For Payton
and Deona


Connecting Mandarin and English,
          Chinese and American,
                    people with people

Viewing China in America
(July 7, 2008) (return to Homepage)
     Keep in mind that I choose the topics for comments based on my observations particularly as they contrast with my memories and prejudice. For the past two Sunday the group of international scholars have attended our church. We have sat with them and given some explanation to what 's happening. They particularly enjoy the music which in our church varies from tradiational, to guitars and instruments to modern. This week communion was served and the invitation as it is every time we serve communion to everyone. About half of them participated. The desire for Christianity is not dead in China or at least not among all Chinese.
     There has also been a little exchange of ideas about living arrangemments and sharing appartments. Those who ahve lived here awhile enjoy some private space and those who have such come over are willing to sleep together in a 12 foot by 12 space. The newcomers being older think that what they say should go as it does in China, the younger students with more American experience say that respect in America is earned and doesn't just come with age.
     Also on Sunday the service was designed so that a half dozen members of the congregation spoke about what they felt that "freedom" meant to them. Some of the Chinese were impressed at the strength of the value of freedom among these persons. Freedom is not discussed in China and certainly not exercised in the schools or families. Students are to obey without questioning. One speaker did mention, and I feel it is so true at this point, that we certainly take our freedoms for granted.

A note about Chinese respect:
From what I gather through observations and discussions, respect of other individuals in China is very closely connected to age. You always respect and listen to your elders which, of course, includes parents and teachers. Because this is so strongly embedded in the culture, enforcement is implemented by an elder merely talling others to "blacklist" the disrespectful youth. This appears to be very powerful even among the Chinese as they visit America. Of course, since I am typically the oldest in most gathering, I should cherish and embrace this custom.

     The visas have arrived. Attached to them is a note that we must check in with the local public security when we arrive.

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