We don’t need another Korean church that does the same old thing, that is, a church that preaches the same old moralistic, fear-based or principle-based messages and leads us in singing someone else’s songs.
We don’t need another place where the excuse is that people there look like us, but we don’t talk about what we look like and who we are and who we were made to be. And then talk about going multi-ethnic – Why? So no one else can acknowledge their own culture/race/ethnicity too?
We don’t need another outlet for the distribution of Christian materials. We don’t need to keep up with the Joneses and the Kims and whatever “40 Days…” they’re pitching. We’re tired of consuming whatever the industry is producing. Sure, you say we need “daily bread”, but we still leave hungry because we’re tired of processed food.
We don’t need the “church is a hospital” mentality. We’re sick of seeing doctors who are great at diagnosing but doesn’t treat the problems. Or you know what? We’re even more sick of seeing doctors who are sick themselves.
We don’t need a new building or a new cause. We’d actually like to see some collaboration and sharing between churches. And I’m not talking about a basketball league or a softball tournament.
We don’t need marketing. Quit creating things that we “need”. We want to see some organic growth. We’ll spread the word ourselves if it’s valuable enough.
We don’t need another program. Missions is not a summer event – it is a lifestyle. Welcoming is not a team – it is a posture. Small groups is not a department – it is a circle of friends.
We don’t need hard answers from the pulpit. We need to be asked tougher questions and to think through our faith more. We are great do-er’s and thinkers, but our souls have grown cold. We have become consumers and not producers of the Word. We are moral, but sterile. We are educated but ignorant of how to apply the power of the Gospel in our lives. We complain because this had the look of a performance, but we didn’t realize that we were the ones being asked to bear the fruit.
We don’t need a younger pastor who is drinking the same old Kool-Aid. Often a new church for Korean-Americans is like dressing up an old woman. At some point, the most expensive makeup will not cover her wrinkles. I’m not disrespecting young pastors or old women or Kool-Aid, I’m saying we tend to put old wine in new wineskins and call the whole thing “new”.
We need new wine.
We need to learn to live in the tension between ancient and future, already but not yet, motherland and fatherhood. We need to learn how to dream again and get dirty. We need to learn to take risks again, and we need to see that risktaking as a value in our churches. We need to see maverick pastors teach us, not leave us for the next big thing. We need to hear about how we are wired as sons and daughters of immigration and of Christ, and then how we can be re-wired, or perhaps disarmed if the wires in our hearts are connected to bombs. We need you to acknowledge the materialism in our midst – the alcoholism, the workaholism, the addiction, the pornography, the loneliness, the depression, the racism, the sexism, the xenophobia, the homophobia, and whatever else you and all of us are all aware of and afraid of talking about. We need courage to address the taboo.
It’s OK if it’s not the same as before. It’s OK if you’ve never been there before either. It’s OK if we make mistakes and you make them too. Let’s quit pretending that no one should.
This is not a youth group thing. This is not a mid-life crisis thing. This is an acknowledgement that what we have is a failure to communicate the gospel to this generation. What we have is a judgment call that the same old church is never going to attract people who are sick of the same old church. What we have is a wonderful systematic theology that hasn’t dismantled the systems of corruption and evil in the zip codes around us. What we have is this strange notion that we are in our own worlds, and not of the world – but we have not really entered into “the world.” Thus, we have aging churches, and aging members arguing over aging parking lots. And to the next generation, it’s old wineskin talk. It’s all old wine.
We need new wine. Not just talked about, but planted, harvested, fermented, and fit to drink.