12 April 2012 ~ 0 Comments

China – Then and Now

A friend of mine, Jason Stewart, sometimes refers to himself as a “binge blogger” in that he doesn’t write for a while and then binges on it. If that is my case, I have been on the wagon way too long. So welcome back and I’ll try to be more “socially bingeful” in the days ahead.

First, please allow me a couple of paragraphs to ramble for background to get to today. Please pardon me. It’s been a while since I’ve “binged”!

EARLIER TRAVEL

In my previous life (collegiate missions) at the TN Baptist Convention, I had the privilege of traveling quite a bit. For example, I co-led the first Southern Baptist mission team to Russia in 70 years. A team of TN college students, Bob Hall from UTK and I spent three weeks helping remodel an old dilapidated church building into a beautiful structure in what was then Leningrad. Eighteen months later we returned for its dedication; however, it was then once again called by its original name: Saint Petersburg.

Ircel Harrison, my boss at the TBC, liked to travel as well. Yet he missed two trips because of family crises and he “made” me go in his place. One was to Brazil to speak at a National Youth Conference. The other, in 1995, was a Discovery Trip to Shanghai, China.

As in Leningrad in 1990, China in ‘95 was “thirsting” for western ideas, businesses and fashion. The Cultural Revolution clearly over, you could smell the change all around. With the fall of the Berlin Wall western influence came quickly in Russia. In China it seemed to have started slower but just as certain.

CHINA 2012

To go with my wife to Beijing a few days ago was an enlightening experience to say the least. I’d never been to that city before but there was no question that Beijing, as I’d seen Shanghai progress via television through the years, was embracing western culture. And yet, China is strong about maintaining its own rich culture. Walking on the Great Wall and seeing the Forbidden City, for examples, provided a view of a history that our country cannot touch in comparison. They want their kids to learn our language, true. Yet, preserving their own history and heritage and its amazing depth is understandably important as well.

Our trip was a basically a publishing briefing on China today and in the future. The theme was “The Next Ten Years”. What will China be like then? First some big pic stuff.

NO SECRETS

It is no secret that China is growing in prominence as a world player, economically, politically, etc. Still under communist rule, but still very open to outside influence. Christianity is part of that growing influence and that is certainly no secret to the Chinese government. While the conference we attended was not exclusively Christian, it had a distinct Christian flavor and application as we considered the following decade. It was also no secret to the government that we were meeting.

My sense is that China holds incredible potential in its future. I was encouraged by the briefing. Lots of development there. Lots of promise business-wise. Plus, it won’t be long before China will literally become the largest Christian nation in the world. (How’s that for irony?) With the allowance of all kinds of western stuff these days, could there be a more critical opportunity for the church?

If you are a follower of Christ, please pray for China. China and its bordering countries comprise half of the world’s population. Reach China and you reach a huge part of this world. Pray that we seize the day and this opportunity for His name.

Next …

ONE-CHILD POLICY PLAYING OUT

The next post will find us exploring the rapidly approaching ramifications of the “Chinese One-Child Policy” implemented decades ago. (This is chilling to me.) Some radical steps were taken in the 1970’s to address the population explosion in China and now those decisions are coming home to roost. Next time …

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