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Taiwan Church News

3258 Edition

August 4 - August 10, 2014

Church Ministry

 

PCT Members Mobilized To Reach Out And Give Intercession For The Victims Of Kaohsiung Big Blast

 

Reported TCN Staff

 

In the deep night of July 31, due to a suspected 4-inch pipeline carrying propene having a great leakage, a series of gas explosions are ferociously erupted in the south-eastern Kaohsiung urban city. This unprecedented ever big blast in Kaohsiung, covering an urban area about dozens of kilometers square, claims the lives of 28 people, 3 missing, 309 injured and 752 buildings are seriously destroyed or damaged. The bombast-like roads also stop the daily business of 1,257 small shops and affects the traffics about 200 thousands people.

 

10 am on August 1, Director of the Church and Society Committee of PCT So-san Presbytery immediately hold a meeting at Lin-deh Presbyterian Church to respond this emergency. PCT members are urged to reach out or give their intercession for the victims of this accident in the impending Sunday Service on August 3.

 

San-duo Presbyterian Church, located within the inflicted blasted area, is also requested by Kaohsiung Social Affairs Bureau as a supporting station to accommodate the affected citizens at 10:12 am on August 1. And San-duo Presbyterian Church promptly set up the required service facility at 12:00 am to meet the community demands. San-duo Presbyterian Church's phone call number is (07) 713-9463, and her fax number is (07) 761-1687.

 

To learn more information about Kaohsiung Big Blast and how you can help, readers are suggested to visit the Facebook website of PCT Church and Society Committee: www.facebook.com/pctsociety

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

One street scenario after the eruption gigantic explosion and bombast.

 

Before San-duo Presbyterian Church, PCT pastors and members give their intercession for the inflicted victims and families.

 

 

One street scenario after the eruption gigantic explosion and bombast.

 

 

Inside the chapel of Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, PCT pastors and members give their intercession for the big blast victims and their families.

 
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Taiwan Church News

3257 Edition

July 28  - August 3, 2014

Editorial

 

 

Editorial: A New And Independent Country Without Racist Chauvinism

 

 

In Taiwan's Constitutional Amendment, effective from August 1st 1994, the name of "the aboriginal people" was officially recognized instead of "the mountain people" used in Taiwan society for decades.

 

On July 27th, when a 20th years' commemoration assembly was held for the recognition of Taiwanese aboriginal people, former President Lee Teng-huei, who played a critical role in this event, was invited to deliver a speech. Lee emphasized the recognition of the aboriginal people as a very important step toward Taiwan's democracy and also an indispensable basis to build up Taiwan's subjective sovereignty. Lee firmly believed that the different people living on Taiwan should help each other to establish an abundantly plural and democratic society.

 

Yet, when the past 20 years is retrieved after the recognition of the aboriginal people, who are still suffering lots of exploitation and oppression from mainstream Taiwan society, we cannot help but say that the last mile of our faith confession - to establish a new and independent country - should be a mindset to protest against "Chinese racist chauvinism" fashioned in Taiwan society, if we are serious enough to practice the recognition of the aboriginal people as an important building block in Taiwan's democracy.

 

Walis Nokan, a famous Taiwanese aboriginal writer specialized in indigenous narratives and related inflicted histories, demonstrated his critical reflection about the Chinese racist chauvinism in his recently published new book - "Walis' Micro-fiction". In one of his short story, Aftermath, he writes: The fate of Ma-lai within the aboriginal tribe is same as the timbre robbers from the Chinese plain villagers. They are all caught by the police in the the same mountain and got sentenced in the same court. But, the timbre robbers got six months sentence which could be paid with money as a fine ; Ma-lai got 18 months jail which means no parole or possibility to pay the fine instead.

 

Why? Ma-lai politely whispered to the judge in an incredible surprise and despair: Timbre robbers took away the precious rare trees, yet we the indigenous just picked up the ganoderma grown from the rotten trees bequeathed by ancestors. Timbre robbers extinguish the particular species without caring the environment; yet our gathering of ganoderma is a sustainable economy. The judge gave Ma-lai in a cold-blooded answer: This is law! Stupid! In addition, why you didn't apply a lawyer to defend for yourself?

 

This story makes us feel sad and sigh for the fate of the indigenous people in modern Taiwan. Somehow, current mainstream Taiwan society may feel enough material supply and social care have been given to the aboriginal society. But, as a matter of fact, Taiwan society always separate themselves away from the aboriginal society with a top-down authoritarianism and patronage mentality.

 

The so called 400 years of Taiwan history, mainly propounded by Hok-loh-lang, is actually an aboriginal history full of blood and tears. Before the arrival of of Chiang Kai-sheik's  KMT regime in 1949, there had already decades of or even hundreds years of hatred and bitterness accumulated within the aboriginal people due to the exploitation and oppression from Taiwan's Chinese society. Tension, mistrust and reckless aggressiveness still dominates the relationships between the mainstream Taiwan society and the aboriginal people. Even the basic human rights of the aboriginal to live safely on their own land becomes a luxury.

 

From the eyes of the indigenous, the stereotyped Taiwanese from plain villages maliciously buy out their lands in the plain and sell their daughters into city as prostitutes. So, how can you blame the aboriginal people not to vote for "the chief of the Taiwanese"? Only we can reach out to help each other, then Taiwan Democracy can stride in a steady march!


 
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Taiwan Church News

3257 Edition

July 28 - August 3, 2014

Headline News

 

Breaking Ethnic Barriers, Tong-pu Aboriginal Church Brings Good News To Holohlang and Hakka Communities

 

Reported By Chiu Kuo-rong

 

Tong-pu Church, located in Hsin-yi village of Nan-tou county, which is also a PCT member church in Central Bunun Presbytery, starts to preach Jesus' good news to the Holohlang and Hakka communities in her neighboring villages since Morakot Typhoon swept across central and southern Taiwan in 2009. Now, the baptized members from Holohlang and Hakka communities has steadily reached to 33 persons within this initially aboriginal-dominated church.

 

Rev. Chhuen Wan-bao, pastor of Tong-pu church, said: As our church was seriously damaged within Morakot Typhoon, many churches across Taiwan started to donate for us. Even when we have recovered from the wreckage, there was still many donation remitted in. With these abundant grace and offerings from God, our neighbor - Sen-muh Village - immediately came to our mind. Though they are mostly Holohlang and Hakka, not the same ethnics people as us - Bunun tribe, yet we still decided to transferred 150 thousands NT dollars to at least 10 families. This is because they were more seriously inflicted and desperately needed the resources. And this decision became the starting point of our evangelical work in Holohlang and Hakka communities. In 2010, next year after Morakot Flood, Tong-pu church formally decided to set up an evangelical station, Love Giving Evangelical Center, passing the love of God to the communities of Holohlang and Hakka.

 

Since 2010, Love Giving Evangelical Center has cooperated with Tong-pu community in providing various kinds of social service, including the project to care for the elders within house , Juvenile/Children Character Formation Camp and etc. Especially, this is the 5th year that Tong-pu church assisted by Los Angels Methodist Church holding the annual English Summer Camp in Dong-fu Primary School. And there are 220 school children attending this activity just in July. Rev. Chhuen remarks, through the evangelical efforts of Love Giving Evangelical Center, the name of aboriginal Tong-pu church deeply impresses and change the minds of Holohlang and Hakka communities in her neighbor villages.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

Love Giving Evangelical Center, established PCT Tong-pu Church in 2010, attracts non-aboriginal believers from Sen-muh and Dong-fu villages to attend the service every Wednesday and Sunday.

 

Photo by Rev. Chhuen Wan-bao

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3256 Edition

July 28 - August 3, 2014

Church Ministry

 

Taiwan Churches Concern Victims And Their Families Of Plane Crash On Penghu Island

 

Reported By Simon Lin

 

Forty-eight people are killed and 10 injured, during a failed go-around landing at 7:06 pm on July 23, by one TransAsia Airway's two-engine turboprop plane leaving from Kaohsiung airport and bound for Penghu Magong airport which is just swept across by typhoon Matmo hours before. The Vatican of Roman Catholic Church promptly issues the condolence letter, promising to pray and care for the victims and the families. Rev. Ker Jeng-fon, a local pastor of Baisha Presbyterian Church in Penghu Island, is also committed by PCT Church and Society Committee at the first time to express concerns to the families and attend to the latest messages and demands.

 

Rev. Ker expressed, during his July 27 media interview, that many church charity organizations come together to get involved in this emergency accident: World Vision Taiwan helps to rescue on site, Chinese Christian Relief Association sets up an emergency station and many pastors from different denominations offer kinds of care and support to the victims and their families. For PCT to facilitate care and intercession, Rev. Ker himself is in charge of confirming the passengers list, causality toll statistics and reporting the latest information to Rev. Lin Wei-lien, Secretary of PCT Church and Society Committee.

 

In this plane crash accident, 14 civil households are seriously damaged, including 5 buildings are totally destroyed and 5 units are partially affected. Most of the inflicted residents are arranged to the household of their families or relatives. PCT pastors from Xiyu and Baisha villages will reach out to care for the victims and their families, and the other PCT pastors and believers in Taiwan island are urged to give their intercession for the inflicted. In August, there is going to be a musical concert - "Peace In Good News", attended by local churches across Penghu Island, expecting to give care and comfort to the victims, families and the traumatized local residents.

 

Rev. Lin Wei-lien, Secretary of PCT Church and Society Committee, pleads Taiwan church to carry on their care and prayer for the victims, and concern about the following compensation and legal responsibility related to the authority government and aviation company. PCT General Assembly also establishes a Facebook webpage, www.facebook.com/pctsociety, for further care and concern about this devastating accident.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Members of Baisha Presbyterian Church pay their condolence and care to the victim and their families of this TransAsia Airways plane crash.

 

Photo supplied by Baisha Presbyterian Church

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3256 Edition

July 21 - July 27, 2014

Church Ministry

 

 

PCT Has To Be Cautious About China's Religious United Front Work, Scholar Warns

 

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

On July 19, at the National Taiwan Alumini Court, the Independence Forum of Taiwan Society, who is a group of professors stressing Taiwan sovereignty and subjectivity, holds a seminar discussing Hong Kong's recent political situations. Professor Leung Man-to, an Oxford PhD in politics and now a politics and economics graduate professor of National Cheng Kong University, was invited to deliver his speech, named "The Change of Hong Kong after July 1st Parade". Within his speech, Leung is specially wary about the future of PCT, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would definitely place PCT as top agenda in united front work to merge Taiwan into China.

 

 

Leung, a Hong Kong native, analyzes the reason why PCT is the top agenda for CCP's religious united front work, because PCT is the most populous protesting group within current religious and civil groups in Taiwan. In order to get close or even penetrate into PCT, CCP would strategically utilize kinds of bottom-up democratic methods, like religious visits, church association, direct contacts or third party agents which has been front united by CCP. As PCT's General Assembly and the medium level institute like presbytery are more politically alert, a distinctive fact of PCT's ecological system which is well known to CCP, most likely they would not become the target of CCP's united front work. Rather, volumes of PCT pastors firmly staying at grass-root local congregations would become the prey of such explicit united front vulture.

 

 

Leung sharply criticized as illusionary and dangerous on recent China-inclined mind-set of the main opposing Democratic Progressive Party(DPP), especially when the Taiwan Independence clause in party manifesto is hotly debated whether to abolish or not. He thinks the main problem lies at DPP's  illusionary and dangerous wish to get closer to China. Therefore, Leung warns that the future of PCT also faces the same grave risk, if following DPP's increasingly China-tilted footsteps without reflection and judgement.

 

 

"CCP's united front work is simple. He just want to make friends with you. His goal is simply to make you not his enemy to go against him,  better you can stand behind him in words or deeds. As to the question, if there is any deal or trade-off involved, who knows. At least, it looks quite dangerous (for Taiwan) at present!", said Leung. China's religious united front work is easy to reach the goal, once the mutual visits increased so strong to stimulate Taiwan's hallucination about China. And CCP would try best to meet Taiwan's unrealistic imagination, only you stop to mention anything sovereign or subjective about Taiwan.

 

 

Leung also strongly criticized The Most Rev. Dr. Paul Kwong of Hong Kong Anglican Church, due to his anti-human rights and anti-democracy remarks after July 1st HK Parade, not to mention his flattery expressions to China authorities. Leung lamented, except minority Christians, most Hong Kong Churches adulate CCP and keep quiet in HK's public interests. Even the anti-communist stance of Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, after the Bishop John Tong Hon was appointed in 2009, becomes more and more blurred. It is believed there is still an internal conflict and power struggle on this issue inside HK Catholic Church.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3256 Edition

July 21 - July 27, 2014

Headline News

 

Restorative Justice Receives Attention After Taipei Metro Stabbing Spree Is Pleaded To Get Death Penalty

 

Reported by Hwang Yi-lek

 

After Cheng Chieh, the 21-year-old suspected attacker of 2014 Taipei Metro Stabbing Spree Event, is indicted by prosecutors for mass killings and pleaded for death penalty, how should Christians think and respond to the succeeding legal punishments? Especially, under a revenging and instinctive mindset, Taiwan society normally want such suspected criminals to pay back their lives as the trade-off price. One mother of the killed victims sadly claimed in fury and that, even Cheng Chieh would get 100 death penalties, she still can not get back her most precious son!


On July 19 a seminar is jointly organized, by the Church and Society Committee of both Taipei and Chi-Shin presbytery, to discuss the issue: how should Christian see the death penalty from this mass stabbing spree event? Dr. Chen Wen-shan, a professor from Yu-san Theological Seminary, is invited to deliver her thoughts from a theological point of view. About 70 PCT members has attended this seminar at Ta-Dau-chen Presbyterian Church.

 

Chen pointed out that this event not only impacts many Taiwanese's common belief and moral values, but also makes we Christians hard to swallow the most treasured verse in Lord's prayer: "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors". This is we Christians believe that the righteousness of God can not be separated from God's love of salvation, and God love the sinners to be saved yet not fallen.

 

After Chen demonstrates a paradoxical attitude within Taiwan mainstream opinions - while Cheng Chieh is claimed to be clear of any psychological disorder at his killing, meaning that he should be responsible for his mass stabbing spree, many highly mental retarded patients are still classified as highly violence-inclined criminals, she strongly criticizes many Christians within church also hold a double standard to see the suspected attacker like Cheng Chieh is impossible to really repent. Therefore, these Christians set up an threshold for God's grace in "justification by faith" or take a stance behind mind-body dualism, claiming that even if the criminal could be saved within the soul,  his or her body deserves death penalty to get justice.

 

Chen stresses that the idea of restorative justice, developed under a Christian culture background, intends to make the wrong-doers to understand their wrong doings in their day to day prison lives. And, to figure out more facts and truths that the legal justice could not deliver within a hasty and limited jury, the victims could be given more time to adjust their mindset until they are ready to face the wrong-doers and to understand they have rights to decide whether they want to forgive the indicted suspect or not. No healing could come after death penalty, as time is too short to do anything reconcilable except retaliation.

 

By making compensation for the past errors and facilitating a true reconciliation between the indicted and the victims, the punishment of restorative justice has to let the indicted to return his or her own society. Chen emphasized that this is a secular praxis on the theology of forgiveness and "justification by faith", as the sinner has to take the responsibility to reconcile with the victims in order to match the grace he or she assumed.

 

"Not all punishment go against Christian faith. But the death penalty is one, for sure", Chen said, this is why World Church Council and the Vatican has publicly stated their joint opinion to oppose the death penalty. As the Christian community believe that the treasured spiritual values should also be practiced to materialize in our secular society. This is the true meaning of Lords prayer: May Your Kindom Come! And death penalty is no exception.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 


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