So I have been in China for the last week (Shanghai) and suffered a surprising amount of withdrawal when I discovered that I couldn't access any of my bookmarked blogs on my favorite topic these days, deconversion.
Which surprises me, frankly, since I would think that an atheist/communist China would enjoy having its people read stories of previously faithful adherents leaving the Christian fold. But perhaps the censorship software, or people, or whoever restricts access to websites in China (I wonder if this is a job people aspire to?), just blocks sites that mention Christianity. Who knows.
Anyway, I haven't had a lot of time lately for contemplating my feckless faith so all I've got for you are a few loose, semi-random thoughts.
Thought 1: China has, what, over 1 billion people, the vast majority of whom do not lose sleep and tears over Jesus. Even with missionaries going there undercover and stuff (I know a couple, used to support them even), I doubt they'll make much of a dent. That's a lot of people for Jesus/God/HS to let go to hell.
Thought 2: For being such a 'godless' place as some Christians I know might put it, what I've seen of China doesn't feel or look godless. You know, people are still people -- some are good, some are bad. It doesn't seem related to knowing Jesus as much as some Christians would like to think.
Thought 3: I went rock climbing in New Hampshire just before I left for China - my boyfriend decided I was ready for one of these "classic" routes on Cathedral Ledge that I...uh...let's just say...struggled on. I fell a lot - big long swinging falls in which I would have smashed into the rock face if my feet hadn't been out in front of me. I banged up my knees, cut up my hands, and cried during the last pitch because I was so f***ing tired. But I made it ("sent" the route in climbing parlance)... and am now so proud of myself and so glad I took the risk. This sounds dumb, but it kind of encourages me to keep questioning all of this stuff, because even though it's hard and it hurts and I can't entirely see where it's going, I think this is probably all still worth it.
Thought 4: The whole climbing analogy thing helped me feel better when I got a friend request on Facebook from an old roommate and when I scrolled through all of her friends - all fresh-faced, happy shiny good married-off Christians from the adult group I used to go to - I got really depressed. (How come their faith is still intact? How much happier/easier/better are their lives because they still have Jesus? How come Jesus doesn't seem to have let them down the way he's let me down? etc.)
And a closing news item/update: I am now in South Africa and my boyfriend is flying over tomorrow to join me for a week in Cape Town (I am sooooooo excited!!). As a result, I'll be offline for a week or so starting Monday.