|Morning meeting at ORTV. Doris Brougham is|
playing the trumpet to the right of the leader.
People laughed at the joke. Good, because I needed encouragement to go 45 minutes in Chinese. If I can judge by my own experience as a public speaker, I want an audience to laugh so as to establish community, the feeling that we're all in it together, it's not just me up their talking, but that they're part of the experience, too. Asuccessful pun is also a good indication that a talk in another language is going well, since often, Chinese assume that if the meanings don't click, you've simply screwed up and / or are totally incoherent in their difficult language.
What was a little unique about yesterday morning's talk, besides the longest talk I've given in Chinese for many years, was its focus on leading Christian thinkers in the fulfillment tradition. I wanted people to know who they were, and what they'd accomplished, and encourage creative Chinese Christians to recognize that their own work also belongs in some sense to that tradition.
Doris Brougham was the only person in the audience who knew who John Ross was. She also not only knew who the great writer Lin Yutang was, as do Chinese around the world, but called him "a good friend." It turned out they'd collaborated on some work.
(I visited his old house on Yangmingshan later in the morning -- which reflects his own style and love of Chinese culture (note the fish pond, where he liked to pretend to fish in the morning), combined with interest in traditional European styles and science. More on that, later.)
I also joked that, ten years after the typhoon that accompanied me to the island on my last visit, ten years ago, "It's still raining!" I recognized the laugh, that time -- it's the same laugh we Seattlites sometimes give to comments about our weather, after a particularly bad spell. But I think the weather in Seattle is better than in Taipei. Aside from the fact that it probably doesn't rain as much in Seattle, we don't often get a rain that encourages snakes to waylay strangers. One can walk in our rain without water dripping down our bodies from the inside, even if it doesn't reach us from the outside.
ORTV is a remarkable organization, and Doris Brougham is an amazing person. I think I'll also introduce her and the work they do in a later blog. She is an institution in Taiwan (the president of Taiwan is honoring her this week for her work), and somewhat known in other parts of Asia, but probably not so many people in other parts of the world are familiar with this remarkable missionary / trumpet player / educator / HONEST televangelist / successful CEO.