Baptism

We spent the last few days in Nanjing – visited a church way out in the country-side, the memorial to the Nanjing Massacre, and the Amity Foundation, among much else.

One moment that stuck in my mind was a conversation with our tour guide around Nanjing today, a young woman who was baptized about three years ago. I asked her about the kind of preparation she had been through before she was baptized and she told a fascinating and involved story about what a big decision it was for her. One of her fears before being baptized was that she didn’t know what it would feel like and she didn’t quite understand what this “new life” would be like. Would she actually die? She said it took her an agonizing few months to decide. But she eventually did and said the feeling she had when she emerged from the water was inexplicably terrific and that she now considers that day her true birthday.

Wow.

When I wasn’t getting caught up in her story, I thought about how in the early church non-Christians didn’t understand what it meant to eat the body of Christ in a “love feast.” But there’s other Christian lingo that is hard to understand as well. It confirmed for me how the church in China is a lot like the early church. More on that in another post.

We took the high-speed train from Nanjing to Shanghai this evening. This is a distance about as far as Boston is from New York (a little shorter). We did it in 80 minutes (with one stop), hitting speeds of over 200 miles an hour. In June, they’re opening a new line on the Beijing to Nanjing line, a trip that is over 1000km. That trip took us 8 hours. Next month, it’ll be 3. Speed isn’t everything, but still…

Shanghai is a major international city with huge amounts of neon and tall buildings (and according to the tour book a quarter of the world’s construction towers – a significant percentage are elsewhere in China, I am sure). This article from Nicholas Kristof recently has given me some good context for thinking about Shanghai.

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