Some To Carry The Thatch, Others To Bear The Atlatls

Am reading David Aikman's Jesus In Beijing, a so far very interesting and easily/nicely written book about Christianity in China. One of the more grabya passages in the beginning reads:

Among Chinese Christians themselves is the belief--indeed some Chinese Christians refer to it as a divine calling--for Christian believers from China to bring the Gospel to the Muslim nations of the world.

And then a quote (I hate reading books which don't name their sources, which, of course, is unavoidable in many cases in this ends up being quite anecdotal, and one has to trust the author) from a Chinese Christian which ends "...we have a lot of experience of persecution. As Chinese missionaries, wherever we go, when we arrive in a place we always see what the escape route will be. (this is being contrasted to American and western missionaries) We have the view that Chinese missionaries will be part of the mainstream on the highway back to Jerusalem. The Muslim religion is the biggest obstacle on the road back to Jerusalem."

Now, a defeat of Islam from that quarter would rank up there with the coming of the Black Ships to the Fields of Pelennor. I am very interested to see where Christendom heads with vitalized churches in eastern Asia and Africa, and a maturing church in Latin America. As a Brazilian man, I'm quite proud, for example, that Brazil is now what the U.S. was in the late 19th century: the "primary exporter" of missionaries to the world at large.

Of course, this church needs to be educated...but will it come from established churches in the west, or will we leave the faithful but often poorly equipped Nigerian and Vietnamese Anglican primates and Presbyterian churches in Brazil and still-sullied Reformed churches in South Africa to themselves?

So as a Brazilian, I am proud. But as a Reformed man and a lover of the northern European heritage, I hope we do our bit . Let's not get left behind.

But, even doing our part, the glories of this battle will not belong to us (though many of us will be bruised, and wounded, and killed, and will kill) but to our brothers on the other side(s) of the world.

For once more the lust of battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people. And lo! even as he laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted his sword to defy them.

And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned toward the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor...

But the hosts of Mordor were seized with bewilderment, and a great wizardry it seemed to them that their own ships should be filled with their foes; and a black dread fell upon them...

But we are encompassed with snakes and dogs:

therefore some must labour, and others must

hold the spears.

Eliot, Choruses from "The Rock", V