The story of Mitrophan, the Chinese Martyr

St. Mitrophan Chinese Martyr of the Boxer RebellionSt. Mitrophan Chinese Martyr of the Boxer Rebellion

On June 1, 1900, an uprising of Chinese nationalists began against Chinese Christians that came to be known as the Boxer Rebellion. Many of the refuges from burned down Beijing mission buildings came to Mitrophan’s home, looking for safety. Many of these were former ill-wishers of Mitrophan, but he did not turn them away. Over the next several days Mitrophan endeavored to strengthen them in their ordeal. On June 11, a force of Boxers aided by Chinese soldiers descended on his home and began systematically torturing and killing the Christians who had taken haven there. Mitrophan was martyred sitting in the courtyard of his home where other members of his family were also tortured and died martyrs: his wife Tatiana, and three sons, Isaiah, the priest Sergei, and Ioann.

Christian Guideposts on Chi

Those of you interested in engaging with the concept of Chi and the related disciplines of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Martial Arts, Fung Shui and so forth, would be well advised to read Christian Guideposts on Chi: An Evangelical Assessment of Chi and Related Activities by Brett Yardley. Here are a few comments I found worthy of consideration:

It is unfortunate that at this stage some Christians have attempted to dispense with the entire notion of ch’i as wholly incompatible with Christianity simply due to its eastern origins. Yet, this is an overly simplistic type of reasoning, since to belittle and reject all eastern thought solely by pointing out its source is a genetic fallacy. Christians will do well to remember that Judaism and Christianity, despite the unfortunate label of being “Western Religions,” were in fact born in the east amongst eastern people.

In general, Christians can relate to the overall summary of [Traditional Chinese Medicine’s] pragmatic methods of “all things in moderation.” In fact [Traditional Chinese Medicine’s] push to moderate one’s lifestyle, control sexual urges, and caring for one’s body (which Paul refers to as a temple of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 6:18), are in line with a Christian worldview. However, embracing the philosophical awareness and wisdom that [Traditional Chinese Medicine] is supposed to provide for personal wellness should be considered suspect since the Christian’s personal well-being and wisdom should come from their relationship with Christ.

So long as Christians still abstain from the divination practices of Feng Shui, taking this definition would free users to see Feng Shui as nothing more than an aesthetic art form

No, detachment is not enough; we must go on to attachment. The detachment from the confusion all around us is in order to have a richer attachment to God. Christian meditation leads us to inner wholeness necessary to give ourselves to God freely.

As a result, the “soft” side of martial arts dealing with inner development often includes harmony with and controlling ch’i, as opposed to the “hard” side including physical conditioning and strikes.

As previously mentioned, the use and definition of ch’i neither fits any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nor acts in way that would serve the ministries of the church.

According to the Japanese Catholic Theologian Yohji Inoue, the foundation of Western thinking is “substance” (object) while Japanese thinking is “the field which envelopes substances.”

Western Buddha, Eastern Jesus

East meets west

More and more I find language of “eastern religion” and “western religion” superficial and outmoded, if not down right ignorant and misleading.

For starters, both Christianity and Buddhism are “world religions” that transcended their ancestral homes millennia ago. But more, their demographic centres of gravity are shifting, to the point where western Buddhism and eastern Christianity are no longer be exotic concepts for many of us. What, with China being an important growth area for Christianity and America being an important growth area for Buddhism, it is clear that some seismic spiritual shifts are going on.

How though, does this effect your understanding of Christianity and Buddhism, or for that matter, Christ and Buddha?

Chinese Christian Art: Arriving at Bethlehem

Chinese-christian-nativity-paintingAs we approach Christmas I find myself drawn once again to the way Christmas scenes have been depicted across different cultures.

This image, from an unknown Chinese artist, depicts Joseph and the heavily pregnant Mary arriving at Bethlehem, looking for some overnight accomodation but not having much luck.

I find myself reflecting, with the party season upon us, how many in the world struggle with hunger and homelessness, and how the Messiah come to identify with them first.

A religious revolution in China

Great summary here on the religious revolution in China, covering the Christian house church movement, Buddhist resurgence, Chinese ancestor worship, and more.

Lots going on for a country that is officially Atheist.

I find it fascinating. Here’s on fact you may not have known: “China is the only place in the world that has a tradition of independent female mosques, with their own ahong, or imams, to lead prayers and teach the Quran to women.”

Torture case Won Against Chinese Commerce Minister in NSW Supreme Court (Australia)

This evening I received an email from a guy seeking to raise awareness of a default judgment against Bo Xilai, the Chinese Minister for Commerce, in a torture case before the New South Wales Supreme Court in Australia a few weeks ago.

Normally I delete unsolicited emails out of hand, but this was a little different from your normal Nigerian scam so I thought I’d run some fact finding searches and see what came up.

Well it seems this default judgment may be genuine. This guy has obviously been posting this far and wide, which made me wary at first. But there was a photo of the judgment order along with the email on Sydney Alternative Media, an article on the case in The Australian, a normally reputable news paper, and also some pictures of the plaintiff on the Fulan Dafa website.

If so this means there was a significant human rights victory in Australian a few weeks ago that many of us missed.

It you want to read the whole email see Sydney Alternative Media, as I am not going to reproduce it here, but the gist of it is the default judgment was issued in recognising the failure of  Bo Xilaito provide a defense for the torture case brought against him by Sydney Falun Gong practitioner and Chinese labour camp survivor, Mr Pan Yu.

In the process I learned YouTube has been suspending the accounts and removing the videos of anti-torture activists. Not only has one of the videos associated with this email been removed, but I also learn an Egyptian anti-torture activist had his account suspected as the graphic video evidence of police brutality  he was trying to bring to the attention of the public violated YouTube’s terms of service over violence.

Now there is an ethical conundrum to ponder.

        Should torture videos be allowed to get out …

                        … or should graphic content be banned?