Monday, January 17, 2005
I've got some big news. I've decided to leave my church.
It wasn't an easy decision, but I've been secretly attending a new church. It's really great! Let me explain why it's so much better than my old church.
The first reason why I've decided to leave for a new church is that the name of my new church is so much better.. "Tha RiZen". The full name of the church is actually "Tha RiZen In Tha Eternal", but "Tha RiZen" is the name of the "brand" of the ministry. The church follows the newest, latest, ministry model called "reanimated needy-based marketing". Now, I know what most of you are thinking... They mis-spelled the words "the" and "risen", so how good of a church can it be? You must think my new church is pretty dumb to spell "RiZen" with a capitol "Z".
Well, that's actually part of the marketing strategy of my new church... in order to be cutting age and appealing to a young generation, the name has to be intentionally mispelled. Pretty smart, huh? I also feel the name "Tha RiZen", also invokes the mental image of zombies and zombies are so cool. They were dead, but now they're alive again! Sorta like all Christians were before they started going to church at "Tha RiZen". Did I mention they sell t-shirts, hats, and mugs with a friendly looking zombie logo too? You gotta advertise what church you attend these days with quality merchandise.
Every Christian knows you're supposed to be worshippin' God at church. At my old church, I wasn't really feelin' the style of worship - the whole singing, praying, and participating was really tiresome. At "Tha RiZen", the sanctuary is equipped with 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound and a praise team with a membership culled from such famous groups as "The Funky Bunch" (of Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch) and hip musical festivals like Lililth. I also like how if someone is caught singing really off-key during the worship set, all the music stops and we point at them to laugh.
After all, if a church can't put together a really jammin' worship session, I just don't feel very close to God.
At "Tha RiZen", we feel strongly about ministering to our community. Located in the impoverished East Side and Bellevue, most people commute to the church every Sunday and make a strong effort to share the gospel in a meaningful way - going shopping at Southcenter and Northgate instead of Bellevue Square; buying "Real Change" from that friendly guy in front of Safeway in the U-District; eating dim sum at one of those dirty restaurants in Chinatown. Our church has even been praying about sending a long-term missionary to the Central District of Seattle or "Tha CD" as us young people call it. We're not raising any money or even going to invite anybody to our church from that area... that'd be dangerous. Instead, we'll be sending a missionary there once a month on Mondays! They initially wanted to send me because I look like a hard worker, but the church leadership decided on someone else. They're going to send Wayne (the one black guy at our church)! Awesome.
I'm also really excited about the small group ministries at "Tha RiZen". They're not Bible studies, because at "Tha RiZen", we believe that studying the Bible is only necessary on Sundays when the speaker tells us he's going to talk a certain verse or something. The small group ministry at "Tha Rizen" is all about being progressive and socially relevant, so we use our small group time to watch quality prime time programs like "The Apprentice", "Desperate Housewives", and "The O.C." Besides, everybody knows that reading the Bible and reading books is such a boring and ineffective way to learn - c'mon, this is 2005 people!
As for current events, "Tha Rizen" is of course supporting the victims of the Asian Tsunami. Our hearts really go out to all those hurt and dying people, because death and lack of network television sucks. The congregation chipped in to buy 5 Special Edition U2 iPods, a $100 gift card to Abercrombie & Fitch, and a gift basket from Starbucks. Those Southeast Asian people are so lucky we're helping them!
This is the best part about my new church! The people that go to my new church are so much cooler than my old church. The whole "multigenerational ethnic church" is such a tired and ineffective ministry. After all, if God wanted certain ethnic groups to become Christians, they should just go to the big non-ethnic churches already out there! Besides, how am I supposed to relate to people 10 years older than me? They're like over 35!!! And they have kids. I ain't down of taking of care their kids. The congregation at "Tha RiZen" are all people my age... the way church is supposed to be. In fact, there's a law in the church constitution of the "Tha RiZen" that says people over 35 have to leave the church. Or be taken out and beaten every Sunday with our New Inclusive Translation Bibles (NIV and NASB are so old fashioned). We can't have any old people f'ing up our cool congregation.
Also, my new church is very racially diverse. My old church was just Chinese people, who are really boring, unemotional, and very paternalistic. Sure, they cook really well and help you do your math homework, but you never know when they're going to backstab you or yell at you in Cantonese (which sounds really angry) or gossip about you in Mandarin (which sounds really whiney). At "Tha RiZen", I'll be the 17th person of Asian descent there in a congregation of over a 100 people... sure, I'm the only Asian guy, but all the Asian girls there with their non-Asian boyfriends are really friendly and hot. There's also a black guy there named Wayne and a Chicano guy from Spokane named Pedro (who wants me to vote for him).
Did I mention that the girls at my new church are really hot? At "Tha RiZen", we hold our Sunday services in a building that doubles as a bar/night club during the week. A lot of the girls tell me they work as dancers at place called "Tha Vu" (must be a sister church or a ballet company) and they gave me their business cards. They say that some of their best customers are people they've met at "Tha RiZen". Isn't that so inspirational? They make me feel very spiritual, especially when they start dancing and shaking their hips. I can't wait to share the love of Jesus with them. Praise God!
The people who lead "Tha RiZen" church are so visionary because they have vision. When you look out over the parking lot on Sunday mornings and you see all the luxury SUVs that this congregation drives, you have to think to yourself, "GOD HAS REALLY BLESSED THIS CHURCH". When I first visited "Tha RiZen" driving my Japanese sedan, Pastor B-Dawg greeted me and said, Even though God doesn't love you enough to give you the money to drive an SUV, you can still sit in the back of the church. I wanted to shed tears of joy right there.
At my old church, we were always so tired of waiting and looking for new pastors to lead us and inspire us... but at "Tha RiZen", Pastor B-Dawg takes a very proactive approach to leadership. Whenever I ask the pastors at "Tha RiZen" what I should be doing with my life, they say something so wise, it must have come from God. Just last week, I mentioned to Pastor A-Dawg (B-Dawg's brother) that I felt my faith was weak and I was unsatisfied with my life. That's when Pastor A-Dawg said, Garrett, when was the last time you took your ass to Bellevue Square and bought some namebrand clothing? When was the last time you had at least 3 or 4 girlfriends with callipygian booties? Or when was the last time you purchased and listened to a WoW CD? The LORD wants you to be happy, so take yo damn credit cards that God gave you and find your happiness!!!
I was so happy to hear Pastor A-Dawg's clear advice that I asked him what verse in the Bible I should read. He didn't answer me right away, but we did go and drink a couple bottles of communion wine together in his office over McDonald's hamburgers. That's right, it was real wine with alcohol, not grape juice! There's nothing more true to the Spirit of Christianity than authentically duplicating the sacrament of Holy Communion. And even after I blew chunks on his desk, Pastor A-Dawg said he'd beat me up next Sunday. Real Christian love is such a beautiful thing.
The speakers at "Tha RiZen" are so much better too. Every week, a new inspirational speaker is brought in to tell us lots of positive and uplifting things, like "Gas prices won't stay high forever" or "Brad and Jennifer aren't officially divorced yet". I find the emphasis on positive living and celebrity watching really aids my walk of faith. After all, the re-evaluating and re-applying Biblical truths in the face of complex modern living is such a tired paradigm, right?
Well, to all my friends who both go and don't go to my church, I hope you can understand my decision. I think the reasons for leaving my church are very clear and to be honest, I just felt that my needs were being unmet by my old church. My new church meets all my needs.
Sure, at my old church, my father used to be pastor there, there's lots of people who used to take care of me or teach me Sunday school or encouraged me since my youth or help pay for my college education, but that's all in the past. It's not like I owe them or those families anything at all. That's not my responsibility. Anyways, I'm in a more mature stage of my life now, ya know?
Please don't hate me now that I go to a better church for me. I still love you all, even if I'm leaving you all behind for this great new place. Nothing personal, but I'm sure things will be fine without me. Besides, everybody has to find God and grow as a REAL Christian by themselves! Stop bugging me for help.
Check out this cool banner for my new church!
And the real highlight of it all...
.:To all my friends I know who have left or moved on from church for legitimate spiritual reasons, you still will always have my love and respect. To all the people who've complained like a Israelite in the desert, left or moved on from church for reasons that are less then legitimate... this entry was for you. If my satire seems a bit harsh, it's only because I'm sick of some the things I see happening around me...:.
dude, that was so awesome... i was rolling. sadly, it is also so true. the cult of "ME" has quite the following. there's a great book on all of this (sorta) called stealing sheep. good stuff.Post a Comment