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Re: . . . in other news, Zoroastrains . . .



>         Even where Zoroastrianism has disappeared,
>         many of its ideas remain as they have impacted
>         surviving religions. One of the more interesting
>         relics of a Zoroastrian sect, Mithraism, is the
>         notion of being "washed in the blood." The
>         Mithraists baptized their members, many of them
>         Roman soldiers, by digging a pit, placing the
>         initiate in the pit, placing a grating over
>         the pit and then sacrificing a bull over the
>         grating by slicing its jugular vein. Hence
>         the initiate became literally "washed in the
>         blood."

`O there's power, power, wondrous working power, in the blood, of the
Lamb.  O there's power, power, wondrous working power, in the precious
blood of the Lamb.'

Teaching at the Foreign Language Institute in Beijing (Er Wai) in
1983, I set early out to attend Chong Wen Min Church armed with the
church's name and the region's name written in Chinese for me, so that
I could show it to the various bus drivers I expected for the several
transfers.  My slip of paper confused them, but became the delight of
every amateur sleuth who was a passenger, and the last bus, packed
tighter than a gay teen in Spandex, lurched to a halt and all on it
pointed to an inauspicious building across the street.  Like many
buildings in Beijing, the gateway opened onto a courtyard.  Nothing
looked Christian, or even religious, about it, but I assumed that was
a survival tactic in a culture that still sporadically attacked
Gingshen Woorun (Cultural Contamination or Pollution).  A few
stragglers moved across the opening courtyard, which was nearly the
size a floor at the Church Center in NYC.  They
eyed me as closely as I them.  The women wore veils.  Then I heard loud
bleating, which appeared to be coming through a second gateway
straight across.  As I moved toward the sound, the bleating
grew more intense and louder.  Others in the outer courtyard now
seemed to view me with annoyance.  The second gateway led into an
inner courtyard, the size of the first, and in the middle of it, men
were holding a lamb while another cut its throat.  Other sheep lay in
a pile, while others were standing together with a shepherd.  "Lamb of
God indeed," I thought to myself; "this is a new form of literalism!"

About that time two strong Muslim men appeared out of nowhere and
escorted me without gentleness back to the street.  The Chinese
character for 'church' allowed many interpretations, and my companions
on the bus, all educated in an officially atheist country, had done
the best they could to get me to my destination.  I found Chong Wen
Men Church with better directions the following Sunday.

`O there's power, power, wondrous working power, in the blood, of the
Lamb.  O there's power, power, wondrous working power, in the precious
blood of the Lamb.'

Lutibelle/Louie




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