Our China Stories
How Our Questions Shape Our Narratives
Through his testimony, many became acquainted with China’s suffering church. His story was one that needed to be shared, and by God’s grace it became a great source of encouragement to those who heard it. . . . There is another story, however, that could have been told if anyone had thought to ask.
When facing situations in which right and wrong choices are not quite so black and white, we need each other more than ever to discern the right path to take. In supporting each other, I believe we should also give each other the benefit of the doubt more often than not.
Rather than skirting uncomfortable China conversations, leaning into the narratives by which evangelicals seek to make sense of China and its church can uncover the biases and cultural assumptions standing in the way of a more authentic understanding of what it means to be citizens of God’s kingdom.
Legislation may technically render a host of Christian activities illegal, but these activities do not suddenly cease. While we may hear that “China” is clamping down on unregistered meetings or websites or online gatherings, the reality on the ground may tell a different story.
This thanksgiving glimmers with the hope that our engagement will help to complete the story…about what China is becoming. But what happens when we ourselves are the ones in need, with neither the opportunities nor the means to enter into the story in the way we thought we were supposed to?
Whether a century ago or today, whatever our China stories may purport to tell us about being apolitical, of “leaving our politics at the door” or “staying out of politics,” one of the hard lessons of history is that foreign Christian involvement in China is unavoidably political.