Emerging from the Chinese Church

Pondering a Return from Hiatus

October 15, 2007
4 Comments

Well, I’m back! (sort of) After a friendly e-mail from David Park I’ve been pondering whether to come out of “hiding” and blog again.

shu-vancouver-2007-122.jpg

Visiting Vancouver… Pondering…

I think to be honest, I kind of stopped blogging for a few reasons… but not to bore you with all of them, the main reason was probably that I didn’t really want to share my thoughts online… I know, it sort of defeats the purpose of the blog, but I know I’ve been going through a lot in terms of learning, whether it was on a practical basis, theological basis, or simply just to stop talking to much and just trying to BE what God was calling me to be. Writing a blog like this has given me a space to rant and to join in community with online bloggers (especially asian christians who feel they are in transition in their thinking) but I have also felt helpless, even hopeless at times on my end.

Many times over the summer I’ve felt the urge to blog, to re-tell my stories in the chinese church, but as you all can see, in the end, I chose not to blog whether it was because I was too lazy or because I felt uneasy to share it online I’m not sure. I have some drafts of stuff I’ve wanted to publish online, but have never published it. Maybe it just feels like in the end I feel nobody’s listening… nobody’s really “conversing” for the betterment of the Christ’s church…

Okay, I’m generalizing, but at times, it did feel very hopeless. But on the flip side, here is what I have been attempting this “fall semester” at my church.

Because of the enormous size of my church (well, not so large on the english service side), I’ve decided to put my energy into the Worship Ministry that I am currently leading and on staff for. Although I am very concerned with the development of musical talent and spiritual growth of this ministry, ultimately, I hope through addressing some of those things, we can establish a sort of community that can be visible in the church. I wonder if that’s TOO subversive? I’m not sure? I’m just trying to enact what I can in my own personal sphere of influence.

The other reason I have not had much time for blogging is because I have been more and more active in my own side hobby in playing in bands and (sometimes) writing music. I don’t know if it’s really “postmodern” of me, but I am pretty tired of the modern criteria of the asian community to be a doctor, lawyer, comp sci programmer, etc. Why can’t we asians tap into our creative side anymore? Creative without the hippyness? I attend a church which is located in the heart of suburban Toronto and most people are wrapped up in their career and friends, any hint of creativity seems to have disappeared because it takes to much effort and time. OF COURSE it takes time and effort! But that is our worship to God! Our sacrifice! (or at least mine…).

cc05-shu.jpg

Tuning my Strat and still pondering…

Anyways, after this long ramble of a blog, I hope y’all have gained a little perspective in my so-called chinese-christian life. I’ve been wrapping my head so long about what needs to change in this setting, now I’m just trying to actually do what I’m called to do and try to hear what God is saying in all this. I want to follow Jesus, but it’s so hard when there’s not many people are vocal about it around you…

Please respond so I can legitimize keeping at this blog!


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…