Yesterday, the church that I usually attend in Tainan, Taiwan, went on a bus trip to a college campus 15o kilometers away. Those of us who didn’t go on the trip (among whom I count myself) were encouraged to visit other churches.
Worship at the church I attended begins at 10:00 AM. The congregation had largely gathered a few minutes ahead of time, and we were all in the pews when the building began to shake. (It turns out that all of southern Taiwan was shaking.) Nobody jumped up. There were just a few calm comments saying, “earthquake”. After less than half a minute the shaking stopped and things went on as if nothing had happened.
This is not a comment on “the strong faith of Taiwanese Christians”, who aren’t much different from Christians anywhere else. It’s a comment on the level of confidence of the people of Taiwan in the buildings where they live, work, shop and worship. It’s also a comment on the vast experience of Taiwan’s people with earthquakes, which happen somewhere around this nation several times a month (if not several times a week, or even more than once a day).
As an elementary school student in Los Angeles in the 1950s, I was trained for through “drop drills” and “shelter in the hall drills”, ostensibly for dealing with earthquakes, but much more for dealing with anticipated nuclear attacks. I also learned that should my clothes caught on fire I was to “stop, drop and roll”. Here in Taiwan the earthquake drill seems to be “pause, wait, and carry on”. I like it here.