Ghosts & the Great Wall

By | 371 Comments

(Posted from Beijing)

We’ve been in China now for three days. I don’t know why they say Mandarin is so hard. I can now successfully say, “thank you.” At this rate I could have good conversational Mandarin in 27 years.

We went outside of the city to see the Great Wall yesterday. It snowed all day imparting a unique touch to the visual experience. Plus it imparted freezing to death to us. Seeing the wall was great, though, especially because of the snow.

Our guide kept harping on Feng Shui (sorry about spelling, I don’t have access to research tools), which basically is a dedicated hunt for good luck. She was proud that she didn’t believe in God but she was sure excited about Feng Shui. (for not believing in God she was quite concerned about Him.)

As we were almost back to the city she turned to me. “Do you believe in ghosts?” she asked anxiously. She did, and said she was afraid to say anything because she thought they might hurt her.

“That’s the advantage of believing in God,” I suggested to her, “God is the biggest of all the spirits and can protect us.” I don’t know how to say, “whatever,” in Mandarin but I think that’s what she thought. Did I mention that I’ve learned how to say, “thank you” in Mandarin.

I sensed the same barriers with her as I sense with neo-pagan americans; our incredulous friends who have abandoned all paths of faith as untenable or simply unnecessary. And so they live untethered. Until they bump up against things like that primal fear of the dark, and ghosts, and what happens after we die?

Can we find ways to speak of God, in stories our friends can understand, before His patience runs out? I know I didn’t do a good job of telling God’s story to our guide yesterday. The same tired old arguments don’t convince. I suspect ironic stories might work. Remind you of anyone? By the way, did Jesus spend any time “preparing” his teaching stories. I think I’ll try that; working on my ghost stories.

David Roller

Sent from my BlackBerry®