Emerging from the Chinese Church

Cultural Lessons from the Simpsons

March 31, 2007

I’ve always taken to “The Simpsons” TV show… I confess I actually watch it every night before I sleep 😉  Maybe it’s because there is so much to learn about pop culture in the show?  Maybe it’s the religious overtones and snappy “christian” quotes that have been infamously thrown around the show… or maybe because… I can relate to the characters because they’re all CHINESE!  HAHA!  Well… yellow at least? 😉

In one of the newer episodes, after an incident where one of his Ned Flanders’ boys hurt himself at a funhouse where Marge Simpsons brings them, Ned decides to not let Marge watch his kids ever again. After a while, the kids confront him about how they feel about her:




flanders.png Ned Flanders: “All diddly aside boys what is it about her that you miss so much?”

rodflanders.gif Rod Flanders: “She made us feel happy!”

toddflanders.gif Todd Flanders: “Not ‘church’ happy but ‘real’ happy!”


I just had a conversation with a friend from church who has been attending for a while. The situation was much different, but the sentence from Todd Flanders echoes the same sentiment.

…ouch… 😦

I wonder how many more people are feeling things about “church” aren’t “real”


From Reaction to Action…

March 30, 2007
1 Comment

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but after reading one of David Park’s posts and getting majorly distracted from a Luke exegetical paper, I decided I needed to get back on the blog train 😉

Reading the post and then watching the young chinese guys discourse was quite difficult to take… This is a guy who goes to church and is just frustrated with what Christianity is (at least in his life experience). It’s funny because although a lot of what he said was kinda true and resonates with a lot of 2nd Generation Asian Christians, his reactions to injustice and hypocrisy in the church will probably go unwarranted because of a lack of grace in his words and tone. Sure Jesus spoke out against injustice and corrected others, but I think overall He always gave people a chance to think… the sign of a good teacher, not just someone who WHACKS truth into your face and expects you to take it.  Living, breathing Grace has been a huge lesson I’ve been learning lately. You will never be able to dialogue with others if the BEST you can do, is complain and go on the offensive to what is “wrong”.

Isn’t the chinese culture good at that? I actually remember in my past as a youngster in school, my marks were not the greatest, and I definitely was not the model student (nor am today, haha) but I tried hard when time came. Anyways, I remember the talks I had with my dad… we didn’t have the best of conversations… everytime we talked, he would tell me what I needed to improve on: SCHOOL. Seriously, anytime we talked, “So I was playing basketball…”

The response would be, “So that’s why your school marks are suffering”

If we started talking about my violin and piano lessons…

The response would be, “You got to practice more son… now what’s happening with your schoolwork?”

etc etc etc. Always school! Not so much in a concerned manner, not in an encouraging way (i.e. no grace), more so just to AWLWAYS say what I was doing WRONG.

To not drag this on for too long, my point is, for us to be able to undergo a process of orientation, disorientation and re-orientation by Brueggemann (HT Next Generasian)… I’m not sure we can do that without some form of Grace being shown. This can possibly be due in part with our chinese culture that does not teach through encouragement, but through discipline solely. But ya, trust me, I’ve been complaining the MOST in these parts of the chinese church in Toronto. It’s gotten nowhere quick.

Although I haven’t gone into issues that were touched in that youtube video such as the validity of mission trips and the labelling of christians vs non-christians… what I really want to say in this blog is this:

Will we choose to complain and put down the chinese church at hand, or will be put some action in something that does exemplify following Christ and putting some faith in the God who promises to finish the good that He starts in us? Will we choose to sit back and constantly be disheartened about the “powers that be” in place at the chinese church? Or will we question, re-form/re-group and try to live faithfully in the context that God is putting us in (whether IN a chinese church or some other place in the future)?

I can say, at least in Toronto, it is rare for a chinese church who ask good questions and are trying to reflect and live as faithfully to what they understand Christ’s message is… In my opinion, there are just not enough examples to learn from in this present time. My hope is that there will be less and less of those people on youtube reacting to the Church in that way and more who live it out. I’m waiting for some to join me over here…