Will You Put the Story Tension on the Table?


We really want to know what you want.

So, what’s the value of putting the story triangle tension of your secular story opponents on the table?

Consider what Angelo Codevilla says about secular story war allies in America…


But stopping the ruling class’s intrusions would require discrediting its entire conception of man, of right and wrong, as well as of the role of courts in popular government. That revolutionary task would involve far more than legislation.

…..

Because aggressive, intolerant secularism is the moral and intellectual basis of the ruling class’s claim to rule, resistance to that rule, whether to the immorality of economic subsidies and privileges, or to the violation of the principle of equal treatment under equal law, or to its seizure of children’s education, must deal with secularism’s intellectual and moral core. This lies beyond the boundaries of politics as the term is commonly understood.

…..

In this clash, the ruling class holds most of the cards: because it has established itself as the fount of authority, its primacy is based on habits of deference. Breaking them, establishing other founts of authority, other ways of doing things, would involve far more than electoral politics.

America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution, By Angelo M. Codevilla, The American Spectator, July/August 2010

So, the ruling class in America holds most of the cards, he says? Well, aren’t you in a war with these people? And don’t you have all the archplot cards in your hand? Wouldn’t you want to play your strong hand, instead of withdrawing and holding your cards close to the vest? Wouldn’t you want to engage with your advantage?

What is it you really want in this story?

And notice this…


In the culture, the Left has made the Right into a stand-in for America’s past evils. And it is hard to fight against a cultural perception so entrenched as to be conventional wisdom. 

The Right will have to compete for the culture- to work even harder on the cultural level than it does on the political level.

Shelby Steele, Shame

They have you standing in for past evils. But will you push back against a cultural perception so entrenched?

What about this…


But as you run your personal boycott of Hollywood, remember this. Almost everyone else you know — be it family, friends, business associates and, most especially, your children — is not. They are consuming Hollywood entertainment in mammoth gulps. And politics, as the late Andrew Breitbart said repeatedly (and he was far from the only one), is downstream of culture.

You give up Hollywood and you give up the country. Game over. And as we all know, it’s almost over already.

How Conservatives Can Take Back (Some of) Hollywood for Oscar Time, by Roger L. Simon, Pajamas Media, February 28th, 2014

You could compete, if you’d engage with the very food they are consuming in mammoth gulps…

Check out the D’Souza guy —


“Ultimately, we’ve got to do that kind of stuff too because they [the left] tell their worldview through stories,” he said.

D’Souza: Hillary Film Could Earn Me ‘Life in Prison’, BY NICHOLAS BALLASY, Pajamas Media, MARCH 13, 2016

Can you see how this is taking shape? You have the best kind of story and we got no story at all. Why not use story? Why not engage?


Today, the “human condition” seems to be vanishing, because humanity itself seems to be on the verge of disappearing as a meaningful, foundational concept. It is being torn to shreds, turned into a chaotic mélange of discrete identities, each given ultimate significance by a mass of micronarratives. And that process is political in the most radical sense, because it calls into question the very basis of social organization: a common humanity that we all share.

PLAYING WITH FIRE: THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, THE TEACHING OF HISTORY, AND THE HUMAN CONDITION, by Carl R. Trueman, July 19, 2016

See that? Common humanity that we all share. It’s universal. You can’t get away from it. It’s already on the table, whether you use it or not.

And look at this from one of your own…


Unfortunately, through some tortured reasoning we have persuaded ourselves that stories belong to children and mature adults take their principles straight, without any sugar coating. Therefore, we relegate stories to the nursery or we carry a novel with us on vacation only as a way to pass the time.

The low marks we have given to the story must be revised upward if we observe the impact stories make upon us all. Television abounds with them — some shoddy, some shady, some shaky, some worthwhile — but TV dramas attract audiences and shape their values. The future of our culture may depend on the stories that capture the imagination and mind of this generation and its children.

Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching

Do you have ears to hear?


But in the world we’re in today—now especially with the addition of a social media—you could say that everybody is speaking, but nobody’s listening. So the most precious commodity in our Western world is focused attention.

So it’s actually harder to communicate the Gospel with people. You have to be more interesting, more brilliant in order to get across.

….

And so stories, narratives, questions and parables and so on are very important today, and it’s not because we’re post-modern, it’s because people are closed and that’s the important point to say.

OS Guinness Says Everyone Is an Apologist, by Aaron Cline Hanbury, RELEVANT Magazine, Issue 82: July/August 2016

And that sure fits with something McKee said about the connection between story and change…


Story is the most effective way to get attention because what attracts human attention is change. As long as things are going on in an even keel, you pay attention to whatever you’re doing. But if something around you changes—if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings—if something changes, that gets your attention.

Robert McKee, Quoted in 5 Content Marketing Trends to Plan Your 2017 Budget, Jon Simmons, Skyword, August 29, 2016

But if you decide to keep pushing away the power of story, you might want to listen to Calvin Coolidge’s warning…


President Coolidge

If this apprehension of the facts be correct, and the documentary evidence would appear to verify it, then certain conclusions are bound to follow. A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if it roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man – these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

President Calvin Coolidge, Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, Pa., July 5, 1926

Wouldn’t you want to consider reengaging? It appears your springs will cease to flow and your trees will wither…and your democracy will end.

But, will seeing our story triangle tension make you want to begin to look at America through the lens of story?

You see, if both sides in America would come to see America as a story –-  and, what is now dividing America is a massive change in the story which has resulted in there being two main competing versions of the story we are in — which are now in increasing conflict – then, the story triangle tension of both sides could help reopen the conversation by bringing to the surface the question…


Should we stay together or should we go?


Because you do have options to try to keep your country together.

For instance, have you considered this reflection on the unexpected approach taken by your President Reagan?


He won the Cold War, not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.

Margaret Thatcher, Eulogy for President Reagan, June 11, 2004

Does it give you second thoughts?


Shall we have civil war or second thoughts? This story started a long time ago. It will go on. I hope that we—left, right and otherwise intoxicated—still have the capacity for shame and self-knowledge.

Shall We Have Civil War or Second Thoughts?, By Lance Morrow, Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2018

So, our team now believes that if both sides in America came to see the significance of their story triangle tension, they might step back and wonder…


What do I really want, here in the story of America?


And remember, we’re showing you these things in order to find out if we can persuade the Central Military Commission that we can continue to win against you without fighting.


The Hitch Maneuver

But, if you Christians were to reengage, there is much for you to learn, for your secular opponents are very skilled. And so often, you give them a free pass. Even your apologists do this, not focusing in on our elephant in the room — we all want and need meaning and purpose, but it’s all a cruel joke, because there is no meaning or purpose ultimately.

This is so hard for us to face and you should learn how to ask us about it. Learn how to keep it front and center in your interactions. For our meaningless elephant isn’t going away, and you shouldn’t make it so easy for us to maneuver around this massive weakness.

One such skilled maneuverer is Christopher Hitchens, whose story, unfortunately, has already come to its ending of irreversible change.

I really liked this guy, and admired him greatly, for despite his adherence (when he was alive, anyway) to believing he was living an intrinsically meaningless existence, he sure made a big deal out of his quest in life.

Here is how Hitchens laid out his vision…


And in fact, that this belief in a supreme and unalterable tyranny is the oldest enemy of our species, the oldest enemy of our intellectual freedom and our moral autonomy and must be met and must challenged and must be overthrown. I want to argue for nothing less than that.

Christopher Hitchens vs. Frank Turek: Does God Exist?, Virginia Commonwealth University, September 8, 2008

See that?

It’s a quest.

And here’s another one – from one of our most famous story allies in the past…


An atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a God. An atheist thinks that heaven is something we should work for now—here on earth—for all men to enjoy together. An atheist knows that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair, MURRAY v. CURLETT, Petition for Relief, 1959

And the quest of our story allies is often driven by very deep things…


In Joshua Muravcik’s history of socialism titled Heaven on Earth, we get a glimpse of the impulse towards earthly kingdom building in the life of Moses Hess, who embraced communism:

The God he found was communism. In a catechism composed in 1846, Hess contrasted his new faith with the one that prevailed in the society around him. Whereas Christians invest their hopes “in the image of …heavenly joy… We, on the other hand, want this heaven on earth.”

We also learn what that impulse led to on the part of the Communists – great cruelty:

Russia’s autocracy had long been notorious in Europe for its cruelty, but no tsar had ever shed blood so freely. Then again, no tsar ever had such lofty aims. “How could they…act otherwise,” asked former Yugoslav Communist leader Milovan Djilas of the Bolsheviks, “when they ha[d] been named by… history to establish the Kingdom of Heaven in this sinful world?”

Into the whirlwind, by Daniel Mahoney, The New Criterion, October 2006

We cannot adequately understand the world within us and without us without consulting a biblical anthropology. We were created in Eden; we were created for heaven (Phil. 3:20); the Preacher (Qoheleth) in Ecclesiastes says that God has “set eternity in their hearts” (emphasis mine; Eccles. 3:11b). Our deepest yearnings draw us heavenward or back to our pristine beginnings in Eden.

But now we live east of Eden in a fallen world, and, in our quiet, honest moments, we have a “something’s missing” feeling and a longing for heaven or something like the perfection of Eden. The cherubim stand guard at the entrance of Eden and won’t let us back in.

Life can feel like living in a motel room, and, despite the cable TV, free Continental breakfast, and comfortable queen-sized bed, it’s not home. How we respond to this yearning will greatly influence not only the health of our relationships but also the vitality of our society.

When misguided longings for heaven or Eden enter the public square, there is a utopian overreach that results in deleterious consequences in the political, economic, and social spheres of life. Utopian overreach results in dystopian outcomes.

Why the Left Is So Seductive, By JONATHAN B. COE, Crisis Magazine, MAY 4, 2018

And look at this…


The crucial importance of narrative to the leftist project cannot be overstated. Storytelling – or a form of it in which old themes are mined and twisted – sits at the center of everything the Left does. Leftists are fueled by a belief that in the modern world, it does not so much matter what the facts are, as long as the story is well told. Living in a malevolent, upside-down fantasy world, they would rather heed their hearts than their minds, their impulses than their senses; the gulf between empirical reality and their ideology-infused daydreams regularly shocks and surprises them, even as it discomforts or kills millions who suffer the consequences of their delusions.

And what, precisely, is the point of their twisted narrative? Simply this: It, like scripture, contains all the themes and cliches deemed necessary to sell a governing philosophy that no one in his right mind would actually vote for absent deception and illusion. No matter how evil, the leftist story must seem to have a positive outcome; it must appeal to the better angels of our nature; it must promise a greater good, a higher morality, a new and improved tomorrow.

Michael Walsh, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace

And this…


For Christians, human history isn’t an endless succession of cycles – as it was for the ancient Greek and Romans, for example – but a story, and one of a distinctive kind. Unlike practitioners of polytheism, who seek and find meaning in other ways, Christians have found sense in life through a mythical narrative in which humankind is struggling towards redemption. It is a myth that infuses the imagination of countless people who imagine they have left religion behind. The secular style of modern thinking is deceptive. Marxist and liberal ideas of “alienation” and “revolution”, “the march of humanity” and “the progress of civilisation” are redemptive myths in disguise.

….

Making sense from the chaos of human events, religions provide something that science cannot offer, but which most people still desperately want. Accordingly, the new atheists have turned science into a religion: a gospel of enlightenment that can deliver the world from darkness.

Why humans find it hard to do away with religion, by John Gray, New Statesman, January 20, 2016

And Paula showed us this, because it fits with what Gray wrote…


Now rising are new, more secular forms of religion. One faith system follows the call of “Gaia,” or Earth, a kind of neo-druidism based on an often puritanical form of earth-worship. It apostles include onetime Jesuit Jerry Brown, Bill McKibben and Al Gore, whose views are increasingly considered gospel in the media and on college campuses.

Another is a faith based on technology, an algorithmic religion if you will, which explains all behavior and sentiment as comprehensible by science. Groups like the Silicon Valley based Way of the Future seek a science-based Godhead that will lead to “trans-human” evolution. Some, including a few connected with Google, dream of achieving, through technology, the immortality so central to much of traditional religion.

Is the end near for religion?, By Joel Kotkin, Orange County Register, December 23, 2017

So, you can see why our story allies can be very intense as they fight this story war.

Fortunately, we think we discovered a way how our secular story allies are hiding the raw nerve of our undefended space in your story war in America.

We call it…


The Hitch Maneuver


This is named in honor of one of my favorite story allies from the West, Christopher Hitchens.

You see, as we showed you before, Christopher Hitchens was on a Quest…


And in fact, that this belief in a supreme and unalterable tyranny is the oldest enemy of our species, the oldest enemy of our intellectual freedom and our moral autonomy and must be met and must challenged and must be overthrown. I want to argue for nothing less than that.

Christopher Hitchens vs. Frank Turek: Does God Exist?, Virginia Commonwealth University, September 8, 2008

He’s an archplot guy.

Or, he was, at least, before his story came to an ending of irreversible change.

But, his quest is also a great illustration of the story triangle tension we share with our story allies in the West — namely, that because our story begins and ends in nothingness, then any meaning or happiness we find here in the middle of the story is ultimately meaningless, which means we are simply chasing after the wind!

So… the Quest of Christopher Hitchens really was also ultimately meaningless.

And so is the Quest of our China Dream.

But… it appears my hero Christopher Hitchens learned how to very skillfully avoid a serious engagement concerning the question of meaning in life.

Look at the following video and see if you can spot it as it begins to unfold at about the 2:33 minute mark…


HITCHENS: Well my question is this: would anyone in the audience like to join this conversation?


HULSEY: We actually have question if you’re ready to move along.


HITCHENS: Yeah, I am.


HULSEY: There are a couple of questions—a lot—several similar questions that boil down to a couple of questions for each of you and one that I’ll end with that I think is an important one to address to both of you. Since you gave your turn away, Mr. Hitchens, I’ll ask you first. “If,” the questioner asks, “If God does not exist then what is the purpose of life?”


HITCHENS: Well, I can only answer for myself. What cheers me up? I suppose mainly gloating over the misfortunes of other people. I guess that…


TUREK: And you say evil comes from religion, huh?


HITCHENS: I guess that has to be—yeah, mainly crowing over the miseries of others. It doesn’t always work but it never completely fails. And then there’s irony. There’s irony and—which is the gin in the Campari, you know, the cream in the coffee. Sex can have diminishing returns but it’s amazing. No, that’s pretty much it, then it’s clear onto the grave.


HULSEY: Dr. Turek?


TUREK: Yes. [To Hulsey] You want me to answer that or not? Somebody else, ok.


Hitchens was so brilliant!

Look at how he dodged any meaningful discussion of the question.

And notice too how his debate opponent gave him a free pass on it. Did the Christian apologist not understand they had just arrived at our undefended space?

And here’s another illustration of Hitchens’s brilliance. In his autobiography, titled Hitch 22, Hitchens explains how he dealt with people who brought up the issue of meaning…


About once or twice a month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimen­sion, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough — and even miraculous enough if you insist— I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about?


Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is.

Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Wow. Amazing skills.

He knows — or knew, before his story reached its tragic end — depending of course, on whether we can address anyone’s life as having enough meaning or value or significance to be worthy of the term “tragic”! — that such a hostile response to the question would keep his opponents from venturing any further!

And yet, look what he then wrote almost directly afterwards in his book…


A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called “meaningless” except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one’s everyday life as if this were so. 

Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

So, wait. He just admitted those questions were legitimate.

It sure looks like he just didn’t want to have to deal with them.

And maybe this has something to do with it…


What Hitchens gets wrong is religion itself.

….

Readers with any sense of irony — and here I do not exclude believers — will be surprised to see how little inquiring Hitchens has done and how limited and literal is his own ill-prepared reduction of religion.

Christopher Hitchens is a brilliant man, and there is no living journalist I more enjoy reading. But I have never encountered a book whose author is so fundamentally unacquainted with its subject. In the end, this maddeningly dogmatic book does little more than illustrate one of Hitchens’s pet themes — the ability of dogma to put reason to sleep.

The Unbeliever, Reviewed by Stephen Prothero, Washington Post, May 6, 2007

And this is what is making me nervous. 

What if this is the pattern among our story allies in the West?

What if they don’t want to wrestle publicly at length with this question of meaning and purpose?…


What is the meaning of life? What is our purpose on earth? These are some of the great, false questions of religion. We need not answer them, for they are badly posed, but we can live our answers all the same.

Sam Harris, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Neil deGrasse Tyson may be a gifted popularizer of science, but when it comes to humanistic learning more generally, he is a philistine. Some of us suspected this on the basis of the historically and theologically inept portrayal of Giordano Bruno in the opening episode of Tyson’s reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

But now it’s been definitively demonstrated by a recent interview in which Tyson sweepingly dismisses the entire history of philosophy. Actually, he doesn’t just dismiss it. He goes much further — to argue that undergraduates should actively avoid studying philosophy at all. Because, apparently, asking too many questions “can really mess you up.”

Yes, he really did say that. Go ahead, listen for yourself, beginning at 20:19 — and behold the spectacle of an otherwise intelligent man and gifted teacher sounding every bit as anti-intellectual as a corporate middle manager or used-car salesman. He proudly proclaims his irritation with “asking deep questions” that lead to a “pointless delay in your progress” in tackling “this whole big world of unknowns out there.” When a scientist encounters someone inclined to think philosophically, his response should be to say, “I’m moving on, I’m leaving you behind, and you can’t even cross the street because you’re distracted by deep questions you’ve asked of yourself. I don’t have time for that.”

Why Neil deGrasse Tyson is a Philistine, by Damon Linker, The Week, May 6, 2014

Does it indicate they also recognize, consciously or not, how it’s our key point of weakness?

If so, Hitchens was so right!

You and I both know we can’t live out our unfolding story as though it’s a pointless joke.

And Hitchens was aware of what we’re also aware of — our story is coming to an end…


The clear awareness of having been born into a losing struggle need not lead one into despair. I do not especially like the idea that one day I shall be tapped on the shoulder and informed, not that the party is over but that it is most assuredly going on —only henceforth in my absence.

Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

I admire Hitchens for his ability to resist the despair.

But don’t we also have to face the painful reality that if our story begins and ends in nothingness, it is ultimately meaningless?

Look at how the British writer Martin Amis, a close friend of Hitchens, wrote to him about the climax of the story…


Anyway, we do know what is going to happen to you, and to everyone else who will ever live on this planet. Your corporeal existence, O Hitch, derives from the elements released by supernovae, by exploding stars. Stellar fire was your womb, and stellar fire will be your grave: a just course for one who has always blazed so very brightly. The parent star, that steady-state H-bomb we call the sun, will eventually turn from yellow dwarf to red giant, and will swell out to consume what is left of us, about six billion years from now.

Amis on Hitchens: ‘He’s one of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen’, The Observer, April 24, 2011

Of course, Hitchens isn’t our only story ally in the West who is trying to avoid dealing with the question of meaning and how our story ends…


“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

It’s true. We do usually ignore it.

And yet, Paula got us to wondering about something else…


Does the Hitch Maneuver Work in China?


So, we get it that our secular story allies in America may be struggling. And we’re happy for them that the Hitch Maneuver works in the United States.

But our situation here in China may be different than the one facing our story allies in the West.

We are dealing with masses of people here in China who have begun to cross the river to the other side and are ready to raise the questions we don’t want to talk about.

For instance, look what the now deceased Harry Wu wrote in his autobiography…


Suddenly my mind became animated, and I had what seemed almost a revelation. Human life has no value here, I thought bitterly. It has no more importance than a cigarette ash flicked in the wind. But if a person’s life has no value, then the society that shapes that life has no value either. If people mean no more than dust, then the society is worthless and does not deserve to continue. If the society should not continue, then I should oppose it.


At that moment I knew that I could not die. I could not simply slide into nothingness and join Chen Ming. I had to use my life purposefully and try to change society. In that way my own existence would not be mere dust but would have some value.

Harry Wu, Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China’s Gulag

The question of meaning mattered so much to Harry Wu he became a veritable pain in our side with his Laogai Research Foundation.

And look at this interview with the journalist Eric Fish, who wrote the book titled China’s Millennials: The Want Generation


How are Chinese millennials different from the previous generation?

The young people I talked to again and again say they care less about money. There’s less satisfaction with pure economic growth, with materialism. They are more interested in religion, environmentalism, journalism — things that fulfill a sense of meaning. They’re less inclined to parrot the party line. They’re more individualistic.

26 years after Tiananmen, Chinese millennials are forgetting to fear their government, by Gwynn Guilford, Quartz, June 4, 2015

And it sounds a lot like what Evan Osnos wrote in his bestseller:


But the longer I stayed in China, the more I sought to understand the changes that were harder to glimpse — the quests for meaning. Nothing had caused more upheaval in the last hundred years of Chinese history than the battle over what to believe.

Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition

See? And now some our enemies in the West seem to have picked up the issue. Look at what Dan Blumenthal wrote…


While in the earlier years of the Chinese church’s growth this development was concentrated in rural areas and was relatively apolitical, more recently many Chinese intellectuals, business leaders, and even Communist party members have embraced the Christian faith. As these Chinese Christians have matured theologically, they have also begun to work out the social and political implications of their faith, and are at the vanguard of movements against maladies such as corruption and forced abortion and for religious freedom, labor rights, free speech, and the rule of law. There are now Christians in every important profession in China, including the “Boss Christians” running Chinese companies, who are equipped to step into political leadership positions. As Osnos argues, the key social dynamic in China today is the conflict between the aspirations of the Chinese people for a more meaningful life and the party’s continued repression.

Toward a Free and Democratic China: Overhauling U.S. strategy in Asia, by Dan Blumenthal and William Inboden, The Weekly Standard, May 18, 2015


And it’s not just our enemies in the West we need to worry about. Look how this search for meaning is playing a role in causing the Christians to multiply…


Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.


Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.


“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years, By Tom Phillips, Liushi, Zhejiang province, The Telegraph, April 21, 2014

What a headache. And we’ve seen plenty of warning signs like this…


Last week, The Washington Times hosted a delegation of Chinese Christian human-rights lawyers who were in Washington to attend the National Prayer Breakfast. They explained that Christianity is spreading in the Middle Kingdom, particularly among the intellectual class. Many educated Chinese who have spent their lives under communist rule are beginning to wonder whether there might be more meaning to life than that found in the materialistic social program of the Communist Party.

Washington Times: Crucifying China’s Christians -Obama’s bows to Beijing put believers in danger, Washington Times, February 9, 2011

Mr. Jin, the Beijing Zion pastor, came to Christianity in the aftermath of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. He was studying at a Beijing university at the time—as was his friend Jin Tianming, who would go on to lead Shouwang church (the two aren’t related)—and joined demonstrations by students and others demanding political reform.


After the brutal suppression of Tiananmen, “we felt life didn’t have meaning whatsoever—such desperate pain,” said Zion’s Mr. Jin, who goes by the Christian name Ezra. “Suddenly after hearing the gospel, we were attracted by it.”

China’s Banned Churches Defy Regime, By Brian Spegele, The Wall Street Journal , July 28, 2011

You see, if we don’t begin to pay attention to these matters, we may find ourselves on the losing end of the story war in China, just like you Christians are on the losing end in the United States.

I know it’s difficult for you Christians in America to see the raw nerve of meaning in our undefended space.

After all, you migrated into the minimalist corner even though your story is an ultimate archplot story of meaning.

And the meaning flows from the Active Protagonist himself. Look what your Christian apologist Peter Kreeft wrote…


If there is no God, there is no ultimate meaning to life. If we came ultimately from nothing and die ultimately into nothing, we are ultimately nothing. If we are made in the image of God, we are the children of the King of Kings. But if we are made only in the image of King Kong, we are only clever apes.

Peter Kreeft, Catholic Christianity

So, you can see our story triangle tension. We all want meaning. But you won’t find meaning in our nonplot version of the story we are in.

Disturbing.