“It has been a very long time since I’ve learned so much from a memoir. Chang was extremely careful to verify the facts of the historical events surrounding her family’s various issues.”
I must admit, there have been a number of our reads thus far that have invoked more of a negative apprehension for myself, rather than a delight in the fact that I broadened my intellectual knowledge on a new topic. However, “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang was extremely interesting in regard to helping to see a side of China and communism that I had not really embraced prior to now. Not only does the personal view of communism and politics of China present an interesting contrast to Western world Christianity, but the generational impacts also helped to see a perspective of change that could also be relational in understanding any cultures various views as determined by age. I gave an analogy in Bible class last night regarding the instruction regarding “cooking the Thanksgiving turkey” as delivered to a group of 70 year old ladies and a group of 18 year old teenagers; I asked how might the conversations be different? The answer from the congregation was laughter rather than comment. In regards to ministry, the necessity to see the impacts of one’s culture through the eyes of those you are addressing is crucial for communication; this book gave those perspectives through various windows: old vs young, communists vs rebel, women vs men, and on personal reflection, free vs forced.
One chapter really resonated with me because of a conversation we had in our church about six months ago; it was the chapter titled “Where there is a will to condemn, there is evidence.” Though I did not find this to be a religious book, once again I did find the parallels between the struggles of spreading the gospel uniquely tied to the personal struggles of others. It was rather interesting the looks I received in a bible class when I demonstrated the similarities held between communism and Christianity; that ultimate trust in the ultimate Super Power, which is God. As Christians, I am not sure there is an organization that is forced to buck against the system…or as described in this chapter…hide from the system like Christianity. In my own opinion, it is the pressure on Christianity that has forced so many to either hide it from others, or even worse, change and pervert it from the gospel message that is found in the Bible. Too often we see that the pressures of the world have more influence upon others than God Himself seems to have these days. The reading demonstrated the fear that was instilled in the people, which prevented them from standing up against the oppressing authorities, even though they would have deep seated feelings that opposed their methods.
In reading reviews, the sentiment regarding this book was, as is normally expected, divided. Chang’s own website shared a review from Hillary Clinton, which boasted, “An inspiring tale of women who survived every kind of hardship, deprivation and political upheaval with their humanity intact.” And yet, in contrast, another review wrote, “While our knowledge of Chinese history may be shadowy in places, it seems unlikely that our understanding of all these landmarks should be so far out. It is easy to get swept up in Chang’s enthusiasm for her subject and excitement at their “discoveries”. The success of Wild Swans has perhaps given her a touchingly naive confidence in a book’s revolutionary influence.” So what is the potential influencing power of a work such as “Wild Swans?” Well, I suppose the answer lies in what you hope to learn from the book itself. For myself, again I point out that my ultimate desire is to find some sort of fundamental message that will help further the ministry of the Gospel; primarily in regard to its help with my dissertation on the necessity of diversity in the church. With that in mind, there are so many ways in which this book could help to further the message of diversity. As previously mentioned, its topic discussions regarding the cultural and political influences as viewed through the eyes of different generations, races and ages could (at least I believe) easily show the value of these differences in a church setting. In fact, it is because of the drastic expanse between those discussed that the reader can see each ones influence on the topic of diversity. Though the book focused more on the topic of counteracting the politics of communism, the parallel message for us as Christians is that though no one ever seems to serve the same purpose in spreading a message, everyone serves some purpose…so what is YOUR purpose?
“The other hallmark of Maoism, it seemed to me, was the reign of ignorance. Because of his calculation that the cultured class were an easy target for a population that was largely illiterate, because of his own deep resentment of formal education and the educated, because of his megalomania, which led to his scorn for the great figures of Chinese culture, and because of his contempt for the areas of Chinese civilization that he did not understand, such as architecture, art, and music, Mao destroyed much of the country’s cultural heritage.” This comment is similar to the issue I am addressing in my own dissertation, in that, the ignorance that many have in the structure and methodology taught to us in the Bible, has resulted in far too many trying to revised, edit, or even remove the influences of Scripture in the modern day forming of the church. If more time and education were given to the instructions and motives of God’s message for His faithful, I believe we would see a stronger and better equipped church. However, as long as people only react to Christianity based upon their own prejudices, preferences, and modern day adaptations of appropriateness, they will not only miss the beauty that is true Christianity, but also fail to capitalize one the uniqueness of God’s plan for diversity in the body of Christ.
 McNeil, Amanda. Opinionsofawolf.com. February 24, 2011. https://opinionsofawolf.com/2011/02/24/book-review-wild-swans-three-daughters-of-china-by-jung-chang/ (accessed June 14, 2018).
 Chang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. New York: Touchstone, 1991. P 331.
 Jungchang.net. n.d. http://www.jungchang.net/reviews (accessed June 14, 2018).
 Cape, Jonathan. The Guardian. May 26, 2005. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/may/26/biography.china (accessed June 14, 2018).
 Chang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. New York: Touchstone, 1991. P 518.
Cape, Jonathan. The Guardian. May 26, 2005. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/may/26/biography.china (accessed June 14, 2018).
Chang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. New York: Touchstone, 1991.
Jungchang.net. n.d. http://www.jungchang.net/reviews (accessed June 14, 2018).
McNeil, Amanda. Opinionsofawolf.com. February 24, 2011. https://opinionsofawolf.com/2011/02/24/book-review-wild-swans-three-daughters-of-china-by-jung-chang/ (accessed June 14, 2018).