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In my visits to rural villages in China I have been impressed by the ability of local churches to identify needs, and design projects to meet them. Often these projects rely solely on volunteers and donations from believers. Today I want to share a few examples of projects undertaken by Chinese churches and the impact they are having on their communities. It is worth noting that these are initiatives begun by local TSPM churches, and represent just a small amount of the “good fruit*” that seems abundant in many of the churches I have visited. Hospice and Counseling One of the churches we visited had created a hospice program which met with terminally ill patients. Some of these patients were Christian, but many were not. The […]


Continued from yesterday My pleasant chat with the happy rural Christians was almost the complete opposite from my chat with one of the ministers of that province’s Christian Council (the governing branch of the officially recognized church). Perhaps that was because she could speak English, and wasn’t constrained by the officials that had come along with us; perhaps it was because she’d been pushed too far. In the city where she worked, the gov’t had big plans for the downtown areas, and the plans required the bulldozing of a historic church and a Bible training center. While the groups were being more than fairly compensated for the land, this minister was adamant that gov’t should not interfere with the church and that these place were […]


A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit a very small village. The villagers there told me this story of how they converted to Christianity and I thought it was an interesting account that gave a glimpse of their relationship with God and a few of the practical challenges of being a rural Christian. The following is a fairly close retelling of what I overheard from their congregation- Villager #1 – Before we became Christians, our village was known for quarreling with our neighbors. Outsiders said that you could hear us fighting even before you entered. Neighbors would fight from sun up to sun down. We were really terrible then (congregation nods in agreement). Another villager later told us that she had been […]


Yesterday Yaxue posted a piece entitled “An Angry Father,” in which she asked the question – How can a parent protect their child from the poison of the Party’s propaganda? Yaxue also mentioned the feeling of guilt and anger that she experienced as she told a friend not to interfere with the system for the sake of his child. These two ideas I think deserve closer examination. Poisoned By Propaganda This last week as I visited rural villages in central China, I was struck by the pervasive nature of propaganda. In the countryside slogans were either neatly stenciled on the sides of buildings, or simply scrawled with a paintbrush in the poorest areas. The campaigns seemed relatively harmless, encouraging parents to accept boys and girls […]


I’ve been working on transcribing the diary of a missionary doctor who lived in Hefei (then called Lu Chow Fu) around the turn of the century. This passage, written by the doctor’s wife, struck me as particularly interesting for several reasons. Firstly, by the sheer number of people the doctor and his two assistants were able to treat in a year, and secondly by the fact that malaria had been such a major concern in central China. Last year there were only 24 deaths from the disease, and it has been eradicated in Hefei, this is a noteworthy achievement that is rarely mentioned. According to Wikipedia, the population of Hefei in 1930 was ~30,000. The following entry gives us an interesting glimpse of both the […]


Part of a continuing series of journal article summaries. You can also read my summaries on The regulation of religion in China and Reconsidering the campaign to suppress counter-revolutionaries.   Watchman Nee and the Little Flock Movement in Maoist China                         By: Joseph Tse-Hei Lee (full text PDF) Tom’s Summary: The Little Flock Movement or Christian Assembly, was a loosely connected church movement that was started by Watchman Nee in the 1920’s as a wholly Chinese form of Christianity. It strove to be self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-funded in accordance with three-“self” principles that were popular at the time, and quickly grew as the Chinese public turned more strongly against foreign imperialism. Fundamentally the Little Flock modeled itself after the church depicted […]


This morning as I sat down for my morning reading session (check suggested sites for a partial list), I came across two more articles full of misinformation about Christianity in China. One took the experiences of a foreign Mormon in China as representative of what happens to Chinese Christians (Mormonism is not recognized by the gov’t, so it faces more restrictions). So today I thought I would share with you some of the activities I have taken part in without any problems from the gov’t, and give a few examples of how they can cause trouble for the foreigners involved. Note: These restrictions DO NOT apply to Chinese Christians Pray During my first year in China I had a student approach me asking to pray […]


Yesterday I answered some of the questions I get most often about Christianity in China (if you have more please post them below). Today we’ll be looking mostly at the differences between a registered and unregistered church. Registered Church/Official Church Chinese protestant churches must be registered with two groups in order to be considered legal; these groups are the China Christian Council (CCC), and the Three-self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). These two groups work so closely together that at this level of understanding, it is not so important to differentiate. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement was formed in 1951 as a way of placating the new Communist gov’t that there would be no direct foreign involvement in the Chinese church. The ideals highlighted by this movement though […]


Religion in China, and especially Christianity in China is one of the topics I am asked about most frequently when I return to the States. People ask if there are Bibles here, or if I worry about my safety because I work for a Christian organization, or if it is even legal to believe in God. The confusion is understandable, China was an enemy of the US for about 30 years, during a time of considerable propaganda efforts and fear mongering. So today we are going to begin a series on Christianity in China, and then look at religion in general as it exists in modern China. Are there Bibles in China? Believe it or not, China has plenty of Bibles. The Amity Printing Press […]


Tim and Yan Jiang were married this weekend. A few weeks ago Yan Jiang took the time to write out the story of how they met, and I think it is a wonderful way to begin our look at inter-cultural marriages. I picked this story because too often people assume that these marriages are not based on true love, and I think this is a good reminder that this is not always the case. You can read more about them at TimCorbin.com My soon-to-be husband, Tim, and I met in October, 2008 in the college that I attended and he taught at. Before that, I wasn’t sure I would ever have any foreign friends, so dating a foreigner was never even a thought. Tim is […]


This weekend I visited the local mall, and attended a Christmas worship service. As you can see Christmas is coming in China, and will be the theme of the posts this week. I hope all of you will be spending the holidays with the ones you love. The video below was taken at a local Chinese church, with performance from choirs from both of the large local churches, and the church wind ensemble.


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