China's Christian Future

( English Version | Simplified Chinese | Traditional Chinese ) At the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, when the Communist party defeated the Nationalists and founded the People’s Republic of China, Christians in China numbered half a million. Yet almost seventy years later, under the Chinese . . . . Continue Reading »

Civil Obedience

The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China by chen guangcheng henry holt, 352 pages, $30 A nnihilating a civilization that has withstood more famines, invasions, peasant revolts, civil wars, and tyrants than historians can keep straight takes work. It can’t be done . . . . Continue Reading »

China's New Consumerism

On a chilly afternoon last October, as my son and I walked through a bustling shopping district in Xi’an, China, we passed a group of teenage girls who were chattering loudly in Mandarin. Obviously they had been shopping in a nearby mall, as several of them were carrying bags labeled with familiar names, including “Gap.” What struck me especially, though, was that one of the young women wore a t-shirt featuring a picture of Justin Bieber.Earlier that day I had given a lecture to 120 pastors from midwestern and western China, who had been brought together by the Three-Self church leadership for continuing education. In our conversations, several pastors expressed concern about a growing penchant for consumerism in the younger generation, a reality that was confirmed for me by my brief encounter with the teenagers. Continue Reading »

Evangelical Challenges for Vatican Diplomacy

The bilateral diplomacy of the Holy See is unique in world affairs, in that it has little or nothing to do with the things with which diplomats typically occupy their time: trade issues, security matters, visas. Rather, the reason why the Vatican engages in bilateral diplomacy is to secure the freedom of the Catholic Church to be itself in the countries with which the Holy See has, or wishes to have, diplomatic relations. To be sure, in crisis situations, the Holy See’s representative in a crumbling or violence-ridden state can also serve as an honest broker amidst contending local parties, or a voice for persecuted Catholic communities, or a channel for humanitarian assistance. But whatever the situation, the first task of the pope’s representative to another sovereignty is to help maintain free space for the Church’s evangelical, sacramental, educational and charitable missions, all of which are essential to what it means to be “the Catholic Church” in any human situation. Continue Reading »

36 Million

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 , the English translation of an authoritative history of the “Great Leap Forward” famine by Jisheng Yang, is now out.  An estimated 36 million died in what was probably the worst famine in human history, one that was primarily due not . . . . Continue Reading »

A Defender, Not A Democracy-Extender?

Or how should we describe Mitt Romney foreign-policy wise? Is he a neo-con? A neo-neo-con? Honestly, I don’t know. I think Peter’s “Mender not an Ender” is the perfect description of the candidate domestically, “Blast from the Past , Mormon Version” is the . . . . Continue Reading »