I think my myminds need to be more edifying. Because I find out that the randomest people read them. It’s unnerving. I was going to say tense but I made a decision to stop saying bold, tense, spice, etc. But there really aren’t any words left. So I have to use lame words like unnerving. It’s unnerving.
I was looking through my journal last night, and realize how inconsistent I am. I’m only halfway through it, and it’s not that big, and the first entry is from 5/9/96. That’s a long time ago. Anyway, the weird thing is my consistency with devotions tends to be reflected in my consistency in journaling. Which means since about July 1996 I’ve been terribly inconsistent. Which will change.
Bible study was great today. I realized I really like the way Pastor Eugene does Bible studies. I have this bad habit of not taking notes at church. I think a big problem I have is that I overanalyze and over think things. One thing that’s always bothered me is that I hate it when things are done for show. Especially when it’s me doing it. So any time I take notes, I struggle with, am I doing this for the right reason? Am I trying to show off or impress or something? And I struggle so much with my motives that it’s too distracting so I just don’t do it, at least that way I know I’m not doing it for the wrong reasons. The problem is, I often forget good stuff that I wished I had written down. I think I need to stop thinking about it and just do it.
Like during the summer, Pastor Eugene had a couple of incredible Bible studies on the parables. One in particular was his study on the Sheep and the Goats. Ask him about it sometime. It will seriously blow you away. But I don’t have notes on it so don’t ask me.
At any rate, when I do take notes and go back and look at them, it’s pretty interesting. Steve Stroope from Metro was saying how praying for others is really hard, because when you pray for others, you end up having to pray for yourself, and when you pray for yourself, there’s just always a lot of junk you have to deal with. I mean, if you pray about something in your life, you can’t help but think about it and in some way deal with it. And that’s hard; a lot of times, I just want to not deal with it, so I don’t pray about it, so to not pray about it, I end up not praying for others. If that makes any sense.
I was also looking over my notes from Urbana, which took place almost a year ago. They are really awesome. I guess I forgot how good they were, but the stuff by Elisabeth Elliot, T.V. Thomas, and Jorge is pretty amazing. And especially one seminar I went to regarding the future of the Asian American church. Wow. Ken Fong. The man speaks truth. Maybe I’ll share about it sometime, but I think that seminar helped me see a lot more clearly what the Asian American church will look like. And like it or not, there will need to be an Asian American church. One thing he said that was really profound to me was how the goal of churches today seems to be catching everyone within the same church, that is, first generation, second, third, etc. To him, that’s the prevailing challenge but it’s an impossible dream. What ends up happening is that whoever is leading the church sets the conditions and hires the right pastor for the group the head pastor belongs to, and the other groups suffer for it. The biggest problem with the approaches of Asian American churches today is that the churches aren’t really trying to reach everybody, they’re just trying to keep their kids from leaving.
I know in my own home church and at KCPC and at many other churches there is this vision of an English Ministry that is somehow separate but still a part. My cynical side doesn’t know if this is going to be enough. My bold claim is that in these churches, whoever is the head pastor still sets the rules for the church at large, so the church flavor ends up being dominated by the perspective of (usually) the first generation church. Which isn’t bad, it’s just that this keeps the EM from really reaching out to people in the best way. Ken’s statement is so profound to me, because it’s so true. I mean, look around. I would say that every EM I have ever seen formed was formed to keep people from leaving, not for the purpose of reaching out. And this is because in the end, the church is run from the perspective of the head pastor, the first generation, and that’s the way they see things. There’s more but I’ll stop. But I think our generation has to make a split. It will happen, it’s just a matter of how many people we’ll lose before it happens.
There are several complaints to this, one being how this approach splits up families between churches, but I don’t think one can complain about splitting up families when it was the first generation that decided to make a split and come to America. Given that, you can’t help but expect more splitting to come. I know it’s the vision of some to care for the old generation when we get older, and this is valid, but I think anyone who wants to do this has to be prepared to live under the first generation perspective in the church for a long time. If it makes you uncomfortable now (eg. its ethnocentricity) it will only bother you more as time goes by. But if you’re cool with it, it’s cool.