about ABCs leaving OBC churches

To: cac-digest@emwave.net

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 02:21:33 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Re: Demographics and % Christians

Ray Downen wrote:
>
> > >Harry wrote–Sociology departments are replete with liberals and relativists.
> > >
> > Sze-kar replied–Does this statement have any value at all? Can it ever be falsified?
> > If not, it can hardly be persuasive.
> >
> An observer testifies — Harry’s right, as anyone reading the posts
> to cac list over recent weeks couldn’t fail to see if they’re willing
> to see truth. Informed Christians can’t uphold the platforms adopted
> in recent years by the Democrat party. Devoted Christians couldn’t
> possibly have voted for Clinton for president after his sorry record
> in his first term. Some who frequently write to the cac list seem to
> be proud to be Democrats. I think their positions make obvious what
> Harry says is true.
>
It’s exasperating, Ray! Why do you keep on hounding me? Why do you
insist on distorting my words. I have NEVER advocated for the
Democratic Party on CAC. I have NEVER even hinted that CACers should
vote for Clinton or, for that matter, anybody. Read the plain English
of my posts for a change. I dare you to find one statement of mine that
can be construed as advocating for the Democratic Party per se.

Stop pigeonholing me into your prefab categories. It’s dehumanizing!

For the last time, READ MY ELECTRONIC LIPS:

– — I DO NOT ADVOCATE PARTISAN POLITICS ON CAC.

– — I DO NOT ARGUE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY LINE.

– — I DO NOT ASK CACERS TO VOTE FOR CLINTON.

– — I AM PROUD TO BE A CHINESE-AMERICAN CHRISTIAN.

– — I HAVE NEVER BEEN PROUD OF BEING A MEMBER OF ANY POLITICAL PARTY.

I am not worthy of your attacks, Ray. If you have problems with the
Democratic Party, take it up with the Clintons, the Gores, the Kennedys,
and the Big Boys. You are barking up the wrong tree.

Sze-kar Wan

——————————

From: HarryWLew@aol.com
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 04:03:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: background

Dear DJ,

>Dear Harry,
>Thank you for your active participation in CAC, you really do speak for
>the silent majority I think, many of whom are conservative in their
>socio-political outlook. I wanted to ask what your background is, what
>your involvement with ministry is, and as you would share it with me,
>I’d list to post it as a brief bio & intro on the CAC web site
>(http://www.aamdomain.com/cac/), as I’m collecting bios from the
>various participants of CAC.

I’m sorry I didn’t responded to your earlier call for biographies. I use
e-mail a lot in my campus ministry and by necessity am limited in the amount
of time I can give to the CAC forum. I do make it a priority to challenge the
views I strongly feel need to be challenged, especially if casual observers
to our CAC conversations can get the wrong impression about what the
prevailing views of Chinese Americans are.

My group at Calvin College is 20% Asian American, but my ministry experience
as a whole has been much more with African Americans than Asian Americans,
especially at Grand Rapids Community College where I spend most of my time as
chaplain.

I lived through the civil rights era and struggled with those issues in a way
very few Asian Americans have. I find it pathetic when Asian Americans assume
that the issues African American faced 30 years ago are the same ones we face
today, and then try to mimic black demagogues like Eugene Rivers. For me it’s
not only “Been there, Done that,” but it is also withholding the unique
strengths our Asian American culture that can bring to the present situation.
As you can tell from my past messages, I believe “the myth of model minority”
is itself as big a myth if not more.

(By the way, I am very familiar with Eugene Rivers. I read him in SOJOURNERS
or THE OTHER SIDE or both, I forget which, they’re so much alike, and
elsewhere. He’s pretty twisted, the evangelical version of Al Sharpton.
Sze-Kar should talk to the evangelical campus ministry folks at Harvard about
Rivers’ tactics that have resulted in racial strife rather than
reconciliation. He’s no Martin Luther King. Though I never met Dr. King, I
proud to have one of his closest strategists, Bayard Rustin, sign my high
school yearbook!)

Those of us like Tim and others who are in denial about the dysfunctional
culture of the underclass, never lived next door to a welfare family as I
have and now do. They should at least read Nicholas Lemann’s THE PROMISED
LAND about the reasons for failure of the War on Poverty. Tim may be an
affirmative action baby, but his mainline seminary must allow him to teach
courses other than marginalized ones on Asian American church history. He
would benefit from from Lemann’s book. It will give him a broader perspective
on the history of the African American underclass and how Christians can make
a difference in our innercities. And it’s not a “conservative” book!

Now that I stirred things up a little, here is my brief bio as your
requested:

My parents are from Toi-san (Taishen?), China. I was born in New York City
and grew up in Chinatown and in Queens. My earliest exposure to evangelical
Christianity was Sunday school at the Chinese Conservative Baptist Church in
Chinatown. I committed my life to Christ at the Billy Graham pavilion at the
New York World’s Fair in 1964 while in high school. Was baptized and became a
member at the First Baptist Church in Flushing. Attended the City College of
New York where I was active in my InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter
and area events, as well as campus politics (protesting racism and the
Vietnam War). Dropped out of school in 1970 to help with the Jesus People
movement in the Bay area of California. Attended the Reformed Episcopal
Seminary (now Philadelphia Theological Seminary) and the University of
Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1975 [that’s when I met my wife and Sam Ling!].
Moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to study at Calvin College and Seminary in
order to pursue ordination in the Christian Reformed Church. Became the
chaplain of Grand Rapids Community College in 1978 after short term field
work and pulpit supply assignments in churches in Tucson, AZ, Midland Park,
NJ, Riverside, CA, and Fort Collins, CO. I currently oversee the InterVarsity
program on seven campuses in Grand Rapids: Aquinas College, Calvin College,
Cornerstone College, Davenport College of Business, Grace Bible College,
Grand Rapids Community College, and Kendall College of Art & Design. My wife
is a Presbyterian WASP from suburban Pittsburgh and teaches 8th grade English
and history at a Christian school. We are the proud parents of two daughters
and a son, and members of Grace Christian Reformed Church, a multi-ethnic
congregation in the innercity of Grand Rapids.

Also, David Wong: I apologize for not responding to your message three weeks
ago. I’m as old as you. Maybe we possibly crossed paths in the Bay area. I
spent most of my time at Berkeley and then later in Marin County in Mill
Valley and San Rafael.

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Harry Lew

——————————

From: Fenggang Yang
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 01:53:39 -0600
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: ignorant Americans

Harry Lew wrote,
> Dear Fenggang,
>
> Thanks for reminding me the reason why my 78-year-old OBC father hates
the
> Japanese. To this day he refuses to buy anything made in Japan.

Dear Harry,
It is helpful to know your biographic background. While you are in NY and
with your OBC father, it can be a good time for you to understand him
better. BUT, before you read the new book by Iris Chang _The RAPE of
Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II”, or some similar books,
I don’t think you can really understand your OBC father. (To confess, I
really admire your father as a real Chinese. Yes, a real Chinese!)
Without understanding him, I don’t think you are able to bring him to the
Lord. Chang’s book is not an easy reading, I promise. But just by
glancing the horrifying photos and the content, you can easily get an idea
why history should not be forgotten. It is not simply a matter that
godless Chinese refuse to forgive the wrongs of the Japanese. It is about
humanity. From the Holocaust in Europe there have come some deep
theological reflections (right?). It is really unfortunate that Chinese
Christians have let the other holocaust in China go without any serious
reflection. I think this is one of the reasons Christianity puts Chinese
people (especially intellectuals) off. If Christian theology cannot
answer Chinese questions, Chinese people will not bother to know
Christianity.

_The Rape of Nanking_ by Iris Chang is available in most book stores.
Yesterday I bought two copies from a Borders bookstore and gave one copy
as a Christmas gift to my neighbor, a white woman who is interested in
knowing China and Chinese people.

Have a meaningful Christmas holy day.

Sincerely,

Fenggang
– —
Fenggang Yang, Ph.D. email: fyang@uh.edu
Department of Sociology http://www.uh.edu/~fyang
University of Houston phone: 713-743-3973
Houston, TX 77204 FAX: 713-743-3943

——————————

From: Fenggang Yang
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 02:02:57 -0600
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Demographics and % Christians

bill leong said,
> Living in LA all my life, I can guarantee you there are not 32% . . .
> 80,000 Chinese Christians in So Cal? (32% of est. 250,000 ) Must be
> an underground church! 800 Chinese churches??? I think 200 tops.
> I would believe it among the Koreans but not Chinese.

Dear Bill,
A sociology professor once said to some young scholars about presenting
one’s arguments: DON’T TELL ME, SHOW ME. I know you can be a senior sage
with rich experiences, but please show your evidences, don’t simply tell
me that I am wrong or you are right. I am very willing to believe you, as
long as you can provide even rudimentary evidences. Shouting will not
help to enhance our knowledge and the ministry.

Respectfully,

Fenggang
– —
Fenggang Yang, Ph.D. email: fyang@uh.edu
Department of Sociology http://www.uh.edu/~fyang
University of Houston phone: 713-743-3973
Houston, TX 77204 FAX: 713-743-3943

——————————

From: HarryWLew@aol.com
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 02:07:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: ignorant Americans

Dear Fenggang,

Thanks for the book reference. I’ll be searching for it.

My father retired to Monterey Park, California about ten years ago, where the
climate is better. I just spoke to him tonight, and he asked me about the
cold weather in Michigan. But I’ll see him in early March, Lord willing, when
I will be attending a conference in Pasadena. I know better now not to let
him see me load my camera with Fuji film.

I have a brother and sister still in New York, but the rest of the family is
in sunny Southern California.

Also to the rest of you, if you’re not familiar with Eugene Rivers, count
yourself blessed. He has been so blinded by bitterness that he can’t think
straight. He does have a following among those who would fit Jim Sleeper’s
term “liberal racists.”

Check out Jim Sleeper’s book, LIBERAL RACISM, that came out this summer and
is published by Viking. Has anybody else read this powerful little book?
Chock full of examples of the inanities of race conscious policies. And
again, like Nicholas Lemann, he would not consider himself a conservative.

Both of them like Shelby Steele, Glenn Loury, and I believe that if we are
serious about helping the minority underclass in America, it’s going to cost
a lot more than most conservatives realize. But the old liberal policies of
the past are not going to help.

That’s all for now. Got to finish packing and head out toward the Big Apple
first thing in the morning. Also will visit the in-laws, so don’t expect to
hear from me for a week or so.

Again, a Blessed Merry Christmas and New Year to all!

Yours in Christ,
Harry Lew

——————————

From: ben_mel@juno.com (Benjamin C Wong)
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 04:28:16 EST
Subject: CAC_Mail: Demographics

Hi;

Why do we think ABC and OBC Christians are leaving the Chinese Churches
mainly because of cultural incompatibilities, or lack of involvements
politically or socially, or failure to meet cultural needs, or have a
“comfort zone”? The first century church did not get or keep its members
by considering these things.

I believe that the Christian who is looking for more than socializing,
who is hungry to grow spiritually, to deepen his walk with God; (he) is
leaving because the church is anemic in its preaching and teaching of the
Word. He is not being fed spiritually. The church need to have pastors
and teachers who knows and teach the Scriptures, not teaching sociology,
civil rights, the ills and solutions of race discrimination, etc.

Is this over-simplified?

How about a discussion on the concept of the “church”, local and
universal; on para-church organization; and how these concepts should
affect Chinese churches? I’ll throw in my 2 cents when I get a chance.

Ben

——————————

From: jtc10@juno.com (J Chang)
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 07:19:11 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: FYI: “Need Knows No Season” Documentary

Need Knows No Season’ Documentary Profiles Services of The Salvation Army

The Family Channel to Broadcast ‘Need Knows No Season’ on December 30,
1997

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ — The Family Channel will
broadcast
“Need Knows No Season,” a documentary profiling the services of The
Salvation
Army, on Tuesday, December 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time (5 p.m.
Central and Mountain time).

Retired General Colin Powell and television personality Joan Lunden
join
together to narrate profiles of The Salvation Army’s services, including
a
youth center in one of Cleveland’s toughest neighborhoods, the largest
licensed residential care center for impoverished AIDS patients and their
families in Los Angeles, and The Family Literacy Program in Clearwater
which
helps single parents on welfare earn General Equivalency Degrees and
obtain
jobs.

“Need Knows No Season” profiles six service programs provided by The
Salvation Army:

* Women’s Way (Honolulu, Hawaii) * Bethesda House (Los Angeles,
California) * Home Sweet Home (Dallas, Texas) * Family Literacy
Program (Clearwater, Florida) * Hough Community Center (Cleveland,
Ohio)
* Music Camp (Oxford, Michigan)

Yet, these six programs are just a sample of the breadth of services
The
Salvation Army provides to those in need. The Salvation Army has
approximately 10,000 units of service in local communities nationwide,
and
last year assisted more than 26 million individuals in a variety of ways.
The
Salvation Army provides food to the hungry, companionship to the elderly,
clothing and shelter to the homeless, the opportunity for underprivileged
children to go to summer camp, relief for disaster victims, assistance
for the
disabled, and many more services to those in need.

“Need Knows No Season” is an independently devised and created
documentary
on The Salvation Army by Victor/Harder Productions, an international
award-
winning film and video production company that specializes in educational
and
documentary programming. The production of “Need Knows No Season” was
funded
through the corporate donations of the Byers Foundation, Caterpillar
Inc.,
Frito-Lay, Inc., and Northwest Airlines.

The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the universal Christian
church. One of the largest charitable and service organizations in the
world,
The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865. It provides support
to
those in need without discrimination through numerous assistance programs
that
include emergency shelter, disaster relief, substance abuse treatment,
and
basic, social services and counseling.

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 08:41:41 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: SPECIAL BOOK OFFER

– ——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997
From: Tom Lin
Subject: SPECIAL BOOK OFFER

The first Asian American-specific Bible Study Guide, “Losing Face,
Finding Grace” (IVP, January 1997) by Tom Lin is available for purchase.
Having sold over 4,000 copies already, this Bible Study guide has been
helpful for second generation Asians in personal study as well as group
study. Each book includes 12 studies on topics from our image of God,
to honoring parents, to idols and gifts of Asian culture. It is ideal
for English ministries of Chinese churches – esp. high schoolers,
college groups, and young adults.

To order 15 or less copies at $5.99 each, simply call InterVarsity
Press at (800) 843-7225 or visit your local bookstore. You can also
check “www.ivpress.com” for info on all IVP books. To order more than
15 copies at $4.50 each, call Tom Lin at (617) 562-8224 or e-mail
tomlin@virtually.net.

Feedback from a College Student: “MY mother went to Trinity Bookstore
(chicago) and bought the book. As soon as she read it, she cried and
realized that she needed to repent from the ways that she related to me,
her son. She came to me and asked for my forgiveness and said that I
didn’t have to be a doctor if I didn’t want to. She said that she only
cared that I follow the Lord. I was shocked, speechless, and in tears.
We reconciled that day, and now I live more for Christ (not for
medicine) and my relationship with my parents has grown so much closer
because they too live more for Christ.”

——————————

From: Fenggang Yang
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 10:22:04 -0600
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: ignorant Americans

Ray Downen wrote to Harry,
>It’s understandable, but wrong. Christians DO forgive, or they will
>not be forgiven. Terrible wrongs CAN be put behind us. They SHOULD be
>put behind us, else they get in the way of our LOVING those who
>despitefully use us. How does your father DARE claim to be a
>Christian while NOT forgiving???

Harry Lew replied:
>My dad has never claimed to be a Christian. Your prayers for his
salvation
>would be appreciated.
>But thanks anyway for your quick judgment.

My comments to Ray:

Forgiveness was one of Jesus’ words and acts (on the cross) first
attracted me who grew up in an atheist social environments. However, I
feel sick of this “quick judgement”. It is easy for you to say it, but
just imagine, IF your mother or wife or daughtor or sister was once
raped by your next door neighbor, and this neighbor had never regretted
and never been brought to justice, and this neighbor seemed to still
attempt to rape your mother/wife/daughtor/sister again, what would you
do? You tell your mother/wife/daughtor/sister that you have forgiven
your next door neighbor? And condemn your mother/wife/daughtor/sister
to the hell for their reluctance to forgive the rapist? Just imagine if
this has really happened on you and your family, what would you good
Christian do. Of course, as a good Christian you will not take this as
a personal assault, and understand that I just want to put this in
perspective. This is exactly the situation between the Chinese (those
who have the historical consciousness, not those who do not consider
themselves Chinese anymore) and the Japanese (those who are still trying
hard to conceil and even deny their most horrifying crimes in China and
other Asian countries).

A theological question to my Christian pastors on CAC: what is the
difference between Christian forgiveness and historical amnesia? I as
an ordinary Christian am struggling with this. Your godly help will be
sincerely appreciated.

Fenggang
– —————————————————————
Fenggang Yang, Ph.D. fyang@uh.edu
Department of Sociology http://www.uh.edu/~fyang
University of Houston 713-743-3943 (FAX)
Houston, TX 77204-3474 713-743-3973 (phone)

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 02:47:58 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Re: Demographics and % Christians

Dear Harry:

I was hoping I wouldn’t be drawn into any debate, but here I am in spite
of myself.

Your response to Fenggang is so saturated with labels and generalities
that you have to help me out.

> Sociology departments are replete with liberals and relativists.
>
Does this statement have any value at all? Can it ever be falsified?
If not, it can hardly be persuasive.

> If you don’t believe me, survey your department for political party
> affiliations.
>
By “party affiliation” you presumably mean the Democratic Party, whose
memebership would prove that “sociology departments are replete with
liberals and relativists.” What does this say about YOUR Democratic
Party membership?

> There was an excellent article in SOCIETY (September/October 1993 issue)
> entitled “Seeds of Racial Explosion” by Timur Kuran, a University of Southern
> California professor on why, among other things, surveys on racial issues
> usually come out more liberal than reality. He also makes an insightful
> analysis of white backlash.
>
Don’t know his works but would be happy to read them. By the way, Kuran
is a graduate of the Princeton and Stanford Economics departments and
currently teaches in one (USC), all “liberal and relativistic”
departments. And economics is one the social sciences.

> It is the tendency of liberals to think that everything has a political
> solution. And it is not that I don’t think government has a God-given role to
> play in human affairs. I have worked in many political campaigns, been a
> precinct delegate, served several terms of the executive committee of my
> county’s Democratic party (but vote a lot more Republican in recent years),
> regularly give workshops on “Christianity and Politics” to churches and
> college students, etc.
>
I see you have a very narrow definitioin of “politics,” which is fine.
But I hear Fenggang giving hard data (surveys of Mandarin-speaking
Chinese Christians) about why Chinese intellectuals find it so difficult
to integrate into North American Chinese churches. They complain (among
others) that Chinese churches care little about the social, political,
and cultural aspirations and concerns of Chinese expatriates. This is a
huge problem in the history of Christianity in China; it goes back at
least to the May Fourth Movement of 1919, and probably much farther
back. I suggest you take seriously what Fenggang and other devout
(mainland) Chinese Christian intellectuals have to say and engage in a
constructive dialogue to learn from their questions and concerns. Don’t
knee-jerk their points immediately into a big-govt pigeonhole. I
honestly think it’s an issue that will determine (from a historical
point of view) the shape of Chinese Christianity in the next 50-100
years.

> And given the sorry state of the African American underclass, the “activist”
> leadership of the black community is not something we Asian Americans should
> want to emulate.
>
I would be gravely offended by this generality about the “black
community” if I were African-American. In one broad stroke you manage
to belittle the moral calls of the likes of Martin Luther King and the
spiritual and political leadership of the likes of Eugene Rivers, just
two names off the top of my head. The AsiAm community might be better
off, for now, in social and economic terms, but I do not share your
optimism in the moral and spiritual state of our community. We have yet
to make our marks in this area.

> I would greatly appreciate it if you respond publicly to me through this CAC
> forum. If nothing else, you will let folks like Fenggang, Sze-kar, and Tim
> know that the subscribers to this list are a lot more conservative than one
> would think by just reading the messages alone.
>
I once observed that CAC was stiflingly conservative, that it was most
fearful of new ideas. Nothing and no one has yet contradicted this
observation. Can’t speak for the others, but I am sold on CAC’s
conservativism–more than ever. No need to lecture to the convert.

=====

In conclusion, a challenge to you, Harry:

Instead of dealing in impressions, labels, opinions, and generalities,
post a statement on (1) positions you hold as a CHINESE-AMERICAN
CHRISTIAN on ministry and political/social involvement (I’d like to hear
about your workshops on “Christianity and politics”); and (2) more
importantly, your BIBLICAL and THEOLOGICAL reasons for holding said
positions.

I will do likewise, and let’s have a real forum for a change.

Respectfully,
Sze-kar

——————————

From: Ken Fong
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 10:50:38 -0800
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Re: Demographics and % Christians

Fenggang and Harry:

I don’t know about ABC/OBC Christians who’ve dropped out of Chinese
churches b/c of the churches’ apolitical natures, but as the Lord has
given me entree into the secular AsiAm community activist and artistic
communities, my limited experience has confirmed one of my hunches–that
many of them have come to identify Christianity with a predominantly
white, western european, fundamentalist paradigm–one which they simply
cannot see themselves ever embracing. However, in my interface with
those serving the AsiAm substance abuse population (where I have
volunteered and led Bible studies for more than 4 years now), I find
that they are still quite fascinated with the person and teachings of
Jesus, especially with his compassion for those “down and outers” in
society. Slowly but surely, we’ve seen Jesus invite some of these
activists and artists to check out our church b/c, in part, they’ve
connected with an essential part of the gospel message.

So, while I’m curious to know how many Chinese in this country are
unchurched Christians, I’m also busy trying to build bridges with some
of the more ‘hardcore’ unchurched and unconvinced out there.

ken fong.
Evergreen Bapt. Church of LA

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 14:03:41 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Ignore duplicate msg

Dear CACers:

My apologies for sending an earlier version of an alread-posted
message. It sat in my Outbox, and I accidently sent it with a bunch of
other msgs. Please ignore it.

Sze-kar

——————————

From: gdot@juno.com (G Ottoson)
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 12:40:12 -0700
Subject: CAC_Mail: Poll

DJ, It would be wise at first, to take a poll of the silent majority:
Does Harry speak for all of you silent types? Do you believe that
politically motivated rhetoric/slander = “leadership (pastoral and
otherwise) committed to the biblical mandate to transform lives, church,
and society for Christ’s kingdom.” ?

How about you ‘Lurk’? You been tracking Bro. Tim’s residential addresses?

G

On Sun, 21 Dec 1997 04:03:15 -0500 (EST) HarryWLew@aol.com writes:

DJ Chuang writes:
>>Dear Harry,
>>you really do speak for the silent majority I think…

Harry writes:
>
>Those of us like Tim and others who are in denial about the
>dysfunctional culture of the underclass, never lived next door to
>a welfare family as I have and now do…
>

On Wed, 1 Oct 1997 23:30:37 -0400 (EDT) TSTseng@aol.com writes:
>Ken:
>
>I’m also pleased that the CAC list is growing…[with a purpose of]
>nurturing, supporting, and recruiting strong, godly, and
>faithful leaders for our existing and future congregations.
>
>But I see some obstacles:
>(1) Finding an “Asian American” voice among 2d-5th generation. To
>what degree are we really listening to the Asian Americans we are
>ministering to? Are we merely imposing an evangelical or liberal gospel
>that comes from a context unrelated (and sometimes oppressive)
>to Asian Americans’ social, political, economic, and spiritual
>circumstances? In other words, how relevant are issues like racism,
>gay rights/agenda, feminism, economic injustice, environmentalism,
>family values, etc. to our communities? How do we properly discern
>the weightier issues? This is more important to me than gnashing our
>teeths over ABC/OBC type of issues as important as they are…
> I really feel that there is a crying need for Asian American Christian
>leadership (pastoral and otherwise) committed to the biblical mandate
>to transform lives, church, and society for Christ’s kingdom.
>
>Tim
>

——————————

From: leungs
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 97 13:46:00 E
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing

Brother Sze-kar,

Thanks for the added depth. Is Deitrich Bonhoffer the martyr you
reference? I most associate him with warnings against cheap grace. The
connection between cheap grace and oblivious receiving is interesting?

On another note, I recently picked out the quote in a recent Jars of Clay (a
CCM band) song: “Blessed are the shallow, depth they’ll never find.” I
wonder if they offer this lyric earnestly or in jest. Is it reflective of
or a commentary on something in the contemporary mindset?

Perhaps it’s an affliction of many in my generation, but I do sometimes find
myself thinking that “ignorance is bliss” in the face of life’s realities
and complexities. Ripping it from context, I might even appropriate Psalm
131.1 to explain my mentality! Yet, this attitude can lead to a lack of
preparedness to engage “thinkers” and informed skeptics, as well as the
cheap grace problem (lack of awareness leading to lack of appreciation) that
you identify.

On the other hand, I look at flourishing outreach programs in quite a few
churches these days, particularly those directed at youth and young adults,
and I find simplicity. While we should stick to the knitting (we must keep
central the message of redemption that is available to all), I find a great
deal of overt “entertainment” and hype being offered in place of substance
and bothersome facts among “successful” congregations. Perhaps, this is
what it takes to be “relevant and relatable” these days. Thoughts?

Personally, I find it quite a challenge to switch gears quickly from
ministering to americanized teens suffering from “culturally-instilled ADS”
to relating to PRC scholars in who “pop in an out” of our Chinese-speaking
services. In a separate (future) discussion, I could share about the
fascinating conversations that have started between a visiting seminary
student from China and myself.

In His manifold grace,
Stephen

———-
From: Sze-kar Wan
To: CAC
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing
Date: Saturday, December 20, 1997 3:47AM

Dear Stephen:

Your illustration is well-taken, and it works well with a young child.
Adults (spiritually speaking, of course) need to develop it further.

A young child thrives, indeed only survives, on unconditional
receiving. It has no choice; it has nothing that could be used or
sacrificed to “earn” anything in exchange. A child is helpless in this
regard. It is also oblivious. Oblivious to the labors, efforts, pains,
sleepless nights its parents have to expend to provide for it. A child
receives without fanfare or gratitude; it simply receives. It thinks
this is the nature of things.

As the child grows older, when he or she learns that there is no free
lunch and treasury bills do not grow on trees, he or she learns,
finally, the parents have actually spent their life-saving on the
treasury bill that he or she so casually, so matter-of-factly received
before. They have sacrificed their lives for his or her well-being.
When this happens, guilt and sadness ensue, followed by a deep gratitude
never felt before.

So it is with our salvation.

A theologian, a martyr too, once distinguished between “cheap grace” and
“costly grace.” Cheap grace is when the child receives a gift in
oblivion. Costly grace is when the child finally understands that our
salvation was achieved by the Lord of Universe debasing himself into
human form and dying the death of a slave. This is the mystery of our
faith, of the incarnation. This is why the early church fought the
docetists who claimed that Christ as God could not have suffered the way
he did. This is why the early church fathers declared Gnostics
heretics, because the latter separated the body from the soul.

To the extent we belittle the sufferings of Christ, to that extent we
belittle the salvation he wrought on our behalf. And his sufferings
begin at birth.

A corollary: To know the sufferings of Christ is to know his humanity
and his solidarity with humanity. To know the sufferings of Christ is
to know the sufferings of all humanity.

In seasonal reflection,
Sze-kar

——————————

From: OHBRUDDER
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 14:36:19 -0600
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: ignorant Americans

Fenggang, Harry, and CACers,

Merry Christmas, y’all! It certainly is for our family this time of
year because it was this time of year 15 years ago, my parents were
baptized!

Growing up, my parents worked 7 days a week and ignored the kids
invitations to go to church. They didn’t mind letting us go to
church because the church should make us “good” kids and they
were influenced by a white ex-missionary woman who spoke Cantonese.

To make a long story short, I was a pallbearer at one of my dad’s
close friend. The ceremony reminded me of my own dad who was 70;
his friend was going into eternity without Christ . . .a real
tragedy . . .one of his sons told us how he wished his father would
wake for just a few moments from his coma in the hospital so that he
could share the gospel with him. He never woke. I resolved in my
heart that I do not want to have any regrets at my father’s funeral.
I want to be able to say I did all I could for my father’s soul.

The next morning during devotion, I know the Lord impressed upon me
to write a letter to my dad. I don’t speak Chinese, unless one
considers
broken “3-yup” mingled with broken “4-yup” mixed with an ABC accent
to be Chinese . . .for telling the gospel, I have a better chance
walking on water.

I wrote a letter (in English)
telling my dad about my feelings during the funeral,
and how I loved him and wanted to see him in eternity, and how he
could receive eternal life. . . as simply as I could. Then I gave the
letter to a OBC minister friend of mine to translate into Chinese.
I gave the letter to my dad . . .two weeks later, he and my mom went
to visit the OBC pastor of our church . . .gave their heart to Christ!
Month or so later, Christmas Sunday, they were baptized!

Merry Christmas!

For God’s gift of His Son which keeps on giving,

bill leong

Fenggang Yang wrote:
>
> I don’t think you can really understand your OBC father. (To
confess, I
> really admire your father as a real Chinese. Yes, a real Chinese!)
> Without understanding him, I don’t think you are able to bring him to
the
> Lord. . .
> . . . It is really unfortunate that Chinese
> Christians have let the other holocaust in China go without any
serious
> reflection. I think this is one of the reasons Christianity puts
Chinese
> people (especially intellectuals) off. If Christian theology cannot
> answer Chinese questions, Chinese people will not bother to know
> Christianity.
>

——————————

From: David Wong
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 02:12:22 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: re: ABC ministry

Dear Friends,

I’ve hesitated to get into this forum for a number of reasons: 1.)It
takes a lot of time to respond in an exchange of ideas; 2.) topics such
as Affirmative Action does not directly deal with the ABC church scene;
3.) some of the posting have gotten very personal in tone. SK felt
“hounded” by RD, who may have taken too much liberty in reading between
the lines.

I am compelled to write because I feel that there are those in the CAC
that are really looking for answers and are not simply debating for the
fun of it. I appreciate very much the thoughts expressed on this forum
by intellectuals and ministry practitioners.

The currect topic about ABC’s leaving the Chinese church is interesting.
Numbers and statistics are helpful but they do not tell you “why” they
are exiting the Chinese church.

Allow me to share some thoughts here. These are some of my observations
in over 20 years of pastoral ministries. I have pastored English
congregations in SF (Cumberland Presbyterian Chinese Church); Wheaton
Chinese Alliance Church (IL), Gaithersburg Chinese Alliance Church (MD)
and currently Washington International Church in Georgetown, Washington,
DC. The last three churches I served as the founding pastor. All
ministry were in English, except for the Wheaton and Gaithersburg
churches which we added Mandarin translation. Both churches now have
separate Chinese and English worship services.

I am an OBC from the Philippines. Came to the US in 1971, married a
southern girl from NAshville, TN in 1973. We have two wonderful
children. We call our marriage a cross-cultural marriage. Perhaps we
were a few of the “pioneers” of people in ministry who married
cross-culturally (I prefer this to mix-marriage). As such, we did
encountered racial prejudice based on our marriage. We were denied
ministry opportunity in a church in Texas because a woman doctor in the
church objected that we would be bad examples for the future generation.
If the pastor can marry a “white devil”, then their children will see no
reason to do the same thing. She influenced enough votes in the church
to defeat our appointment. But we have no regrets. God has better plans
– – from there we did church planting and we enjoyed every bit of it. I
later did my doctorate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in
Deerfield. My project was to write a manual on “How to Plant A Chinese
Church in North America.” I also taught church planting at ATS.

Let me offer my humble opinion here on why the ABC ministry is not
growing. I will focus here on the role of the pastor. I will address
other subjects later.

I believe the English ministry in many Chinese churches is anemic
because the english pastor (ABC or OBC) is poorly trained. At this
point, lets take the blame off the OBC pastor and church board. Many ABC
pastors I have counselled and observed have a very poor self-image. they
are unsure of their calling. Sometimes even guilty that they have
disappointed their OBC parental wishes about their career goals.

Survey the drop out rate of ABC pastors and you will find some drifting
from the pastorate to law school or social work,including
counselling.Others go into parachurch ministry and left the pastorate.

The problem began in seminary when they have poor mentoring and false
hope. Many ABC seminarians I spoke to say their gift is teaching. They
see themselves as Bible expositors and teachers like John MacArthur,
Church Swindoll, the late Ray Stedman, etc. Many would rather teach in a
Bible College or seminary than pastor a church.

Our seminaries are ill equipped to train ABCs to serve Chinese churches,
except perhaps for Alliance Theological Seminary which has a Bi-cultural
program for their M.Div program. ATS is in Nyack, NY. These young ABC
pastors have little skills in leadiing a congregation or run a church
board meeting. They need mentoring on how to exercise leadership.

We would all like to have a nice size congregation to preach and teach
to – but where do they come from? Few ABC pastors are willing and able
to do personal evangelism. Ask this question. How many people in your
congregation did you personally led to the Lord or that you personally
recruited from the unchurched group? ABC pastors need to lead the church
in personal evangelism. We criticize the OBC pastor for always preaching
“salvation” messages. But how many of us pastor/preachers do what we
tell our church members to do – that is, go witness and share Jesus
Christ with non-believers?

Please don’t think I am knocking ABC pastors here. I love and mentor a
number of ABC pastors. If anything, I would like to see ABC ministry
flourish. But from the late 70’s until now, I have seen ABC pastors and
laymen mostly in denial. ABC blames OBC or find some other reasons. Has
anyone look at the number of churches started by ABCs? There are a few
inspirational success but many failures.

ABC pastors need to discover their own style of ministry. Too much
emphasis is given to adopting models like Willow Creek or Saddleback. We
think if we perfect the worship service – they will come.

I believe the greatest need in the ABC ministry today is pastoral care.
I feel that many ABC pastors are too busy preparing for their sermons
and teaching that they neglected to care for the sheep. Many young ABC
pastors have no clue how to do hospital visitation or comfort a family
who lost a love one. Just as the OBC criticize ABC for their “cultural
insensitivity,” ABC pastors are often lacking in bedside(hospital)
manners.

We have at least three Chinese churches here in the Washington DC area
that are looking for English pastors. One other church recently called a
Caucasian to be their ABC pastor. The others are having a difficult time
recruiting? Why? I don’t believe it is an uninformed OBC church board –
most of them are very sympathetic to the plight of the ABC (yes, much
progress has been made in recent years). But that there are few
qualified candidates from which they can choose from.

I ask your forgiveness if I offended anyone. But I have shared these
thoguhts with many ABC pastors, laymen and seminarians, and they sadly
agree with me. We need to train a new breed of ABC pastors who can
preach well but are sensitive to pastoral concerns. We need seminarians
who are sure of their calling. We need pastors who want to be pastors.

God bless you in the ministry in this most wonderful season of
celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

a fellow practitioner in the ministry,
David Wong
Washington International Church
Washington, DC

——————————

From: jro6@juno.com (Jonathan c Ro)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 04:54:40 EST
Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: CAC: Reaching the unchurched

Hi James,
It’s good to hear from a fellow pastor who has a similar
philosophy of ministry as I have. I too have been studying up on
Willowcreek and have tried to use some of their principles in my Chinese
church context (English congregation). I’ve since learned that
transitioning a church from a ‘traditional model’ to ‘seeker sensitive
model’ (not even a ‘seeker targeted model’… there is a difference) is a
long and hard process.
My desire for my members is the same as yours, seeing them live
out lifestyle evangelism. My desire is to see them intentionally build
an authentic relationship with a seeker with the hopes of inviting
him/her to church. Our initial strategy for the English congregation was
to have our own contemporary “seeker services” during Christmas and
Easter. That was a good start for us, but it had its limits to its
effectiveness.
That strategy only works if members are actually building
authentic relationships with the unchurched. The problem with us was,
that wasn’t happening. Why? A general answer could be given: a lack of
spiritual vitality. ‘If they truly loved God, they’d love what God
loves, which is lost people. If they truly loved lost people, they’d
naturally spend time building a relationship with a lost person.’
Although that may be a general response, I think the problem is
more complicated than that. There could be other contributing factors
for a lack of evangelistic zeal in a church. For us these were the
contributing factors…

1. No clearly defined target group for an ethnic church (English
congregation). Who are we to reach? Unchurched Asian Americans or just
anyone, multi-racial? Both directions have their potential problems.
If we targeted just unchurched AAs, that would be hard since they are so
hard to find in the Midwest. And, most of our natural relationships with
the unchurched are with white folks. Even if we found AAs through
marketing efforts, would they respond to our “cold call” solicitations?
If we went muti-racial, that would be hard too since we’re
minorities. White Christians already have a hard time reaching their own
kind. Look at the enormous amount of effort and sacrifice Willowcreek
has to make in order to gain a hearing from a post-Christian culture. If
the unchurched whites barely listen to their own kind, why would they
listen us? And even if a few whites did listen to us, would they step
into a Chinese church much less make it their home church? Plus the
fact, if the English congregation went overtly multi-racial it would
threaten the existence of the Chinese congregation. The multi-racial
vision would have to be spread very discreetly.
In your situation, you’re a church plant so you don’t have the
two congregational system and the problems associated with that.
However, you still have the target group issue. Asians Americans are
also minorities in Maryland. Could your church realistically reach
unchurched whites there? My guess is probably not. (I hope you prove me
wrong though). However, church planting in the West coast may be a
different story since there are so many AA living there.

2. A poor church infra-structure for pastoral care. Our previous
methodology for pastoral care was inadequate. We were under a
“Congregational” care system as opposed to a “Cell” care system
(Meta-church terminology). Even if we did grow, our medium sized adult
fellowship (20+) wouldn’t have been able to assimulate new comers
effectively. The good news is… turning our fellowship group into three
small groups dramatically increased our receptivity to new comers.
Having “fishing pool” events quarterly also helped connect visitors with
members. We have seen good results with this new meta-church system.

3. Too many “church” programs. We had more “ministries” running
than the available help to man them. (Eg. youth group, Sunday school
(K-adults), children’s church (K-6th), nursery, missions conference,
prayer meetings, fellowships, Bible studies, worship team, welcome
team…etc.)
Our members were so tired from keeping the ministries afloat that
they didn’t have the time and energy to build an authentic relationship
with an unchurched person. Our many programs were burning us out and
keeping us from being spiritually healthy.
We had to down size and consolidate ministries to relieve the
burden. I received more criticism on this matter than on anything else.
Focusing on priorities, such as starting up small groups and training
small group leaders and apprentices, basically killed our Sat. night
Youth group program. (We still have a Sunday morning Youth Sunday School
though). However, the benefits for starting small groups were
tremendous. It helped us combine many of the ministries together such as
Bible study, prayer, inreach, and outreach. It awakened the spiritual
lives of exhausted burned out members. It brought in new people to help
carry the load.
We also combined the children’s Sunday school with children’s
worship to make it one unified children’s program, (Willowcreek’s
Promiseland Model). Since these changes have taken place, our members
are just about back to balance and health.

4. Lack of Leadership. In the past, the Chinese congregation
never developed potential ABC leaders and never provided a vision for us.
We had to survive on our own. The lack of leadership for so many years
caused a massive exodus of ABCs from the church and a low morale
(self-esteem) for those who stayed. That trend was reversed by letting
them experience wins under their belts through many of the positive
changes that were made.

5. Seeker services are effective if they are done well and done
with the right group of people. Yes, in our seeker services we have
dramas, video clips, special music and a contemporary band, but I’m not
sure how effective we really are. We are still in an experimental stage.
Plus the fact, it has taken up a lot of resources to make it happen. It
has drained us so much that we can only handle two of them a year,
Christmas and Easter. Of course these services are far better than the
typcial combined services. They are also refreshing for the previously
churched ABCs who are coming back to the church. But are they effective
for AAs who have a Buddhist background? I don’t know. The jury is still
out.

These are just some of the issues that we’ve been wrestling with.
Some of them are not yet fully resolved. If you have any suggestions
to help me I’d love to hear them. I hope that some of this is helpful to
you as well.

In Christ,

Jonathan Ro
Associate Pastor (English Congregation)
The Chinese Bible Church of Oak Park

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 08:56:32 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: about CAC forum

To all CACers:

It’s fascinating how the timing of things come, just as in the
fullness of time, Christ Jesus came to visit us on earth about 2000
years ago (Galatians 4:4). What an awesome thought that God would
visit us, that God is now with us, Emmanuel!! (tho’ tragic emotions
may be evoked as well, to think that God would give up so much to
become a lowly man; as I’m most recently discovering, any event/idea
can evoke at least 2 or 3 emotions and feelings.)

About the timing of things right here, the recent issues on this CAC
forum have caused quite a stir among many. Let me address it briefly:

I am a list manager, I volunteer my time and service as a hobby, to
get the technical aspects flowing smoothly. I jump in only to stop
things out of hand, or to end an issue driven to the ground and/or
going no where (for whatever reason). That is all, this is an
UNMODERATED forum, and I am not the moderator.

I purposely hoped for the best in all the participants, that we would
all be civil and gentlemanly (or gentlewomanly?) in our discussion and
demeanor, and recent discussions have not shown that (on all ends of
the theological/political spectrum). I’ve been sorely disappointed.
There’ve been offensive and questionable messages _all over_ (I
apologize for not jumping in sooner, my own sensitivity has turned
more thick-skinned after getting into real ministry in real life). I’m
not sure what is best to do; likewise, everyone has their own opinions
on this.

This forum is a place for open discussion on issues related to Chinese
American Christians, where diversity is appreciated and allowed. I
sense that some do not seem to engage well with diversity and differing
opinions, I sense that some do not delve more deeply into complex
issues, I sense that a written forum such as email is limited in
conveying ideas as effectively as needed. For all, I beseech you to be
especially humble, decorus, patient, and repentant. Some of you have
demonstrated these qualities, and I thank you.

I’ll share further about some personal thoughts about CAC and myself in
the coming weeks, but for now, this is the Christmas season, it’s a
time for celebration and well wishes. Merry Christmas, relish in the
joy and peace that Christ alone brings.

DJ Chuang, list manager
– —
*

——————————

From: leungs
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 97 09:04:00 E
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing

Brother James,

I was pretty sure you’d enter the discussion on this one. Good to hear from
you again. You should tell us more about what, with God’s grace, you are
seeking to do in Cedar Ridge these days.

I put quotations around successful because it does have to be qualified. To
some, numbers seems to be the key metric for the “success” of a church, and
hence whether we’re looking closely at the Rick Warren at Saddleback or the
Willowcreek model, we partially acknowledge their “authority” because of the
numbers they have reached. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock
mega-churches here. I’m just saying that it tends to be a lens through
which we judge “success.”

My own desire has been much more along the lines of what Sister Melanie
describes – a holistic approach, complete with discipleship. That,
however, takes time and dedicated people (sponsors/counselors). Since you,
James, are somewhat aware of my present situation, you know those resources
are in very short supply. Moreover, to get youth to appreciate authenticity
and honesty, sponsors have to have spent time in the Word and in practice of
such “virtues” so as to model them for the youth. Not all youth come from
homes that consistently display these and other “virtues.” Besides, as
we’ve said before, transparency is kind of a “Western” thing.

[For those not around the DC area, Frontlines is a ministry at McLean Bible
Church targeted at twenty-somethings, held on Sunday evenings – when
everyone is back from the weekend. It is enjoying some phenomenal growth in
numbers. However, a closer look at its demographics might be revealing.]

Instead of naming particular churches here in DC [others following the
McLean Bible model], let me refer to YFC’s DC/LA convention as a more common
example of what is used to attract youth these days. Yes, some would call
DC/LA an “Anglo” thing. But, from what I understand, the LA portion of it
is heavily attended by Asians. With exposure to popular gatherings/programs
like these, our youth (new and older Christians and non-Christians) begin to
say, “yeah, that’s what we want.”

To answer Brother DJ’s question, I’ve been “hangin” with youth for about
twelve years now. The attention spans of the students have progressively
gotten shorter. And, yes MTV is one of the factors leading to short
attention spans. So is the general atmosphere in many schools these days
where teachers ignore rather than discipline those who blatantly chat away
in the back of classrooms. The fact that some of the youth have closer
relationships with their discmans and desktops than with any human being is
also telling. Not only do they like entertainment, they’re quite accustomed
to selecting entertainment themselves – changing the channel if the
scheduled programming isn’t to their liking.

The community-congregation-committed-core scheme and ones like them still
work loosely. The hard part is keeping the movement from left to right
instead of from right to left. We’ve been blessed by the Lord lately with
an influx of un-churched and non-christian teens. Yet their appetites have
influenced our churched youth and now they’re more than ever shaping what
our committed youth hope to see in our programming.

Having been introduced to youth ministry under the auspices of folks like
Ray Lee, Lawrence Chen, and Sandy Moy-Liu, and having watched what worked
(in the 80’s), I still hold fast to bedrock requisites like the Truth of God
and transforming relationships. It’s just that the shorter attention span
has now forced the delivery of these requirements to take different tacts
and forms. A new teen is often so “distracted” that you really just have to
keep trying and praying without any garauntee of success to show you are
seriously interested in him or her. Among the visitors that come to the
group, there is a pretty low percentage that ever come to “discover” that
God’s Word IS relevant and that the “adults” can relate to what they’re
going through. The majority are “ever hearing, but never understanding!”

Sorry for going on like this about youth ministry. I only close by sharing
that we are STILL looking for an English-speaking pastor!=)

In the Redeemer,
Stephen

———-
From: jwong
To: leungs
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing
Date: Monday, December 22, 1997 12:04PM

> you identify.
>
> On the other hand, I look at flourishing outreach programs in quite a few
> churches these days, particularly those directed at youth and young
adults,
> and I find simplicity. While we should stick to the knitting (we must
keep
> central the message of redemption that is available to all), I find a
great
> deal of overt “entertainment” and hype being offered in place of substance
> and bothersome facts among “successful” congregations.

Steve,

What’s your definition of “successful”? Do you have “Frontline”(a
highly contemporary service with a rock band that’s got guys with long
hair, goatee and grungewear) in mind? A lot of these “highly
contemporary” congregations do attract a lot more unbelievers and very
young believers.

Most Christians who are looking for something more meaningful and
reflective go elsewhere. There is a significant number of people
within this category which is why I’m also considering a starting a
ministry for this group of “deep thinkers”.

Perhaps, this is
> what it takes to be “relevant and relatable” these days. Thoughts?

Not necessary. Most of my unbelieving friends that I hang out with do
look for “substance” such as honesty and authenticity. I think the
postmodern church will approach outreach in a manner very different
from the boomers. Emphasis will be more on authenticity and
transparency rather than the “entertainment” approach which is pretty
much a boomers type of ministry that focuses on excellence.

In Him,

JTW

——————————

From: KG Louie
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 18:25:10 +0000
Subject: CAC_Mail: It’s so simple to recieve!

Brudder Bill,
Thanks you so much for sharing your wonderful story of your parents. It
brings a joy to my heart and a tear to my eyes when lives are transformed by
the GRACE that was so freely givien. (God’s Redemption At Christ’s Expense).

Harry Lew,
You and I have common roots in NYC’s Chinatown at CCBC. It is good that the
ministry of George Cole (who founded CCBC – then only a mission) has blessed
all who walked through the doors have that church.

Wishing all the best of His will in your lives. Come Jesus come!!

Until He returns, we work!
King Louie/NYC

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 16:30:21 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Asian Task Force Summit 1998 (Jan.19-20) & PrayUSA! 98 (March

*** forwarded message ***

To all who long to see revival break forth in the Asian-American church
& communities:

Here are two events for you to prayerfully consider:

1) U.S. Spiritual Warfare Network
Asian Task Force Summit 1998
Sheraton Gateway Hotel at LAX
6101 W. Century Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90045
Hotel Reservations No: 310-642-1111

To register ($25/person by 1/1/98), contact:

Asian Task Force
735 S. Mills Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711 USA
Toll-Free No: 888.SWN.2ATF (796.2283) x175
Phone: 909.482.4466 x175
Fax: 909.482.4464
E-mail: atf@ifgf.org

2) PrayUSA! 98 (March 1-April 9): 40 days of praying and fasting for
revival and spiritual awakening in the U.S.A. For a reproducible prayer
calendar (English, Chinese and other Asian languages) and to learn more
about mobilization of Asian-American Christians to participate in
PrayUSA!, please call 909-944-4963 (Fax: 909-944-6339).

Thank you and may God grant you a joyous and restful Christmas and New
Year.

Martin Mei-ta Chow, President
Metawake Revival and Evangelism, Inc.
P.O. Box 2214
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729-2214
U.S.A.
Tel. 909-944-4963
Fax 909-944-6339
Pgr 909-457-2777
E-mail: (O) metawake@juno.com
(H) asotl@juno.com

P.S. Please forward this post to as many people as you know who may be
interested. Thanks.

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 16:30:21 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: re: ABC ministry

– ——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-

From: “jwong”
To: cac@emwave.net

David Wong wrote:
>
> 3.) some of the posting have gotten very personal in tone. SK felt
> “hounded” by RD, who may have taken too much liberty in reading between
> the lines.
>

Right on, Pastor Wong. I’m getting wary myself from some of the
recent postings.

On the subject of reaching unchurched ABCs, I think a reformation
would help. Most ABCs congregation are too focused on maintaining and
retaining people let alone carry out evangelism. The majority of these
congregations have grown through transfer membership and birth. Thus,
what we have are mostly churched people with very little exposure and
interest in evangelism.

What we hope to do differently at “The Edge” is build up a core of
revolutionary Christians through evangelism. So, our focus is mainly on
unchurched people, including ABCs, and building up this ministry from
scratch. Having found Christ after living as a secular humanist for 19
years, I cannot help but feel that in order for evangelism to seriously
take place among ABCs, it has to be experienced personally and seen
happening on a regular basis.

Which is why I prefer to start something from scratch with mostly
unchurched people who has experienced evangelism first hand and have
seen the hand of God touching their hearts in a very real way even when
they weren’t believers.

Anyway, I do believe ABCs can be reached and empowered to make a
difference for Christ today. But I prefer to produce something
tangible first instead of rapping on the “ifs” and “buts” of ABC
ministry. So, until then, do remember us in your prayers as we
strife for the glory of God’s kingdom.

In Him,

JTW

> I believe the English ministry in many Chinese churches is anemic
> because the english pastor (ABC or OBC) is poorly trained. At this
> point, lets take the blame off the OBC pastor and church board. Many ABC
> pastors I have counselled and observed have a very poor self-image. they
> are unsure of their calling. Sometimes even guilty that they have
> disappointed their OBC parental wishes about their career goals.
>
> Survey the drop out rate of ABC pastors and you will find some drifting
> from the pastorate to law school or social work,including
> counselling.Others go into parachurch ministry and left the pastorate.
>
> The problem began in seminary when they have poor mentoring and false
> hope. Many ABC seminarians I spoke to say their gift is teaching. They
> see themselves as Bible expositors and teachers like John MacArthur,
> Church Swindoll, the late Ray Stedman, etc. Many would rather teach in a
> Bible College or seminary than pastor a church.
>
> Our seminaries are ill equipped to train ABCs to serve Chinese churches,
> except perhaps for Alliance Theological Seminary which has a Bi-cultural
> program for their M.Div program. ATS is in Nyack, NY. These young ABC
> pastors have little skills in leadiing a congregation or run a church
> board meeting. They need mentoring on how to exercise leadership.
>
> We would all like to have a nice size congregation to preach and teach
> to – but where do they come from? Few ABC pastors are willing and able
> to do personal evangelism. Ask this question. How many people in your
> congregation did you personally led to the Lord or that you personally
> recruited from the unchurched group? ABC pastors need to lead the church
> in personal evangelism. We criticize the OBC pastor for always preaching
> “salvation” messages. But how many of us pastor/preachers do what we
> tell our church members to do – that is, go witness and share Jesus
> Christ with non-believers?
>
> Please don’t think I am knocking ABC pastors here. I love and mentor a
> number of ABC pastors. If anything, I would like to see ABC ministry
> flourish. But from the late 70’s until now, I have seen ABC pastors and
> laymen mostly in denial. ABC blames OBC or find some other reasons. Has
> anyone look at the number of churches started by ABCs? There are a few
> inspirational success but many failures.
>
> ABC pastors need to discover their own style of ministry. Too much
> emphasis is given to adopting models like Willow Creek or Saddleback. We
> think if we perfect the worship service – they will come.
>
> I believe the greatest need in the ABC ministry today is pastoral care.
> I feel that many ABC pastors are too busy preparing for their sermons
> and teaching that they neglected to care for the sheep. Many young ABC
> pastors have no clue how to do hospital visitation or comfort a family
> who lost a love one. Just as the OBC criticize ABC for their “cultural
> insensitivity,” ABC pastors are often lacking in bedside(hospital)
> manners.
>
> We have at least three Chinese churches here in the Washington DC area
> that are looking for English pastors. One other church recently called a
> Caucasian to be their ABC pastor. The others are having a difficult time
> recruiting? Why? I don’t believe it is an uninformed OBC church board –
> most of them are very sympathetic to the plight of the ABC (yes, much
> progress has been made in recent years). But that there are few
> qualified candidates from which they can choose from.
>
> I ask your forgiveness if I offended anyone. But I have shared these
> thoguhts with many ABC pastors, laymen and seminarians, and they sadly
> agree with me. We need to train a new breed of ABC pastors who can
> preach well but are sensitive to pastoral concerns. We need seminarians
> who are sure of their calling. We need pastors who want to be pastors.
>
> God bless you in the ministry in this most wonderful season of
> celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
>
> a fellow practitioner in the ministry,
> David Wong
> Washington International Church
> Washington, DC

– —
*

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 16:30:21 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Re: CAC: Reaching the unchurched

– ——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-

From: “jwong”
To: Jonathan c Ro
CC: cac@emwave.net

Brother Ro,

There is actually a good number of unchurched Asians in this MD,DC,VA
area. Enough to build a church to reach them. However, my target group
does include Anglo-Americans since I’m being sponsored by an Anglo
church and am building up my core group there.

I came to Christ through a missionary when I was 19, which is why I have
this missions mindset of reaching Americans for Christ.

Thank you for helping us know a little about what you’re doing. Even
though Willow Creek was my first experience of church life, my
philosophy has somewhat evolved over the years but I still apply many of
its principles. The church plant situation that I’m in is very
different from that of an established church but it won’t take too long
before we deal with the same issues.

Many of my church planting buddies thought that planting a new church
will free them up from having to deal with Chinese elders, OBCs, etc.
But most of them realize after a while, that church plants present
problems and limitations of their own and in many cases, of equal
magnitude to that of an established church.

Thus, what you’ve shared will help in the long run as I anticipate many
obstacles along the way.

Alright, bro. Have a blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year.

JTW

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 16:30:21 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing

– ——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-

From: “jwong”
To: cac
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing

leungs wrote:
>
> I was pretty sure you’d enter the discussion on this one. Good to hear from
> you again. You should tell us more about what, with God’s grace, you are
> seeking to do in Cedar Ridge these days.

My main man,

I’m doing missions work at Cedar Ridge. Actually, to be more
accurate, I’m reaching white America for Christ. Being Chinese
myself, I figure that I’d probably attract more Asians than
non-Asians. That has been true so far. But building a new ministry
within an Anglo church has really helped me to build many meaningful
relationships with both churched and unchurched Anglo-Americans.

So, I hope this will turn out to be a multi-ethnic ministry. We are
still building up our core group and are looking at launching out as an
independent church in a year’s time. In essence, I’m starting a
multi-ethnic church by focusing mainly on growing through evangelism.

Steve, I appreciate what you’re doing out there. You have chose to do
that which honors God. He in return, will honor your effort.

Keep up the good work, bro.

JTW

A new teen is often so “distracted” that you really just have to
> keep trying and praying without any garauntee of success to show you are
> seriously interested in him or her. Among the visitors that come to the
> group, there is a pretty low percentage that ever come to “discover” that
> God’s Word IS relevant and that the “adults” can relate to what they’re
> going through. The majority are “ever hearing, but never understanding!”
>
> Sorry for going on like this about youth ministry. I only close by sharing
> that we are STILL looking for an English-speaking pastor!=)
>
> In the Redeemer,
> Stephen
>
> ———-
> From: jwong
> To: leungs
> Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: shocking & depressing
> Date: Monday, December 22, 1997 12:04PM
>
> > you identify.
> >
> > On the other hand, I look at flourishing outreach programs in quite a few
> > churches these days, particularly those directed at youth and young
> adults,
> > and I find simplicity. While we should stick to the knitting (we must
> keep
> > central the message of redemption that is available to all), I find a
> great
> > deal of overt “entertainment” and hype being offered in place of substance
> > and bothersome facts among “successful” congregations.
>
> Steve,
>
> What’s your definition of “successful”? Do you have “Frontline”(a
> highly contemporary service with a rock band that’s got guys with long
> hair, goatee and grungewear) in mind? A lot of these “highly
> contemporary” congregations do attract a lot more unbelievers and very
> young believers.
>
> Most Christians who are looking for something more meaningful and
> reflective go elsewhere. There is a significant number of people
> within this category which is why I’m also considering a starting a
> ministry for this group of “deep thinkers”.
>
> Perhaps, this is
> > what it takes to be “relevant and relatable” these days. Thoughts?
>
> Not necessary. Most of my unbelieving friends that I hang out with do
> look for “substance” such as honesty and authenticity. I think the
> postmodern church will approach outreach in a manner very different
> from the boomers. Emphasis will be more on authenticity and
> transparency rather than the “entertainment” approach which is pretty
> much a boomers type of ministry that focuses on excellence.
>
> In Him,
>
> JTW

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 16:43:54 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Outreach

– ——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-

From: “jwong”
To: CAC

BTW, most Asian-Americans other than Korean-Americans and to a small
extent, Chinese Americans are unchurched. I’m trying to build a
philosophical foundation for reaching non-Korean Asian Americans. Most
KAs have some sort of exposure to church life and are able to adapt to
church situations more readily while most other Asians don’t.

At the moment, my only models of outreach ministry that are available
out here in DC are mostly Euro-American. So, we’ll see what we can come
up with at “The Edge” within the next couple of years.

Do pray for us.

——————————

From: ben_mel@juno.com (Benjamin C Wong)
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 00:28:39 EST
Subject: CAC_Mail: Hermeneutics and unity

Hi;

I’m responding to a note posted by Sze-kar on Nov. 7th. But before I do
here is something else that has some bearing on it.

I make a necessary distinction between “knowing” and “understanding”.
Perhaps the distinction can be made using other terms, but this
distinction is necessary. “Knowing” is to have knowledge of facts,
whereas “understanding” is to have sense about the facts, that is the
facts comes together and make sense. The natural (unbeliever) man cannot
“understand” the things of God (I Cor. 2:14). He may “know” about them,
like knowing and quoting the 10 Commandments, or about the history of
Israel, but he cannot understand them. He may know that one should “in
all things give thanks”, but he doesn’t understand why, how can it be?
Knowing about something is to have the facts about it, but understanding
is to have those facts make sense, come together in a meaningful whole.

The believer is able to understand the things of God, even the deep
things of God because the Spirit of God gives him that understanding. In
teaching the Word of God, I can communicate knowledge of God’s Word, but
it is the Holy Spirit that gives understanding. Therefore as a teacher,
I need to be diligent to communicate knowledge to my students, but I am
completely dependant on the Spirit to give the students understanding; it
is not in myself. The student must also be completely dependant on the
Spirit to give understanding, not in his own intelligence. His
intelligence can only know.. Have you ever experienced a mentally slower
student expressing insights on God’s Word that the more sharp students
misses?

Dear Sze-kar;

You wrote back on Nov. 7th, concerning the issue of hermeneutics:
” if understanding is required, can the interpreter be so easily
extricated from the
equation? Is it possible to make a clean separation between
“interpretation” and “interpreter”?

This is a very good point and the interpreter must be aware of being
subjectively involved. The problem is there and the help for this is to
be aware and note that which is subjective, or recognize it when pointed
out to him. A danger in interpretation is with our subjectivity we think
it is my interpretation and any criticism of it is a criticism of myself.
One began to think it is his meaning, truth and forget that it is God’s
truth that is revealed and he is only trying to understand its meaning.

You also wrote:

” God–>Word/Bible–>Hermeneutics/Interpretation–>Understanding/Reader

In other words, Hermeneutics stands between the biblical text and the
Reader and cannot be separated from him or her. If a hermeneutical
system produces an Interpretation INcomprehensible to the Reader, there
is no understanding, and there can be no faith.

Take your slavery example as test case. I don’t think you or anyone on
CAC would advocate slavery as a viable social system, even though it’s
described in the New Testament. So, when we come to the Household Codes
where the slave-master relationship is laid down (Col 3.22-4.1; Eph
6.5-9; etc.), some sort of hermeneutics must be in operation: we must
“understand the good and wisdom” of it as you said. Why can’t we simply
submit to it literally–without any input from the interpreter? Because
(a) we don’t live in a slavery society (our historical & social
location); and (b) we think slavery is evil (20th-century moral
standard). In other words, to take these passages literally would be
utterly INcomprehensible to us. ”

The problem is not the interpretation, nor the lack of understanding.
The concern is “submit to it literally” or how to apply such an
understanding to our culture. Although it does not fit our society, one
can understand it as it works in their society, . . . literally. There
is a difference between interpretation and application. There is, from
our approach, only one true interpretation but many applications.

You continued and wrote;

” for that’s [historical-grammatical method] my overwhelming preference
as well.
But I think we (i.e., you and I) should also be aware of the cultural,
historical, and philosophical biases built into the method.”

Yes! but I think it would best be said, “USED in the method,” not “BUILT
into the method.” We can, being alerted, use the method (or revised
method) without these biases.

You also wrote:

“Furthermore, we should also recognize that the grammatico-historical
method was NOT the method of choice in the New Testament! Paul calls
his own interpretation of the Hagar and Sarah story “allegorical” (Gal
4.21-31; see esp. v. 24). (The NIV shies from “allegorical” and calls
its “figurative,” but see NASB and NRSV. The word is “allegorousthai,”
literally, “to be said allegorically.”) See also 1 Cor 10.1-5, where
Paul identifies the rock following the Israelites in Exodus as “Christ”
(v. 4). Now, in both cases, a straightforward grammatico-historical
reading of the Hagar-Sarah story and the Exodus account would NOT yield
the Pauline results of “earthly Jerusalem-heavenly Jerusalem” and
“Christ.” Was Paul wrong? No way! Or as Paul would say, “me genoito!”
🙂 But then, should we abandon our grammatico-historical method?
Well, not yet, at least not for me. But surely this tells me the G-H
methods is not as omnipotent and value-free as I once thought.

Well put, H.G. method of interpretation is not the choice of God’s
Spirit. But I’m not sure He was kept in a method-limitations. I do not
have any difficulties when Paul writes an allegorical interpretation. He
is under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is no problem with
allegorical interpretation when it is the Scriptures that is doing it.
But let a man not inspired by the Spirit propose an allegorical
interpretation and I am highly skeptical. How can I accept one
allegorical meaning over another allegorical meaning of the same passage?
The H.G. method gives an objectiveness
and removes much subjectivity to provide a bases to move together to its
meaning.
I am with you. There is no abandoning of this method.

I am persuaded that the best basis to reach a unity in our interpretation
is thru the historical-grammatical method of interpretation; and the best
basis to reach a unity in the church is a humble submission to God’s
Word.

I hope I did not misunderstand your points. I would appreciate your
further input and expansion.

That the unity in Christ may be seen,

Ben

——————————

From: ben_mel@juno.com (Benjamin C Wong)
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 02:10:48 EST
Subject: CAC_Mail: Bill’s parents’ salvation

Bill;

Thanks for sharing. How marvelous are the workings of God. Man can plan
and devise and reason how God would or would not work, but thanks be to
God, He is not like man.

Wow! ! Rejoicing with you,

Ben

——————————

From: Rlfong
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 03:48:42 EST
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: re: ABC ministry

In a message dated 97-12-23 03:13:39 EST, pastor@internationalchurch.org
(David Wong ) wrote:

<>

I’m not in a Chinese church for the simplist reason it’s too far to go to
Chinatown. As for the suburban churches, they tend more towards OBC
leadership than ABC; and its simply easier to go to a mainstream church and
serve and be appreciated without drowning in the doing everything at a chinese
church and being unappreciated.

before the flames start, note that there are graduations of ABC which we
should recognize and strive to reach. Those who speak Chinese and are 1st/2nd
generation immigrants; those who don’t speak Chinese; and those who live in
metro areas like California where there are enough Asians to be part of the
landscape and accepted into the mainstream churches. well, at least, that’s
my two cents worth.

Glad to see David didn’t drop out after the Cumberland experience and God is
still blessing you.

Ronnie Fong
who used to be a parishioner at Cumberland under David
but now is in a PCUSA church that has deaf, blind, black, Asian, hispanic and
white folks, with an evangelistic bent and social gospel tendencies too!, in
suburban Fremont, California ( San Francisco Bay Area ) living on the edge
known as the Hayward fault!

——————————

From: jtc10@juno.com (J Chang)
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 03:13:19 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: FYI: “Nation in the Balance”

Dear Mark:

On Tue, 23 Dec 1997 14:23:22 EST LMGranfors writes:

>Please forgive my response earlier to “Nation in the Balance.” I
>appreciate
>and look forward to the CAC dialogue as well as information that is
>shared. I
>do get “spammed” occaisionally,…

Thanks for your kind explanation regarding a previous post. It’s no
problem at all!

I respect your heart’s desire to learn & grow by being part of the CAC
email list. It’s perfectly fine to “lurk” & to get a feel for the
subculture
of this forum. I also “lurked” for about a few months before becoming
more actively involved.

However, please feel free to share your ideas, experiences, & views
when you have some available moments. We are all here to sharpen
one another in Christ, by His grace & love, no matter how new we are
to ministry.

Christmas blessings!

In Him,
J. Chang

——————————

From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 15:55:59 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: ignorant Americans

– ——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-

From: Marfluctus
To: cac@emwave.net

HarryLew wrote in a post dated 12-20 that

Hi, I am Hai-Tao Wang with Chinese Baptist Church of Orange County and I
have been “lurking” for sometime 🙂 I feel compeled to respond to this
because I don’t believe that is something that we should just accept and
propagate in the Chinese community. I realize that this hatred is very
strong among many of the older generation of Chinese and I understand
that. My family is from Nanjing and I had refused to buy anything
Japanese ever since I learned about the Nanjing Massacre in history book
some thirty years ago. I don’t believe my father was in the city when
the massacre occurred but my father does not talk about it very much and
the few times that I asked him about it, he simply evaded the question.
I have no way to find out if my family was ever directly affected by it.
However, I do know that my father dislikes communist more than he
dislikes Japanese because my uncle died in communist labor camp and that
is the reason why we are here in the USA. In any event, my own personal
hatred toward Japanese took a big turn when God took hold of that
hatred. A few years ago, I was starting the Brotherhood, men’s missions
involvement group, in my church. There was a very scant support in the
church except for my pastor. However, there is only one person who came
steadily and has always been supportive. Out of a church of about 500
Chinese, the only Japanese showed up everytime. I have always liked
Steve, the fact that he is Japanese does not bother me. He loves God
and that’s all that counts. As our friendship grew, God wanted me to
deal with that hatred inside me: how can I hate a whole nation/race when
He loves them all. I remembered the story of Jonah, not the fish part
but when he sat outside Nineveh wanting God to destroy it. Our God
loves all people and we should, too. God, working through Steve, in a
very quiet way changed 20 some years of hatred inside me. Yes, Nanjing
massacre was a horrible event and we should not delete it from history
book as some of Japanese extreme right attempt to do. However, I think
that we as Christians should use this situation to illustrate how much
greater is our God’s love. The pain in our memory cannot be erased but
His healing power and His love can overcome even that and make the scar
His victory mark! I don’t think that God wants us to dwell on that and
try to figure out what is fair. It is over and we need to move on. I
realize that many of the CACers do not feel very much about this event
just like a lot “ignorant Americans” but I think our God has better
things for us to do and let’s focus on sharing His Good News in this
Christmas season.

In His Love,

Hai-Tao Wang

ps. I finally owned a few made in Japan products and they are not bad 🙂
And, I even visited Japan last year and made some more Japanese
friends.

——————————

From: jtc10@juno.com (J Chang)
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 01:29:56 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: “A Christmas Alphabet”

Dear CACers:

Best wishes for a blessed Christmas! Enjoy the poem.

In Him,
J. Chang
– ————————————

A CHRISTMAS ALPHABET

(Taken From the Faith, Prayer & Tract League of Grand Rapids, Michigan)

A is for Angels, appearing so bright telling of Jesus that first
Christmas night.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the
heavenly host.”

Luke 2:13

B is for Bethlehem, crowded and old, birthplace of Jesus by prophet
foretold.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, out of thee shall he come forth
unto me that is
to be ruler in Israel. Micah 5:2

C is for Cattle, their manger His bed there in the stable where He laid
His head.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in
swaddling clothes,
and laid him in a manger.” Luke 2:7

D is for David and his ancient throne promised forever to Jesus alone.
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest;
and the Lord
God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. Luke 1:32

E is for East, where shone the bright star which Magi on camels followed
afar.
“Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying,
Where is he
that is born King of the Jews?” Matthew 2:1,2

F is for Frankincense, with myrrh and gold, brought by the Wise Men as
Matthew has
told.
“And when they had opened their treasurers, they presented unto
him gifts:
gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11

G is for God, who from heaven above sent down to mankind the Son of His
love.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

H is for Herod, who murderous scheme was told to Joseph in a nocturnal
dream.
“The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying,
Arise and take
the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt… for Herod
will seek the
young child to destroy him.” Matthew 2:13

I is for Immanuel, “God with us,” for Christ brought man back to the
Father’s house.
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call
his name
Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

J is for Joseph so noble and just, obeying God’s word with absolute
trust.
“Then Joseph being raised form sleep did as the angel of the Lord
had bidden
him, and took unto him his wife.” Matthew 1:24

K is for King. A true king He would be, coming in power and authority.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of
Jerusalem: behold,
they King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation.”
Zechariah 9:9

L is for Love that He brought down to earth that night in the stable in
lowly birth.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that
God sent his
only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through
him.” I John 4:9

M is for Mary, His mother so brave, counting God faithful and mighty to
save.
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me
according to thy
word.” Luke 1:38

N is for Night, when the Savior was born for nations of earth and people
forlorn.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the
field, keeping
watch over their flock by night.” Luke 2:8

O is for Omega, meaning “the last;” He’s eternal: present, future and
past.
“I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first
and the last.”
Revelation 22:13

P is for Prophets, when living on earth foretold His redemption and
blessed birth.
“I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh:
there shall
come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of
Israel.” Numbers
24:17

Q is for Quickly, as shepherds who heard hastened to act on that heavenly
word.
“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the
babe lying in a
manger.” Luke 2:16

R is for Rejoice. The sorrow of sin is banished forever when Jesus comes
in.
“And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at
his birth.”
Luke 1:14

S is for Savior. To be this He came; the angel of God assigned Him His
name.
“She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS,
for he shall
save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

T is for Tidings related to all, telling of Him who was born in a stall.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring
you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10

U is for Us, to whom Jesus was given to show us the way and take us to
heaven.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior,
which is Christ
the Lord.” Luke 2:11

V is for Virgin, foretold by the sage, God’s revelation on prophecy’s
page.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a
Son, and they
shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God
with us.” Matthew
1:23

W is for Wonderful, His works and His words, the King of all Kings, the
Lord of all
Lords.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and his
name shall be
called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting
Father, The Prince
of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

X is for Christ. it’s X in the Greek, Anointed, Messiah, mighty, yet
meek.
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with
power.” Acts 10:38

Y is for Yes, called God’s Yes in His Word; God’s answer to all is Jesus
the Lord.
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen,
unto the glory of
God by us.” II Corinthians 1:20

Z is for Zeal as it burned in Christ’s heart. Lord, by thy Spirit to us
zeal impart.
“And his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of
thine house hath
eaten me up.” John 2:17

THIS IS THE ALPHABET FOR GREAT AND FOR SMALL; CHRISTMAS IS JESUS, OUR
LORD AND OUR ALL.

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 13:09:04 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Christmas as “somber celebration”

Dear Stephen:

Maybe I am lifted by the buoyancy of the season.

Rethinking Christmas, I was too gloomy when I limit its celebratory
nature. I still maintain that, according to the Philippian Hymn
(2.6-11), taking on flesh IS the beginning of suffering. But in light
of Paul’s (or properly, the Jewish apocalyptic) notion of “new
creation,” the incarnation is also the prelude towards God’s
reconciliation with humanity. I say “prelude,” because the first step
or first fruits of the new creation technically begins at Christ’s
resurrection, on Easter morning. Nevertheless, the incarnation, as God
pleased to dwell in human flesh, must be an affirmation of humanity, a
regeneration, a renewal of the goodness in humanity lost in the Garden.

Would “somber celebration” be an acceptable qualification?

Sze-kar

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 16:50:27 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: A Christmas Letter

A Christmas Letter tp CAC

Greetings to all as we strive to be worthy of the awesome gift of the
incarnation!

First, an apology to those who take offense at my ill-advised electronic
outburst. It’s not pretty, and it’s not something I am proud of. Could
I have handled it differently? Probably. But since I didn’t, I’ll have
live with the consequences.

But I want to address an alarming trend in CAC these past few weeks. We
are sliding precipitously down the slippery slope of factionalism. Ben
writes: “That the unity in Christ may be seen.” I second this call.

CAC is a diverse body. We Asian Americans are culturally complex. We
live in at least two cultures. We see things a monocultural person
can’t. We experience culture, the mass media, national events,
politics, international conflicts all very differently–even from each
other. By a slight tilt of our internal cultural balance we are liable
to becoming more “Asian,” “colored,” “white,” “metropolitan,” “ABC,”
“OBC,” “ARC,” “first-generation,” “nth-generation,” “East coast,”
“Californian,” or any combination thereof. Some of us speak Taishanese
as our mother-tongue, others English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog,
Japanese, Korean. Some of us are multilingual; others are primarily
English-speakers. Some of us apologize for our bad grammar; other can’t
help writing lucid prose. But we all take part in CAC, and we all
contribute in whatever way we can.

We are theologically diverse. We may be selfconsciously Evangelical,
mainline, Pentacostal, Catholic, etc. We differ on the meanings of
atonement, hermeneutics, incarnation, Christmas, exegesis, etc. We
embody different liturgical traditions. Some of us find it more
comfortable to worship with the Book of Common Prayers. Others find
nourishment in a substantial biblical sermon. Some of us would be
remiss if we didn’t have Eucharist every Sunday. Others are content
with a monthly communion service. Some of us, in our meditative
prayers, seek the help of music–Medieval chants, Wesleyan hymnody,
Christian Rocks, baptized Chinese folk tunes, whatever. Others prefer
silence. But we all pray. We all stand, kneel, sit before God in
humility and in awe. We pledge willing and willful allegiance to Christ
as our Lord, as our only mediator to God, as the only Revealer from
God. We submit to Christ as slaves, daily being led to our death if not
for the extraordinary grace which we do not deserve.

We are vocationally diverse. Some of us are engaged in the frontline of
ministry, in the trenches getting our spiritual fingernails dirty.
Others less gifted in the practical can indirectly contribute resources
and analysis. Some of us are laypersons playing a supportive role to
the clergy. Others are in fulltime ministry. Some of us are called to
preach, others to church planting. Some of us are called to minister to
our congregations, some to preach the good news to the lost, others to
work with college students, still others to teach and write. But we all
dedicate ourselves to the Gospel and to the demands it places on our
lives.

Given these differences, it’s no surprise that we also belong to
different political parties. Some of us are Republicans, some
Democrats, others Independents. We probably have different takes on the
burning social issues of the day, whatever they be. It would indeed be
a surprise if there WEREN’T such diversity. Yet, we are all united in
our cultural biculturalism and in our commitment to Christ as our Lord.
We are clear about our primary identity as Asian-American Christians.

Asian American Christianity is not a monolith–indeed, it cannot be.
We’d do ourselves a disservice if we judged each other by a single set
of standards. CAC would lose its most distinguishing feature, its
luster, if we allowed ourselves to be divided by the slogan du jour or
simplistic and expedient labels. These labels are developed elsewhere.
They do not speak to the depths of our experience, and they certainly do
not define our identity as Asian-American Christians.

CAC stands before a fork in a road. But the two roadsigns ahead DO NOT
say “conservative” and “liberal.” They say “unity” and “division.” Our
present course will take us into factionalism and division if we allow
it to continue. It will not promote unity.

To go down the path of unity, ALL CACers will have to exert our best
efforts together–with ALL OF US throwing our collective weight behind
CAC, willing to speak, explore, probe, debate, argue, study, submit to
the truth in love, learning to tolerate, accept, rejoice in, beam at,
revel in our amphibious, theological, vocational, social, political
diversity.

Does CAC have room for ALL brothers and sisters? It’s our choice.

Peace and grace,
Sze-kar

——————————

From: Ken Fong
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 18:10:29 -0800
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: A Christmas Letter

Dear Sze-kar and our other CAC brethren/sisthren(?):

What a fitting and timely message for Bro. S-k to pen the previous
email, exuding, imho, the spirit of “peace on earth and goodwill to all
people” that was proclaimed that wondrous night when Jesus came to earth
as a babe.

As I perused your attempt at describing the vast diversity of our CAC
cyber-community, I kept saying to myself “And do you truly believe that
all of these diverse individuals who love Jesus will one day be co-heirs
with Christ and conjoint citizens in the heavenly realms? Do you really
believe that all of these are seen by the Lord Himself as saintly
sinners?” That to me makes all the difference in our attitudes and our
deportment…for family members do often disagree but it should always
be with the innate knowledge that [HIS] BLOOD is thicker than warfare!

Happy New Year to you all!

love, ken fong.

——————————

From: wkmoy@juno.com
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 14:33:35 EST
Subject: CAC_Mail: Articles in AsianWeek (12/18 & 12/25)

Just wanted to note that the previous article “ASIAN AMERICAN
YOUNG FOUND BETTER-EDUCATED” found in 12/10 ed of SJMercury News,
Washington,
is also in the Dec 18th (-24th) issue of AsianWeek (@ least the SF ed)
(website listed below)

Dec 25 – Jan 7 issue of AsianWeek features the Year In Review.
Article of note: “The Cusp of New Era: Five Trends to Watch in ’98”,
from the Washington Journal by Frank Wu
1) Using New Race Relations Paradigms
2) Assimilation Rather than Immigration as the Paramount Issue
of Diversity
3) Encouraging Diversity within Diversity
4) The Trends Toward Transnationalism
5) Increasing Activism

Just for thought: In another article, writer Emil Guillermo notes in his
list of top stories for ’97, lists Best Race Issue as . . . you guessed
it: Affirmative Action.
Guillermo writes: Beats out immigration by a nose, followed by
bilingual education, live-animal killing in Chinatown markets, and
Latrell Sprewell. 1997 will be remembered as the year Prop 209 became
law. As society becomes more diverse, more people are pushing
“colorblindness” in lieu of “fairness.” But to others “colorblindness”
is a positive spin on “invisibility.”

******For those w/ Web/Net access: http://www.asianweek.com
Only up to the Dec 4-10th issue is online . . .

Happy reading & God’s blessings for ’98, Wilbur
– ——————————————————————————
c/o CE Intern, Sunset Chinese Baptist Church
3635 Lawton St. SF, CA 94122 (415) 665-5550
Fax: 665-4575 office: 665-9749 home: 753-8466
e-mail: wkmoy@juno.com

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 21:42:25 -0500
Subject: CAC_Mail: Forgiveness

Dear Fenggang and Hai-tao:

Thank you for raising the issue of forgiveness. It’s a question fraught
with implications, ethnic, ethical, and theological. Here are some
thoughts of mine.

It seems to me that we must begin with our ethical norms, and these
norms are based on two distinctions. First, justice must be
distinguished from forgiveness. Normally, there must be justice first
before there is forgiveness. Justice makes forgiveness possible and is
the prerequisite for it. This seems to be Paul’s action in 2 Cor 2.5-11:
the erring one has to repent of his or her deeds against Paul before
Paul forgives the offender. Without repentance, forgiveness seems empty
and disingenuous.

The reason seems to be that the underlying theological structure that
governs both justice and forgiveness is reconciliation. Neither
forgiveness nor justice is the final goal of corporate life together,
but reconciliation. God first reconciles the world to himself (2 Cor
5.18-19), which then prepares the ground for us to be reconciled to
others. But God would be “unable” (logically speaking) to reconcile us
to himself if we refused to repent and maintained our enmity with God.
Likewise, our brothers and sisters would be “unable” (even if they try)
to be reconciled to us if we refused to admit to our wrongs.

Second, we can’t confuse between individual and corporate or national
responsibilities. A holocaust survivor may be perfectly willing to
relate to a German, and I’ve seen many such examples. But just as one
individual German cannot bear the sin of the German nation (let alone
one that was in power 50 years ago), one individual Jew has no right to
absolve the collect German guilt on behalf of his or her fellow Jews.
Accordingly we must distinguish between individual and corporate
repentance, between individual and corporate forgiveness. Repentance and
forgiveness–better, reconciliation–have to be pursued at BOTH levels,
and one level cannot replace the other.

That said, if we appealed to these ethical norms legalistically, we’d
have a hard time understanding the command of Jesus “to love our
enemies” or his call to God to forgive his tormentors (cited by
Fenggang). Jesus seems to be working outside these norms. How do we
appropriate the ethics of Jesus? Here is my provisional solution.

Jesus preaches the Kingdom of God and his ethical teachings are an
integral part of his message. The ethics of Jesus should therefore be
called “Kingdom ethics.” The word “kingdom” is somewhat misleading. It
translates the Greek (“basileia”) literally, but it gives the impression
that it refers to a geographical and national realm. But the “Kingdom of
God” that Jesus preaches clearly does not refer to such, and the gospel
accounts do not portray Jesus as a national leader. It’s called the
Kingdom of God, rather, because the KING is here. Jesus is the king who
promulgates commands and a new message. (Incidentally, that is why
translating the Greek phrase as “the REIGN of God” does not work.)
“Kingdom ethics,” accordingly, is based not on an ethical norm per se
but on what the king pronounces to be the case. It is not based on an
abstract, impersonal standard but on the personal judgment of the king
himself. This is why, e.g., in the Parable of the Vineyard Workers (Mt
20.1-16), those who work only one hour get exactly the same wage as
those who work the whole day. The king decides to whom to show grace and
how.

Lest we think Jesus’ kingdom ethics consists of mere despotic
pronouncements, we should remember that the dispute is always about
grace, that is, how much grace does one “deserve” over against someone
else. Jesus’ answer? It’s the king’s prerogative to grant however much
grace to whomever he pleases.

Three corollaries are applicable to our question: (1) Jesus’ Kingdom
ethics does not contradict the need for ethical standards. Jesus does
not make despotic pronouncements like murder is permitted, adultery is
good, etc. Kingdom ethics upholds rather than abrogates justice.

(2) But any ethical norm is grounded in the transcendent pronouncements
of God. That is, while we uphold ethical standards, we at the same time
must be aware that it is God who stands behind them and makes them
properly “just.” This is what makes forgiveness possible, for while God
defines justice, he can also reach behind justice, as it were, to
accomplish a higher purpose, namely reconciliation.

(3) If this is the case, we are strictly LIMITED in the way we can
legitimately imitate Jesus’ acts of forgiveness. While it is perfectly
legitimate for Jesus to forgive sinners (for sin is after all is a
trespass against the king), we cannot pronounce pardon without risking
deifying ourselves. Nonetheless, forgiveness–better,
reconciliation–must remain the main structure that props up our ethical
norms; reconciliation must continue to characterize how we apply our
ethical norms.

In conclusion, I agree with Fenggang that the world cannot forget the
Nanjing Massacre–so long as Japan (be it understood in terms of
government, people, culture, etc.) refuses to acknowledge the event,
make the necessary reparations, openly teach the evil of the its past,
and thoroughly repent of its war crimes. Then and only then is
forgiveness possible. But remembrance of the Massacre has no meaning of
its own. It’s not an absolute good. It’s a means, a necessary means, to
reconciliation.

By way of comparison, some young Israeli writers (David Grossman and
Amos Oz come to mind) are beginning to call Jews to move beyond the
holocaust and to come to some kind of reconciliation–after Germany has
made a concerted and sincere effort at repentance. Now, it would be
grossly impertinent and presumptuous if someone like me were to make
such a statement. Only victims, direct or indirect, have the right to
make a conciliatory gesture.

On the other hand, I think Hai-tao is also right in befriending Japanese
brothers and sisters. In fact, one hope of bringing Japan to its senses
begins with Japanese Christians. The Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama
has been calling, for years now, for repentance, as do a number of
Japanese Christians I’ve met. Work done in this area can only contribute
in the long run to corporate forgiveness and reconciliation.

Some some thoughts,
Sze-kar

——————————

From: Ahlau@aol.com
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 01:17:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Re: CAC_Mail: re: ABC ministry

thanks JTW for your personal testimony.

i too came to Christ later in life (at 27!). The Chinese church i am at seems
to focus on reaching out to OBC’s with the services they need with less
ability or emphasis to the English speaking. folks seem to think that if
people are able to speak english and hold jobs they are on their way.
anything else seems to be unwelcome. what about cross cultural support for
families (parents and children) or issues around esteem, money, and jobs for
high school and college students? I work with the youth and young adults and
see plenty of need there as well as for their parents.
we are more in the maintainance mode for later generation folks who are in
the church than continued discipling or knowing how to reach out to other
English speakers.
I find that I struggle to help people who are long time Christians remember
their first love and why they are there, whereas for me it is still very
fresh in my memory and life. before and after are all too clear to me.

blessings, anne lau
associate pastor
chinese community united methodist
oakland, ca

——————————

From: gdot@juno.com (G Ottoson)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 11:53:45 -0700
Subject: CAC_Mail: some new song lyrics–G

on our moon rocks

like a liner you in black fields of ice
the white star side you have shown
will be sinkin’ when th’ light grows dark in the seas
in th’ well where the rocks will be thrown

and th’ bottomless pit is no place to be
risin’ (up) to heaven, but to sink like a stone

as soon as th’ sun sets under the stars
blood fills the blue skies, your future’s unknown
asleep in the cosmos by day behind bars
you float in the night air, oh so alone

and comin’ to nought like water on Mars
you’d rise to th’ heavens, but to sink like a stone

th’ darkness your shade like a porch on th’ side
your house needs a coat like a home
and i’m wishin’ you’d find th’ warm place to hide
not six feet down like Capone
with curved coffin corners, longer than wide…

but rising to heaven, you sink like a stone

but rising to heaven, you sink like a stone…

——————————

From: leungs
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 97 13:40:00 E
Subject: RE: CAC_Mail: Christmas as “somber celebration”

Dear Brother Sze-kar,

You have been prolifically supplying us much to ponder over Christmas. I
have been home to the computer-less world of my parents and enjoyed the
rest. I’ll try to catch up at home. But as for you suggestion, “somber
celebration” is more than adequate. It is fitting and even necessary.
Observing rampant celebration of what isn’t known/understood/internalized
does bring dismay.

An affirmation and regeneration are indeed blessed aspects of God’s
indescribable gift. Facing once again the realities of the “thorn” in my
nuclear family’s flesh, I am again humbled by that affirmation of humanity.
Returning to VA and learning the fact that in our church family there are
two funerals to attend and two in the hospital (one in the ICU) to visit,
I’m thankful for the resurrection secured by Christ and the regeneration
granted.

Brother David Wong’s point about ABCs’ shortage of bedside manners may even
spill over in application to graveside. This morning’s funeral service and
burial was for the paternal grandmother of one of our sisters. It was again
unfamiliar territory. Though the family requested that our pastor
officiate, the family and their friends carried out traditional
“non-Christian” formalities. Imagine my chagrin when I was informed
afterwards by a fellow parishioner, that when I had “followed” the family in
turning away from the casket as it was lowered into the ground that this was
actually participating in a superstitious notion of turning away from evil
spirits. Chalk up another one to an “ignorant ABC!” Blew that chance to
witness.

Was it Brother Peter Szto that offered up a study regarding Asian weddings?
Anyone else assembled material on Asian funerals?

Somberly,
Stephen

———-
From: Sze-kar Wan
To: CAC
Subject: CAC_Mail: Christmas as “somber celebration”
Date: Friday, December 26, 1997 1:09PM

Dear Stephen:

Maybe I am lifted by the buoyancy of the season.

Rethinking Christmas, I was too gloomy when I limit its celebratory
nature. I still maintain that, according to the Philippian Hymn
(2.6-11), taking on flesh IS the beginning of suffering. But in light
of Paul?s (or properly, the Jewish apocalyptic) notion of ?new
creation,? the incarnation is also the prelude towards God?s
reconciliation with humanity. I say “prelude,” because the first step
or first fruits of the new creation technically begins at Christ?s
resurrection, on Easter morning. Nevertheless, the incarnation, as God
pleased to dwell in human flesh, must be an affirmation of humanity, a
regeneration, a renewal of the goodness in humanity lost in the Garden.

Would “somber celebration” be an acceptable qualification?

Sze-kar

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 18:13:11 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Christmas as “somber celebration”

Dear Stephen:

While I am usually fairly open-minded about blending Chinese funeral
customs into a Christian service, turning one’s back to the coffin being
lowered into the grave is definitely something I wouldn’t condone.
Depending on the region it means something like not letting the dead see
your face so as not to give them a chance at possessing the living–at
least according to Cantonese folk customs. Something similar is also
responsible for not letting pregnant woman attend funerals. All this I
have difficulty integrating into a Christian understanding of death.
But maybe Peter Szto and others have a different take on this.

Sze-kar

——————————

From: Rev Cow
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 20:27:07 EST
Subject: CAC_Mail: Re: Reaching the unchurched

Dear Jonathan,

My name is Ted, and I pastor a new church plant in Monterey Park, CA. I
read your post with great interest, because our church strives to be
seeker sensitive (while not becoming seeker driven). I’m glad to see
that you have made that distinction as well (you use the phrases “seeker
sensitive” vs. “seeker targeted”).

I have a suggestion regarding seeker services. You mentioned that you
have seeker services twice a year, and that a great deal of effort goes
into those two services. What we’ve done with a degree of success is
incorporated high impact/low maintenance seeker sensitive “ingredients”
in _every_ service. The main benefit is that seekers will always feel
welcomed no matter which Sunday they attend. Otherwise, when these
seekers return and find that the regular services aren’t seeker
sensitive, they receive mixed messages. Other benefits are too numerous
to elaborate on.

Obviously, other spiritual ingredients must exist at the church for this
to work (spiritual maturity, love for the lost, love of God, etc.).

It’s interesting that the main model brought up for discussion has been
Willow Creek. We’ve been considering and experimenting with Willow
Creek, Vineyard, and Saddleback principles and methodologies,
Saddleback’s being the most successful. We began last Easter with 30
second generation members from a Taiwanese church, and now we have 60+ in
attendance and becoming multi-racial. For Christmas Sunday, we sent out
5,549 invitations out to the community, and had a record 169 people in
attendance. One person made a decision to receive Christ, with two more
the following Sunday.

Looking forward to an ongoing dialog with you.

God bless you all this upcoming year,
Ted

Rev. Ted Kau
Harvest San Gabriel Valley

I use not only all the brains I have,
but all I can borrow.
– –Woodrow Wilson

——————————

From: Sze-kar Wan
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 23:51:52 -0500
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: Re: Reaching the unchurched

What Jonathan, Ronnie, Anne, and Ted have brought to our attention is
the seeming difficulties of reaching English-speaking (2d- and
later-generation) AsiAms. This seems to be in glaring contrast to
large, numerally successful Chinese-speaking congregations. Why this
disparity? I have a few guesses (as I unfortuantely always do), but I’d
like to hear more from those of you directly engaged in English-speaking
ministry.

Also, Ted or anyone else, could you elaborate for me the “Willow Creek,
Vineyard, and Saddleback principles and methodologies.” I am involved
in a very small mainland Chinese immigrant, Cantonese-speaking church
(about 35/Sunday), and I am not up to speed on these church-growth
models. Thanks.

Sze-kar

——————————

From: ohbrudder
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 11:37:36 -0800
Subject: CAC_Mail: Anatomy of an ABC Body of Christ

Anatomy of an ABC Body of Christ
or
Making it Difficult for ABCs to Go to Hell

[A SECRET of Success: Approach ministry with the
premise that Jesus is building His church like He said.
We take Him at His word. If we by faith obey His
directions, we become the instrument in His hand in
building His church. . . . Not by might, nor by
power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord.

Any pressure to succeed belongs to the Lord
because it is His vision, plan, and Spirit; whether we
win one or one million, to us what counts is “Well done,
good and faithful servant!” That’s all I want to hear.
There is no failure in obedience.

We tend to make our own plans, do it our way,
then ask God to rubber stamp His blessing on it.
Well-meaning, sincere people, even Christians,
by the flesh–scientifically, ingenuity, hard work–
can build a “successful” work, e.g., Mormons, JWs,
Scientology, etc. . . but not a church that glorifies
Christ. . .even though it may have large numbers.]

1. Begin with a PERSON called by God to ABCs who
will speak fearlessly with authority as sent from God.
One who knows God and can make Him known.
God always finds a man to carry out His redemptive
plan and missions. . .Abraham, Moses, Philip, Barnabas,
Epaphroditus, etc.
Christ was sent to seek and save that which is lost
but was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, Mt.15.24
Paul was sent to the Gentiles, Ro.15.15,16

Might you be called to the lost ABC sheep of America?
Be assured of this: the enemy will try to slay the
shepherd to scatter the sheep or otherwise wreak his
havoc a myriad of ways. . .he may even try to
stop you before you get started as he attempted with
Moses and Jesus. In any case you will pay a price. . .
after all, it is warfare!

2. Begin with a CORE group of believers sold out to Christ
and committed to each other. [The way a believer
gives and tithes is indicative of the depth of his devotion]
Disciple them so that they believe what you believe to
have a unity of faith, commitment to the same vision, etc
Do everything you can to teach them to love one another as
Christ has loved them. . .
“so the world will know you are my disciples”
Christ started with 12; He prayed all night before He
chose them . . .must be important.

3. Seek and obtain God’s VISION for the church. Without
a vision the people perish . . .the church becomes
aimless and lifeless, without direction and motivation.
There may be many programs and activities, but they are
recipes for busyness and burnout. What is
successful for other churches is not likely to be
successful for you. . .don’t look to WillowCreek,
ExplosionEvangelism, Saddleback, etc unless the
Lord gives you that vision . . .look to the Lord.
In your seeking, seek the Father’s heart for ABCs.
I bet you’ll find His passion and compassion that
He will pass on to you along with His vision.
And note the numerous times Jesus is moved
by compassion before He heals and preaches
. . .compassion preceding ministry.
Remember as you seek, He will give you
His vision not to merely build a glorious church
but because He loves ABCs and is not
willing that any should perish. However,
an outcome will be a glorious church.

4. Make corporate WORSHIP a top priority in
the body life of the church. Worship is the most
important, highest, greatest spiritual activity of the
church. That makes the worship leader the most
important person in leadership next to the pastor .
Isaiah 61:11
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and
praise spring up before all nations.”

Singspiration is not worship; neither is singing holy
hymns in a holy sanctuary. True worship ( in spirit
and truth) is like fellowship with the Spirit; there is
closeness and mutual giving . . .our giving to God
in offerings, praises, thanksgiving, adoration,
expressions of our hearts given to Him (which could
involve songs, hymns, money, prayers). . . and
Christ in the midst of His people (2 or 3 gathered
in His name) gives back—He will not be outgiven.
He gives His manifested presence . . .and wherever
His presence, there is power, there is healing,
there is fullness of joy and peace. It is like heaven!

GOD IS IN THE HOUSE!
Wherever Jesus went, people sought Him and
followed Him. He was an attraction in Himself.
His body, the church, is meant to represent Him,
be like Him and do the things He did.
The world should be able to see Christ in His
Church because of His presence, beauty, and
power in the house. People will break thru the
roof to get in! Even ABCs today need and
want what Jesus has to offer. . .and they
can and will be attracted to God thru His people
who knows how to worship and show forth the
glory of Christ.

5. As the focus of worship is God, there ought
to be intercessory PRAYER to focus on people,
for the souls and needs of ABCs, love ones,
friends, enemies. . .specific prayer for specific
individuals, not “God please save the world!”

If the church will pray, the church will grow.
Rely on prayer more than programs. If a church
gets 10% percent of its members to prayer meeting,
every week, its considered doing well. I don’t think
so. There ought to be a 75% turnout every week . . .
and its exciting and the church comes alive!
And only life beget life. (75% is not hard if
the above 4 parts are in place)

And GOD WILL ADD to your number all who
are being saved (Acts 2)!

It is hard to accept the sovereignty of God because
we want to move before He moves . . .sometimes it
seems like He is doing nothing to save our generation.
We may even think He is waiting for us–in a way He is.
But it is more like us not waiting on Him.
However, even now,
God is moving in many of our hearts who love Him and
love our people…He must too because He made so many
of us. I think that just because there are
so many like you in CAC, who have been moved to
speak forth your heart in concern for ABCs is evidence
God is not doing nothing! He is doing something and
He will break forth like a flood!

Happy New Year!

bill leong

——————————

From: The Yees
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 19:51:24 +0000
Subject: CAC_Mail: _Rape of Nanjing_

For those in the Bay Area, Iris Chang will be at
Oakland’s Barnes & Noble (Jack London Square) for a
reading and booksigning January 29, 7:30 P.M. There
was also a feature piece on her and her book
in the _Oakland Tribune_ (and probably the other
ANG papers) 12/23, Cue-4. “‘You think you know what
evil is,’ Chang said, ‘how bad things can be. But
nothing prepared me for what I found. Even stories
and films of the Holocaust.'”

Russell Yee
Oakland

——————————

From: “GE Liang”
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 13:01:35 -0700
Subject: Re: CAC_Mail: books

CACers,

While on the subject of books, _Christianity_and_Culture_in_the_Crossfire_ has been
out for about eight months now. Has anyone read this new book and/or care to review?
It is edited by Bobby Fong and David A. Hoekema and published by Eerdmans.

The Amazon Books site for it is:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0802843239/8020-7950423-103351

(Wonder how different it is from Niebuhr’s _Christ_and_Culture_ or T.S. Eliot’s _Christianity_and_Culture_.)

Happy New Years!

G.E.

>For those in the Bay Area, Iris Chang will be at
>Oakland’s Barnes & Noble (Jack London Square) for a
>reading and booksigning January 29, 7:30 P.M. There
>was also a feature piece on her and her book
>in the _Oakland Tribune_ (and probably the other
>ANG papers) 12/23, Cue-4. “‘You think you know what
>evil is,’ Chang said, ‘how bad things can be. But
>nothing prepared me for what I found. Even stories
>and films of the Holocaust.'”

— End —

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