I had an experience lately when I let my anger explode a little. I need to explain first our church's position here in China. We have an agreement with the government of China that we will not proselyte, even passively, among Chinese nationals. In return, they allow us to meet freely, and they also allow the Chinese national members who joined the church while living abroad, to meet with each other freely. They aren't allowed to meet with the foreigners, but they can meet with other Chinese nationals. We take this agreement very seriously, and realize that these freedoms we enjoy are contingent upon our upholding of our side of the deal. This can be very difficult at times, especially when we are asked direct questions, or when someone makes a false statement about our beliefs. But I really do try to do what we have been asked to do.
This past week I was approached by two women who belong to another Christian church in China. This particular church believes that Jesus Christ (I can't remember if they don't use the word "Jesus", or if they don't use the word "Christ", but one of them they eliminate) has already returned to the earth for His second coming, and is living here in China. Oh, and I should mention that in their belief, Jesus is a woman now. So one of these women came to my house to preach to me.
Having been a missionary myself, I found it very difficult to sit and say nothing about my beliefs. I'm fairly well educated about the Bible, and I could clearly see that many of their beliefs don't follow Bible teachings. Many Christian churches in the world today don't approve of my religious beliefs, but even they would agree that this church is way off base. But I had to sit there and just listen, and not teach what the Bible teaches. This woman is particularly fervent in her beliefs, and began to show me videos on her phone. She played music, and showed my scriptures from their modern scripture. I didn't waste much time before I told her I simply wasn't interested in her religion. She just kept going on, and wouldn't let up. At one point I picked up my I pad and began checking my email. She was playing a song for me, but honestly I couldn't understand the Chinese. Chinese has tones, but when you sing, you don't have tones, and it's hard for me to understand. Also sometimes the vocabulary isn't in my repertoire. Finally she turned to me and said, "Do you understand this song?" I said, "No, but I'm really not interested in your church." She said, "If you would just apply your heart to listen, you would understand. If you listen with the Spirit, then you will understand." I had heard enough, and I had lost my patience. I said, "I can tell you, by the Spirit, that I will one hundred percent never accept your religion. I absolutely do not believe what you teach." Now see, that is within the parameters of our agreement with the government. But I had let myself stew too long, and just couldn't keep my lid on. I went on, "The Bible teaches that when Jesus Christ comes again, everyone will see Him, and everyone will know." She said, "No it doesn't." I said, "YES it does!" She said, "No it doesn't." I said, "Have you read the Bible?" She said, "No I haven't." I said, "Well, I have, and this is what it teaches! I could never accept a religion that doesn't teach according to the Bible." See, now that might have been passive proselyting. But I was so angry at that point for several reasons. First I was angry that she was arguing something she didn't understand, and hasn't learned for herself. Secondly I was angry that she kept preaching to me after I had already, several times, made it clear that I wasn't interested. Third, I was angry at those who purposefully created a religion to deceive others. You might argue that all religion is this way, but in this particular case, I'm talking about a supposed Christian religion that isn't built upon Christian history. Oh, and in case you are interested, I asked her if she had seen this person who claims to be Christ. She said no, but that other people had seen "her". That's pretty much the answer I expected.
After that steam blew out, I told her that I was happy to make friends with her, but that I didn't want to hear any more about her church. Yes, she did persist and asked if she could bring some friends to my house to talk to me. I told her that I had NO interest in discussing her church again. She tried the deception route and asked if she could bring over a friend to help me learn chinese. Oh, and this friend is a member of her church. I knew her purpose, but I told her they could come. (I should insert here that even though I was a missionary myself, if someone told me they weren't interested, I would leave them alone.) This week they came over to visit me. They tried to bring up religion in a sly way, but I once again explained my church's position about not preaching. They belong to an underground church that is against the law. They could actually be jailed for preaching. So after my talk about keeping the agreement we have with the government, they backed off a little. I decided to put the final nail in the coffin, and explained to them that I was a missionary when I was younger. I also explained that my family, for many generations back, were members of my church. The "Chinese tutor" woman got the point, and I don't think I'll see her again. The other woman is clueless, and still comes by my house once in awhile. But she hasn't preached to me, so I'm keeping my lid on. :)
We have quite a passionate group of bloggers in our consortium. I think any one of them could give you an earful if you made them mad. Check out what they have to say about anger! :)
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit, Black watertown, The Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)