On the afternoon of August 1, Yaodu District Church in Linfen, China's western Shaanxi Province announced that it would prepare for the establishment of "Boya Tea Club", an office dedicated to the integration of Chinese culture with Chinese faith.
Over a dozen senior pastors and church leaders from the district participated in the meeting.
The meeting began with the reading of two articles, "The Sinicization of Christianity by Chinese Christians from the Perspective of Zen Tea" by Jiang Nuan, a pastor from Shandong Province, and "The Connection between Chinese Tea Culture and Theology" issued by the district church.
Rev. Huang Hailin explained that the two articles were good examples of how Christianity can be contextualized within Chinese culture. The churches of Shandong Province and Yunnan Province took the lead in exploring how tea culture can be integrated with Christian faith. They explored the ways in which Chinese Christians can adopt practices from the Chinese tea ceremony with Christian virtues like "clarity, sincerity, peace, and truth."
Clarity refers to being incorrupt, gentility, transparency, clarity by nature, purity and holiness; sincerity is associated with honesty, faithfulness, trustworthiness, and earnestness, i.e., a fear of God, a respect of people and self-discipline; peace refers to atonement, peacefulness, unity, and harmony, i.e., the atonement with God and man; truth means truthfulness, abiding in the truth, true knowledge, and genuineness, i.e., the truthfulness of the truth, the truthfulness of true knowledge, and the genuineness of a true man.
Tea culture and theology intersect because everything is created by God so tea is God’s gift to mankind. In terms of Christianity, “the Word became flesh” provides important theoretical support for tea ministry. As far as man is concerned, God helps people find contentment. Tea is one of God’s beautiful gifts which is good for physical and mental health. Concerning the Holy Spirit, human spirituality can be enhanced through tea meditation. In the case of redemption theory, the eight styles of tea ceremony can be associated with the eight beatitudes. This method may promote more innovative pastoral care and better fellowship.
In recent years, Linyiyaodu District Church has been committed to the acculturation of Christianity with Chinese thought. This year enthusiastic believers donated facilities to build a Boya tea room in the basement and library, and an office dedicated to the Sinicization of Christianity. They have compiled recent research results and in due course will hold an unveiling ceremony.
In addition, we plan to organize regular tea mediation practices to enhance the cultural and spiritual level of the clergy.
- Translated by Charlie Li