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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Beyond Economy: China's Transformation with the Cross, Dr. Zhao Xiao

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There are 4 premiere stages in the world, and China has a strong presence in all of them:

  1. Economic Stage - China has become an economic superpower
  2. Political Stage - China has a table on major political issues
  3. Sports Stage - hosted the recent Olympics
  4. Faith Stage - China is coming back to this stage

Leadership is about influence.  Leadership is also about the right direction.  If you lead people from here to there, and it's the wrong direction, what are you going to do?  Martin Luther's revolution and Protestantism is the most significant change of the last couple thousand years.  The discovery and settling of America is the most significant change of the last 500 years.  What will be the most significant change of the 21st century?  The most significant thing of the twentieth century is not 2 world wars, it is the rise of China because its rise will make hundreds of years of difference.  Even more than "rising up," China is "coming back."

Until the 14th century, China was  a leader in most areas, and even in the 1800's, China was the largest world economy and in the 1820's had 1/3 of the world's economy.  In the last century, China has fallen back, but the last 30 years, China is beginning to catch up again and is experiencing the fastest and most dramatic growth in human history.   By the end of this year, China will be the 2nd largest economy in the world, and by 2020 China will likely pass America and once again become the largest world economy.  This is China's come-back to the center stage of being a superpower and into its leadership role in the world.

Question:  Will being the greatest economic power ensure that China will be a leader in the world?

  • 1/ 3 of China was polluted
  • 1/5 of the river's were polluted
  • There are major resource challenges as many of the resources will be consumed in the near future.  There is much disparity, corruption, and great, critical, and severe challenges.

If China does not have the ability to export values and ethics, it will not become a superpower.   America has something called "The American Dream" and there are "American Values". China must go through more than economic changes.  It must go through values changes in order to mature as world leaders.  China must learn from the values of the whole world, and most importantly from Christian values and the Christian faith.

It was cool to hear Dr. Xiao as he thanked us for the missionaries that have come to China through the years, and hoping to see China become the largest sending nation in the future.

A couple questions I had in response to Dr. Xiao:

  • Was this a bit of a prosperity gospel mix, China style?
  • I heard some borderline civil religion and empire/ Christianity connections that I'm always wary of which remind me of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.  I've seen this in America in which the gospel is co-opted, syncretized, and sometimes recreated with the success of the empire as the focus rather than the Kingdom of God.  I find this especially interesting in light of the 4 world stages that Dr. Xiao mentioned earlier... 4 stages that Rome and America (and England for that matter) have mixed together into an interesting civil religion.  I only hope that as China's Christian community grows that the leaders pay attention to the dangers of mixing empire and Kingdom, but I suppose that's for a longer discussion for another time.

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