Peter K. H. Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong and received his education in the U.S. (Pomona College, Claremont School of Theology, Yale University, and Boston University). Ordained in the United Methodist Church, he served pastorates in California and Hawaii before returning to Hong Kong in 1966. He directed the Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture, an institute devoted to cross-cultural theological studies and interreligious dialogue. In 1992 he was appointed Professor of Theology and Culture at the Lutheran Theological School. He was John A. McKay Professor of World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary, 1996-97. He is currently a visiting professor and special consultant on cross-cultural theological work at Vancouver School of Theology.
Abstract of paper given at
Christianity and Ecology conference:
This paper has a Christian religious orientation but it interweaves with Chinese strands of thought to highlight the qualities of goodness, beauty and holiness. Goodness and beauty, manifest in the created order and perceived by the human heart, can stand out by themselves yet often shade into each other in various ways according to the different traditions. The morally good (predominant in Confucian teachings) and the artistically beautiful (pre-eminent in Daoist-inspired paintings and poems) are not without the "numinous" (Rudolf Otto). From the Christian perspective, whatever God created was originally good, but after the fall the created order (including humans) is subject to corruption. It is through Christ that all can be made whole again and thereby the numinous becomes transparently holy. Under the holiness of God, goodness and beauty are enhanced ever more. Chinese thought, without a pronounced sense of the rupture of things, posits a continuity of being in a heaven-earth-humanity harmony (the I-Ching). To a Christian believer with a stronger sense of realism about human nature and the world, that, at best, remains an ideal unless a mediator, Christ, offers a redemption, whereby such an ideal can be actualized. To put it in another way, a corrupted created order can be re-created ever anew. In tangible ways, inspired human beings can create works of art, fashion materials to be pleasing to the senses and for the good of the community, and lovingly care for nature, all for a greater numinous splendor. If these people are professed Christians, that is fine. If they are joined by others, that adds power to the cause.