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Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Streams in the Desert - December 

 

December 1

Devil's Burden

There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God. - Hebrews 4:9

The rest includes victory, "And the Lord gave them rest round about; . . . the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand." - Joshua 21:44

He will beautify the meek with victory. - Psalm 149:4, Rotherham, margin

This was the supreme test of obedience. It was comparatively easy to strike tents, when the fleecy folds of the cloud were slowly gathering from off the Tabernacle, and it floated majestically before the host. Change is always delightful; and there was excitement and interest in the route, the scenery, and the locality of the next halting-place. But, ah, the tarrying.

Then, however uninviting and sultry the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however irksome to the impatient disposition, however perilously exposed to danger--there was no option but to remain encamped.

The Psalmist says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry." And what He did for the Old Testament saints He will do for believers throughout all ages.

Still God often keeps us waiting. Face to face with threatening foes, in the midst of alarms, encircled by perils, beneath the impending rock. May we not go? Is it not time to strike our tents? Have we not suffered to the point of utter collapse? May we not exchange the glare and heat for green pastures and still waters?

There is no answer. The cloud tarries, and we must remain, though sure of manna, rock-water, shelter, and defense. God never keeps us at post without assuring us of His presence, and sending us daily supplies.

Wait, young man, do not be in a hurry to make a change! Minister, remain at your post! Until the cloud clearly moves, you must tarry. Wait, then, thy Lord's good pleasure! He will be in plenty of time!--Daily Devotional Commentary

An hour of waiting!
Yet there seems such need
To reach that spot sublime!
I long to reach them--but I long far more
To trust HIS time!

"Sit still, my daughter"—
Yet the heathen die,
They perish while I stay!
I long to reach them--but I long far more
To trust HIS way!

'Tis good to get,
'Tis good indeed to give!
Yet is it better still—
O'er breadth, thro' length, down length, up height,
To trust HIS will! &mdashF. M. N.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

First Missionaries to Gansu Province 

Very brief but well-written overview of initial missions to the Hui Muslims in China. It is part 9 of a series, so the whole piece is longer. But worth reading. I was interested in it because I spent four summers in Gansu Province during the years that I was teaching in Beijing.

I first traveled to Gansu back in 2006.

I had an idea to try to get in touch with a village school in Gansu. So I didn’t want to stay in a youth hostel. Truth be told, there wasn’t much for youth hostels in Lanzhou at that time anyway, but I would not have wanted to go to one even if there was. That’s very unusual for me. A good youth hostel is usually the first thing I look for. But my idea was to be near Northwest Normal University so that I could try to meet a teacher from the countryside who could put me in touch with village education. So I got the brainstorm to call the university and ask for the Foreign Experts building, not knowing if there even was one.

Fortunately, there was one, and I was able to stay there for a nominal cost. Then I walked around the campus until I met a teacher and asked him if I could visit his village. Turned out his cousin was running a summer school, so I met up with her and helped her teach the children. That was the first of four summers I spent up on the Tibetan Plateau in “Gannan’” the southern part of Gansu Province bordering Sichuan.

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Monday, November 01, 2021

Streams in the Desert - November 

 

November 1

Waiting is Hard

When the cloud tarried . . . then the children of Israel . . . journeyed not. - Numbers 9:19

This was the supreme test of obedience. It was comparatively easy to strike tents, when the fleecy folds of the cloud were slowly gathering from off the Tabernacle, and it floated majestically before the host. Change is always delightful; and there was excitement and interest in the route, the scenery, and the locality of the next halting-place. But, ah, the tarrying.

Then, however uninviting and sultry the location, however trying to flesh and blood, however irksome to the impatient disposition, however perilously exposed to danger--there was no option but to remain encamped.

The Psalmist says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry." And what He did for the Old Testament saints He will do for believers throughout all ages.

Still God often keeps us waiting. Face to face with threatening foes, in the midst of alarms, encircled by perils, beneath the impending rock. May we not go? Is it not time to strike our tents? Have we not suffered to the point of utter collapse? May we not exchange the glare and heat for green pastures and still waters?

There is no answer. The cloud tarries, and we must remain, though sure of manna, rock-water, shelter, and defense. God never keeps us at post without assuring us of His presence, and sending us daily supplies.

Wait, young man, do not be in a hurry to make a change! Minister, remain at your post! Until the cloud clearly moves, you must tarry. Wait, then, thy Lord's good pleasure! He will be in plenty of time!--Daily Devotional Commentary

An hour of waiting!
Yet there seems such need
To reach that spot sublime!
I long to reach them--but I long far more
To trust HIS time!

"Sit still, my daughter"—
Yet the heathen die,
They perish while I stay!
I long to reach them--but I long far more
To trust HIS way!

'Tis good to get,
'Tis good indeed to give!
Yet is it better still—
O'er breadth, thro' length, down length, up height,
To trust HIS will! —F. M. N.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Hong Kong--Where to go from here? 

In this video we see the flow of refugees from Communist China. I was born in 1954, and in the Cold War world I grew up in, we always heard how hard it was for people to leave the communist world. The Berlin Wall went up in 1961, and the purpose of that wall (and other walls separating Eastern and Western Europe) was to keep people in, not to keep people out. But in the earliest days of Communist rule both in Eastern Europe and in Asia, the restrictions to people leaving were not so severe. Remember, the communists assumed that the common people would absolutely love them. It took them awhile to realize that their people were less than enthralled with the system they were creating. Of course, Marxism as an economic system was a colossal failure. Between the end of World War II, and 1961 when the wall went up, something like 3 million people migrated from Eastern Europe to Western Europe. Do the math—it comes to about 500 people a day for fifteen years.

So in China, the same type of thing was happening. Not to the same degree, I’m sure, because Hong Kong had been devastated by the war, and did not present the economic contrast that was much more noticeable in Europe. Also, I was talking with another expat here in Kunming the other day who was in Hong Kong in 1960 or 61, and he said there were plenty of people going the other way, too. I think it eventually turned out to be a net gain (of refugees) for Hong Kong, but not as drastically as Eastern Europe.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong became the place of “safety” from “Communist” control. As 1997 drew near, there was concern that Hong was going to be just another city in China after the handover. [That concern was very evident to me, because I was a graduate student in Canada during those pre-1997 years. I used to go to the Chinese Alliance Church in Regina, where there were lots of people who had “escaped” from Hong Kong in anticipation of the handover.] Thus the intense negotiations between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping. They each had an ace in the hole, so to speak. Deng Xiaoping’s ace in the hole was that the “New Territories,” that part of Hong Kong that was leased for 99 years by Great Britain in 1898 was due to be returned according to the terms of the lease. There was no way Britain could get out of it.

Margaret Thatcher’s ace in the hole was that the original Hong Kong, which comprised Hong Kong Island, was not leased. It had been ceded to Great Britain by treaty many years earlier. They did not have to return it. It would have made a mess of things if they had held on to it, and it would not have been worth much, because Hong Kong had grown to a size the dwarfed the original colony on the Island. So Margaret Thatcher did not actually want to keep it. But she was using that option to get the best deal possible. Basically, Deng Xiaoping made her an offer she could not refuse. He told her that China would allow Hong Kong to govern itself under the “one country, two systems” rubric for fifty more years. That was half the duration of the original lease.

So how has it been going? Depends on who you ask, of course, but there have been naysayers from the beginning. China executing the national security law and imposing it on Hong Kong was just the latest. But it seemed to sound the death nell for the one country, two systems arrangement in the minds of many observers.

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Friday, October 01, 2021

Streams in the Desert - October 

 

October 1

The Brightest Colors

It is good for me that I have been afflicted. - Psalm 119:71

It is a remarkable circumstance that the most brilliant colors of plants are to be seen on the highest mountains, in spots that are most exposed to the wildest weather. The brightest lichens and mosses, the loveliest gems of wild flowers, abound far up on the bleak, storm-scalped peak.

One of the richest displays of organic coloring I ever beheld was near the summit of Mount Chenebettaz, a hill about 10,000 feet high, immediately above the great St. Bernard Hospice. The whole face of an extensive rock was covered with a most vivid yellow lichen which shone in the sunshine like the golden battlement of an enchanted castle.

There, in that lofty region, amid the most frowning desolation, exposed to the fiercest tempest of the sky, this lichen exhibited a glory of color such as it never showed in the sheltered valley. I have two specimens of the same lichen before me while I write these lines, one from the great St. Bernard, and the other from the wall of a Scottish castle, deeply embossed among sycamore trees; and the difference in point of form and coloring between them is most striking.

The specimen nurtured amid the wild storms of the mountain peak is of a lovely primrose hue, and is smooth in texture and complete in outline, while the specimen nurtured amid the soft airs and the delicate showers of the lowland valley is of a dim rusty hue, and is scurfy in texture, and broken in outline.

And is it not so with the Christian who is afflicted, tempest-tossed, and not comforted? Till the storms and vicissitudes of God's providence beat upon him again and again, his character appears marred and clouded; but trials clear away the obscurity, perfect the outlines of his disposition, and give brightness and blessing to his life.

Amidst my list of blessings infinite
Stands this the foremost, that my heart has bled;
For all I bless Thee, most for the severe. —Hugh Macmillan

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Science Night - Peregrine Falcons 

I had pigeons when I was a kid. Didn’t know much about hawks or falcons then, but they were the enemy. Later, when I was in middle school, there was a special student assembly at my school (Fergus Fall Junior High) and the star of the show was a professional falconer. It was really an amazing presentation. Before he released the falcon, he told everybody to sit perfectly still. He did not want the falcon to attack anybody. Shortly after he released the falcon, one of my classmates must have gotten a panic attack or something, because he jumped up and started walking quickly out of the gymnasium where the assembly was being held. Fortunately the falcon did not attack him. Since that assembly I have been fascinated with Peregrine Falcons. Mind you, when I see a falcon chasing a pigeon, I’m still on the pigeon’s side.

You will hear that Peregrine Falcons can travel at 200 mph. But that is misleading. There is no way a Peregrine Falcon can fly that fast. They attain that speed by diving. The terminal velocity of a skydiver is about 120 mph. In the video they mention a speed of 158, I believe, but that is because they are flying in a form that allows for greater speed. At any rate, even 160 mph is no match for a Peregrine Falcon in full diving mode, which is rare to see and which you will see in this video. But of course, that’s falling, not flying. Peregrine Falcons are essentially dive bombers. For this reason, a Peregrine Falcon can attack a bird much larger than itself. They don’t feed on such larger birds, but they can defend themselves that way. I guess I should note that speed and velocity are not exactly the same, but in this case they can be used interchangeably, because direction is not an issue.

But the horizontal flying speed of a Perigrine Falcon is much slower that this. Pretty close to the speed of a pigeon. So if you watch a Peregrine Falcon trying to catch a pigeon, it’s actually a pretty close contest. But if that same falcon flies to altitude and dives into a flock of pigeons, it’s very likely to get something.

In this video, you will see a Peregrine Falcon that is trained to pursue a lure (which probably has food attached). It has no problem catching up with the skydivers using it’s special diving method to increase terminal velocity. But another thing you notice in this video is that the Perigrine Falcon and the falconer develop a close relationship. This indicates that the Peregrine Falcon is probably a pretty smart bird. But it also says something about the falconer. Not just anybody can be a falconer. It requires a special ability to understand the bird and build the kind of trust that will motivate the bird to obey the trainer.

You will notice also that the bird in this video is a female. I am not sure if the female is a better hunter than the male. But it is much larger, and that may be the reason falconers prefer to work with a female Peregrine Falcon.

Will you ever see a Peregrine Falcon up close? They are found in every corner of the globe except Antarctica, but it would still not be easy. This is not the kind of bird that will show up at your windowside bird feeder. Peregrine Falcons do not feed on bird seed. They feed on birds. Not exclusively, they also eat mice. But they could never live on bird seed.

There are three entities to watch in this video. The falcon, the trainer jumping in tandem with a professional sky diver, and the photographer. But I would be remiss if I did not also mention the crew of the hot air baloon. This video would not be possible without them. It doesn't take long to see that this experiement could never have been done from an airplane. All of them worked together to produce a really good show, and also some good science. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Law Reviews 

I began this project several years ago as a tribute to my (Jessup) law students who had worked so hard to develop the skills that brought the CYU team from seventeenth in the nation to the very first place the last year I was helping to coach the team. I worked on this project along with the other stuff I was doing at the National Library every Friday afternoon. Sadly, I had to leave Beijing during the Corona virus period, so I did not quite finish.

You will notice that, in the status column, I have three different values. OPEN means that you can access the articles free of charge, and in almost every case, there is provision for downloading a .pdf copy of the article. CLOSED means that you cannot access the articles, or that you cannot access without paying. ABSTRACT means that while you cannot download the article, you can read the abstract. I started entering the ABSTRACT value later, so it's possible that some of the items identified as CLOSED actually have an abstract.

So why would I bother to list the ones that are closed? Simply because, if you happen to be in Beijing, all of these law reviews are available in hard copy in the 6th floor law library in the English section of the National Library of China.

One more thing: In listing the ISSN numbers, I have always listed the ISSN number for the print version, not the online version. Why? Because once you download an article, what you have in your hand is an exact copy of what the print version would give you. Furthermore, if you so a search for these at the National Library, you will be looking for the hard copy, not the online version.

ISSNStatusPeriodical
1010-9153
OPENASA Bulletin
0001-8368
CLOSEDAdministrative Law Review
0927-3379
OPENAir and Space Law
0027-9048
CLOSEDAmerican Bankruptcy Law Journal
1744-1714
OPENAmerican Business Law Journal
0164-0364
CLOSEDAmerican Criminal Law Review
0004-8658
OPENAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology
0588-7445
CLOSEDCommon Market Law Reports
0165-0750
ABSTRACTCommon Market Law Review
0134-1160
CLOSEDCompany and Securities Law Journal
1536-5581
ABSTRACTConflict Resolution Quarterly
0267-2359
CLOSEDConstruction Law Journal
0010-8812
OPENCornell International Law Journal
0010-8847
OPENCornell Law Review
0011-1287
ABSTRACTCrime & Delinquency
1741-6590
ABSTRACTCrime, Media, Culture: An International Journal
0093-8548
ABSTRACTCriminal Justice and Behavior: An International Journal
0011-1317
CLOSEDCriminal Law Bulletin
0314-1160
CLOSEDCriminal Law Journal
0011-135X
CLOSEDCriminal Law Review, The
1745-9125
OPENCriminology
1745-9133
OPENCriminology and Public Policy
0098-8898
CLOSEDE mployee Relations Law Journal
0959-3799
CLOSEDEntertainment Law Review
0966-193X
CLOSEDEntertainment and Media Law Reports
1040-6026
ABSTRACTEnvironmental Claims Journal
0966-2022
CLOSEDEnvironmental Law Reports
0378-777X
CLOSEDEnvironmen tal Policy and Law
0813-300X
CLOSEDEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
0959-6941
ABSTRACTEuropean Business Law Review
1572-4999
CLOSEDEuropean Company Law
0144-3054
CLOSEDEuropean Competition Law Review
2191-7442
OPENEuropean Criminal Law Review
0966-1646
ABSTRACTEuropean Energy and Environmental Law Review
1862-2720
ABSTRACTEuropean Food and Feed Law Review
1361-1526
CLOSEDEuropean Human Rights Law Review
0260-4868
CLOSEDEuropean Human Rights Reports
0142-0461
CLOSEDEuropean Intellectual Property Review
0928-9569
CLOSEDEuropean Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
0938-5428
OPENEuropean Journal of International Law
0929-1261
OPENEuropean Journal of Law and Economics
0307-5400
CLOSEDEuropean Law Review
0269-0802
CLOSEDEuropean Patent Office Reports
1354-3725
ABSTRACTEuropean Public Law
0928-9801
ABSTRACTEuropean Review of Private Law
0014-729X
CLOSEDFamily Law Quarterly
1367-6644
CLOSEDFamily Law Reports
0014-9128
OPENFederal Probation Journal
1473-3323
CLOSEDFinancial Regulation International
1064-590X
OPENFood and Drug Law Journal
0015-704X
OPENFordham Law Review
2096-1790
OPENForensic Sciences Research
0016-8076
OPENGeorge Washington Law Review
1550-5200
OPENGeorgetown Journal of International Law
0016-8092
OPENGeorgetown Law Journal
1756-6002
CLOSEDGlobal Competition Litigation Review
0017-8039
OPENHarvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review
0017-8063
OPENHarvard International Law Journal
0193-4872
OPENHarvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
0017-808X
OPENHarvard Journal on Legislation
1061-6578
OPENHastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal
0017-8322
OPENHastings Law Journal
1088-7679
ABSTRACTHomicide Studies
0378-0600
ABSTRACTHong Kong Law Journal
1352-2191
CLOSEDHousing Law Monitor
1364-274X
CLOSEDHousing Law Reports
0258-3690
ABSTRACTICSID Review-Foreign Investment Law Journal
0305-9332
ABSTRACTIndustria l Law Journal
0815-2098
CLOSEDIntellectual Property Forum
1364-906X
CLOSEDIntellectual Property Quarterly
1367-8272
CLOSEDInternational Arbitration Law Review
1089-2397
CLOSEDInternational Arbitration Report
0958-5214
CLOSEDInternational Company and Commercial Law Review
2044-3994
OPENInternational Data Privacy Law
1757-4404
CLOSEDInternational Energy Law Review
1567-9764
OPENInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
0952-8059
OPENInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
0192-4036
OPENInternational Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
1751-911X
ABSTRACTInternational Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics
1741-7392
ABSTRACTInternational Journal of Franchising Law
0967-0769
CLOSEDInternational Journal of Law and Information Technology
1754-243X
OPENInternational Journal of Law and Management
0160-2527
CLOSEDInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
0306-624X
OPENInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
1753-6235
ABSTRACTInternational Journal of Private Law
0953-8166
OPENInternational Journal of Refugee Law
1385-4879
CLOSEDInternational Journal on Minority and Group Rights
0020-7829
CLOSEDInternational Legal Materials
0958-9767
CLOSEDInternational Litigation Procedure
0018-9855
OPENInternational Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
0144-8188
CLOSEDIn ternational Review of Law and Economics
1357-3136
CLOSEDInternational Trade Law & Regulation
1385-3074
CLOSEDInternational Transfer Pricing Journal
0021-0552
OPENIowa Law Review
0928-9380
ABSTRACTIslamic Law and Society
1613-7272
ABSTRACTJournal For European Environmental & Planning Law
0021-8553
ABSTRACTJour nal of African Law
1744-6414
ABSTRACTJournal of Competition Law & Economics
1467-7954
OPENJournal of Conflict & Security Law
1359-0790
CLOSEDJournal of Financial Crime
1358-1988
CLOSEDJournal of Financial Regulation and Compliance
0895-173X
CLOSEDJournal of Forensic Identification
1368-6542
CLOSEDJournal of Housing Law
1746-6709
CLOSEDJournal of Professional Negligence
2514-9407
ABSTRACTJournal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law
1538-8220
OPENJournal of School Violence
1354-7747
CLOSEDJournal of Social Security Law
0265-8240
ABSTRACTLaw & Policy
0023-9216
OPENLaw & Society Review
0747-3680
OPENLaw Enforcement Technology
0023-9283
OPENLaw Library Journal
1547-9102
OPENLaw Practice Magazine
0957-8536
OPENLaw and Critique
1752-1440
OPENLaw and Financial Markets Review
0147-7307
ABSTRACTLaw and Human Behavior
0157-5249
OPENLaw and Philosophy
1470-8396
OPENLaw, Probability and Risk
0040-7585
CLOSEDLegal History Review, The
1566-6573
OPENLegal Issues of Economic Integration
1352-3252
OPENLegal Theory
0362-9805
OPENLegislative Studies Quarterly
0306-2945
CLOSEDLloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly
0960-5002
OPENManaging Intellectual Property
0025-8024
ABSTRACTMedicine, Science and the Law
0026-2234
OPENMichigan Law Review
0026-5535
OPENMinnesota Law Review
0026-7961
OPENModern Law Review
0167-6768
ABSTRACTNetherlands Yearbook of International Law
0028-7881
OPENNew York University Law Review
0745-3515
OPENNotre Dame Law Review
0731-5082
CLOSEDStanford Journal of International Law
0038-9765
OPENStanford Law Review
0739-9731
OPENStetson Law Review
0002-919X
CLOSEDThe American Journal of Comparative Law
0952-617X
OPENThe International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations
0927-3522
ABSTRACTThe International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
1748-8885
CLOSEDThe International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law
1752-7716
OPENThe International Journal of Transitional Justice
0020-7810
CLOSEDThe International Lawyer
0221-9460
CLOSEDThe Journal of Business Law
0091-4169
OPENThe Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology
0885-856X
CLOSEDT ort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal
2151-8904
OPENTsinghua China Law Review
0041-9494
OPENUniversity of Chicago Law Review
0009-6881
OPENUniversity of Cincinnati Law Review
1942-9274
CLOSEDUniversity of Louisville Law Review
0041-9907
OPENUniversity of Pennsylvania Law Review
0041-6601
OPENVirginia Law Review
0043-0617
OPENWashington Law Review
1943-1120
OPENWisconsin Law Review
0044-0094
OPENYale Law Journal

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Streams in the Desert - September 

 

September 1

Shaped Stones

I will lay thy stones with fair colors. - Isa. 54:11

The stones from the wall said, "We come from the mountains far away, from the sides of the craggy hills. Fire and water have worked on us for ages, but made us only crags. Human hands have made us into a dwelling where the children of your immortal race are born, and suffer, and rejoice, and find rest and shelter, and learn the lessons set them by our Maker and yours. But we have passed through much to fit us for this. Gunpowder has rent our very heart; pickaxes have cleaved and broken us, it seemed to us often with out design or meaning, as we lay misshapen stones in the quarry; but gradually we were cut into blocks, and some of us were chiseled with finer instruments to a sharper edge. But we are complete now, and are in our places, and are of service.

You are in the quarry still, and not complete, and therefore to you, as once to us, much is inexplicable. But you are destined for a higher building, and one day you will be placed in it by hands not human, a living stone in a heavenly temple.

"In the still air the music lies unheard;
In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;
To make the music and the beauty needs
The master's touch, the sculptor's chisel keen.

"Great Master, touch us with Thy skillful hands;
Let not the music that is in us die!
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,
Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie!"

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Christian Students in China 

The article below contains a good summary of the history of student ministry in China. It is not exhaustive, but helpful, I think.

The same issue contains a book review of a book I got from a Christian businessman from Singapore many years ago. It’s a good review, but there is a little tidbit in that book that is not mentioned in the review:

Communist leaders gave to Wu Yao-tsung the task of forming a new church which would be entirely free from the influence of imperialism. In 1950 he headed a group of church leaders who met in Peking with the Prime Minister Chou En-lai. I received a full account of this conference because one of the Lutheran pastors who was present asked me to help him translate a Chinese report of the meetings into English. It was significant that Chou En-lai, while promising freedom of religion, reminded the pastors present that if the church later withered away and died of its own accord they should not blame the communist government.
It is clear from this report that they wanted Christianity to go away, but they didn’t want to be responsible for that happening. Yet, they certainly didn’t encourage Christianity, and they jailed those who preached the gospel outside the confines of the Three-Self Churches.

But I think the Cultural Revolution changed the picture somewhat. The effect of the Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976) was to move those people who saw church membership as a means of personal advancement out of the church and into the party. The church I went to in Beijing was closed for 20 years before, during, and after the Cultural Revolution. By the time it opened again, most of those who came to church just to advance themselves (like Americans often do) were gone, never to return.

What is the result of this, and how does it relate to student movements in China? The result is that the churches were largely freed of the burden of people who go to church for selfish reasons, and thus were left with a much higher percentage of true believers. And since the large Christian student organizations that you would see on an American university campus are not allowed at Chinese universities, Christian student activity tends to take place within churches. This has caused Christianity to grow exponentially.

So basically, Christian students are cultivated within the local churches. The up side to this is that they tend to be very committed and genuine in their knowledge of scripture. The down side is that there is very little outreach to students who do not come from Christian backgrounds. And, of course, the other problem is that the nation does not get to enjoy the benefit of these extraordinary young people, because they are banned from leadership positions in society because they are not allowed to join the party. At least that’s the way they feel. There are differing opinions about this, but there is at least the perception among Christian young people that they are not welcome in the Communist Party. So they pour their efforts into the development of the church—the one place they really feel welcome. This is good for the church (which, as I said, is growing exponentially in China), but but it is a loss for the society.

When I say to young people in my church, “Why don't you join the Communist party and help your country?” they will say, “Oh no, we’re not allowed. You have to be an atheist. But when some of my university students said, “Eric, we joined the Communist Party,” I said, “Really? Did they make you say you were an atheist?”

They said, “No, they don’t do that. It’s not like you think.”

So I don’t know what’s true. Students insist that it’s not an issue, but when I read the Global Times or the China Daily, it seems pretty clear that Party members are not supposed to be Christians. This is based on the idea that if Party members are allowed to worship God, the Party will not be first in their lives. But this is a mistaken idea. Just because Party members don’t worship God, that doesn’t mean that they worship the State or the Party. Many of them worship themselves. Many years ago at the English corner at Renmin University, I asked a bunch of young people what they believed. I got several responses. Then I turned to one young lady named Susan and asked her what she believed. She told me that she only believed in herself. Now, in her case, I think it was just an innocent statement by someone who had grown up on China and did not see a reason to have a defined belief system. But in many cases, the self-worship induced by cultivating several generations of young people to believe that there is no God, takes on a much more sinister and selfish form.

Here’s now it works:

In today’s China, young people who worship God and love people and use their money to help people are banned from party membership. But if they worship themselves and love money and use people to get more money for themselves, the Party welcomes them with open arms. And they wonder why they have a problem with corruption.

So what is the solution? I really think it would be good to allow these Christian young people to join the Party and be a help to their country. From within this extraordinary group of very talented people may come a future leader of China.

But would they feel out of place in a party peopled by atheists? I don’t think so. This may surprise some, so let me explain. You know, in America, when you say the word "atheist" people get a picture of someone who is hostile to any talk about God. But Chinese young people are not atheists in that sense. They would tell you that they don't believe in God, because they have been told all their lives that there is no God. But they are not hostile at all. They are actually very polite toward people of faith. After dinner with some of my students one evening, I heard one of them telling her friend, "I think the foreign teachers who have a religion are better than the ones who don't."

And it works the other way, too. The Christian young people I have known in my church life in China tend to be apolitical. They are not interested in the Party or in political matters. But they are very cordial to their fellow students or colleagues, even though those colleagues or fellow students may not be interested in Christianity. It is my belief that these two groups of extraordinary young people could work very well together, and China would be the better for it.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Streams in the Desert - August 

 

August 1

You Can Trust

Surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead. - Romans 6:13, Weymouth

I went one night to hear an address on consecration. No special message came to me from it, but as the speaker kneeled to pray, he dropped this sentence: "O Lord, Thou knowest we can trust the Man that died for us." And that was my message. I rose and walked down the street to the train; and as I walked, I pondered deeply all that consecration might mean to my life and—I was afraid. And then, above the noise and clatter of the street traffic came to me the message: "You can trust the Man that died for you."

I got into the train to ride homeward; and as I rode, I thought of the changes, the sacrifices, the disappointments which consecration might mean to me and—I was afraid.

I reached home and sought my room, and there upon my knees I saw my past life. I had been a Christian, an officer in the church, a Sunday-school superintendent, but had never definitely yielded my life to God.

Yet as I thought of the darling plans which might be baffled, of the cherished hopes to be surrendered, and the chosen profession which I might be called upon to abandoned--I was afraid.

I did not see the better things God had for me, so my soul was shrinking back; and then for the last time, with a swift rush of convicting power, came to my innermost heart that searching message:

"My child, you can trust the Man that died for you. If you cannot trust Him whom can you trust?"

That settled it for me, for in a flash I saw that the Man who so loved me as to die for me could be absolutely trusted with all the concerns of the life He had saved.

Friend, you can trust the Man that died for you. You can trust Him to baffle no plan which is not best to be foiled, and to carry out every one which is for God's glory and your highest good. You can trust Him to lead you in the path which is the very best in this world for you.--J H. McC

"Just as I am, thy love unknown,
Has broken every barrier down,
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine ALONE,
O Lamb of God, I come!"

"Life is not salvage to be saved out of the world, but an investment to be used in the world."

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