The Best Guanxi Is With Jesus

The simplified Chinese symbols above represent the Chinese word “guanxi”, which loosely means “relationship” or “connection” in English. The Oxford dictionary reads: (in China) the system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings. 20 years ago, I traveled to China and learned of guanxi. As one Taiwanese coworker once said, “In China, it isn’t what you know, but who you know.”This same phrase reminds most Americans of nepotism or the so-called “good old boy network.” After having been to China at least 15 times, I feel English descriptions don’t totally capture it’s essence. Yet, I believe that the best guanxi is a connection with Jesus.

The tragic events in Afghanistan this summer has shocked Americans and Afghans that were depending on America. Additionally, on the eve of the 20 year anniversary of the attack on America, it makes this summer’s tragedy sting even more. Sadly, the world has learned that a connection or a relationship with America doesn’t necessarily facilitate safety and protection, even for America’s citizens.The best relationship is not because of a connection with America. No, the best guanxi is a connection with Jesus.

Coincidentally, my summer reading included Dante’s Divine Comedy, which now causes me to wonder. If Dante had lived now as an American or Afghan, where would he have placed President “Beijing” Biden? My guess is at the bottom of Hell, being perpetually eaten by the devil, shoulder to shoulder with Judas Iscariot. I know these thoughts are counterproductive. They are born out of our suffering and embarrassment.

Lord, bring us back with a contrite heart

Oh God, forgive the people of America, a people of unclean lips.  Change us so we will hallow Your name. Let the Kingdom shine on earth as it does in Heaven. Give daily sustenance to us and forgive our debts. There are so many debts! We have turned our backs to You.  Lord, bring us back with a contrite heart. Lead us not into temptation, rather deliver us from evil.

Oh Lord, I ask not for the survival of America if we continue to turn away from you. Instead, I ask for citizens of America to become ambassadors for Christ and that we spread your light of liberty and freedom; Freedom in Christ. Please help us in our suffering to praise you and become aware that our light is not ours, but Your light shining through us.

all people are under Your authority separately and equally

Let not our nationalism be a stumbling block as we shine Your light on a suffering world. Instead, let us be bold and guided by Your Spirit. Help us return to the ideals infused in our founding documents. Let us boldly stand for freedom, knowing that freedom in Christ is the only true freedom. Forgive us. Our nation’s credibility is lost, but Your credibility is intact. The closer we draw to You, the better we can lead others to You. Help our enemies be defeated. May their hearts change. You are the Great Physician that can heal our nation and heal other nations. The best guanxi is with Jesus.

Rulers of the earth are mere grasshoppers to you. People can become Christians without being Americans, but Americans may not deserve to be Americans if they do not remain Christians, for our Declaration of Independence confesses that all people are under Your authority separately and equally. Forgive us for not living that belief put to pen so long ago. We ask not for our global domination. Instead, we pray for forgiveness for neglecting opportunities to acknowledge Your global dominion.