Reckoning with the “Ecclesial Diversity” of Chinese Christianity

By Easten Law

Ecclesial Diversity in Chinese Christianity (Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue) edited by Alexander Chow and Easten Law. Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2021, 239 pages. ISBN-10: ‎3030730689, ISBN-13: 978-3030730680. Hardcover and Kindle versions available on Amazon.

When Alexander Chow (University of Edinburgh) and I began assembling and editing the diffuse essays that make up the recently published volume, Ecclesial Diversity in Chinese Christianity, we were not expecting any significant shifts in our scholarly outlook. This was to be a simple book that provided snapshots of Chinese Christian life around the world with a nod to the historical and migratory links that connected them.

As we worked, however, the sum of the volume’s parts turned out to weigh much more heavily on our minds than we expected. We considered the historical contingencies that shaped Protestant and Roman Catholic conceptions of God in China; wondered at the ways Chinese Christians reshaped their faith overseas in places like Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and Canada; and revisited the ways Chinese Christians in the mainland shifted their religiosities in response to political priorities and urbanization.

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Adrian Pei’s The Minority Experience – A Book Review

The Minority Experience: Navigating Emotional and Organizational Realities. By Adrian Pei. Downers Grove, IL, USA, IVP Books 2018. Pp. 208. $17.00.

The Minority Experience
Few books evoke the kind of deep reaction I had when reading this volume for review. Adrian Pei’s The Minority Experience articulates in writing experiences and emotions that I have felt all my life, as a ‘Chinese’ in Southern California, as an ‘American’ in China, and as a ‘Chinese’ in the UK. In each of these places, my presence as a minority has been magnified by others, intentional or not. Pei’s work wrestles with these kinds of experiences and explains how organisations can do more in addressing the deep-seated challenges of the minority experience. Continue reading “Adrian Pei’s The Minority Experience – A Book Review”

The Lack of a ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’ in the United Kingdom?

Liverpool Chinese Seamen

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:1

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?”

Brent Fulton’s China’s Urban Christians – A Book Review

China’s Urban Christians: A Light that Cannot be Hidden. By Brent Fulton. Eugene, OR, USA, Pickwick Publications 2015. Pp. ix + 145. $21.00.

China’s Urban Christians

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”

AAR 2016: Chinese Christianities Seminar


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”