Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Cross: Jesus the Christ in China*

Chinese author, scholar and sometimes dissident,
Liao Yiwu, writes in Chinese about a topic of wide concern today, the growing interest in faith-based living in modern China. His book, God Is Red, gives a fascinating overview of the growth of faith in that land despite, and possibly because of, Communism as practiced there.
He asserts that several generations now, people have been living under enforced a-theism. Religion, especially all organized religion of any time is banned, forbidden and punished for the past 60 years, since the Communist Party came to power in 1950. With the help of a competent translator, his book is now available for readers in the English language, the most widely read language on the planet.

Now with this translation and other books also translated into English, Liao Yiwu is available to the many who read English, even though many of his books are banned in his native China. He writes that interestingly, it may be Communism itself which sparked and inspired the move towards religious practice after a generation of believers was forced into submission by the central government.
By creating an enormous void, today those young, new minds are like one big, blank slate, ready to absorb what has been lacking for a half century. Simple, intellectual patriotism is no substitution for spiritual awareness or practice.
Christianity, for one, has been present within the "middle kingdom" since the 10th century CE or earlier, brought there by early Catholic and Orthodox missionaries.

While he concerns himself principally with the growth of Christianity in modern China, he mentions the parallels existing with indigenous faiths and a bit about the Silk road which brought many ideas into ancient China. Meeting a number of persons practicing their faith in what are called "house churches" Liao Yiwu traces their development and their increase within Chinese society.
He writes a number of short stories and life accounts of those who have chosen to take the 'Way of the Cross'. The account reminds one of the early church fathers who were savagely persecuted by the non-believing Romans.

The author names several other English language books and a film, The Cross: Jesus in China. Other book titles are included in his book, such as: China From the Bottom Up; The History of Christianity in Dali; the writings of poetess Liu Shengshi; The Secret Visit by Xu Yonghai; Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China by Lian Xi.

*The Cross: Jesus in China
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