The other day Mrs. Imagethief found herself being proselytized to in the elevator of our apartment building by a Chinese woman who is a member of the Beijing Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The woman handed my wife a flyer which is interesting for being entirely in Chinese, but featuring art that seems lifted from American evangelical materials ca. about 1955. An extremely white Jesus is blessing the Cleaver family or some similar assortment of apple-cheeked midwestern types in throwback hairstyles (the distortion is from the original):
In another picture, Jesus is apparently blessing one of the Mad Men of Sterling Cooper while a naked Adam romps, tastefully obscured, in the background:
Having gone to the University of California at Santa Cruz, naked men with their arms raised heavenward conjures in my head a set of associations that have nothing to do with religion, unless you count pagan elf-worship accompanied by ’60s rock.
No greater point other than that it seems quite weird for a flyer designed to be given to Chinese people. Believe, my children, and ye may ascend into heaven with a bunch of white people from the Eisenhower administration. I’ve seen plenty of religiosity in China, although this is the first time we’ve been proselytized to in our apartment complex. Spiritually speaking, it’s probably wasted on my family, but at least it’s a change from the usual assortment of massage, waisong and black market satellite television flyers that gets crammed under our door.