Fr Michael Kelly interviews Fr You Guo Jiang, SJ.
Fr Jiang teaches education, global engagement, student development and spirituality at Boston College.
This includes biographical articles on prominent Chinese Christians such as Ma Xiangbo, founder of Fudan University, Shanghai and the famous jurist, Ching Hsiung Wu who helped draft China’s first constitution.
Their conversation reveals the contours and the shape of Chinese engagement with Christianity. We hear about the themes and topics of Jiang’s research and the central message of this body of work: “The role of Jesuit education, or any education, is not just to teach you a skill or give you a degree or diploma but to form the whole person. In that way we combine the science, technology and the humanities for personal formation”
Michael and Jiang discuss how these concepts are received, especially if they are expressed in Chinese ,by and for Chinese.
“Visiting China and meeting with students and parents I try to promote this idea: what kind of person or citizen do you want to be. How can you make a difference?”
Jiang wants young people to consider: “What sort of impact you will have on the world – will you help create a harmonious society, with love justice and concern for your neighbors, people less advantaged or marginalized?”
“Education is not just about status, ranking. How do we make education an instrument to make the world a better place?” he tells us.
Western Christians have often failed to understand China and the Chinese, and, attempting to engage often imposed their own culture on their understanding of how Christianity is to be accepted
“Throughout China and Asia we often hear this term inculturation. East and West must sit down and dialogue, communicate and negotiate…. We need to build a global society where everyone feels they are part of a big family”
East and West, religions, people, groups, politicians must seek mutual understand: “We need open, peaceful and transparent dialogue”
Listen as two Jesuits, one Eastern, one Western, engage with respect and an understanding of the other’s heritage.