I find this as much an interesting as it is a disappointing article. Maybe disappointing is not the best word for my feelings but I will let y’all in on the dynamic. I have for a long time thought of composing such a piece so I am “disappointed” that someone beat me to it. (Replace “disappointed” with a more appropriate term if you can/may)
Interesting! Because I felt for a moment I was reading my own story. (Well, maybe that is not the only reason why your article is interesting). This is an intelligent and worth having conversation. That as well makes it interesting.
Anyway, I did toy with the idea of writing such an article for a long time, and parts of your article read like how I was conceiving mine. “The great first experience, the warm welcomes, the ever increasing numbers…”I remember thinking, “Now this is what church should be, relevant and exciting.” So I thought, until I had been there a couple of months. Like (you) Fuji, I thought maybe I am too much of a cynic, which I must say I have always been.
And the whole journaling thing, writing naive, overly simplified messages so devoid of reflection. Telling yourself something positive and that is consistent with the Blue Book and what Rod says. I remember my journaling used to be very reflective and beyond the surface. This gave my Life Group leader a hard time. But at the same time, I was still careful enough to keep it simple sounding or un-theological (an expressed requirement, as if saying God loves us is not a theological utterance)…so while he was sure my journaling was not the typical/expected, he (the leader) could never find a way of challenging or correcting my journaling.
And the whole do not ask difficult questions thing…
I remember one guy, a smart fella he was, he joined our life group and he was neither guarded nor quick to read the air. For the first few weeks he was challenging the life group leader and asking more intelligent questions. Until eventually, he learned the culture and he too started speaking the same hog wash-mumbo jumbo of Rod says. All this time, I am sitting there quietly, wondering what to do with the questions burning inside of me, and that hunch that something was up here that I could not get over.
My stay was cut short though, I was asked to march. The reason given, I was too quiet and not happy. Like when did people get fired from church for not being happy ? Why not crack a joke for me or get me that laughing joint or something…
I could go on about a cult of a bunch of young zealous people who never tasted significance until they were made life group leaders, but I believe, Fuji, your article is too long. Only people like you and me read such long articles, not the unsuspecting innocent people that you (and me) are hoping to write to/for. Mine too is already long before I have said half the things I meant to say.
Thank you Fuji for starting this very important conversation and I am glad that this conversation is for some confirming what they were suspecting and for others preparing them for the experiences that are sure to come upon them at Jesus Life House. Let the conversation continue.
P.S I enjoyed the music at Jesus Life House
(Title added by the Editor)
(Special thanks for Mr.Fuji’s permission for forwarding and translating of the document)