July 10, 2020
Dear TCCBC church family,
Independence Day was last weekend, commemorating how the United States broke away from England to establish a new and independent country on this land, founded on the principles of freedom and democracy. This year marks the 244th anniversary of the United States of America, and it has long been one of the strongest powers in the world. The history of the founding of the United States is not very long compared to other countries in the world, but today its maturity and national conditions are eye-catching. This has led multitudes of people to emigrate to this country who yearn for the spirit of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. The reason why the United States is so envied and growing is because the US is willing to use the fear of God as the foundation of the country. “In God We Trust” is imprinted on all currency. Because of this belief, this country believes that the sanctity of human life and survival is endowed by God. Everybody is considered equal in this country and is treated and protected equally under the law regardless of race or color. In addition, during the two hundred years or so, how many forefathers and political leaders fought through storms. There were setbacks and failures, even civil war, but the US continued to pursue progress and innovation. The US is still the leading country in the world.
But the situation has recently changed with more and more troubling things happening here. There is the rampant coronavirus pandemic with more than 3.2 million infections and more than 135,000 deaths in the US. The incident of an improper enforcement of the law by police has caused social protests and riots across the US which have continued for several weeks without calming down. Many Americans are puzzled and surprised by the development of such things. How can a country that emphasizes the rule of law have initiatives to defund the or abolish the police? This has seriously dampened the morale of police throughout the US. What should be a happy moment celebrating Independence Day, instead there have been shootings in many big cities in the US, such as Philadelphia, New York, and Atlanta. In the Chicago area alone, there were 47 shootings last weekend. Many innocent people, even young children, were shot to death but these perpetrators were able to go unpunished. Not only that, but throughout the US, historic statues were smeared with paint or destroyed with blunt objects or pulled down to the ground with ropes and chains. Those who did these things claim that these statues are symbols of white superiority and the legacy of racial discrimination and must be eliminated from public places.
Frankly speaking, seeing the chaos in society has plunged us into an extremely low mood and frustrating dilemma. Do we even doubt that this is the American way of life that we yearn for? Will I be the next person crossing the street suddenly be killed by a gun for no reason?
Yes, we admit that there are still many problems and differences in this society. But we have to ask ourselves, what is the best way to solve these problems and differences? Can continuous roaring violence, looting and arson really make this society more peaceful? Can cutting police funding and pressing down police morale make for better law and order? Will demolishing controversial statues leave a blank in the history of the United States?
Have we thought very seriously about what exactly we believe? Do we really believe that these current phenomena in society can contribute to the progress of the US and eliminate disagreement between races in America? If not, then what path should the United States take?
I am not a politician and I have no political ideology. But I believe that the United States is a country ruled by law and a society dominated by public opinion. But such public opinion is definitely not representative of the riots in some places and the clamor of a few people. Today is also an era in which mass media is prevalent and many people may also use the media to drive and create public opinion. But how can we prove that these public opinions are the opinions of most people and the results that the people want?
If my understanding is correct, even science-based polls can only be used as a basis for political critics to judge affairs and as a reference for politicians to formulate legal norms. However, according to the American system, all laws are formulated through elected public representatives in the local congress or in the Senate and House of Representatives of the country. The representatives represent the people‘s voice and craft the most suitable decisions and laws based on what the people expected them to make. How can we elect a public representative or a member of Congress who can best represent the public opinion? In a democratic country like the US, every citizen can equally vote. There is no problem of whose vote counts more or less; only the few must obey the majority. Whether these public representatives or members of Congress can implement the will of the people and make decisions that the people want them to make will be a decisive key factor in whether they can be re-elected and continue to serve their people. Similarly, whether a public representative is competent and able to continue to serve is not a matter of approval or disapproval by a small number of people. It must be the votes and result made by the majority.
This is my personal understanding of American society ruled by law and I also believe that this system is a way to continuously advance the United States. In less than four months, there will be an election in the US. It may be that because an election is imminent that many politicians are very politically calculating. It is impossible for politicians to see what are the real values and interests of the American people since their sole focus is for votes. But I believe that the American electoral system is still a cherished social system in this world. Most American people maintain their rationality and good judgment; although they sometimes seem to be silent, the moment they vote they show their hearts intent.
Let us not be too irritable and disappointed. We believe that God continues to listen to our prayers and has pity for this country. Not only do we ask the Lord to control the coronavirus outbreak as soon as possible and develop an effective vaccine, we also want God to use the United States, a democratic and free country, to spread the gospel of Christ to all parts of the world, for many who are still groping in darkness to see the true light of Christ. More importantly, we must repent before God and ask God to forgive us for forsaking God’s truth and not relying on God’s wisdom and leadership.
As I mentioned to you last week, the current epidemic situation is still grim so our return to in-church worship and the church leadership training have been suspended. But this does not mean that we can relax and slack off spiritually. In addition to the current fellowships and online small group gatherings that are operating as usual, I would like to set up another weekday Bible study which will also meet over the internet. I will use Google Meet video conferencing to lead this Bible study group and will not use video or audio recording. According to my limited knowledge and understanding, you do not need to have a Google account to be able to attend. This Bible study will be in Chinese. If you would like to attend, just email me. You will receive a link to the meeting one or two days before each meeting; just click on the link at the specified time and you can join in.
The topic of this Bible study is “The Book of Amos.” The scheduled Bible study time is every other Wednesday night from 7:30 to 9:00. The current plan for this Bible study class to begin in August, with a Bible study every two weeks. We will have a test meeting on the evening of July 22. Therefore, if you want to participate in this Bible study, please notify me before July 20. Please use this email to reply directly to inform me that you will participate.
As mentioned last week, the church has prepared some care items, including hand lotion, hand towels, masks, toilet paper, etc. If you have need of any of these things, please contact a deacon. They will be happy to help you and know how get these items to you.
According to the statistics in the weekly bulletin, the number of online Sunday worshippers has declined a little in the past two weeks. We want to remind all brothers and sisters not to forget to prepare our hearts to worship our Lord on Sunday morning. Let the word of God be our life, our strength, and continue to run the path the Lord has put before us.
Relying on the Lord and standing steadily with you,
Pastor Job Lee, Senior Pastor
With fellow church leadership team