Emerging from the Chinese Church

Adventures in Church Shopping | August 31, 2008

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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1 Comment »

  1. Hey Shu,

    So I’ve been having this very same conversation with a trusted friend who challenged me about what it means to have a covenantal relationship with one’s church, similar to a marriage relationship. Should we leave when things get tough and change seems distant?

    And after thinking more deeply, I responded with what I believe is a more fitting analogy. Much like being born into our biological families, we didn’t necessarily choose eachother, but our parents have raised us to the best of their ability, and through our differences we’ve learned to compromise, to surrender and to love.

    At some point though, it’s time to consider what traditions we’ve been given, and to discern how to carve out lives which are new and of our own choosing. Just as we need to move out of our parents’ homes to raise our own families, we need to consider what kind of faith communiities that somewhat (but not perfectly) move into the direction that we believe we’re called to go.

    That doesn’t mean turning to church hopping though, because after a reasonable amount of time the idea is to commmit to one faith community (like choosing a marriage partner).

    Some people may decide to stay, and that may be a wise choice; some may decide to move on, and that may also be a wise choice…either way, it’ll have its own challenges.

    This is such a gut-wrenching topic, and like you, I’m afraid that there’s trend towards discontentment due to lack of perseverance, or complacency…but what if there was an option somewhere in between?

    Comment by Weewian — September 8, 2008 @ 2:32 pm


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