A recent Reuters news article* spoke of the Chinese government's current efforts to crack down on the growth of Christianity in their country. The article begins by highlighting the struggle faced by Chinese parents who are believers in such a climate of repression. “When authorities in China’s southeastern city of Wenzhou outlawed Sunday School earlier this year, Christian parents determined their children must still learn about Jesus and the Bible. Churches in Wenzhou started teaching children in private homes or at other venues. Some billed Sunday School classes as daycare, not education, or moved them to Saturdays, more than a dozen local Christians told Reuters.”
The writers go on to cite one specific example. “In her house, “faith comes first, grades come second,” said one parent surnamed Chen, asking not to use her full name due to the sensitivity of the matter.” She went on to speak of how the children of believers “must” attend Bible classes because there is no other venue that will provide the guidance necessary to counteract the draw of the vices in the world around them.
A couple things came to mind as I read the article. First, I am humbled by the example of these believers as they courageously practice their faith in the face of such persecution. These Christians are defying the government to be together for times of spiritual education. Secondly, I am discouraged when I reflect on the flabbiness of much of what is called “faith” in our own country. Some (many?) Christians can’t be bothered to attend a Bible class of any kind, even when there is nothing standing in their way. In our own congregation, several opportunities are provided for spiritual education. Yet, only part of our group takes advantage of them. This puzzles me.
Maybe we need more persecution. Perhaps, then, Bible class would be viewed as more than an elective. But, then again, maybe it would just provide another reason to skip it.
God loves you!