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Title: “Serving the lord” : christianity, work, and social engagement in China
Authors: Lim, Francis Khek Gee
Keywords: China
Issue Date: 2019
Source: Lim, F. K. G. (2019). “Serving the Lord”: Christianity, Work, and Social Engagement in China. Religions, 10(3), 196-. doi:10.3390/rel10030196
Series/Report no.: Religions
Abstract: This study examines how Chinese evangelical Protestant employees view work and the workplace, through the lens of their religion, and how they seek to influence the broader society, in a highly restrictive religious domain in China. Using the concept of everyday religion, I examined how these employees seek to integrate faith into their work and the workplace, and the issues and challenges they face in the process. While existing China-focused studies have mainly looked at the experience of the business elite and Christian bosses, I inquired into the experience of the employees, specifically the professional class. It was found that they did not see a clear boundary between the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular’ in the workplace. At the same time, they discursively constructed a distinction between their own Christian work ethos and that of their non-Christian colleagues. This discursive self-othering was double-edged. While it enabled the Christian employees to construct a distinctive workplace and social identity, it risked resulting in them being perceived negatively by non-Christian colleagues, as belonging to a “different kind” (linglei), thus, accentuating the social gulf and tension that might have already existed between the Christian and the non-Christian employees. Most regard the workplace as an important arena for the concrete expressions of their Christian faith and values in everyday life. In doing so, they seek a moral transformation of the workplace, as a way to transform the wider society. I argue that their effort to influence their colleagues and transform the workplace culture is an important kind of unobtrusive social engagement, without open mobilization in civil society.
DOI: 10.3390/rel10030196
Rights: © 2019 by the Author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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