For the last Yale-Edinburgh conference on the theme ‘Migration, Exile, and Pilgrimage’, I gave a paper on a possible new area of research for myself: British Chinese Christianity. In preparation for the presentation, I was struck by much of the reading I encountered which asserted that widespread hostility against Chinese in Britain has rarely been recorded. One commentator even claimed:
The reason for this apparent lack of interest in Chinese immigrants would seem to be largely that they have not appeared to pose any sort of minority problem. Their numbers are relatively insignificant, and they do not constitute an economic threat to the workers of the host society, since they seldom compete directly with British labour for jobs. Nor has attention been drawn to them, as it has to ‘dark-skinned’ immigrants, by any serious racial disturbances.
In fact, when compared to the United States, Canada, and Australia, the government in the United Kingdom has never created any form of ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ Continue reading “The Lack of a ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ in the United Kingdom?”
As I have been working to finish a book manuscript, I have had a hiatus from blogging. But I do need to blog about something, if only briefly.
This morning I woke up and picked up my daily news (a.k.a. social media) and encountered FOUR items which reminded me of where the world is, where the world was, and where the world needs to go. They were:
Those are just the four items I encountered between getting my breakfast and traveling on the bus into work this morning. But what it really highlights, if I may borrow from Van Norden, is a need to take back education and plea for greater diversity. Here a few ramblings off the top of my head… Continue reading “Taking Back Education: A Plea for Diversity”
Understanding and Misunderstanding between the Far East and the West
Conference on East Asian studies in Remembrance of 210th Anniversary of Dr. Rev. Robert Morrison’s Arrival at China
13–14th October 2017, University of Glasgow
1st May 2017 11th June 2017
Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China and the Far East, had contribution not only to the evangelisation, but also the study of East Asian studies and even the modernisation of Far East. When Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox missionaries had freer entrance to China (from 1842 to 1949), Japan and Korea, transcultural communication was strengthened, which resulted in not only understanding but also misunderstanding. How do such understanding and misunderstanding affect the West and the Far East in 19th and 20th century? This inter-disciplinary conference aims to explore the question in different aspects so to acknowledge and recognise the academic contributions by the Christian missionaries in the Far East in the 210th anniversary of Dr. Rev. Robert Morrison’s arrival at China. Continue reading “Understanding and Misunderstanding between the Far East and the West – Call for Papers”
American Academy of Religion, 2017 Annual Meeting
Chinese Christianities Seminar – Call for Papers
Deadline for proposals: 1 March 2017
This seminar provides a collaborative forum for scholars of different disciplines to engage in an academic discourse about the field of Chinese Christianities. Christianity is the fastest growing religion in mainland China today, and arguably the religion of choice for a growing number of diasporic Chinese. “Chinese” is an expansive term, including mainland China proper as well as a large, linguistically, and culturally diverse diaspora, and encompassing more than a fifth of the world’s population; the Han Chinese people are sometimes described as the world’s largest ethnic group. Hence, with the increasing critical mass of Chinese Christians, there has likewise been a growing academic interest in various instantiations of Chinese Christianities, as understood across geographies (e.g., mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, North America, etc.) and groupings (e.g., house and state-sanctioned churches, Catholic, Pentecostal, etc.). Chinese Christianities both transcend and hinder a number of regional, social, religious, etc. boundaries. Over the course of these five years, this seminar will offer a unique opportunity for scholars to engage and to debate the implications of the multiplicity of Chinese Christianities with regards to the boundaries they engage.
Developing the overarching theme of “Chinese Christianities” and building on the success of our first two years, this third year of the seminar will focus on various religious boundaries. We welcome papers in the following or related areas:
Continue reading “AAR 2017: Chinese Christianities Seminar – Call for Papers”
China’s Urban Christians: A Light that Cannot be Hidden. By Brent Fulton. Eugene, OR, USA, Pickwick Publications 2015. Pp. ix + 145. $21.00.
One of the greatest forces to remould the landscape of mainland China in the last two decades has been the country’s push towards rapid urbanisation. Contrary to the measured approach the sociologist Fei Xiaotong recommended to the communist cadre, the speed of constructing and populating China’s urban centres has undoubtedly resulted in many significant societal challenges. Likewise, urbanisation has had significant consequences for the church in China which once was known as having a ‘Christianity fever’ amongst the rural poor but is now seeing a formidable force of urban intellectuals and entrepreneurs.
The volume under review addresses this complex reality. Continue reading “Brent Fulton’s ‘China’s Urban Christians’ – A Book Review”
This past weekend I had the privilege of offering the keynote at the AGM of the Friend of the Church in China (FCC). I was asked to speak about two figures of whom I have written about academically: K. H. Ting 丁光训 (1915–2012)1 and Wang Weifan 汪维藩 (1927–2015).2 This was an especially interesting treat as Ting gave his famous speech about the cosmic Christ at the 1991 meeting of the FCC, and I was now asked to speak about him and another key leader in the state-sanctioned Protestant church of China, the TSPM and the CCC.
Now, if you read the literature about Ting, you will encounter many strongly polarised views. Continue reading “The Legacy of K. H. Ting and Wang Weifan”
This summer, I attended two academic conferences offering a presentation about a key figure in the development of Protestant Christianity in China since the 1980s: the Reformed missionary, Jonathan Chao 赵天恩 (1938–2004). The focus of my paper was on how his theology and approach has shaped his engagement with the house church movement. The surprising thing is that most of the questions that arose from my presentation was not about Chao himself, but about why there has been a recent rise in the interests in Calvinism in China.
Of course, as Calvinism (and Christianity) is on the decline in the West, this has caught the attention of a lot of people, reporters and academics.1 Here, let me offer five reasons for these developments:
Continue reading “The Rise of Calvinism in China Today: Five Reasons”
As today is the Fourth of July, churches throughout the United States this past weekend have been celebrating their love for their country alongside their love for their God – a strong spirit of patriotism. One recent survey reports that 61 percent of Protestant pastors in America say it is important for worship services on the weekend of the Fourth of July to incorporate patriotic elements to celebrate America’s birth, with 66 percent wanting to include special music honouring the country. In other words, American Protestants often have no problem with American patriotism.
Given that this past weekend has also had the 95th anniversary celebrations of the Communist Party of China, it is worth considering what ‘patriotism’ means for religion across the ocean. In contrast to what happens in America, many American (and Chinese) Christians are unnerved by groups in China such as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement or the Catholic Patriotic Association – state-sanctioned organisations of Christianity – and believe that the ‘true’ church is in the unregistered house churches or underground churches. Like in the US, I want to claim that most churches in China (registered or unregistered) also hold a very strong love for their country alongside their love for their God – but we should be calling this nationalism, not patriotism. Continue reading “Patriotism and Christianity in China: A Reflection on the Fourth of July”
At the 2016 meeting of the American Academy of Religion in November, we will have our second session of the Chinese Christianities Seminar. The theme for our program unit this year is ‘Crossing Social Boundaries’ and we have a great set of papers. It will be held on Sat, Nov 19 from 4:00pm-6:30pm in Grand Hyatt-Bowie C (2nd Level). I will be chairing the session and the papers that will be presented will be as follows: Continue reading “AAR 2016: Chinese Christianities Seminar”
When I was finishing my postdoctoral fellowship in China, a friend of mine who was affiliated with the TSPM asked if I had read much of Wang Weifan 汪维藩 (1927-2015). As I had researched and written much about the TSPM, I had come across his name a few times but was not very familiar with his thinking. She gave me one of the volumes of his collected writings and told me how much Wang Weifan, as an evangelical loved for his preaching and devotional writings and poetry, has left a major imprint on the Protestant church in China. Since then, I have asked many pastors and leaders of the TSPM and the CCC about Wang Weifan, and I often heard the same thing: 他是我的老师 (he is my teacher).1 Continue reading “Wang Weifan: An Evangelical in the TSPM”