From God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China by Liao Yiwu. Liao “is a Chinese author, reporter, musician and poet who has been imprisoned for criticism of the Chinese regime.
The below is excerpted from a conversation with Ho Lu, 24, which took place in Bailu Township at Shangshuyuan, China on January 13, 2010. Ho, a disaffected, argumentative youth, had been living with his mother, “idling” all day, “very into pop stars,” when he had a conversion experience.
Ho: I couldn’t have cared less. I was in no hurry. I didn’t have a girlfriend to pester me. My mom cooked for me and bought me clothes. I got pocket money each month. It wasn’t bad. But on day, I became bored at home. I opened up the Bible and flippd the pages and stopped at a passage in the book of Jeremiah: “ ‘If you will return, O Israel, return to me,’ declares the Lord. ‘If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, as surely as the Lord lives, then the nations will be bleessed by him and in him they will glory.’ ”
I was totally, like, thunderstruck. My mind blanked out for a few minutes. My God, I thought about all those detestable pop idols that I had worshipped—Li Yuchean and Jay Chou. Thy ran past my mind like floating clouds. The Lord knew me well. He understood my generation well. We had been plunged into a bottomless pit of pop icon worshipping. I couldn’t get myself out, and my life had almost been ruined. God finally revealed himself to me. His words were stern. I had to remove all the idols out of my sight, and I swore to be good.
When my mother came home that night, I told her that I wanted to be a Christian and I wanted to be baptized. She looked bewildered and didn’t know what to say.
Liao: That was quite a sudden change.
Ho: If you really believe in God, you should be baptized. If you don’t, suit yourself. That was what I thought at the time. I’m a prototype of the posteighties generation. For years, I followed all sorts of pop icons and knew how to sing all their songs. When a new one came along, I discarded all the old ones. I spent my whole life chasing idols like a dog chasing a ball. But then I learned to sing hymns and I never get tired of them. The hymns touch me on a deeper level. They change me.