Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

A tireless advocate for international human rights (Tiger in the Shadows was Wilson’s first foray into fiction and was not published until she was in her late forties), Wilson champions the Pauline vision of a single universal Christian Church manifested by a diversity of cultures that—once they have embraced the Christian message—will be like individual cells within a single, vast, cooperative body. Ignoring this missionary imperative, so central to the Christian vision, has left entire reaches of the globe unexposed to Christianity’s saving message. This imperative, which compels the narrative, is designed to inspire lax Western Christians, whose tepid commitment to their religion is juxtaposed to that of the underground Chinese movement, with its hours-long services driven by emotional outpourings, carried out in primitive conditions under the threat of arrest, torture, and execution. Indeed, the elaborate secondary plot involving the theft of satellite technology (for which Wilson acknowledges a debt to the espionage thrillers of Alistair MacLean and Tom Clancy) metaphorically suggests the Chinese subversion of this universal Christian message, its disruption of what it dismisses as a “cult” that distracts from the ongoing political and economic revolution envisioned by China’s leader of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong. Such secularism, embodied in the cult of Mao (Stefanie views Mao’s glass-encased corpse off Beijing Square), has...

(The entire section is 412 words.)