Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, — "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."Acts 5:26-29 NKJV

Sunshine in China

As regards the idea of religious freedom throughout the whole of Asia, China represents a more-or-less "moderate" point of view; though not as extreme as some countries in the region, laws and practices are close enough to the center in some places as to be able to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

At the same time, religion in China — especialaly Christianity in China — is a two-sided coin. Understanding certain truths about the challenges to the faith that confront the majority of Believers, here, is crucial to understanding why Christians in the west need to devise new strategies for bringing the Gospel here.

It occured to me, recently, for example, that maybe the time has come to re-think how we get Bibles into the hands of the people. Paper Bibles are easily detected, and could wind up being confiscated by authorities at the border; ut a person could theoretically carry a considerale number of USB devices, without raising so much as an eyebrow. And what would happen if people in the West mass-subscribed to Tencent's "QQ" social media service; and — at a designated time — flash broadcast messages to a large distribution list, before the Golden Shield censors had time to shut down the messages?

GLOSSARY: A list of common Chinese terms in Christianity

Church in China: a conundrum

The morning in 2005 when I first met my future boss, back in Michigan, I didn't know a bit of Chinese - not even "nho". The truth is, it hadn't yet sunk in that I'd really be going to China, in a few weeks. The truth is, the realness of this new life didn't sink in until our car drove out of ChangBei Airport, and I saw workers in dul hats working on the landscape, in front of huge signs , written entirely in the Chinese-language - not a word of English, not a line of pnyn.

In the almost seven years that have followed, China has become both a "balcony," of sorts, from which I've watched the political and economic peaks and valleys play out in my homeland; and the platform for a new sort of insight into all things China.

I expected China to be a sabbatical of sorts a time of reflection during which I'd finish my memoirs, and work on a couple of other books I'd started. Maybe I'd have some time to revisit music lessons, or take a few college courses. To be sure I had no imagination there'd be anything for me to do here that was related to Ministry in this country. In fact I asked myself why I would accept an assignment to a place where the people don't believe in God. In the end I told myself it would all become clear once I got here - after all, Abraham had no idea where he was going when he left Ur. More ...PAGE TWO