To what extent does Chinese culture emphasize the value of honor and shame? How does honor and shame affect the beliefs and practices of the church in China? When Westerners visit or serve there, what should they be aware of—concerning themselves and Chinese cultural values?
Here’s an article with many insights and suggestions. “Authority in a Collectivistic Church: Identifying Critical Concerns for a Chinese Ecclesiology” by Jackson Wu (pseudonym), appeared in the October 2011 issue of Global Missiology. The author has graciously given me permission to promote his article on my blog and include it on my Resources page. Don’t be put off by the title. It’s a readable paper about honor-shame dynamics in the Chinese church—born of much research and ministry experience living among the Chinese.
Wu’s article provides an overview of how honor and shame is woven into the beliefs and practices of the church in China. “In particular,” Wu summarizes, “we see that collectivism and an honor-oriented value system are fundamental to Chinese identity. Our examination of Scripture highlights key areas of overlap between a [Chinese] community and biblical conceptions of the Church.”
Wu’s applications include …
- “Chinese church leaders can become more conscious of their decisions in light of western influences and their own cultural assumptions.”
- “Missionaries can assess their strategies and better serve Chinese churches.”
- “The reflections offer a richer reading of the biblical text.”