Holly went to the seminary to hear Mark ? speak and to bring him to the Zhi Mian office. He’s part of this visiting delegation from Fuller Theological School’s psychology program, and was excited to hear that Holly’s thinking about their program. As he said it, they want someone who has some language and would be in China. Holly would fit in well on both counts. We talked about what it means to be part of an organization working in China and how MPC is built on the guanxi of the teachers towing the line so the higher ups have the ability to do cool stuff. Of course, the teachers get no access to the privileges, just bear responsibility. Being here completely independently would give people like Holly more freedom to make relationships with whoever she wanted than fitting into the MPC “here’s who we deal with” structure.
Especially about Zhi Mian and the seminary. Last year around this time is when all the shit went down that got Dr. Wang all disliked over there, and things are only slowly returning to normal. But Holly has to keep a low profile as a Zhi Mian employee so as to keep the peace, which is frustrating. She lives three doors down from it and yesterday was the first time she’d gone on the grounds. “If we’re trying to make connections why do I have to be invisible?” is the question.
Yesterday her plan was to be an English teacher at the seminary and work at Zhi Mian part time. That way it would be even and open. Who knows if that would actually work. But the bouncing between school and business, work and study is a big issue for Holly these days.
We ate with Wang Jing and Zhang Guo Xian again at the porridge place last night. But we also had Guo Tie, the big fried jiaozi. So good. The porridge guy is round and sort of friendly. I got all confused with the ordering which made Holly realize I don’t understand nearly as much as she thinks I do.
At the seminary in the evening Al Dueck from Fuller was doing a pastoral counselling session with a bunch of pastors. The topic was grieving and how a pastor counsels people through the process. He sounded like such an NPR voice with the languid pace and innumerable pauses. “Lake Wobegone” Holly said. His translator seemed to be a seminary student who was quick but after an hour and a half his attention was flagging and he had more trouble. Especially on the “wife withholding sexual relations” and the technical genetic talk about Dueck’s daughter’s baby who she brought to term so it could live for three hours instead of aborting it. “This is a life,” she said. “It’s sacred.”
He also talked about a counselling survey done last year about what the biggest issues were. I was so happy that when he asked for stories the pastors gave him nothing. They could have been in Chinese even, what with the translator, but they behaved like my students always did. Not a peep. He was good at waiting for them though. They talked about loss and grief and made a loss line for Jesus. I realized that that was the Christ I liked, the one who God had forsaken, who no one understood.
There were a couple of pastors who as the session went on got involved in their cell phones, one beeping really loudly. And Holly got pulled out to take calls from Sun Wen and Xiao Meng about something Sun Wen hadn’t been listening to her about earlier. I’m so glad I don’t have to work for those people. Holly goes on about Xuefu’s genius but since I don’t see that part, they just seem like a couple of jerks. Not very fair of me I know but them’s the breaks. After the thing at the seminary we watched Little Miss Sunshine down at Zhi Mian with Xiao Meng and a couple of counsellors. I do like that movie.al dueck counselling fuller holly little miss sunshine mpc nanjing npr seminary sun wen the hangman wang jing wang xuefu xiao meng zhang guo xian zhi mian