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Taiwan Church News

3356 Edition

June 20 -26, 2016

Editorial

 

From Anti-Discrimination To Ethnic Fairness

 

Recently Ms Hung Su-chu has become the hottest gossip topic in Taiwan society. As a matter of fact, with an unexpected reactionary effect to stop the hate language abuse coming again, she becomes the driving force uniting all political parties together to deliver an "Against Discrimination Law"!

If we temporarily put down our personal prejudices toward some specific ethnic tribes and the related structural problems buried deep, every person living on this land deserves to be respected and treated fair. This stance is not only related to the basics of human rights, but also implied by the theological meaning of "in the the image of God the humankind was created". Since every person owns the image of God, we have to try hard to identify and respect this special identity in each other. This is because to insult or discriminate other people is equal to doing the same things on the images of God created in them.

But, when the Anti-Discrimination Law is proposed to legalize, there are several tricks deserve a second thought. The first one is the "political manipulation" by KMT. Since the event of Hung Su-chu, KMT spoke out first to pass an "Anti-Discrimination Law" without ceasing to criticize the people advocating Taiwan independence. This is the so-called double-bladed trick: Protesting aloud in the name of no discrimination, while crushing down another group of people as the real target! No wonder people criticized this gambit as "it's OK for high class mainlanders to discriminate against the Taiwanese, but the game is changed when the old veteran is heckled!"

In the meantime, we should not forget this event is overtly exposed by China's media. The Chinese Communist Party thinks DPP is to be blamed on this event, but  they seems to forget that Taiwan Civil Government(TCG) is the same as KMT in their unification nature: TCG wish to unify with USA, while KMT want to unify with China. Both party do not ever expect to concur the stance of all independent Taiwanese.

The "Anti-Discrimination Law" is not only a magic mirror for every political party showcasing their own ignorance, but also a double-bladed sword reflecting our inner hatred which we are reluctant to admit. The appeal of anti-discrimination does not concern the issue of ethnicity only, many other dimensions like gender, sexuality, age, education, household economics, disability and etc need to be scrutinzed to check if there is any discrimination existent? If we all agree anti-discrimination is important in our daily lives, let us reflect in our church fellowship whether everyone is treasured as the sweetheart baby before our Lord God?

Fundamentally speaking, the appeal of anti-discrimination is just a passive action intending to stop bad things happen only. Once we turn into a positive mindset of proposing ethnic fairness, things would be totally different. As the idea of ethnic fairness not only includes the basics of anti-discrimination, but also requires each involved ethnic people to understand and communicate with each other in order to build an ideal society with mutual respect, support and common prosperity.

Christian, as "the messenger of reconciliation", should not just talk about anti-discrimination. We need to propose ethnic fairness further. From anti-discrimination to ethnic fairness, we have to break down those stereotyped dimensions, like gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, education, economics, disability and etc, existed within church for years. Let all those willing to come into church get respected; let our young men take part in the decision of church affairs; let the female believer to become deacon or elder; let the poor have their dignity and the demands of new immigrants be heard; let more friendly space be created for the disabled.... We have many things to do and much more need to act right now!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3356 Edition

June 20 -26, 2016

Headline News

 

PCT Leaders Wary About The Homogeneity Of Taiwan Churches

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

On June 19, a seminar named "Christian Faith And Social Survey In Taiwan" was hosted by Chi-nan Presbyterian Church of Chi-sin presbytery and co-operated with Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office. Two famous PCT laity leaders, Prof Su Kuo-hsien(Dean of NTU's College of Social Sciences) and Ms Lu Yueh-wen(Vice President of World Communion of Reformed Churches) and one renown PCT pastor(Rev. Lu Jun-yee) were invited to address the issue about Christian's social responsibility.

Prof Su Kuo-hsien affirmed the church's critical function in promoting social fairness and justice in modern society, but he also insisted the necessary condition of the church's acceptance of diversity and heterogeneity in advance was equally important. According to some pew surveys of Taiwan churches in the past year, Prof Su was quite wary about the phenomenon of homogeneity within the churches. For example, the concern of church growth became a major issue within churches yet without an objective basis to measure its outcome and impact. A pew survey within Taiwan churches became very subjective and its results depended on whom were interviewed.

Making some comparisons with some current missionary-orientated Christian denominations, Rev Lu reminded the audience about the Catholics' careful avoidance of utilizing evangelical terms when social resources were introduced to help the needy. It also prompted Rev Lu to ask himself the question: what is the meaning for church to exist in our society?

"Jesus loves us, he also loves you", Rev Lu indicated that this was social identity of the church. As church without social identity would lose her significant meaning to exist, engaging in the ministry for social communities was a necessary mission of the church, remarked Rev Lu.

During the seminar, the issue of youth ministry was also highly focused. Ms Lu Yueh-wen pointed out, though it was common for churches to recognize membership mutually across denominations in US and Canada, the identity-border between Taiwan's denominations became more and more distinct. It was very likely due to the stances toward some specific issues, like gender or sexual orientation, were easily driven into an opposing debate and even stand-off in Taiwan churches.

Ms Lu eloquently criticized some PCT pastors' harassment to stop financial donation to the magazine of The New Messenger if they dared keep publishing discussions or debates on some contentious topics like LGBT rights in the church. "Couldn't we tolerate different voices in the church afterwards?", "When was our church became so fascist and so coward?", protested Ms Lu.

Rev Ng Tiat-gan, director of Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office, concluded that this particular seminar was designed to be a reference point for Christians' social practice. The audience were not only expected to be touched by the speakers' revealing analysis but also be inspired to act as the disciples of Jesus' mission.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Prof Su Kuo-hsien(second from right, Dean of NTU's College of Social Sciences) and Ms Lu Yueh-wen(first from left, Vice President of World Communion of Reformed Churches) and Rev. Lu Jun-yee (second from left, the renown former pastor of Taipei East Gate Presbyterian Church) were invited to address the issue about Christian's social responsibility at a June 19 seminar named "Christian Faith And Social Survey In Taiwan", which was hosted by Chi-nan Presbyterian Church of Chi-sin presbytery and co-operated with Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office. Rev Ng Tiat-gan ( first from right, director of Research and Development Center of PCT's General Assembly Office) acted as the host of the seminar.

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 
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Taiwan Church News

3355 Edition

June 13 - 19, 2016

Editorial

 

PCT's Missionary Attitude Toward A New Era

 

"Follow Jesus In Unity And Be A Loyal Servant in Humbleness", this is the main thread of PCT General Assembly's proceedings from 2016 to 2017. And this very catchphrase, after our enthusiastic celebration of PCT150, symbolizes PCT's critical attitude and theological reflection marching toward a new era. Through this thematic thread, PCT's determination to root in Taiwan society and fulfill her comprehensive ministries is demonstrated.

Reflecting the history of the Christian evangelical movements, especially within the 19th century theological reflections of ecumenism, major missionary sending countries had only one vision: preaching no denominational creeds but only Christ. This is a vision to materialize the ideal of "one Lord, one faith and one baptism" in the third world's evangelical missions.

Though this vision was not fulfilled, due to denominational creeds and teachings, resulting a splitting and fractious Christianity within Asian and African areas in last century, we still learned a very precious lesson in the missionary history about what unity in Christ means: not a nominal equality, but a recognition and respect of the difference among us and a common effort to pursue our values in faith. And this is the base of the 20th century's ecumenical missionary movement!

Today, when we talk about evangelical mission, we are not pursuing the unity transcending or across the denominational lines. Instead, we do our missions or work for unity following the spirit of Presbyterianism and the confessions of PCT. If we do not stand firm on the teachings and confession of PCT, our missionary ministries and ecumenical visions would be lost in those flooding data and extravagant propaganda.

In his ministry, Jesus did not create any magic words to attract the people or guarantee his disciples any successful life. Strictly speaking, from a historical perspective, Jesus' mission ended up as a failure. Jesus' disciples followed him with their own desires and dreams, expecting to reap religious power and glory. They did not understand Jesus' love and mission, until they experienced his resurrection which dramatically made them surrendered to proclaim and witness for Jesus Christ. In the past 150 years, PCT have also experienced such "resurrected presence of Christ" within different power regimes. These experiences of peace, justice and life in our Lord enable us to carry on witnessing God's love and compassion to Taiwan society.

Therefore, when we talk about "unity in Christ" again, it  is not a mindset of nominal equality, but an understanding and respect for the difference within multiple ethnicity and cultures; it is no more a provocation in the name of language or ethnicity, but with the same mind in us that was in Christ Jesus to learn our difference in respect and love Taiwan in care. When we are marching toward a new era, allow us to remind each other: we do not come to command or order, but come to serve. Wherever our ministries are located, in the church or the affiliated institutes, we are all commissioned to manage, not to perform or invest. Only could we be humble down before God and ask Him piously how should we do to glorify His name, the church and the believers and the people are to be blessed by Lord!

Only in the spirit of "Follow Jesus In Unity And Be A Loyal Servant in Humbleness", we are able to hold fast the six dimensions of our evangelical mission making our ministries more comprehensive and participate in the building of the kingdom of God proclaiming His name be praised!

 


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