My wife, having been Hindu for much of her life before she became Christian, has helped me a great deal in sharing her fresh insight as she looks at Christians and the ways in which we live and espouse our faith. For instance, not long after becoming Christian, she asked me, “Why does the church building have walls? Shouldn’t everyone hear and see them worship?”
I had never heard that question before and I had no answer other than to say, “I think it’s because people don’t want to see what’s going on inside.” But in the years that have passed, I have often wondered if the people inside have not truly wanted those outside to come in.
I know that it can often be hard to listen to questions and challenges to the status quo of the church, but I think it is always a good time to listen. We may find that what we have been trying to communicate all this time has not been what we had intended. And that even by the observations of “new believers” (as though you could even earn seniority) can be extraordinarily helpful. Walter Brueggemann has characterized it as such: that we undergo a process of orientation, disorientation, and then finally a re-orientation in our spiritual formation.
Perhaps it is good then that we have a time of disorientation, not because we feel that deconstruction is to become normative, but that through it, we have the ability to seek answers to our own questions, and more importantly, question the answers of others.
I admire this young man for speaking so boldly. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I do think he might be closer to re-orientation than most Asian Americans. Many Asian Americans choose not to even broach the questions.