Tibetan believers: interaction of faith and culture

It was hope that attracted me to Christians. And it was grasping hold of the hope offered that led to my family’s displeasure. Mum is the only one who does not despise me. I can see in her face that she loves me still … And to think that had I been born 100 years earlier, my family could have enjoyed  what they offered in our own hometown …

Decades after the last of the missionaries left due to local regulations forbidding them to remain, modern communism teaching has undermined a lot of the traditional religious beliefs of young people like me. In fact, our atheistic education has affected us to such an extent that at last we are more open to the faith that those saints of the last century espoused.

It was in trying to grab hold of the hope that those missionaries of old had tried so hard to give my people that led em to being branded a rebel. I had always been a good student and now I am a diligent worker. I have never even cut my hair, like some modern city-dwelling Tibetan women. However, my family see me as a rebel because I wear jeans and T-shirt rather than the traditional garb of my people, because I chose to marry a Chinese man rather than someone from my own people and because I turned my back on my people’s religion and the repetitious prayers and expensive prayer flags, prayer beads and prayer wheels that are supposed to earn my parents merit as well as myself.

… the rest of my family think that my rejection of our cultural values is going to damn my mother to a terrible life in her next reincarnation. I don’t know what I think. I am confused. … Some Chinese Christians led me through a prayer of commitment a few years ago, when I was a young university student for whom everything was new and exciting. Having prayed the prayer, my Christian friends tell me that I’ll go to heaven when I die. The truth is, though, that I’ve never followed through much with it…

Pray that Tibetan people will see that they can be both proudly Tibetan and proudly Christians.

Pray for Chinese Christians today who are in a unique position to reach out to people like the young woman in this piece.

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