Weekend Planner [view https://canaanpromise.wordpress.com/this-week/ for more updates]
• Thursday, Mar 17 (7:30 PM): Young Adults Fellowship.
• Friday, Mar 19 (7:30 PM): Everglow Youth Fellowship.
• Saturday, Mar 19 (9-11:30 AM): Beyond Tiger Parenting.
• Sunday, Mar 20 (Second Sunday in Lent)
— Youth Sunday School (9:30 AM)
— Sunday REFRESH! (9:45 AM, Room 102). We will introduce a new Lenten devotional series.
— English Worship (11:00 AM, Second Floor). Tim Tseng speaks on “Leaving Home.”
— Prayer Fellowship (1:30 PM, Room 150)
— Agape Family Group (4:00 PM, Fellowship Hall).
March 17, 2011 • St. Patrick’s Day
Beloved sisters and brothers,
Japan and Northeast Asia sit on the precipice of unimaginable disaster. I feel anxious, disturbed, and heart broken. It’s difficult to go about my normal routine. Honestly, I’d rather be talking about the NCAA basketball tournament or joking around about the Asia-pop radio station that took over an alternative rock station (92.3 FM).
But in times like these, the reality of our Christian conviction and character is revealed. Too many Christians go to church only for the social networking and the sense of family and community. Too often we only pray for ourselves. After many years of observing Asian American Christianity, I’ve come to the conclusion that the top three enduring marks of healthy and mature Asian American believers are:
- Thoughtful Passion
- Responsible Radical
- Missional Family
If Canaan’s English ministry members embody to these three “marks,” I believe people will notice something very special about the way we live and talk about our faith in Jesus Christ. But more importantly, these “marks” will sustain us through the ups and downs of everyday life.
For today, I’d like to share a vision for the thoughtfully passionate believer. At Canaan, I’d like to see our members exhibit thoughtful passion in our worship and passionate thinking in our discipleship.
Asian American Christians tend to be bi-polar or schizophrenic when it comes to worship and discipleship. Some care only about a passionate worship experience and a passionate relationship with God at the expense of critical reflection. For example, I’ve heard stories of Asian Christians who believed they had the faith to walk on water like Jesus and drowned. I’ve also been told by some Asian American Christians that thoughtful reflection a sign of weak faith!
Other Asian Americans care only about whether their faith makes logical sense or consistency. They are very distrustful of emotional expressions or direct communication from God. I remember being part of a bible study that was looking at the resurrection narratives in the gospel of John. Rather than appreciating the rich symbolism and spiritual meanings of these passages, our study group spent the majority of the time trying to demonstrate that Jesus did physically resurrect from the dead. A leap of faith in the resurrection was not good enough. Fool proof evidence was needed.
Unfortunately, I’ve encountered too many Asian American Christians who are either excessively passionate or dogmatically intellectual – but few who exhibit both qualities. But the history of Christianity is replete with faithful and passionate thinkers. It started with Jesus and Paul. Both were insightful teachers who were passionate about their faith, but also committed to being thoughtful and reasonable. Then there are intellectuals such as Augustine, Anselm. and Aquinas who believed that faith was the first step to understanding God and his creation. Western civilization was built upon these thinkers! Indeed, Christianity has an enormous reservoir of resources, past and present, that bring passion and reason together.
I just had the pleasure of reading a Doctor of Ministry project by a woman who wants to integrate culture and ethnic awareness with spiritual formation among Taiwanese Americans. Her passion for Taiwanese American Christians and for Christ really shined through her paper. But her passion was augmented by a thoughtful curiosity about theology, biblical studies, and Asian American studies. While not everyone ought to be doing a doctorate, every believer ought to aim to be more passionate about worship AND desire to think more deeply about Christian faith.
Can we see a new generation of Canaan EMers who are thoughtfully passionate and passionate thinkers? Can you imagine the impact that this will have on our worship services and Christian education? Can you imagine the impact that such people will have in our community and on the world? God wants thoughtfully passionate Christians to engage the world in these desperate times. Please pray for God to renew us by increasing our desire to feel and think!
P.S. Here’s an opportunity to be thoughtfully passionate – check out this article “Reclaiming Saint Patrick’s Day” http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/marchweb-only/21-42.0.html
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“We must move away from asking God to take care of the things that are breaking our hearts to praying about the things that are breaking God’s heart.” – Margaret Gibb