An Interesting Church

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Feb 16, 2017 01:06
Last Sunday night, I took a walk after eating in a downtown restaurant and saw a newly built road. This road extended through a few old city blocks. After taking this road for a stroll for 20 or so minutes, I noticed a strange building on the sidewalk. It looked like a three-story temple, but was topped with a cross. The sound of singing voices from inside. “Perhaps it's a church,” I thought. I decided to check it out.

Upon entering, a person handed me a Bible and said, “The hall is on the second floor. Please sit in the front rows.” I went upstairs and saw a huge hall. There were more than one hundred people over there. A choir of five were chanting on stage. They were singing what sounded like pop music, which seemed weird to me. I thought that perhaps a traditional hymn would have been more approriate.

After singing, a lady of the choir remained on the platform. She said aloud through a mic, “Please recite Bible chapter XX after me.” (I can’t remember which chapter, but it was some part of the Chinese version of the New Testament). I read along for a while. The translation was atrocious. It was abstruse and verbose. I had no idea what it was saying. But people around me seemed to enjoy reciting it.

After the reciting session, a priest came onstage and gave a lecture. The theme was “How to practice corporal sacrifice to God.” Looking around, I noticed several screens on the walls, on which the script of the lecture was written. It was actually quite modern. The lecture was abstruse as well. I didn’t understand it at all.

After the lecture, I stepped downstairs and saw a bulletin board. There was a guide for how Chinese Christians should observe Chinese New Year. There were three main points. First, Christians should celebrate Chinese New Year physically, not spiritually. Second, do not say “恭喜发财” (wish you will make lots of money) because it is a lie and Christians should be honest. Besides, the fate of making money was decided by God and humans shouldn’t be overly greedy. Third, reply “I don’t know” in answer to any question regarding the Chinese animal zodiac because you belong to God rather than an animal.

It was an interesting experience. I wouldn’t have discovered that big church without that newly built road. It’d originally have been hidden in an old block. I later looked it up online and learned that the church is the largest in my city. It was established more than one hundred years ago by the London branch of Christianity but it was managed by Americans a few years later. Upon the foundation of the PRC, the Chinese government took it over with the concern that the church would be used by Americans to hide spies.

I know Christianity has a huge influence on English-speaking countries. How are things today? I learned that American presidents hold a Bible in hand while being sworn into the office. On American currency notes it says “In God We Trust.”

上周日,在市中心一个餐馆吃晚饭后,我散了一会儿步,看到一条刚修的路,这条路穿过了老城区。在这条路上走了大约20分钟后,看见路边有一个奇怪的建筑,看起来像个寺庙,有三层,但是顶上有一个十字架。从里面传来歌声,可能是一个教堂,所以我决定进去看看。

一进门,有一个人递给我一本《圣经》,说:“大厅在二楼,请坐前排哦!”我上了二楼,发现大厅很大,里面大约有百来个人。一个5人唱诗班在台上唱歌,但是唱的内容很像流行歌曲,感觉怪怪的。我觉得如果唱传统赞美诗可能更有氛围。

唱完歌后,唱诗班的一个美女留在讲台上,手握麦克风,说:“大家请跟我朗诵《圣经》。”(具体哪部分内容记不太清了,但记得是新约部分,中文版。)我跟着她读了一会儿,感觉翻译得很差劲,晦涩难懂,很拗口。不知道书里讲的是啥,但是我身边的人都很沉浸其中。

读完圣经后,一个牧师上台,开始讲课。主题是:“如何向神肉祭。" 环顾四周,发现墙上有几个屏幕,上面有讲课内容。还蛮先进的。课程内容同样晦涩难懂,我也完全不知道在讲些什么。

听完课后,我下了楼,看见一个公示栏。上面有基督徒过春节指南。有三点内容:第一,可以肉体过年,但不能精神过年。第二,不能说“恭喜发财”,因为这是违心话,基督徒们不能说假话。另外,赚钱的命上天注定,人不能贪婪,过度索取。第三,关于属相问题,一概回答不知道。因为身体是上帝的,不属某种动物。

很有意思的一次经历。如果不是那条新修的路,我不会发现那么大的一个教堂。原本养在深闺人未识,现在重见天日。后来我去网上搜了一下资料,得知这个教堂是本市最大的一个,一百多年前由基督教伦敦分会资助建设,几年后由美国人接管。新中国成立后,政府接手,因为担心美帝安插*间**谍。

我知道基督教在英语国家很有影响。现在情况还是这样的吗?我看见美国总统宣誓的时候,手里会拿着一本圣经。美元钞票上面,写着“In God We Trust”。
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