5 Things I Learned in 2010

Surprise Durham Christmas Day snow, taken with my too-much-adored IPhone

“We’ve moved from rich Christians in an age of hunger to rich Christians in an age of poor Christians,” one 2010 commentator said.  My January journeys to east Africa (Burundi in 2010) refresh and ground me in the earthiness of where most Christians now live in this world – at the margins of poverty, violence, or disease – and the wonder that even in that suffering, I am startled to find God is always planting astounding seeds of hope …

… From The Lord of the Rings to Mr. Ives’ Christmas to The Beloved Community to my 2010 discovery of Bel Canto, I learned the books that change me are ultimately about the transfiguration of ordinary lives and life into something holy and extraordinary, beyond what they could have imagined …

… My initial optimism about Obama’s election with respect to race relations underestimated a deep white (and evangelical) resistance to him – reflected, for example, in nearly 20% of Americans continuing to insist he is Muslim.  That is not simply political difference but something insidious …

… I confess I still don’t “get” Facebook, yet also confess: I have fallen in love with the IPhone a couple friends gave me …

… China scares, mystifies, and intrigues me, I realized at a gathering of East Asian leaders in Seoul.  How can the nation’s political leaders get away with such popular buy-in to economic growth, while hiding painful realities such as the starvation of 35 million Chinese during the Mao years, while honoring his body in a Beijing mausoleum?  “The [Chinese Communist] Party is like God,” says a professor from People’s University in Beijing.  “He is everywhere. You just can’t see him” (see The Party) …

See 5 (more) things I learned in 2010

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.  He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers.

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  1. Chris, you are correct about the vilification of Obama. It’s not about political differences. It’s about fear and loathing of the racial other.

  2. Chris, Dave and I just spent a month in China (long story) and it was an incredibly eye-opening experience. A discordant juxtaposition between run-away economic capitalism and a totalitarian government. (We were visited by police in two cities who wanted to know what we were doing there.) We met wonderful people–both ex-pats and Chinese–who took us in (total strangers, with only our faith in common), but the realities they live with and seem to accept was startling to these two spoiled Americans who take our liberties and blessings for granted. But we agree with you: China scares, mystifies, and intrigues us, too.–Neta

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