Posts in Ryan
New Year Reflections: More Than Well-Wishes

Just last week, several families from Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu had their bank accounts frozen by the government because they are members of the church. Years of savings are gone, and some of their husbands are still locked up in prison. Believers like them "are scum of the world, the refuse of all things" (1 Corinthians 4:13). They look very different from the images of wealth, health, and happiness that we wish upon each other on Chinese New Year. And yet I doubt that any well wishes – or even actual wealth, health, and happiness – can be of any comfort or enticement to them, and I hope the same for us.

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Enter Into the World of Chinese New Year

One New Years Eve, while the villagers were preparing to once again escape from the village, an old beggar came into the village to ask for food. An elderly woman quickly gave him a bowl of rice and warned him that the monster was on its way, and he too should leave the village soon. The old beggar said, "If you let me stay in your house for one night, I have a plan to scare the monster away." The woman was skeptical, but she was in a hurry to leave, so she gave him the permission to stay.

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Light Up the Fire in Your Heart – How to Support the House Church in a Time of Persecution

Despite raids by police, house churches continue to meet and preach and pray on every Sunday. Their devotion to these spiritual disciplines is preparing their bodies and souls for whatever is to come. If we were placed in their situation, would our spiritual disciplines give us the resilience to endure this kind of suffering? 

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Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo – A Relentless Love in China’s Folklore

This is one of China's four most celebrated folklores. Like the other great love stories, it contains humor, separation, longing, heartbreak, death, and of course, unrelenting love. We cherish these stories with plays, films, and music because our souls are helplessly stirred by their yearning. They echo the great cosmic love story that we live in, which also contains humor, separation, longing, heartbreak, death, and unrelenting love. In all of these stories, our souls are not satisfied until the lovers are united. So too with the cosmic love story in which we live; our hearts are restless until we are united with the God who pursues us with his relentless love.

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Lost and Love on The Way Home

We may not identify with their experiences, but stories like these still resonate with us because you and I both know we long for unconditional love like this. Regardless of what we have done, how long we have been missing, or whether we are still recognizable, we want someone who will love us enough to search for us when we are lost. 

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How I Have Been Shaped by China: Part 2

China has risen to be an economically rich country, but it lacks rich social and moral fabric; the alarm bell rang through the hollow body of a little innocent girl. In the early evening of October 13, 2011, a two-year-old girl nicknamed Little Yueyue was playing outside her family's hardware store in Foshan, China. She was run over twice by different vehicles. As she lay injured in the middle of the street for nearly ten minutes, security cameras captured at least eighteen different pedestrians passing by and ignoring her. Some stepped around her, some spotted her and picked up their pace, one motorcyclist stopped, looked at her, and kept going. This incident stirred reactions across China. As it shook the conscience of the Chinese people, even up to the highest levels of government, almost everyone was forced to ask, “What has happened to the souls of the Chinese people?”

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How I Have Been Shaped By China

We lived in one of the biggest cities in China, but when I first started elementary school, we would meet in one-story huts whose roofs would leak during rainy days. We had not yet heard of McDonald’s or Pizza Hut, none of our homes were air-conditioned, and the best toys I had were the ones passed onto us by our relatives in Hong Kong. The first major change in my life occurred when my school moved into a brand-new, six-story building in 1994. Unfortunately, this was not the only major move that year. In the great transition from public enterprises to private companies in the early 1990s, many state-owned companies began to decline. Since our little apartment was provided by my parents' work, the decline of their state-owned company also meant the loss of our home. This was not particular only to my family. Others like my parents – in their early 40s and poorly educated due to the Cultural Revolution – suddenly found themselves without work and without a state safety net to support them.   

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The Cry of a Subversive Patriot: My Reflection on this Fourth of July

When I took my citizenship oath in the summer of 2005, I renounced my fidelity to any foreign sovereignty and pledged my allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America. Nevertheless, I must admit that at best I can only be a subversive patriot, not because I am looking for opportunities to betray my country, but because I have been called into the Kingdom of God. Every day of my life – when I see injustice, violence, evil, sickness – I will pray that the people of this Kingdom will be a light in darkness and that the glory and authority of our King will soon be fully established in our world. 

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