Monday, September 23, 2002
Being stuck is an uncomfortable thing for me... and yet here I am, stuck in every possible dimension a human being could be - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. As much as my friends note my enjoyment of sedimentary sitting positions (my trademark slouch with hands folded across my belly), I wonder if many people know how much I enjoy being able to freely move about when and where I wish. Being the eldest son in a Chinese family can make you so sick of responsibility and obligation that you yearn at times for unattachment, irresponsibility, and the prodigal life. But that's not who I am. Even knowing who I am, I can't change who I am. Is it strange to wish to be a person who cares less and whose consciousness of what is right were not so strong?
This last Sunday was an interesting example. Unlike last Sunday, myself and my mother failed to get up on time for first service at CBC, so my mom had the novel idea of visiting LightHouse, a young church that meets on the eastside. We arrived in time to hear the last half of the sermon by Wayne Ogimachi, the founding pastor of the church and a fantastic speaker. Anyways, as I sat there in service, I casually glanced around and recognized many faces, many of them ex-CBC people... mostly younger couples and families from the English speaking side. It wasn't a shock to me, having visited LightHouse before, but I think it saddened my mother to see so many familiar faces, people who no longer regularly attend our church.
While I could go on and on about the generational dynamics in an Asian American church, I found myself thinking how I've never really had a desire to leave CBC though it flies in the face of the obvious logic of me attending Lighthouse. There are more people my age at Lighthouse, with the same cultural perspectives. Lighthouse has a permanent pastor, one that I admire greatly and whose sermons have always rung deep chords in my life. Heck, Lighthouse is a lot closer to my house than Chinese Baptist Church!
And yet, I find I am rooted at CBC... a church many of my peers have disparaged as too old, too conventional, too conservative, too lacking in leadership, and worst of all... too Chinese (haha). In fact, the size and the passion of the Chinese-speaking part of congregation of the church easily surpasses now the English-speaking side, the cross-section of the church which I must sorrily count myself.
Perhaps, as strange as it is, it is the Chinese in me that binds me to my church. As Americanized as I am, my mind carries a long memory, a deep obligation, and fondness for my church. People and families I've known all my life are at CBC. Families who've paid for my father's education, my education, and my sister's education... they're at CBC. Men who went hunting and shooting with my father, men who helped my family move into our house, men who carried my father's casket when he died... they're at CBC. Old ladies who still call my mother "Chun Sze-Mou"... they're at CBC. Part of myself is rooted in the very floors and walls of the church, and yet the community that built it and inhabits it is in a part that is too deep for even me to define or know. Is it a misguided sense of honor or duty, that compels me? I'm sure my sister would tell me so. But the echoes of the love of hundreds of people are the gentle whispers that I convict myself with whenever part of me longs to go elsewhere. I have no other home.
So what's the point of all this? Who knows except that perhaps it is too characteristic of other things my life. Good sense, or at least common wisdom, would suggest that things should be different for me. Or that I myself possess the means to make them different. But I don't... so is it a question of "I cannot" or a question of "I will not"? Desiring better means desiring a change of present circumstances, and change rides upon movement... the inevitable walk, run, jump, roll, stumble, or meander from somewhere to somewhere else. Shiv wisely remarked to me that God cannot direct me unless I'm already moving, but the proverbial car of my life lacks gas. Hell, my proverbial car doesn't even have 4 wheels. Circumstances jacked them along with my stereo... I have no more music.
Bastards. No more babbling for tonight.
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