Post-80s' Christian's Opinion on National Reading, the Current Situation and Advice

By Yetta Yao, February 08, 2017 05:02 AM

File Photo(CCD)

Not long ago, a Chinese economist reprinted an article about Chinese reading report, stating that "there are more people entertaining than reading, a foot-massage parlour is more profitable than a bookstore." 

A Christian brother from a city church in Zhejiang, who was born in the 80s, reprinted the article and claimed that Christians should do more reading. 

Brother Fu observed the fact that Chinese Christians feel tired of reading. The Christian Times, an online Christian Newspaper in the Mainland China, invited the brother to share more on this topic. He said, "Christians should do more reading than non-believers" and offered his suggestions on how to improve the quality of reading.

1, Should Christians give more consideration to reading? why?

Brother Fu said that the answer is yes. He said: "stress the importance of reading, master knowledge, and constantly improve oneself, establish a good cognitive system itself is the basic indicator and requirements of modern education." This is a consensus in society, which is essential for people to adapt in the modern age. So, of course, Christians should pay more attention to reading and pursue reading. Concerning this, the brother gives the following reasons:

First up, in order to know more about God, to learn more about faith, Christians need much reading and learning. Those who understand church history will know that many sages in the history of the church left a large number of classic works in different periods, many of which are precious spiritual treasures for believers. By reading these works, Christians can gain a lot of benefits and blessings. How can we miss it? These books are important for Christians to know God, to understand their faith, to learn the lessons of history, to see God's work in history. The writings of different periods (which the historical sages have made through unremitting efforts) coming from different traditions have together served well in building a complete system of faith. This system and structure of faith was formed through constant battles and debates with other beliefs and all kinds of heresies.

Second, in order to meet the needs of the world and culture, Christians need a lot of reading and learning. The Christian faith is a living faith, and the God whom Christians trust is a living God. How do Christians manifest this? Through the response in meeting the needs of the world and the surrounding culture.

In his view, Christianity in each period must respond to the needs of that generation and culture in order to be a vibrant faith, otherwise it is dead faith; One of the important reasons for Christianity to experience crisis and receive criticism from outside her lack of proper response to the needs of reality and their helplessness in interpreting the reality. Therefore, in today's society, every disciple of Christ should have this sense of crisis and sense of responsibility, broadening his horizons. Christians should try to understand his society and the culture surrounding him through continual learning, so as to respond to the needs of the world. (Francis. Xue Hua has made a very good example for us). Christians should spread the gospel in their own surroundings and times rather than fleeing their reality to hide in seminary lost in self-satisfaction. They should not detach themselves from the reality while holding on to their faith.  

Third, Christianity itself lays stress on seeking the truth, accumulation, pursuing education, spreading civilization, and promoting social development, definitely not anti-intellectual. Therefore, reading and learning is particularly important for Christians. The brothers gives a few examples.

First, after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Christianity became the carrier to maintain and pass down civilization, and the main force in preaching the gospel to the barbarians to publicize civilization, having made a great contribution in the history of Europe and even in the history of human's development. 

Second, in the Middle Ages, the church, monastery, monasticism became the center of education and the foundation for the heritage of civilization, some of those even becoming the predecessor of key European universities and academic centers contributing heavily to later Renaissance, the establishment of modern natural science and so on. 

Third, the missionaries in the modern history of China established a variety of schools and universities, translated many books and trained talented people and before that in the Ming and Qing Dynasties missionaries helped the government revise astronomical calendar, and brought about the Western modern science and technology, medicine.

All these examples show that Christianity is the creator, the communicator and the promoter of human civilization. This resulted from a large number of Christians' learning, reading, accumulating and passing down. So it is a shame for today's Christians who do not learn or read, betraying the tradition. Christians should strive for excellence.

Fourth, to establish a holistic personality with a healthy mind, Christian needs a lot of reading and learning. Christianity has a large number of books extended from the Bible and Jesus' teachings which have been developing to include the realm of the science, history, humanities, music, art, education, economics, architecture, psychology, politics and so on. Brothers believe that these books are not only valuable, but also good medicine which can help Christians develop a wholesome world view and the establish a holistic personality with a healthy mind.

Fu brother said: "In the present age where people adore themselves, pay attention to efficiency, money comes first, adore technology, relativism prevails without the ultimate meaning and value, many people feel lost in their soul and many lack a complete personality and a healthy mind.I think some Christians are also so confused. Christians while trusting in God need more reading and learning to dissolve the confusion. Those who are wise, whose souls are satisfied because of faith and whose personality is complete, not going to the extreme, understanding the importance of self-reflection, compassionate and hard-working are instrumental for the modern society. Reading is a good way for Christians to become these needed people. In the midst of the struggle between life and faith, Christians need more reading."

2, Do you have any suggestions for reading? Can the church or the believers themselves take any actions?

Brother Fu said that as to the measures to be taken and to improve the problem, team work is more valuable. It is obvious that Christians in China lack reading or deep reading especially in mainland China, which has drawn more and more attention. We need to bind together to find the solution. He said,"First, it is critical to developing the interest and the habit in reading books. the internal cause, which should be developed as soon as possible.Second, it is important to create the air of reading. And the current existing reading group, the traditional reading group and the rise of the Gospel Culture Salon reading, can set up a few practical goals to be reached one by one. Third, read with the sense of mission and communicate more with each other, practice more writing and keep doing it.Fourth, I would like to talk about the WeChat platform. Now more and more Christians post articles on WeChat titled deep and good articles. However, the articles vary hugely in their quality and it needs discernment to choose the good articles among them. I recommend that Christians do not pay too much attention to Wechat for our energy is limited.

At the same time, brother Fu reminded people that people are relaxed when reading WeChat's articles very different from the traditional reading. And when one receives too much information he will be tired, while and many good WeChat articles cover themes with a great gap. One may read theme A in the morning and theme B in the afternoon and theme C in the evening, and he understands all of these themes superficially only in the end.  

If you really have the determination to change your reading habits, Fu suggested that we take up paper books and read systematically in depth.

Translated by Alvin Zhou

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