calling a novel approach. I've placed them chronologically in terms of Chinese history and instead of telling you much about the story, will share a bit about why you need to read it from a historical perspective. History, in this case, consists of both the well-known "big" events, and the lesser known daily events. Together, they are woven together to form the fabric of a society, culture, and people.
10. Indigenous Mission Movement from China: A Current Assessment (April 15, 2013, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The traditional definitions of missionary are not adequate for missionaries being sent from China; a new definition is needed due to the unique circumstances involved with those sent from this nation. Following this discussion, the author provides an overview of the current situation surrounding missionaries being sent from China.
Image credit: Joss Paper Pineaplles, by David Bote Estrada, via Flickr
Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio