I just finished reading The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, rapidly. It's hard to describe the intense pull of a book like this without using some terrible cliché like, um; I couldn't put it down! Which is ridiculous, because how would I be able to play the guitar? Suffice it to say - this is a very good book. If I had to sum it up it one word it would be 'inspirational', although 'challenging' comes pretty close.
It's exciting to read about people who are consumed by zeal, full of faith and devoted to the kingdom of God. But it paints a picture that is in stark contrast to the church in the West today. I found myself asking the question "would I rather live where the church was growing under persecution, or be part of a stagnant unpersecuted church?" I'm not saying my church is stagnant, far from it, but it's a challenge to assess what my values are - comfort first or kingdom first?
In practical terms I've been stirred to pray more, and read the Bible more. Brother Yun fasted, prayed and wept for a Bible, and when he got one he devoured it.
There's a challenge for the church too, and that's something I'm exploring further in Asian Tigers for Christ by Michael Green. He discusses the growth of the Anglican church in South-East Asia, and points out some key strategies and ideologies that he thinks we need to adopt in the West if we want to see growth. Among them are fervent prayer and Biblical conservatism.
It is quite an Anglican book though, I mean, what is an 'archiepiscopal mantle'? Talking about Bishops, Synods and Dioceses in Singapore seems odd to me, but then I'm not Anglican, so it would. Green strongly emphasises the need for churches to work together across a wide network if they want to reach the whole region, and for a balance between social action and preaching the gospel.