A Generation of Learners

The following questions come from a recent comment from tesser. There were a lot of great questions in her post, and maybe I’ll be able to write some answers to some other questions later, but I wanted to first of all respond to those most pertinent to the main topics of this blog. Or at least the ones I feel like I might know the answer to.

“Compared to a college graduate in America would the people you work with be more or less intelligent? What is the main hindrance which keeps them from making a decision for Christ? What persecutions do they face once they receive the Lord as their Savior? Do they have a good knowledge of things that go one outside of their country?”

The first question and the last question really should be strung together, because they illustrate what seems to be the norm here. Intelligent? Very. When it comes to academic or intellectual learning and ability they are more than a match for American students. From everything I’ve been able to gather, to many of these students, knowledge of any kind has an enormously high intrinsic value. This isn’t as wildly wonderful as you may first think. I was complaining to a friend about this a couple days ago – it can be a real pain to try to separate the convicted from the curious here. A lot of the signs of spiritual conviction can easily be confused with an objective desire to learn about… anything! We have people that come every week that completely disagree with what we believe. And they come anyway! It’s so important, though, that we find those that are truly convicted of sin and desire a relationship with God among those that are simply the products of a generation of learners!

But, the last question. While learning is in abundance, objectivity is certainly in shorter supply. From everything I can gather, the Chinese view of history (both national and international), current events, civil rights and liberties, not to mention religion, is more than biased – it’s completely one-sided. The controlling Party keeps its roots deep in the education system.

I don’t know if I’ve been here long enough to call out one “main hindrance.” We’ve seen all kinds of varieties, most of which grow in America, too. My wife dealt with a girl a couple of weeks ago that thought she was too wicked to become a Christian. There’s surprisingly few of the “just don’t believe in God” garden variety atheist. Hesitation and indifference, though, are probably the largest categories. These are the “who knows?” and the “who cares?” people. The “there’s more important things to worry about” folks and the “too busy having fun in the world” people.

Persecutions. This is hard to answer without just writing hearsay. But the truth is, we haven’t seen anything yet. Maybe we’ll get kicked out soon, but I doubt it. Most of the persecutions they’re likely to face are the same make-believe persecution people are likely to face in America. I know our feelings get hurt and some people don’t like us, but not many are being sewed into bags and fed to lions. (I’ll take a bruised ego any day, thank you) But, here’s the disclaimer: it is a Communist country and our actions are illegal. So there’s certainly examples of just about any kind of persecution reported from inside of China. Most people don’t merit that kind of attention. Apparently, we don’t. Hopefully, we will in the future. Hopefully merit, that is. Hopefully, no receiving.

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