a young man committed suicide last week. his mother goes to our church. as a result, i spoke to a lot of people concerning this matter of suicide. as a father, i would think it is probably by far, one of the toughest things to deal with in life. watching the older generation passing is heart wrenching, but seeing your own child? i don't understand the pain, nor do i dare to take a sip of that cup. but after speak with so many, the lingering thought is "why can't we do something about this?" i know it is too late for this young man, but the prevailing sentiment i get from most people is that it is hopeless and helpless. most people don't believe we can do anything about it. it just happens! even as a church. in their prayers, they ask for mercy, but they don't believe they can intervene. why not? aren't you the church, ones given the authority of heaven and earth? our insular culture, respecting the privacy and freedom of individuals has calloused our sense of community, humanity, even human worth. why don't we risk the facade of peace and breakdown walls so that they'll hate us in the name of love? why don't we trust in the goodness of God and risk our pride, shame, so that truth in its naked-gory form can be exposed? instead of saving-face, we can be saving-lives. Jesus risked the facade of peace when he tore down the religiosity of the pharisees and sadducees, while he tore the temple veil in two. the Father also risked pride and shame, when he hung his son on the cross so bare and brutal, so that the world may see. sometimes, i am angry with God for not withholding the cup from Jesus as a Father. but without it, our human existence is fatal, so i'm grateful.
Where do I begin? I suppose I will start with my dad. My dad died in August 2007. It still aches a bit when I think about his passing. He means a lot to me. Not only because he loved me deeply, but also I recognize my identity is inseparable from his. This trip to China reminded me that we were supposed to visit this magnificent country together in 2008. But for obvious reason, it did not happen. He grew up in China and it gave him pride to tell us stories of his past. I knew he wanted to show us his old house in Tianjin, and Beijing. However, I was too busy when he went the last time with my sister in 2005. I thought I had time...Yes, there's a tinge of regret despite my trust in God's sovereignty.
During this whole trip, I thought a lot about what "China means to me," or another way to put it "my part in China." After all, I am Chinese. Although I was born in Taiwan, there was always a nagging reminder that I was Chinese. (If you know the history of these two places, you will know what I mean.) This duality got simpler once I became an American citizen in my late teens and to a certain extent I rejected my complex Chinese/Taiwanese identity. Frankly, I didn't want to be a part of that crazy Taiwanese/Chinese stuff that took place in the 80s and 90s. It was embarrassing to know all the cheap stuff that you find in Kmart was all made in Taiwan, and the cheaper stuff from China. On top of all that, there was the barrage of news highlighting the uncivilized behavior of congressmen throwing fist fights in the chambers of justice, the unforgettable Tiananmen Square massacre and endless stories of dirty politicians killing off competitors. They called it "pathway to liberty," I called it shame. I was naive and an idealist. Of course, I've grown up a bit since then and realized that civility is but a thin veil over our shared human depravity. To a certain extent, I came to China to claim what was mine: my heritage, my history, my people, and my land. I realized I didn't know enough about China and I needed to know more. My desire was to breath in its history and the experiences of its people. I wanted to find God's will for me and to see if there was anything missing in my life.
In this trip, I realized I could easily connect with the people. My training as a businessman, counselor and spiritual guide, gave me special insight to the heart and soul of the Chinese youth. They embraced me as their own, and called me "uncle." I felt privileged. These young people surprised me with their innocence to what I've taken for granted, choices, faith, hope, love, grace and truth. Every conversation seemed to hit a chord resonating in their soul. And they wanted more. Speaking to them often means that I must speak against a history of societal and parental subjection. They needed to be set free. I felt this overwhelming desire to adopt them. Perhaps, that was the heart of the Father. What's more? I realized that they're "world changers." Inadvertently, the Chinese government, the atheistic society and their traditional Confucian family have concertedly created a generation of young people that is ready to explode onto the global scene as leaders for the 21st century. They have passion as fire, intelligence beyond their years, innocence of a child and the will of steel to conquer anything. I thought to myself, "All they need is a catalyst, someone who will speak to their soul and unleash the giant within." To me, this is the new China, a new beginning--a place of hope. My father would be proud of this place, and so do I.
© 2014 by Community Christian Center