23.6.09

They Like Jesus But Not The Church - Additional Thoughts

This next part was a little sobering to read, though to be honest, not surprising. If anything, it confirmed my belief of how the church presents itself to a secular and modern world:

Part 2 - What Emerging Generations Think About The Church (in relatively simple nutshells)
  • the church is an organized religion with a political agenda
  • the church is judgmental and negative
  • the church is dominated by males and oppresses females
  • the church is homophobic
  • the church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong
  • the church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally

Why Dan and I (that's right, we're on first name basis) think emerging generations think this about the church:
  • the church is an organized religion with a political agenda
    - the church is represented by the Christians who want to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, these are usually the ultra-conservative, ultra-Republican who subscribe to the theory that compromise is of the Devil and dialoguing with people outside the church is to conform to the world. WRONG.
  • the church is judgmental and negative
    - aren't we all? The answer to this question is yes, yes we are. The problem is that as Christians, we are called to be different. Instead, so often we come across just as bitter and cynical as the rest of humanity, if not moreso. Not a good way to share the joy and love of Jesus. But then again, I firmly believe that when a person is IN Christ - that is, when he/she is fully in tune with God's love and presence - a spirit of love, compassion, and TRUE happiness will almost certainly result. Too bad not very many Christians are actually IN Christ; the numbers are significantly lower than an already significantly low number of Christians. It is this vast majority that represents - sorry, MISrepresents the church.
  • the church is dominated by males and oppresses females
    - this one is touchy. There are verses in the Bible that clearly state the males are to be the heads of the households and the spiritual leaders in relationships. On the flip side, men are also called to LOVE their wives and treat them with the utmost courtesy and respect, while women are called to honour their husbands and support them in all good things. I see a spirit of equality in this context. Neither is bigger or better than the other; the roles are so different that a superiority/inferiority complex is impossible to define.
More to come later.

19.6.09

Someday you will find me caught beneath a landslide.

Twenty years. It's an incredibly long amount of time.

In twenty years, lives are broken. And broken again.

Twenty years can take you to tenure.

Twenty years is longer than the careers of most professional athletes.

Twenty years is half of the prison sentence that the Israelites spent wandering around in the desert.

Twenty years is all it took for Kobe Bryant to make his first all-star game and all-NBA team.

Twenty years took us from peace and love to Vietnam.

Twenty years took us from Vietnam to Iraq.

Twenty years can afford discovery, experiments, conflicts, resolutions, new love, lost love, new friends, old friends, faith, and words.

Twenty years. It's an incredibly long amount of time.

17.6.09

Don't stop believing. Hold onto the feeling.

I went to the Harry Jerome Track Classic with my dad on Sunday, just like we do every year. The sun was out, the temperature was warm, and the sky was true blue. The wind took a leave of absence on the day, making for perfect T&F conditions. The athletes were incredible. The competitions were exciting and down-to-the-wire. I couldn't stand it.

Somewhere along the line, probably between the men's and women's Olympic development 800 metres, I went from loving everything about Sunday to intense, intense depression. Because, as much as I've tried to convince myself otherwise, that it wasn't in the plan for me, a part of my subconscience still holds onto the shred of belief that I belonged out there on the track, competing against the top runners in Canada and always moving closer to the goal of one day representing our country in a major competition.

Coming out of high school, I always thought that track would come with me. Growing up in the athletic shadow of my brother, track was where I truly found myself - found where I belonged. There were bumps along the way, of course - turning from a sprinter to a middie when my newly adolescent body refused to grow muscle like the rest of the white boys being a BIG one - but in my mind, I never really had any doubt about my abilities. Dominant races were expected; I looked down on most of my opponents with disdain. Even after a disappointing senior year in which a registration error kept me from competing in the BCs, I knew what I could do.

Of course, then I turned down university scholarship offers to go study journalism at Carleton, a great basketball school that doesn't seem to realize that the budget for a varsity track team is less than the cost of a new backboard. No matter... Ottawa U had a renowned team with which I could train, and the Ottawa Lions are the finest community track program in the country.

And then life started.

After injuring my knee last January, it's been a long road back. In fact, it's a road that I'm still on. The problem is that I've stopped moving towards a goal because in all honesty, I can't see one anymore. It started out with an IT band strain; painful, but common for avid runners. Then came the freak ankle fracture on the opposite leg that forced my right leg back to full action before it was ready. One harmless looking fall later, and the pain was back, throwing off my summer training plans.

The January 2009 MRI confirmed the lateral meniscus tear that doctors had said I probably didn't have, and debunked the general idea that all I had was a persistent case of PFS. Turns out my patella was just fine... the meniscus, not so much.

General opinion: "Wear your brace, do what's comfortable. If it hurts, stop."

What's comfortable? Everything: basketball, snowboarding, swimming, walking, driving, breathing, eating. What hurts? Running.

I'm not really sure what's next, to be honest. Surgery is an option for me come September when I return to school, but at this point, I'm not sure whether it's worth it. The recovery is three weeks, then a month rehab, and then what? I'll be the first to admit that I'm no longer the fitness machine that I was in high school. Reaching race shape will take me six months minimum... and then what? I have no guaranatees from the Ottawa U coach. I have no guarantees that my knee, post-surgery, will hold up to rigorous training. I have no guarantees that my body even remembers what it feels like to run.

For a long time this past year, I've been content. Knowing that God holds me in His hand was all I needed to get through the rough times when I couldn't believe what life had become.

Now, I'm questioning again. Talking to my friend Priscilla - who's training with Cheetahs and competes for McGill, in the Ontario East/Quebec division - hurts. Seeing track commercials on TSN hurts. Waking up to my bulletin board of race numbers and newspaper headlines hurts. Seeing my track spikes sitting atop my bookshelf hurts. The knee, when I test it out, hurts.

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." - Eric Liddell

Right now, life hurts.

16.6.09

One Day

All my life I've been waiting for, I've been praying for, for the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more, there'll be no more wars
And our children will play
One day


12.6.09

They Like Jesus But Not The Church - More Thoughts

The first time I read through the book, I was amazed at how similar Dan Kimball's thoughts are to my own. As in, we actually have the EXACT same point of view when it comes to the Christian faith. As in, he is literally in my head and picking my brain for ideas.

Basically, They Like Jesus But Not The Church should be credited to me, but whatevs. I'm not in it for the glory like Kimball is. I KID.

What I mean is that the following xx blog entries I post on this book will be strikingly similar to a lot of the blog entries I post that are NOT about this book. That is to say, a common theme of mine is how people like Jesus but not the church (much like I do,) and therefore the contents of this blog will reflect as such.

Ok, so.

Part 1 - Why Emerging Generations Are Changing (additional thoughts)
  • "The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air." - Galadriel, LOTR
    We are a very spiritually minded yet spiritually liberal generation. What I mean by this is that people today yearn to find something to believe in - we yearn to be spiritual, yet not in the same way as our protestant grandparents were. Being spiritual is no longer equated with being religious; on the contrary, many nowadays view religious people as being spiritLESS. Confused? Let me explain.

    To be spiritual in ye olden days meant to be a person of faith. To be a person of faith meant to be a person of Christian faith. To be a person of Christian faith meant to be a Bible-reading, scripture-quoting, neighbour-loving, church-going Christian. Contrast that to today, when...

    To be spiritual means to be cognizant of oneself; to be at peace with oneself and with others, and to have a more or less 'enlightened' perspective on life, love, death, and taxes. It's almost New Age-ish the way spirituality has adapted to modern society... say hello to:

    - "The Way I See It" on Starbucks cups;
    - inspiring quotes that make no sense on Lululemon bags;
    - social responsibility as a trend;
    - all-encompassing belief systems;
    - agape, or unconditional love.

    The last one is precisely why Christians no longer fit the bill as spiritual beings. We preach agape but do not practice it. Where the modern-day spiritual being is accepting of all faiths, all belief systems, all lifestyles, and all people, Christians are viewed as stereotypical, judgmental, intolerant, and close-minded. Aka, NOT unconditionally loving. What we (and the world) should note, however, is that unconditional love is not the same as unconditional acceptance. I can love something but not accept it. What we should ALSO note is that to not accept does not automatically mean to reject. Instead, I believe that in this context, acceptance is more synonymous with agreement.

    Sadly, many Christians struggle to understand this and thus tend to withhold their love from things which they do not accept. This includes different beliefs, homosexuality, alternative lifestyles, 'bad' movies, body piercings, or whatever. I write many because there are many. I don't write most because there are also many Christians who realize that agape can still be practiced in a secular world, and practiced to the full.

    These are the spiritual Christians.


11.6.09

They Like Jesus But Not The Church - Some Thoughts

So I'm currently doing a second go-round of a really honest book by Dan Kimball entitled They Like Jesus But Not The Church. The thing that struck me most when I first picked up this book was, "Let's buy this."

So I bought it.

And subsequently read it.

And now I'm reading it again.

Here are my thoughts.

Part 1 - Why Emerging Generations Are Changing
  • I probably wouldn't like Christians if I weren't one
    I guess we should face facts, kids - Christians don't have a great rep nowadays. It's not the same as what it was even as recently as thirty years ago, when most North Americans grew up in the church and those outside the church still respected the institution's beliefs. Ministers and pastors were highly regarded as honest, upstanding, ethical authorities.

    Fast forward thirty years. To a period of time when young people are falling away from the church like never seen before. To a period of time when the emerging generation (Kimball uses this phrase alot to emcompass the 30 and under age bracket) has embraced a multi-faith, multi-cultural, do-your-own-thing North America. To a period of time when ministers and priests are being dragged to court in droves over charges of sexual abuse and fraud and other such extracurricular activities. To a period of time when the church is viewed as judgmental and negative, homophobic, politically-driven, arrogant, and oppressive towards women.

    Fast forward to a generation that has rejected the church, and with good reason. Because to some extent, all of the above is true.

    If I weren't a Christian, I probably wouldn't like us either.

10.6.09

Chris Tse is no longer Chris Tse.

4.6.09

The world today's in disarray.

So after work today, I went straight to church because it was Jon's dress rehearsal for the wedding on Saturday. I took Lougheed highway, and in between Lake City Way and Sperling, I noticed a woman on the road shoulder hobbling along. I drove past and looked in my mirror, only to see that she was moving so slowly because she was on crutches. Let me paint you a picture - it was probably still in the high 20s, and the stretch of road until she reached the houses (where I presume she was going) was still a good 400m or so. This woman was DYING.

So my first thought was, "Chris, stop the car and go ask her if she wants a ride home." There was no one behind me on the highway, which was a blessing. But then my second, more sobering thought, stopped me in my proverbial tracks: "Chris, if you stop and ask her if she wants a ride, she'll probably think you're a creep and say no." I concluded that I didn't look like that much of a creep, but the woman would most likely say no anyways, so I kept driving. Mind you, this internal conflict took all of ten seconds before she was lost in my rearview mirror.

As I continued on my way to church however, my mind was mulling the situation that had just passed, and all possible things that could have happened. I have little doubt that had I pulled over, this woman would have a) thought I was weird and refused my ride, or b) refused my ride. However, it didn't take much to see that this woman was literally inching her way along to wherever she was trying to get to.

I think it's sad that even in such a circumstance, we find it so hard to trust strangers. It's not the same world as yesteryear anymore, when we could pick up a hitchhiker in Alberta and have a new bestman by Saskatchewan (mind you, that's what I've heard used to happen, as I wasn't alive in yesteryear.) Maybe I'm just pessimistic in assuming this woman would refuse my offer; for all I know, she would've accepted in a heartbeat, gotten into my car, and we would've chatted it up mightily and upon arriving home she would've added me on Facebook, where we would exchange personal info and later become man and wife.

Or maybe she would've thought I was weird and said no. Either way, I didn't ask.

My life would've been better today.

3.6.09

And so it begins...

So this b-log has been a work in progress for over three years now. By work in progress, I mean that I've been intending to start it but you know how things go when you intend to start something... and then don't. That's what happened with this.

Anyhow, this post (and I guess by extension, this blog,) is for the following:
- Matthew Newton (themoreyoushowme.blogspot.com)
- Amy J Lai (amyjlai.blogspot.com)
- and some others.

I haven't yet decided whether or not I'll be putting certain things on here...
- book reviews, yes. Not books like Harry Potter or Chron Narn, though those are all excellent, but books that further me as a person. Not to say that Harry Potter and Chron Narn don't further me as a person, but I digress. Look for interesting anecdotes, bits that I found relevant to my life, and excerpts that I think the world (aka all three of you) should read.
- poetry, yes. Those of you who are important know that poetry plays a big part in my life. Not the written tradition of Dunn and Tennison, though those cats had mad talent for sure. Nah, not them. I'm talking about the oral tradition of spoken word, the ordinary brilliance of history's finest storytellers. Roots of hip-hop, street preacher, acapella art spoken word. That's the poetry that I'm down with, and if you know, then you'll understand. Look for accounts of my slam career, dope things I've picked up from other poets, and maybe some of my pieces that find themselves up here. By principle, I never post my poems, but rules are meant to be broken.
- life advice, no. I'm an eclectic person, physically obvious and mentally moreso once you get to know me. Subsequently, any sort of 'advice' I might have to offer through my words should always be taken with a shaker of salt, because ordinary people have no use for what I have to say. Or maybe what I have to say has no use for ordinary people. Either way, if I condone certain things on here, that is not a blessing. I am not God, though I like to think so sometimes.
- fitness tips, never. Though my career as a competitive athlete is most likely finito (barring a miraculous comeback from surgery,) I still take pleasure in sporting activities. However, the realization that I'm no longer an athletic Adonis sometimes dawns on me anew, in which case I tend to occasionally ramble on and on about how much I've regressed since my high school (read: glory) days. In those instances, try to be patient and realize where I'm coming from... I'm like a pirahnna swearing off meat and learning to enjoy vegetables - there are going to be some rough days.
- thoughts on life, always. As a journalist - or aspiring one - my tendency is to watch, observe, question, and conclude. I will think, overthink, and then think some more. It is both a blessing and a curse to have such an active mind because sometimes I realize just how stupid I really am. When that happens, be ready for some insanely profound yet meaningless garbage that will blow your mind and leave you wondering why you're friends with me. And then you'll realize that it's because I'm the way I am that you enjoy being my chum - for the exact same reason why we slow down to check out bad car crashes, or why we watch the Maury Show... because we relish normalcy in our own lives, but love to see how messed up other people are. So in that light, enjoy this blog, kids. I'll see what I can do.

So now that you're all excited about this (woooot!,) I guess I'll just dive right in. As in, the next post will be like the 10th, and the 100th, and the 1000th. There is no more intro; this is it. Thanks in advance for reading what I've got to say, because most of the time, it ain't much.

Be blessed.