Author Archives: Lue-Yee Tsang

Who Are You? Who Is Jesus to You?

In class I’ve been asked to introduce myself and to explain who Jesus is to me and why. I’ve tried to integrate these two things as well as possible, but in my answer below I don’t even quote Calvin on knowing self and knowing God.

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Hello, I’m Lue-Yee Tsang, a Latin teacher at a classical Christian school in northern Virginia and a part-time student at Wycliffe. The name my parents gave me refers to Psalm 23.3 and means ‘walking in [paths of] righteousness’; unlike many American-born persons of Chinese descent, I have no English name, so my Chinese name is my English name. Perhaps in part for this very reason, I identify not as an Asian American but as an overseas Chinese, and my Chinese identity and my Christian identity are bound up in one another. This fact may surprise those who know I’m Anglican, since that tradition’s roots are in a very particular culture’s Christian identity, but I was brought up to be both Christian and Chinese, and not a day have I lived with one and not the other. Though I know many non-Christian Chinese and many non-Chinese Christians, in my own experience to be one is also to be the other.

For me, though in a different way than for the Hebrews of old, Jesus is the heavenly emperor the Chinese have been waiting for. For the Chinese, the king and later the emperor was the Son of Heaven, the nexus of heaven and earth, through whom God in heaven both ruled the society of man and took order over the earth according to its times and seasons. Like Melchizedek, the emperor was a priest-king; like Moses, who was a kind of image of God on earth (‘see, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet’), the emperor interceded for the people before the Most High. When a natural disaster struck, even into the Song dynasty an emperor would sometimes issue an edict of self-criticism, declaring his sins for which he supposed that God had brought calamity upon the people (cf. 1 Chron. 21.16–17). And in our own uncertain days, after many incursions of Western imperialists in China, and the civil wars and other massive upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the continued mischief of American imperialists and corrupt Chinese, Jesus is my heavenly emperor who has done what no other emperor could: having taken on my flesh as the prologue of John declares, Jesus gave his life for the sins of all and was bodily raised on the third day to make me – to make us – part of a new body.

No emperor born in sin, however powerful and however loving, has ever worked so powerfully or shown such great love, that ‘we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear; in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.’ Therefore, by my baptism I can happily say, in the words of the Heidelberg Catechism, that this is my only comfort in life and in death: ‘That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.’ Nothing but Jesus is satisfactory; everything else is vapour, and man’s days are like grass. Having him, I have all things that I need, even when I don’t know it. Truly, being very God of very God, and the only-begotten Son of God, he is God’s Anointed in the highest and deepest sense. In Christ Jesus, and only in Christ Jesus, can my name itself be truly fulfilled in the sight of God and in my own conscience: Walking-in-righteousness.

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How to Promote Chastity Among Christian Women

Vierge à l'Enfant, mosaïque de l'abside de Sainte-Sophie (Istanbul, Turquie)

Encourage respect for the Blessed Virgin Mary as the greatest of saints, through whose chaste obedience Christ came into the world and saved us. Her image with that of her Son should be in every Christian home, that believers may remember and bless her godly example. Not everyone is called to give virgin birth, but every woman is called to obedience and some kind of motherhood.

For what God has done through her the Byzantines sing,

It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, the ever most blessed, and entirely blameless, and Mother of our God. The more honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who didst bear without corruption God the Word: thee, verily the Theotokos, we magnify.

I Like My School

I’m very thankful for fellowship with other teachers at my school, learning from them and challenging their thoughts as well. I hope other people get to enjoy this blessing as more classical Christian schools open around the world, and I hope more children get to learn in such places, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord in loco parentis. Curriculum is great, but it’s the people who make the school.

Send a King, O Lord

O Lord, raise up men in the Church who will be kings indeed, humbling themselves before thee all the days of their lives, that they may give glory to thee and by emptying receive power from on high. For as David was a great sinner but learned his destitution before thy face, so empty us, Almighty God, of our self-sufficiency, and teach us the power that is made perfect in our impotence. Raise up for us Christian kings and emperors whose greatness is in having nothing to boast of but thy grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What the Mainstream Media Call White Nationalism

In my view, it’d be good to reduce immigration close to zero, make English the official language in the general government (while allowing coöfficial status to other languages locally, such as French in Louisiana and Hawai‘ian in Hawai‘i), and maintain as a goal the cultural and genetic assimilation of new Americans to the traditional Americans of each place. This would mean immigrants and their descendants tended to become culturally and genetically whiter, but the older diversity of now-indigenous American cultures (not only White but also Black and Amerindian) would better emerge as these native peoples’ cultural interests were protected by statute and custom.

Only remember how the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was destroyed by wicked men, and the Hawai‘ians dispossessed of control over their own native soil, against the protestations of Queen Lili‘uokalani, who appealed to the witness and justice of Christ, and you see the same thing can be done to America at large.

I’m sure someone will want to call me a White nationalist for this reason, but everyone should know I’m a Chinese-empire nationalist if it be accurate to call me a nationalist at all. And why have I, born in America, never assimilated? Because there was but little traditional culture for me to conform to – though I have learned Latin like a good American and generally dress like a respectable old-stock American – and I am not an Asian American but an overseas Chinese. One day, God willing, my family can return to the land of my fathers.

Aside

Oh, look, the UECNA has a new and much improved look for its website. And, as Prydain says, the website’s Theological Institute section has some very good videos covering such topics as the Apocrypha, English church history, the history and … Continue reading

Adapting Western Clothes Ethnically

Jessica R. Metcalfe wrote in 2011 about an Ojibwe Indian named Bagone-giizhig, or Hole-in-the-Day the Younger.

She said of Hole-in-the-Day,

He dressed in fashionable European-style clothes, but he always kept his hair long and continued to wear a blanket draped across one shoulder. Euro-American fashion was simplistic in the 1800s, and individuals like Hole-In-The-Day made it visually more exciting with the inclusion of Ojibwe accessories and items of adornment. He also continued to wear Ojibwe-style moccasins.

Perhaps this is how other non-Westerners ought to wear their Europæan-style clothes. How might Chinese men do this?

Visual and Aural Æsthetics of Hagia Sophia

Take a look.

‘Trump calls for deportations without judicial process,’ says BBC

Such is the sensational headline used by BBC to describe what President Trump has said. Likewise, the New York Times says in a headline, ‘Trump calls for depriving immigrants who illegally cross border of due process rights’.

In Japan, meanwhile, clear cases of illegal immigration are not a judicial matter at all, but an administrative matter. Japan routinely deports known illegal immigrants without trial. Indeed, classifying illegal immigration as an administrative matter makes the most sense if – as some loudly assert – illegally entering the United States is not a crime but a mere lack of administrative documentation. What we should ask is, Why and since when does America treat obvious cases of illegal immigration as matters to be resolved by courts at all, rather than as routine matters of administration?

Proudhon and Authority: Federalism and Mutualism

Robert Nisbet says in The Social Philosophers: Community and Conflict in Western Thought (Crowell, 1973), 371,

To the growing bigness of things economic and political, Proudhon opposed the necessity of a society based upon small groups and communities. These would be only loosely connected in a commune, which would be the next-highest level of organization. Each group – whether a family or a local or work association – would be sovereign over all matters affecting it alone. There would be no masses of individuals each directly related by a potentially tyrannous conception of citizenship to the all-powerful central state. Federalism and mutualism would be the keys to the good society. From mutualism would proceed the groups and communities made desirable by human nature and social function, with a maximum of autonomy in each. From federalism would proceed the necessary political structure of that autonomy to be found in each form of group and association. Thus would be achieved, not direct rule through centralized bureaucracy, but indirect rule, with a high premium placed upon decentralization and division of powers.

To me, this sounds quite close to Althusius, and rather far from (anything I have seen of) Schmitt. Proudhon’s vision of human society is certainly attractive; on the other hand, against the forces of global neoliberalism, the New Left, a nation’s defence requires the power to marshal the œconomic and military and cultural forces strong enough to withstand warring aggressors on every front – in a word, autarky. This is something that perhaps Althusius can supply in theory if Proudhon cannot:

The communion of right (jus) is the process by which the symbiotes live and are ruled by just laws in a common life among themselves. This communion of right is called the law of association and symbiosis (lex consociationis et symbiosis), or the symbiotic right (jus symbioticum), and consists especially of self-sufficiency (αὐταρκείᾳ), good order (εὐνομίᾳ), and proper discipline (ἑὐταξίᾳ).

Thomas O. Hueglin has brought the two in dialogue. I should read more. What do you think?

Introducing Wang Yi 王怡’s 95 Theses on the House Church

As reported by the South China Morning Post, on 4 June of this year (this past Monday), ‘hours before a planned evening service to commemorate the Tiananmen Square anniversary’, Early Rain Covenant Church 秋雨之福歸正教會, a Presbyterian church in Chengdu 成都, was raided by police. According to SCMP, ‘The Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, had planned a two-hour prayer session at 7.30pm to mourn those killed in Beijing 29 years ago.’

My purpose here is not to explain the political implications of what was done either by Early Rain Covenant Church or by the police in Chengdu, but to draw attention to a document issued in 2015 by the church’s head pastor, Wang Yi 王怡. This document was ‘95 Theses: The Reaffirmation of our Stance on the House Church’ – or, in Chinese (simplified characters), 我们对家庭教会立场的重申(九十五条). Evoking the 95 theses of Martin Luther, these theses by Wang Yi were published online to coincide approximately with the 60th anniversary of the arrest of Wang Mingdao 王明道 in June 1955 for publishing ‘We Are for the Faith’, a declaration of the reason he and others refused to join the Party-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). Wang Yi’s 95 theses are structured as follows:

Theses 1–17: God’s Sovereignty and Biblical Authority.
Theses 18–31: God’s Law and Christ’s Redemption.
Theses 32–39: Against the ‘Sinicization of Christianity’.
Theses 40–44: Church as the Body of Christ and His Kingdom.
Theses 45–72: The Relationship between Two Kingdoms and the Separation of Church and State.
Theses 73–95: Against the ‘Three-Self Movement’, and Affirmation of the Great Commission.

With some of Wang Yi’s 95 theses I heartily agree, and with others I firmly disagree on grounds both biblical and historical. I intend hereafter to write several blog posts here evaluating the principles expressed in these 95 theses. In the meantime, some will find it useful to read Chloë Starr’s 2016 article ‘Wang Yi and the 95 Theses of the Chinese Reformed Church’.

為流產、墮胎死去的小孩舉辦案葬禮

教會若為流產、墮胎死去的小孩舉辦案葬禮,邀請全體的基督徒來送殯,經常在耶和華面前致哀痛悔,結果會如何呢?

https://m.weibo.cn/status/4248091403501809

Limitations of Suzhounese

Suzhounese 蘇州話, spoken in Suzhou 蘇州 (anciently known as Gusu 姑蘇) in Jiangsu 江蘇 province, sounds nice for saying nice things to your wife, and it sounds very attractive when spoken by women, but I couldn’t take seriously any military orders given in that language.

Addai and Mari for the Church of China Today?

To do honour to the Lord’s work in China of old, the Church of China could follow the first Chinese Christians in using the Anaphora of Addai and Mari (whose structure and content Thomas Mannooramparampil explains), at least on certain days. This Anaphora could be used within the existing Holy Communion service on the feast day of St Thomas the Apostle, on whatever feast day might be set for Alopen 阿羅本 the Missionary (7c.), and on Sundays in Lent:

First Gehanta, after the opening dialogue

Worthy of praise from every mouth and of confession from every tongue is the adorable and glorious name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost, who didst create the world by thy grace and its inhabitants by thy mercifulness and didst save mankind by thy compassion and give great grace unto mortals.

Sanctus

Thy majesty, O my Lord, thousand thousands of those on high bow down and worship and ten thousand times ten thousand holy angels and hosts of spiritual beings, ministers of fire and spirit, praise thy name with holy cherubin and seraphin shouting and praising without ceasing and crying one to another and saying:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts; heaven and earth are full of his praises.

Second Gehanta

And with these heavenly hosts we give thanks to thee, O my Lord, even we thy servants weak and frail and miserable, for that thou hast given us great grace past recompense in that thou didst put on our manhood that thou mightest quicken it by thy godhead, and hast exalted our low estate and restored our fall and raised our mortality and forgiven our trespasses and justified our sinfulness and enlightened our knowledge and, O our Lord and our God, hast condemned our enemies and granted victory to the weakness of our frail nature in the overflowing mercies of thy grace.

Third Gehanta

Do thou, O my Lord, in thy many and unspeakable mercies make a good and acceptable memorial for all the just and righteous fathers who have been wellpleasing in thy sight, in the commemoration of the body and blood of thy Christ which we offer unto thee on thy pure and holy altar as thou hast taught us, and grant us thy tranquillity and thy peace all the days of the world.

Yea, O our Lord and our God, grant us thy tranquillity and thy peace all the days of the world that all the inhabitants of the earth may know thee that thou art the only true God the Father and that thou hast sent our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son and thy beloved. And he our Lord and our God came and in his lifegiving gospel taught us all the purity and holiness of the prophets and the apostles and the martyrs and the confessors and the bishops and the doctors and the presbyters and the deacons and all the children of the holy catholic church, even them that have been signed with the living sign of holy baptism.

Anamnesis

And we also, O my Lord, thy weak and frail and miserable servants who are gathered together in thy name, both stand before thee at this time and have received the example which is from thee delivered unto us, rejoicing and praising and exalting and commemorating and celebrating this great and fearful and holy and lifegiving and divine mystery of the passion and the death and the burial and the resurrection of our Lord our Saviour Jesus Christ.

[For on the night in which he was betrayed, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.]

Epiclesis

And let there come, O my Lord, thine Holy Spirit and rest upon this offering of thy servants and bless it and hallow it, that it be to us, O my Lord, for the pardon of offences and the remission of sins and for the great hope of resurrection from the dead and for new life in the kingdom of heaven with all those who have been wellpleasing in thy sight.

Doxology

And for all this great and marvellous dispensation towards us we will give thee thanks and praise thee without ceasing in thy Church redeemed by the precious blood of thy Christ, with unclosed mouths and open faces lifting up praise and honour and confession and worship to thy living and holy and lifegiving name now and ever and world without end.

Kuyper Against Liberal Modernism

A blog post by Steve Macias on Kuyper’s debt to Tractarianism’s anti-Whiggery led me to James Bratt’s book Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat (Eerdmans, 2013). He says,

Perhaps, I am putting too much weight on Kuyper’s conversion story and its connection to the Tractarians, but they both spring from the same revolt against modernity. Both Neo-Calvinism and Anglican Traditionalism are born to combat the tides of what they saw as liberalism. It is impossible to understand the Anglo-Catholics as a liturgical movement alone, they also represented an anti-modernist political philosophy for the Church against the encroachments of ‘whiggery’. In a similar way, Kuyper would develop a political theology as a result of his high view of the church, as a defence against modernism, not as a tool for power or mere social engagement.

I myself have no confidence in Christian democracy, certainly as it has become in the late 20th century and early 21st, and I’m pretty sure Kuyper was wrong about many things, but I probably should read Kuyper and read about Kuyper.