Emerging from the Chinese Church

Emerging Culture & Chinese Born Canadian Christians

August 19, 2008
5 Comments

So my boss asked me to share in staff chapel where most of the pastors, at my unusually large chinese megachurch, just share some spiritual insight.  I decided to just say what was on my heart via a PRESENTATION on Emerging Culture & CBC Christians.  I wanted the pastors at the church to see what was affecting the CBC Christians and why there was such a large disconnect between them and the local chinese church.

I asked a few people to pray for me and I presented many things.  I largely borrowed a lot of emerging culture info from Dan Kimball from “They Like Jesus but Not the Church” and Tim Keller’s article on Post-Everythings, but I also shared my own insight towards why the emerging culture just simply did not connect to the traditional model church.

Surpringly…  MANY of the pastors thanked me afterwards.  I don’t know if it was because they were just expecting the regular “sharing” but got a boatload of info about emerging culture instead, but ya, there was certainly a different “glint” in their eyes!  Now, there are even email chains going around about continuing the discussion and presenting it to higher levels of leadership.

You know what?…  Maybe I’ve just become a really big pessimist but I don’t think much will come out of this.  

I think it’s been so long since I’ve heard anybody making strides in this area…  I just feel like I’m just going to get my hopes up just to get shot down or that this is just going to be forgotten soon…

Y’know, on the flip side, I’ve encouraged some people in my own ministry (worship ministry) to seek church membership at our church…  and surprise, surprise… the membership class made them feel even WORSE about the direction of the church.

I just feel like it’s such a losing cause…  but at the same time, I don’t want to split the generations up just so we can have it “our way”.  I just don’t know what to go for…

…ok maybe I do know what I WANT, but what does GOD want…  For now, I just want to follow Jesus with others who want to go on that journey with Him too…  is that too much to ask?  I’m all for being missional…  I just want to start being missional with brothers and sisters as well, not just those who call themselves “Christians” but those who FOLLOW CHRIST.

 

…throw me a bone God, please…

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Cultural Lessons from the Simpsons

March 31, 2007
2 Comments

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”


The Disenchanting of the Chinese Church EM

January 30, 2007
6 Comments

Wow! A post! I know eh?

Anyways, I have been busy working in my own context at my church as the worship co-ordinator at the local chinese (mega) church and therefore have not put much time to blog. A reason I’m writing this post now is because I’ve realized that I better devote MORE time to writing down these thoughts instead of letting them consume me!

So I think I will start this post as n introduction to those in the local GTA area chinese churches who have become disenchanted with their churches. More and more, I am becoming introduced to Canadian-Born Chinese (CBC’s) here and there who have been struggling at their churches. I’ve realized one of the biggest stumbling block has been a leadership that does not understand the need of the english speaking culture of their church. The usual “speak” that I hear about CBC’s are that they are just too influenced by their western enculturated upbringing and just need to read the bible and listen to their elders and parents. I am probably going out on a bigger generalization than I could’ve, but I find the development of an English Ministry at a Chinese ethnic church has been slowed because so many things have been:

LOST IN TRANSLATION.

I got to say, the higher ups of these chinese churches do genuinely want to preach the good news to the people, but what do you do with ineffective preachers to another culture? Do you let a CBC who can only preach in english preach to a chinese congregation with broken CBC-ish chinese? HECK NO! So why vice-versa?

Many people say it is because the lack of resources in the chinese church that we can only use the cards we have been dealt with by God. I say that is just a bogus excuse to not try harder to encourage others who are called to preach to the CBC culture and just like SETTLE (referencing the biblical reference spoken at URBANA 06 about Terah just “settling” at Haran instead of going to Canaan). With all the recent talk about developing good lay leadership, I don’t think many Senior leaders of the Chinese church in general see that their lay leaders don’t even get the vision.

Where is the challenge? Where is the learning? Where is the mentoring?

Chinese people are good at realizing we need the best means to be efficient, but they are so terribly weak at being patient and taking time to mentoring. It’s all about respect. I think something that needs to be taken in mind seriously is to preach about the STRENGTHS and the WEAKNESSES of being Chinese in the church while also acknowledging that Christ has come to redeem, yes, even our culture (which is in dire need of redemption).

What can I do? Repent of my pride, pray that generational sins won’t set in, learn from people older than me, inspire and motivate others with the awesome teachings of Jesus in the bible, and just keep being a subversive influence in the Chinese Church.

Remember people, the Chinese Church is not the CHURCH. The prefix “Chinese” does not supersede “Church”. We may have an important ministry towards Chinese immigrants, but that isn’t the sole identity of the church as it has evolved to now.

No wonder so many young Chinese Christians are becoming or have already became disenchanted with the Chinese Church. All they see if a church geared towards one direction, and they are being pulled along for the ride. No wonder there are so many “chinese church shoppers” in Toronto.

By all means I do not think CBC Christians have much of anything down. Lacking in experience, doctrine and humility all the young usually do is “whine and complain” (this is coming from one of them, hehe). But overall, my point is that, there is more and more people becomign disenchanted with the Chinese Church because the challenge of following Jesus has been LOST IN TRANSLATION.

Weak preaching = Weak challenge

No Cultural Engagement = No understanding to that culture

Weak Worship = Unhappy Pappy (Genesis, Cain & Abel)

and etc…

So when will we start discussing some real ways to immediately jumpstart this battery-drained engine? Hopefully I got SOMETHING rolling… 😉