May 11, 2011
Dear Canaan EMers and friends!
Once upon a time, Canaan’s EM was a single generation ministry of close and intimate friends (so I imagine. since I was not here). TV shows “Cheers” and “Friends” provided a template for socializing without (much) obligation or responsibility. It was easy to throw together events such as retreats or dinner parties. Why bother with communicating and promotions? Everyone we knew would be there anyway.
Then the unimaginable happened. Change. People got married. Children were born. Work demands changed. The youth (children of members of the Taiwanese ministry) suddenly became adults. A bunch of children started coming to Canaan and many of us English-speakers were called upon to support Children’s ministry. And then the church decided to organize district fellowships which also changed how we relate to one another.
Are you feeling the burden of change?
Few churches (and even fewer Asian American churches) survive this “perfect storm” of change. For many of us, the real cause of our discontent or disconnectedness is because we have not found a way to tap into God’s power to help us ride out the inevitable life tsunami. We were nurtured by a campus ministry spirituality that rarely addressed intergenerational relationships or to care for organizations like churches. Then we succumb to a consumer Christianity where we go to churches where we can be best served. In the end, our relationship with God is just OKAY.
Somehow, this strikes me as a very unsatisfying way to live out our faith. Why waste our lives floating on the opium of consumer religiosity when God has given us so much more power to navigate the storms of life? Why should we let the worst values of our fallen world determine how we live when we can be empowered to impact the world with the Gospel of Christ?
Canaan’s EM has changed. We are no longer a single generation fellowship. We have to learn how to care for people who are not part of our clique. We must learn to take care of our church organization. People from different walks of life and different generations now belong to our church. That is why we now must over-communicate and over-promote to gather people to any event – including the upcoming retreat.
Whether you are an active member of Canaan or not (if you have read this far), you are probably ready to make a commitment. Will you commit to an OKAY Christianity or one that is Much More than Okay? If you would like to learn how to have the power to overcome what is merely “okay,” I urge you to attend the upcoming retreat on June 17-19.
Our English adult retreat speaker, Dr. Amos Yong, has devoted his entire life to challenging the church to become “Much More than Okay.” As a Pentecostal minister, he understands the importance of yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit to move us beyond a conventional Christian life (I told him that we don’t usually speak in tongues at Canaan, so he’ll go easy on us). As one of the most important Asian American theologians today, he is challenging seminaries to move away from an exclusively Euro-centric approach to training pastors. He is a profoundly gifted communicator and teacher. I believe that we at Canaan’s EM are ready to be challenged and stimulated by Amos.
Indeed, Amos is so highly thought of and sought after, ISAAC has invited him to give a lecture at Canaan on Thursday, June 16, 7:30-9:30 PM, Worship Hall 2 (the night before the retreat). His talk is entitled “Asian American Evangelical Theology: Its Legacy and Mandate.” Here is a summary: “The task of Asian American evangelical theology remains to be undertaken. This lecture explores the internal logic of North American evangelicalism, which minimizes the impetus toward theological thinking among Asian Americans, and suggests how Asian American evangelicals can remind their evangelical colleagues about the necessity of engaging contextual reflection for the revitalization of the evangelical theological enterprise as a whole.” A shortened version of this talk was given at ISAAC’s Asian American Equipping Symposium at Fuller in February 2011. It can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/20826365 (21:59). Don’t let the theological lingo scare you! Come and be stimulated!
Plenary panel III (1 of 3) by Dr. Amos Yong for the 2nd Asian American Equipping Symposium sponsored by ISAAC and Fuller Seminary. Feb. 8, 2011 @ University Club, Pasadena, CA.
As for the youth retreat, though I don’t know Aizaiah, if he is anything like his dad, he’ll really inspire our youth! So, please encourage your parents to register you!
FYI, here is Amos’ biography:
Amos Yong is the J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology and Director of Doctor of Philosophy Program at Regent University in Virginia. His research interests are in Global Pentecostalism, Theology of disability, Theology and Science, Political Theology, Inter-faith Dialogue, and in Asian American Theology. His books include Hospitality and the Other: Pentecost, Christian Practices, and the Neighbor (Orbis, 2008), Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity (Baylor, 2007) and The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh: Pentecostalism and the Possibility of Global Theology (Baker, 2005). Prior to academia, Yong was a pastor in various churches in California, Washington and Massachusetts, the son of a pastor and missionary raised in Stockton. He is married to Alma and has three children. For more information about Amos click this link: http://www.regent.edu/acad/schdiv/faculty_staff/yong.shtml
So please come to the retreat! Invite your friends – especially those who have lots of intellectual questions about Christian faith. Amos is ready to help explain it in a way that makes sense. You must register by May 22 to be guaranteed a spot. Come, give your faith a push beyond just Okay! Let me, Joyce Chiang, or Brian Chen know if you have any questions.
Tim Tseng, Ph.D. 曾 祥 雨
Pastor of English Ministries
Office: 408-942-2822 x113