Chris Rice is director of the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Office in New York City. His forthcoming book is From Pandemic to Renewal: Practices for a World Shaken by Crisis (InterVarsity Press, 2023)

Posts By This Author

A ‘China vs. U.S.’ Worldview Is Dangerous

by Chris Rice 08-02-2022
Whenever animosity against China rises up, Asian Americans are blamed and attacked.
An illustration of two puzzle pieces, one bearing the flag of China while the other bears the flag of the United States.

Klenger / iStock

EVIDENCE OF THE rising power of China and the dangers of a bipolar China vs. U.S. battle for superpower dominance can be seen around the world. For instance, in May, I drove past hundreds of Chinese construction workers in Costa Rica building a China-funded highway. Dozens of shipping containers made up their roadside housing, each marked not in Spanish but with a Chinese character. Later that month, President Joe Biden traveled to South Korea to meet newly elected President Yoon Suk-yeol, who drew on growing public antipathy toward China in his campaign. In June, I was in Japan, where many voiced alarm about the Chinese government’s iron-fisted takeover of Hong Kong, asking whether Taiwan would be next.

My five years of experience in Northeast Asia as a representative of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) prepared me for what I was hearing. Colleagues from Asia, Africa, and Latin America have told me that Chinese power is ubiquitous. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, China and the U.S. are battling to dominate the world’s clean energy economy by controlling the mining of cobalt—a metal used in nearly every computer, cellphone, and electric car.

When I returned to New York in June, I resumed my front-row seat at the United Nations, where battles between the U.S. and China have paralyzed the UN Security Council’s ability to address global challenges.

Fears about China have implications close to home.

How Christians in the Koreas Are Building Peace

by Chris Rice 07-01-2019
Discovering a shared empathy for the vulnerable.

Illustration by David Plunkert.

N ANY DEEP national division, political peace is critical. The absence of a formal peace treaty between North Korea and South Korea and the U.S. is an enormous barrier to a new future. Yet easily overlooked is that lasting peace also requires decades-long work of people-to-people engagement.

Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has spoken of “the danger of a single story.” In few places is that danger more real than between North Koreans and Americans who are profoundly misinformed about each other after 70 years of mutual isolation.

Ooh! Is That Racism on Your Shoe?

by Chris Rice 07-26-2013

A straight-shooting white friend once commented that whenever blacks and whites are together it's like there's a "big pile of poop in the middle of the room" that everybody sees and smells but pretends isn't there.

The War, the Well, and the Wall: A Time to Break Silence

by Chris Rice 06-18-2010
We rarely slow down to create the sacred space needed to discern the "signs of the times" and who we are as Christians in this time of America.

The Burning Patience of Easter

by Chris Rice 04-05-2010

"We're not desperate."

Beyond 'Diversity': New Creation and a Mestizo Vision

by Chris Rice 12-01-2009
"Integration" and "diversity" do not express God's purpose for reconciliation deeply enough. What we need is a fresh paradigm that declares our new culture in Christ.

Holy, Muddy Ground

by Chris Rice 09-01-2002

Chris Rice, a former columnist for Sojourners, chronicles in Grace Matters: A True Story of Race, Friendship, and Faith in the Heart of the South his years living in Antioch...

The Virtue of Irrelevance

by Chris Rice 07-01-2001

Commemorating the life of Christian activist, magazine editor, and longtime friend of Sojourners John Alexander.

Is That Racism on Your Shoe?

by Chris Rice 11-01-2000

A straight-shooting white friend once commented that whenever blacks and whites are together it's like there's a "big pile of poop in the middle of the room..."

Losing Our Religion?

by Chris Rice 09-01-2000

My former college, one of the nation’s top-ranked schools, is considering banishing a highly respected national Christian group from campus for discriminatory practices.

What I Learned When I Opened My Mouth About Gay Rights

by Chris Rice 05-01-2000
Wherever self-censorship rules, a real debate is not taking place.

In all my 17 years in Mississippi, I never heard anyone say they were gay. A year ago I moved to Vermont where unmarried couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, live together without shame. The word "partner" has entered my vocabulary. I see adopted children with two mothers or two fathers.

As I awkwardly discern how to ask new friends about their lives and families, Vermont may become the first state to adopt a domestic partnership law giving same-sex couples the benefits, rights, and responsibilities of marriage. Letters pro and con fill my Burlington Free Press. Public radio aired emotional testimony on the subject from packed statehouse chambers. In our small-town church, several people walked out of a Sunday School classroom when a mother shared about her gay son and that she had testified in favor of the law.

I decided to write about Vermont's debate on homosexuality and domestic partnership in "Grace Matters." Before submitting it to the editors, I e-mailed the first draft to 200 friends, asking for critique.

The next evening 57 e-mails greeted me. Slapped me in the face, actually. And they kept coming-eventually I had more than 70 pages of responses printed in 10-point, tightly squeezed type. Old friends came out of the woodwork to offer emotional three-page opinions.

These are all friends I dearly love. All people of sincere faith. And they are deeply divided. I went to bed heartbroken.

Only Jerks Allowed

by Chris Rice 03-01-2000
If those who know me really knew me, what would they think of me?

Separate and Equal?

by Chris Rice 01-01-2000

Are we only liberated from something or are we also liberated into something?

Gimme A Break

by Chris Rice 11-01-1999

Okay baby, let’s say God really is God; he’s not applying for the job, etc. etc.

More Than Family

by Chris Rice 09-01-1999

The continuing scandal is summed up in a 1997 Gallup Poll: The Christian church remains the one "highly segregated" major institution of American public life.

Choosing the Better Part

by Chris Rice 07-01-1999

With our family's move last year from urban Jackson, Mississippi, to small-town Vermont, I exchanged the blackest state for the whitest and neighborhood drive-bys for wild turkey dive-bys.

Hymn to an Insane-Loving God

by Chris Rice 05-01-1999
On the first anniversary of the day Spencer met you face to face.

Gospel Proof

by Chris Rice 11-01-1998
Spencer Perkins showed us what reconciliation looks like.

An Unrealized Dream

by Chris Rice 01-01-1998
Billy Graham and Martin Luther King: the road not traveled.