Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chinese Christians

There are many things I could comment on in this essay by a Chinese Christian, but two jumped out at me.  He makes specific mention of the density and unity of the Christian community, even while connected to other dissident causes and movements; second, he places his ability to even see the sin of the culture around him in the context of seeing his own sin.

This is the opposite of what I was taught as a Congregationalist in the 1960's, and still hear a lot of from Christians today (especially denominational Christians, of which I am one).  The emphasis then was on being open and sharing and giving and loving to everyone - to be models of peace and tolerance and love. That's true as far as it goes, and the NT is clear that our actions toward those who are not believers are a great part of our being examples of Christ, that they might understand. But from the outset, He first chose a group to be around him, and on the night he was betrayed stressed their connection with one another, not everyone in town or in the Roman Empire.

Our unity as Christians is the foundation of further unities, it is not one unity among many. Unity with Americanism, unity with The World, unity with New Ideals or Traditional Culture - these are serious distractions.  Those who love all, love none. It perhaps does not have to be that way - but that is what I see around me.

And on to the second part.  We were encouraged first to see and to protest against the sin in our society - seeing our own sin was rather a general, subsidiary, private act, nowhere near as important. Theologically, of course everyone would claim that the insight into personal sin was more important - yet the amount of time, energy, and praise spent on one versus the other revealed what people really thought. So too now.  I can't get past the (CSL-driven) impression that being encouraged to be people of peace and tolerance is more of an accusation of cultural sins and surreptitious method of re-introducing the political as the only real measure of virtue.

From the same issue, and I think related, this article on Hypervisibilty from the same issue, closes with references to Father Jacques Hamel, 85, who was murdered while celebrating mass in France this month. He seems to have been a humble and gentle servant.  He laughed at the idea of retirement, stating "I'll work until my last breath."  And then he did.  Other quotes from him at the link.


Texan99 said...

We're told to "love thy neighbor," and Christ made it clear in the story of the Good Samaritan that your neighbor is anyone you encounter. But I'd distinguish between unity and love. Unity is a two-way street requiring mutual commitment; you have to choose carefully and judge well. Love is simply our unilateral obligation, regardless of where the person we've encountered is coming from. On the other hand, "love" doesn't mean intimacy or identifying with someone else's beliefs or going along with their suggestions. It means acting for someone else's best interests, which may include doing things they're not crazy about. It means acting without rancor or spite, but certainly not blindly indulging.

Assistant Village Idiot said...