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向海外传教,有必要吗? 赛珍珠(刘欣华译)

2017-12-3

“Is There a Case for Foreign Missions?”


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Pearl Buck received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938.
“Is There A Case for Foreign Missions?”  That was the title of a speech delivered by the writer, Pearl Buck, for a packed gathering organized by the Presbyterian Church in November 1932.  Buck, in summarizing four decades of experience as a missionary kid, wife and teacher in China, was grappling with the deeply problematic inheritance she had received- namely, the notion that Christian missionaries were righteous purveyors of civilization, charged with enlightening a backwards Chinese people.
Pearl bore witness to what she had seen: “I have seen the missionary narrow, uncharitable, unappreciative, ignorant.  I have seen missionaries…so lacking in sympathy for the people they were supposed to be saving, so scornful of any civilization but their own, so harsh in their judgments upon one another, so coarse and insensitive among a sensitive and cultivated people, that my heart has fairly bled with shame.  I can never have done with my apologies to the Chinese people that in the name of a gentle Christ we have sent such people to them.”
Years earlier, when Pearl had been asked to give a talk to missionary trainees in Nanjing, China, she had given advice that remains deeply relevant for the missional church in our time: “‘Don’t mistake a psychological complex for religious emotion or divine leadership…Don’t mistake a wish of your own for the will of God, nor hurt vanity…for a call of duty to persist in your own way."”
Instead, Pearl advised her students, in the words of biographer Hilary Spurling, “to cultivate a sense of humor and proportion; to recognize the notion of a single, fixed, unalterable truth as superstitious absurdity; and never to be deluded into operating on anything less than an absolute equality: ‘We simply cannot express the Gospel with any force if we have hidden within us a sense of racial superiority…We are no better than anyone else, any of us."”
We are no better than anyone else, any of us.
Pearl’s cautionary words here are a helpful antidote to the most subtle displays of religious chauvinism, whatever the “mission field” (be it a faraway land or right here at home). The whole “proud-to-be-a-Christian” mantra that can accompany more aggressive displays of evangelicalism in my own country is deeply suspicious.  One need not be ashamed of one’s faith in order to recognize the slippery slope here.
In an article four years later, titled “Is There a Place for the Foreign Missionary?,” Pearl concluded that missionaries’ often summary dismissal of Chinese philosophy and culture made their position “untenable” (Spurling’s term): “More insidious in its pessimism is…the question of whether anyone has the right to impress upon another the forms of his own civilization, whether these forms are religious or not.”
Wise and prescient words from someone qualified to deliver them.



向海外传教,有必要吗?


赛珍珠


        1932年11月2日,赛珍珠破例地接受了长老会女教徒们的邀请,在纽约的阿斯塔饭店面对近两千名听众作演讲。纽约市里一些显赫的牧师也在来宾之列。类似这种场合的发言,一般都是表达演讲者对宗教的虔诚信仰。赛珍珠却借机发表了长篇演说,深入阐述了自己对宗教、特别是海外传教问题的看法。
  演讲题为《海外传教,有必要吗?》,回答是否定的。她措辞谨慎但立场鲜明。尽管她声称自己的批评并不是否定基督教的基本教义。
    赛珍珠总结了作为传教士的孩子,传教士的妻子和在中国四十年生活的经验以及在中国当老师的经历,她说:我正在努力解决他们(传教士)所受到的关于中国深重的文化遗产问题的困扰:即基督教传教士是文明的正义传播者,负责启迪一个落后的中国民族吗? “
     赛珍珠见证了她所看到的:“我看到传教士狭隘,冷漠,不敬,无知。我看到传教士们对于他们应该拯救的人民缺乏同情,对他们的文明如此蔑视,对彼此的判断如此苛刻,在一个敏感和有修养的人群中如此粗鲁和漠不关心,以至于我感到相当耻辱。我永远不能向中国人民解释——以一个温柔的基督的名义,把你们这样的人送到他们手中——是不可理喻的。“
     多年前,当赛珍珠被要求在中国南京的传教士学员讲话时,她提出了一些建议,这些建议对于我们这个时代的传教教会来说仍然是非常重要的:“不要把一个心理复杂的错误当作宗教情感或神的旨意......不要把自己的愿望误认为是上帝的意志,也不要伤害中国人的文化尊严......我要以自己的方式坚持自己的责任。“
相反,赛珍珠以传记作家希拉里·斯普林(Hilary Spurling)的话来建议她的学生:“培养幽默感和比例感;承认单一的,固定的,不可改变的宗教说教是迷信的荒谬的概念;永远不要被欺骗,只能用绝对的平等来界定:“如果我们隐藏在我们内部的种族优越感之中,我们根本无法用任何力量来表达福音......我们任何人都不比别人好。 ”
    我们任何人都不比别人好。
    无论是“宣教使命领域”(无论是遥远的国土,还是家中的任何地方),赛珍珠在这里的警示词都是对宗教沙文主义最微妙表现的一种有益的解药。整个“骄傲的基督教”的口头禅,可以伴随我国更多的福音派展开的福音传播,是非常可疑的。为了认识这里的滑坡,人们不必为自己的信仰感到羞耻。在四年后的一篇名为“外国传教士有一席之地”的文章中,塞珍珠认为,传教士经常对中国哲学和文化的总结和解释,使他们的立场“站不住脚”(斯皮林的名词):“悲观主义者更为阴险,是否有人有权把自己的文明形式强加在其他民族的身上? 无论这些形式是否是宗教的。这是来自对于中国文化有资格的人的明智和先知的话。

   

    在中国、美国许多地方,赛珍珠都仍然公开声称她极为讨厌那些“喋喋不休的布道”,说布道只会“扼杀思想,蛊惑人心,在中国教会里制造出一批伪君子”。她认为,“空谈无益,基督徒应该给中国人提供实实在在的服务,譬如教育、医疗和卫生”。
    在塞珍珠的演讲会上的听众和数周后在杂志上读到这篇发言的人,纷纷写信给传教董事会,除少数要求保护赛珍珠的言论权利外,大多数人要求对她严加惩罚。长老会曾有传闻,教会法庭要以异端邪说的罪名审判她。但是,美国毕竟是美国,不会有人因为言论而入狱。不久,赛珍珠便愤然辞去了传教士的职务,以此表明自己不可动摇的立场与态度。(刘欣华译)