Emerging from the Chinese Church

starting a new blogalogue

January 13, 2010
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Hey all!

If anybody still reads this blog, I’ve decided to embark on a blogalogue with one of my good brothers to discuss, debate, to build, to encourage and whatever we can on the chinese church in our local area.

I hope y’all will come visit our conversation at:  http://chinesechurchblog.wordpress.com

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Deep Church (Continued)

November 4, 2009
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I apologize for the lack of updates as I am completing some school work but I am FOR SURE going to outline Belcher’s book more and more soon! (I am almost done)

I just wanted to point people to this interview that Belcher did with Trevin Wax in response to a book reviewer from 9 Marks.  You know what?  I used to have some respect towards some of the 9 marks reviewers… but after seeing how much they make broad sweeps and generalizations about “emergent heretics” and their theology without really reading Belcher’s descriptions, I’m not sure much of that respect is there anymore.

Read up on the interview and what was said here:

http://trevinwax.com/2009/11/04/jim-belcher-responds-to-critics-of-deep-church/#comments

 

Anyways, I hope people really ACTUALLY read this book because it outlines a lot of issues I’ve been pondering as well.  I don’t think Belcher is offering solutions to the church btw, but I do think he brings a lot to the discussion on an ecumenical level (however you choose to define ecumenical).  So whether, Baptist, Presbyterian, reformed, emerging/emergent, please read and summarize first before critiquing :p


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Deep Church

October 6, 2009
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I have started to read Jim Belcher’s “Deep Church” and it has already started to profoundly hit me over the head with a metaphoric 2×4!  Even though I’m a young pastor, I feel like I’ve been going through almost exactly the same motions he’s gone through in thinking through differences in emerging church and traditional church and looking for a “third way”.  I think this has been especially tough for me since I’ve also been looking through the cultural lenses of the Chinese immigrant based church in Canada.

This book, which has been getting some good praise from people all over the christian writer spectrum, from Mark Driscoll, to Rob Bell, to Tim Keller, to Tony Jones, to Ed Stetzer…  I knew I had to read this book!

Just finished the first part and this passage came out of the pages for me:

“The emerging conversation is bigger than postmodernism and more expansive than even Brian McLaren.  Brian would agree.  As Scot McKnight says, we must define our conversation partners in a way that they would recognize.  Most definitions of the emerging church would not even be recognized by them.  This would include McLaren.  it is wrong, cautions McKnight, to narrow emerging to emergent, emergent to Brian McLaren, Brian McLaren to postmodernity and postmodernity to denial of truth.  This is a stereotype that is not fair to BRian, who is not a hard postmodernist, and the emerging conversation.

The same bone cane be picked with the emerging church.  They too need to recognize the vast differences in the traditional church.  Linking everyone in the traditional church with the worst case of fundatmentalism, sectarianism, foundationalism and irrelevance is simply not fair.  Doing this can be just as sectarian and divisive as the worst kind of fundamentalism.”

Belcher asks us to listen and fairly represent each other, whether, emerging church or traditional, or even across denominations.  He does ask us to hold to a common ground in classic/orthodox christianity and defines it in a interesting way (more to come later) but also says “Dialogue is always a good thing even with those outside the bounds of orthodoxy.”

Anyways, I will blog more about this as I’m reading through it 😉  Meeting time!


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CBC’s: They Like “Anything” but the Church

December 2, 2008
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chican

Well, some of you don’t know, but I am currently in the process of finishing my 2nd Last Term @ Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario, Canada while also concurrently finishing course work at Robert Webber’s Institute For Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Hence the lack of blogging)

My latest project (already late, haha) from IWS is a proposed VIDEO INTERVIEW project that I’ve decided to pursue in regards to what Canadian-Born Chinese People think of the church, God, Jesus, the whole sh-bang.  I am very curious to ask either Christian or Non-Christian, what their view on Christianity is.  Now all I need is more some specific questions to ask.

I’ve sort of taken a liking to Dan Kimball’s “They Like Jesus but Not The Church”, model of interviewing people in California and trying to find out what Californians think of the church, Jesus and etc.  What are the questions about Christianity that is on their minds?  Tim Keller has done the same thing in New York.  As well as Mark Driscoll in Seattle in his infamous Q&A sermons.  I guess I’m trying to find out, to the best of my knowledge, what do Torontonians think…  even though we are probably the most diverse city in the world in culture, language, etc (except or possibly Dubai).

I’m writing this blog today to ask you all (who still peruse this blog), what kind of questions do YOU think are appropriate to ask this emerging generation to figure out their take on Christianity and even CULTURAL questions to try to understand better their (my) emerging culture.  My initial belief is that ANYTHING is better than the local church right now for CBC’s…  maybe I’ll be surprised!  But ya, just to clear up, since this task of looking at Torontonian Culture is so huge, I’ve decided to focus more specifically on my cultural group, the Canadian Born Chinese.

If y’all help out, I promise to post a youtube version of the project once I’m done (which will be mid-late december).

So please share your thoughts 😉


I’m a Chief-Sinner Leader…

November 25, 2008
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Paul calls leaders not merely to be humble and self-effacing but to be desperate and honest.  It is not enough to be self-revealing, authentic, and transparent.  Our calling goes far beyond that.  We are called to be reluctant, limping, chief-sinner leaders, and even more, to be stories.  The word that Paul uses is that a leader is to be an ‘example,’ but what that implies is more than a figure on a flannel board.  He calls us to be a living portrayal of the very gospel we beseech others to believe.  And that requires a leader to see himself as being equally prone to deceive as he is to tell the truth, to manipulate as he is to bless, to cower as he is to be bold.  A leader is both a hero and a fool, a saint and a felon.

We are both and to pretend otherwise is to be disingenuous.  The leader who fails to face [his] darkness must live with fear and hypocrisy.  The result will be a defensiveness that places saving face and controlling others as higher goods than blessing others and doing good work.  Clearly, the biblical model of leadership is odd, inverted, and deeply troubling.  It is so troubling that most churches, seminaries, and other religious organizations would never hire a ‘chief sinner.’  The only one who thinks to do so is God.

Dan Allender in Leading With A Limp, p 57

 

HT: Steve McCoy – The Reformissionary


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My Cardboard Sign

October 28, 2008
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I was so, so, SO very touched by this video, I decided to post it as well:

ht: David Park @ Next Gener.Asian Church

 

I guess my cardboard sign would say something like:

Sinner, Loser, Failure, Lost

<flip>

Grace, Victor, Finisher, Found: each new day…


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KAC Media – Time for a Chinese Version?

October 17, 2008
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I know, I know, do we need anymore ethnic specific things?  haven’t we “moved on from that”?

 

I’m no sure we have…  that’s why watching this video that’s a promo for KAC Media…  is so inspirational…  so hopeful…  now we need a Chinese-Canadian version 😉

www.kacmedia.com

or check out their sweet promotional video!

(HT: DJ Chuang)


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Living Counter-Culturally in a Chinese Church as a CBC Christian

September 30, 2008
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What a mouthful!

I don’t think this blog will be much food for thought, but more appetizer for thought…

I guess I’m wondering if I’m doing this right?  Going through the motions of ministry at a Chinese megachurch, serving where I’m gifted to serve (and called to I suppose)… but not agreeing with the vision as a whole, yet still staying on board to see if God will do “His Thang”.

Everything I read in the bible, every sermon I hear from the Pastors I’m listening to, CONVICTS me to do something, whether it’s small or BIG.  But how come it feels like I’m all alone feeling like this?  Like what I feel CONVICTED to do, to say, to act is COUNTER-CULTURAL to what my traditional chinese culture and chinese church upbringing is all about.

Most people will tell me to be patient, let change happen gradually and whatnot.  But what if that isn’t enough?  What happens if I know I can only “take so much”?  Do I ask God for all the patience He can give me?  Or do I spearhead something new, something fresh, something relevant… ugh… SOMETHING!???

 

How can I stand idly by when I generation is becoming consumed with anything BUT their God?


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Desperate Hope In Hopeless Times

September 3, 2008
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Tonight, I just want to blog quickly (before I pass out) about this situation in my past post about my presentation on Emerging CBC Christian culture has actually become a larger dialogue in my congregation than I have expected!

I JUST finished conversing with two past deacons/elders at my church who are currently part of my worship ministry and they were BOTH in full agreement about the need to move forward in our reaching out to the post-christian generation of our congregation.  We are going to start at a grassroots level in asking our young couples to start connecting to our young adult population…  my desperate hope is that we move forward and not just let the dialogue stay as a dialogue but become steps in the right direction.

We prayed after our conversation and I prayed ever so hard for humility to hear from the Spirit and not to be a man-driven endeavor…  I will continue to pray hard for eyes to be opened… for revival to come at the Spirit’s discretion!

Hope at last…

 

(even though I’m still not gonna bank on this totally, at least God has given me a breath of fresh air!)


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Adventures in Church Shopping

August 31, 2008
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So…  this issue is nothing new in any ethnic church culture…  so why bring it up?…

Because it’s been on my mind and has recently become more and more personal.

 

Let’s look at both sides of the coin:

1.  A person leaves the church because the church is stuck in old ways, leadership has its own agendas, no community, not being challenged enough, etc.

2.  A person stays at the church because it believes that loyalty to community is key, loving your neighbor/enemies needs to continue, trusting in the leadership “God provided”, it’s the same everywhere else, and etc.

So after I’ve briefly and wonderfully shown you a concise and comprehensive perspective on reasons to leave/stay at your church even while there are many problems that can bring you to leave (full sarcasm intended), what conclusions can be drawn?

 

Conclusions:

1.  Nothing left to do but Church Shop – Now some may not call it this per se, but realistically, the nomadic Christian is looking for a community they can “call their own”.  They are wanting to be challenged and grown to mature in their faith.  They want to actually EXPERIENCE God in their midst and not just KNOW ABOUT Him.  But… there are of course some who are just looking for their needs first, wanting to worship a god of their choosing.

2.  We should start our own church – Got nothing better to do?  Are you a freshly graduated seminary student looking for the thrill of starting up a church, making your own ecclesiology (basically “doing church”), and essentially moving away from your past culture or “older generation’s” dictations?  This is probably the BEST model for those who are seeking change, wanting to see the body of Christ done “right” and ultimately doing community in their vernacular (cultural understanding).  But…  fear the “WE GOT IT RIGHT” syndrome that is prevalent in young pastors/leaders nowadays.  And seriously, do we REALLY need another church not just a block down the street but practically churches side by side each other geographically???

3.  It’s all messed up anyways, just stick it out here – Probably the best answer for those who are in a part of their life where things are more comfortable or “settled down”.  Not to say that people who find this conclusion don’t deny that there’s something messed up in their church, but they figure it’s all a depraved world out there anyways, just stick with it.  This is probably the mentality of some people who don’t have anymore “fight” left within them.  Maybe they’ve been battered down so much they just want to go somewhere and worship their God quietly, by themselves, and don’t want to get into any debate or trouble.  But…  how long can you keep going through the motions?  When is your boiling point gonna explode?

 

Finally, my own thoughts on the matter…

I’m tired, very tired of this enigma of “the church”.  I would rather spend my life and my energy to be the church with those who want to follow Jesus radically in this postmodern, multi-cultural city of Toronto.  I am tired of the easy answers.  I do not believe Calvinistically believe God holds things in His hands so leaders in the church can say all is well.  I also do not believe in a liberal way that we are the hands and feet of Jesus and that the ONLY way things will ever get done is through human innovation or ideals.  What I do believe, is we ALL need, not just the seminary students, better theology.  Knowing who God is, who Jesus is, who the Spirit is, this will be our guiding light.  But we must also be convicted of the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven, here but not yet.  Living out the gospel message, challenging ourselves not to stay stagnant and nominal in our declaration to follow Jesus.

In general, I’m tired, I’m sick, that was my shpew, hope I don’t sound TOO jaded 😉


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