Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mao And Frampton: Show Me The Way

A block from our hotel in Shenyang was a huge statue of Chairman Mao Zedong, the Communist leader of China from 1949 to 1976. The joke among our group was that if you found Mao's statue, you could get back to our quarters because Mao pointed right to our accommodations. At night, we would go down to the huge square surrounding the statue. It was like I envision a town square or park in earlier times in the United States. People would gather to exercise, practice yoga, create concrete art, or just talk. On the back side of the square was The English Corner. Here, people would hang out to simply practice their conversational English. Being obviously an American, I became an instant celebrity and was surrounded by twenty to thirty people who wanted to work on their English skills. These times are my lasting impression of my trip. I discovered the ability to speak my native tongue made me valuable in the eyes of the citizens who assembled, most of whom were teens or twenty-somethings. The discussions were far ranging from history to music, from world events to basketball players. The most refreshing insight I gained was that many of those in these groups were eager to ask about and discuss my religious beliefs. A number professed to be Christians. This was a revelation to a naive westerner who was not sure what to expect in terms of openness and religion. Marx called religion, "the opiate of the masses." It seems many in China are hungering for that drug.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I want you to show me the way."
Peter Frampton

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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