Emerging from the Chinese Church

CBC’s: They Like “Anything” but the Church | December 2, 2008


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 😉



  1. little late on this… but I love the church… i just don’t think many of them are what God desires for them to be.

    Comment by Lon — March 25, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

  2. I am a fourth generation Canadian born Chinese. I speak very little Chinese, and it was strange to go travel to mainland China last year where I had trouble communicating. They asked me if I was Japanese or Korean, and when I answered that I was a Chinese Canadian, they were upset to see that I did not know any Chinese whatsoever. It was interesting to see my ancestral land. I realized that when I got my visa for my ancestral homeland, and when I could not communicate with them, that I was truly Canadian, and not Chinese. I want to know if any of you have any thoughts on this.

    Umpa Tan.

    Comment by Umpa Tan — April 21, 2009 @ 3:12 am

  3. Hiya Umpa,
    I’m digging that we both have the asian names yet are pretty removed from our Chinese heritage. Ironic isn’t it? I think unlike America (which is considered a melting pot of culture), Canada definitely strives to be more of a “mosaic”. So what I mean is that although, you are 4th gen CBC, you can still at least speak even a little bit of chinese and you still want to relate to your chinese culture to SOME degree (hence the trip to china?). But anyways, I think that CBC culture, although becoming very westernized will not “forsake” its chinese roots, but it’ll definitely be quite far from it. As a 2nd gen CBC, I see myself as a bridge builder in terms of communicating to an older chinese rooted generation and the up and coming cbc’ers who sometimes both only think one way and not consider and appreciate each other. I hope that helped you in any kind of capacity umpa 😉 It’s pretty late as I type this response, hehe!

    Comment by Shu — April 21, 2009 @ 5:51 am

  4. Hey Shu,
    Here is my take on things.
    1) Different people like different things. Some people will like a traditional approach to church, while others will like a more modern approach (ie. meeting house, mark driscoll, etc…). I don’t think there will ever be a ‘best’ church that caters to the culture of everyone.

    2) Since #1 is essentially making it a moot point for me to answer the question, I do believe that there are characteristics of churches that draw people like me (I would classify myself as a committed open-minded Christian Westernized ‘Chinese’ Christian)

    a) People are the church: This concept seems to evade many churches. It is not the institution that determines the church. Individual people do.

    b) Facades: Putting on masks at church don’t help the community. Openness and transparency almost seems foreign in our culture today. I admit I put on a lot of masks on Sunday as well, but let’s all try to be a bit more real to each other.

    c) Existing not for its own sake: A lot of people find church to be a meaningless existence because it does not seem to exist for any other good than for its own sake. If the church exists for the wrong reasons, people go to church for the wrong reasons. Instead of focusing on self-sustainment as I see in many churches, it should focus more on the sustainment of its peoples, the community around them, and the world.

    d) Christianese:
    Ie. “Our sovereign Alpha and Omega. May the sacrifice of the cross be our daily bread by which we live our lives. We come together to glorify the risen Prince of Peace from whom we have been redeemed.” Instead of using big words, I’d believe we should aim to speak more with simple words and rich imagery as Jesus did.

    e) Seeing people with an inexplicable passion for God:
    I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. It isn’t easy to grow excited about a church that doesn’t even seem interested about God. Leaders need to be put accountable for their pursuit of God. Stagnancy and complacency is a real killer of any church in its pursuit of God.

    Random thoughts, from a random dude. =P

    Comment by Jean-Luc — June 19, 2009 @ 12:08 am

  5. wow! this is so late response jl 😉 but good stuff… if you dont mind, I’d love to use some of your responses someday for some research material 😀


    Comment by Shu — June 19, 2009 @ 4:47 am

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