Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The Amity Church list identified a church not too far from the Youth Hostel. Turned out to be a Charismatic Three Self Church. Very friendly, animated bunch of people. Better be prepared to do a lot of hand clapping.
Three-Self Churches in China are regulated by the government, but they are actually given quite a bit of latitude, as long as they don't become political. The speaker was a guest from Malaysia, who spoke in Cantonese, but it was translated. Into Mandarin.
I have previously compared Catholic and Protestant services in China. But I could also compare protestant and protestant services. What I mean by that, is that within the "Three-Self" system, there are both traditional and contemporary services, much as there are in the United States. The traditional services follow a pattern that pretty much reflects what church was like in forties and early fifties, before the Communists came to power. The contemporary services follow a worship style that probably came to China from Hong Kong, Malaysia, or Singapore. Or from Chinese folks who have lived in the United States. The worship service in this church is very, very different from what I am used to at my home church in Beijing, which is more traditional. There are one or two things that tend to be similar among Protestants in China, in spite of the differences in style. In the Protestant churches, the people sitting in the pew want to know which chapter and verse the pastor is speaking from, and follow along in their Bibles. But again, the style is very different.