The Chasm Between My Generation and My Parents' Faith
By CCD contributor: Wang Zhengmin, March 17, 2018 00:03 AM
Chinese society has transformed greatly over the last few decades, both economically and culturally, which results in a distinct difference between the younger generation's understanding and expressing their faith comparing to their parents' generation.
This article is from the perspective of a young brother, born after 1980s, in a small city. Maybe some young Christians will not agree with many of his viewpoints. At least, this article does reflect the chasm between the two generation's faith.
A few nights ago, on my way from the other end of the town, my mother called with an example from a pastor. For me, each time she calls, I expect to talk about these three things:
1. Keeping the house warm.
2. Dad quitting to make spiced beef, especially in the winter since it doesn't profit much and once he catches a cold it will cost more.
3. Taking care of the plants that already bore winter fruit. My two-and-a-half child likes those plants and picks the fruit.
However, every time she calls it's about these three things:
1. Live a Christian life and keep praying. Kneel before God so that he can keep the whole family healthy and safe.
2. The pastor once preached about a small businessman who read the Bible every day as well as praying and donating. His business then started picking up.
3. The pastor also talked about a child like mine who had a congenital disease. When they looked up to God, the child was miraculously cured.
It has always been like this talking to my mom on the phone. The topic is just too much for me.
She told me many times that she thinks my faith is not "traditional" and that I need to return to tradition. She compared another small businessman with me. Both of our children have congenital disease but he relied on God and his fate changed. His child is now healthy and his business is flourishing. She thinks that I should do the same to gain the same happy ending. This is her earnest advice and greatest expectation of me.
Though I promised, deep down I flipped. After being a Christian for over ten years I have developed a view of God, life, and the world that is different from the older generation. And I believe my faith is better, more irreplaceable, and I can better follow Jesus.
For those who know me, I get home at three in the morning and then get up at 8. I'm busy all the time. I have to meet many people for business. Therefore, I believe that I seem to hold more secrets about life. My weary life tells me that if I want to live, I must have a great faith with good logic. Otherwise, it's hard to keep going.
I don't believe in directly applying any biblical story to our lives. Any arbitrary application can't be an example. Not even all the people and stories from the Bible are directly ordered by God for us to rigidly compete. This is how my parents' generation views the faith: they're blessed if they do things pleasing in God's eyes; otherwise, they'll suffer.
Don't turn Jesus into a rigid example for imitation. Often times when we do this imitating Jesus will be a joke. There's no way to imitate Jesus, and He is not our role model. Even if we nail ourselves to the cross it will be in vain. Moralists need a role model, but Jesus was not a moralist.
God has never ordered me to do anything. Throughout the Bible, in both the old and new testaments, God doesn't give any direct order in any way. We can't take isolated words and see them as God's instruction for us.
My mom was born in the 60s and went through turbulent times. She married my dad and worked in the field all her life. When she had cancer she had nothing but to seek Heaven and finally was certain that the Lord is her faith. She hoped her passionate prayer would be an interaction between God and her. She would fast when she prayed and her knees kept swelling. However, she dared not neglect the God of her heart. She believed that prayers like that and the bitterness of the faith would move God the most.
As for me, I firmly believe that laws, common sense, and logic can't be neglected between man and God. Many things in our daily life are accomplished based on common sense and logic instead of the laws of my mother's God that surpass reality. On many occasions people with such a mindset want a shortcut in life. God has also become our tool. Our so-called devotion is merely leverage with God.
Most people follow the basic rules and struggle for a little solid happiness. But I'm not content. I wish to become who I want to be suddenly, beyond any common sense, and live a respectable, decent, and graceful life.
My mom was afraid of the heaven and earth. I on the other hand hated it because it failed to give me any grace, hope, or a shortcut in my life.
I stopped hating it now. That feeling has shifted to awe. I now know the might of life and the profundity of God.
Therefore, I never believe in miracles, worshipping God like an idol, or that He interacts with me in my daily life. God doesn't help people in specific matters because He gives us faith, laws, common sense, and logic to take care these matters.
This is the experience of my life. Those who strive to listen to God talking directly to them are more likely disappointed. However, those who are tied with secular things and busy at work can hear God's loud voice.
I believe that God's happy if I'm happy. I live my life well with the laws, common sense, and logic from God, work hard and have a meaningful life. God would be thrilled!
-Translated by Grace Hubl
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