Wednesday, 19 December 2012

God is Red

I'm making my way through a stack of books that I have recently ordered. The most captivating by far is Liao Yiwu's God is Red. When I was looking for potential texts to use for my upcoming course on Global Christianity, I recalled John Wilson at Books and Culture listing it as the best book of 2011. Now, during the holiday break, I am finally able to read it.

This is an eye-opening, and in many cases, heart-breaking account of the painful sufferings that many Christians have endured in communist China. It would be impossible not to be moved by the stories that make up the chapters in the book. Perusing God is Red makes me feel ashamed for complaining about my own petty problems, especially after reading a chapter like "The Cancer Patient" about Li Linshan.

Li grew up in a poor area in China where clean water was rare. He told the author, "We dug wells, as deep as two people, but they were always dry. Water was like gold. Rainwater was free, but that didn't last long. It tasted like muddy soup with lots of bugs in it. If you filled up a scoop, you could see the bugs wriggling in the water." Li later learned that he had cancer, but could not afford medical treatment. But rather than sulk, he joyfully awaited his death. When Liao Yiwu asked him if he felt lost, Li replied, "No, I'm not lost. God will make plans for me... Death will be like a leaf falling onto the ground. My soul will float into the arms of angels." In a touching epilogue, Liao writes that a Reformed Evangelical Church in California heard of Li's condition and raised the money to pay for his much-needed surgery.

If you are looking for a last minute stocking-stuffer, I would highly recommend this book, which is only about $10 on I have ordered copies for my parents and in-laws, and will definitely use it for my course on Global Christianity.

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