we touched this same spot with our hands, our feet, our gaze and our dreams

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Dear missionary friends in Asia:

CAJ ’67 classmates Daniel Reid and Daniel Westberg and I spent a week together this July in WA, during which time Dan shared from his reading Spurling’s new biography of Pearl S. Buck.  That motivated me to pick up her two biographies of her parents—Fighting Angel of her missionary father Absalom Sydenstricker (about whom she is none too complimentary), and her mother—The Exile, whom she depicts in much more heroic and almost victim colors.  Dan and I talked then about how disturbed I was by her negative portrait of her barnstorming church planting father (Absalom) as imperialistic, bombastic, arrogant, and an absent father.  All of you might value reading either or both of her biographies.  Dan responded to me then, and here in these two blogs, by reminding me that her perspective might not have captured the entire truth of the style or impact of the Southern Presbyterian missionaries in China in the late 1800s and early part of the 1900s. 

His own investigation into his missionary heritage surfaces in these two blogs, which he helpfully parallels to the task of biblical interpretation and historiography.  I think you will find both blogs very interesting.

She received the Pulitzer Prize for her story, The Good Earth, in about 1933, and the Nobel Prize for Literature, based on the strength of the two biographies of her parents in about 1934-6.  So, these stories are good reading. 

Here are Dan’s original blog posts: 

Warmly, Steve Hoke (CAJ ’67)
People Development and Strategic Life Coaching, CRM

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