WOW! This has been an exciting read! Why is this not common knowledge and common teaching in every Christian circle? Not only is it hugely encouraging for believers to hear accounts of God being at work since the dawn of man, revealing himself and fulfilling prophecies (the more we hear this, the more we are encouraged that God IS real and true and can be trusted), but it also paints a very different picture of missions and evangelism than most of us have ever heard – and a much more encouraging and inspiring one! – and one where God is at the center orchestrating it (from the beginning) and those doing missions (we) are just servants working out the little roles he calls us to do in it (not ourselves as the heros of the story where the weight of it all sits on our shoulders.). I have been very excited and encouraged to share excerpts of the book with others. I think many believers would be encouraged by these accounts.
I have thought a lot this week about how much I have (and continue) to long for the experience of attending an indigenous christian church. There is a deep piece of me that always wants to see and hear and experience what indigenous believers do to worship God in not just their heart language, but heart style. I guess I have grown up attending church and being a believer since a young age, but very rarely do I feel like my church experience matches my heart or my core. And I think this deep desire comes from somewhere related to this. I don’t know what style or culture would feel like “home” to me – but likely something with less elements of western religion and more genuine, wholehearted praise to God. I have always pictured sitting together under a large, spreading tree for shade with drums and singing and expounding scripture – it has always looked like Africa in my mind’s eye. I am excited to read through the rest of this book and excited that this course got me taking this book from my reading list and actually getting it read! What a blessing! It’s like putting fuel in the engine of my heart!
I love your passion and heart for wanting that experience of “home” in the church.Thats a beautiful image of sitting under the tree with drums and scripture. I can relate I think on some level a little, since coming back to the states and not feeling completely comfortable in my “western home church”… dont even know what to call it while typing that haha.. because it doesn’t feel ” home” to me really anymore. We recently joined worship with a Japanese home church and it has been life-giving to us.
The more I keep reading and following along with Kikawas videos and Eternity in their hearts, the wider my view is expanding. I appreciated learning especially this week the stories from Eternity in their hearts, about how the early Chinese called, Almighty, “Shang Ti” and Koreans, “Hananim” as monotheistic people. Its so encouraging to hear the accounts from different people groups and they’re encounter with God. It was helpful to read how Buddhism entered, spread and changed over time in China before reaching Japan. I had the thought… Ahh Buddhism is a foreign religion to Japan too, although I wonder how many Japanese actually think of it in that way.
Ive since starting this book, shared it with friends who now are reading it too and I look forward to continuing the convos on this. It is so encouraging to see and hear of God centered service by missionaries to other people groups. We can live out our service best by living in His love and having an honest look at our own cultural perspectives first. Its always bugged me hearing big “Christianese” words used in talking about faith from missionaries and ministry leaders. I think it separates rather than connects people and doesn’t further deepen any mutual understanding. Just leaves a gap of misunderstanding. I think we can do better in changing the language we assume must be used to communicate His love.
God since before laying the foundation of the earth had our adoption into His kingdom as part of His plan. But its becoming increasingly obvious here in the west that we aren’t believers in part thanks to being born in a “Christian nation” but rather despite being raised in this cultural soil. What a miracle!! And what a testimony that can be for sharing with others our own “coming home” story.
Some of my most treasured and impactful conversations with my mother in law back in Japan have been over tea where I have asked her questions about Japanese culture. Allowing her to share her perspective and customs. Many personal questions for her have risen from these convos as well. Ive been encouraged to continue those convos that seemed to come natural to us when we return.
Just as we saw from this weeks readings of how early Chinese originally had a strong desire to be devoted to Shang Ti, they slowly little by little moved further and further from their truest identity in relationship with the Almighty. Isn’t it fair to say that America and most of the West has a similar story?
A question I came away with from this weeks video/reading is:
As Kikawa sensei mentioned about how the western Church culture is largely just that, Cultural, not scriptural, I wonder how far off the map America has wandered from the Truth or how we view our Almighty Creator and Sustainer through our “western lense”?
Something I will be sitting with for myself is: what part(s) of my own faith are likely not scriptural but rather cultural in belief?