The Chinese Church Visit

What’s it like visiting a Chinese Church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I visited a Chinese Church where they have two services. They have the first service in Chinese (Or some language the people speak) and then an English Sunday School going on and then switch them for the next hour. I went to both services and was pleased that there were students from my seminary there. There were also members of the congregation who knew me because our post office is open to the public and they came by from time to time.

I did see they had the words to the hymns on a screen in the other language and I was pleased with myself for recognizing each symbol representing a syllable in counting. I found it interesting to think how many characters might need to be memorized and then how many words might need to be memorized. Of course, I have heard also that English is the hardest language to learn so I suppose there are difficulties either way.

I also noticed that when the pastor was praying, he would pause for a brief instance after every sentence. It occurred to me how unusual that seems to us since we live in a culture where we really don’t like silence. We can speak of an uncomfortable silence. Many people can have a TV or radio on just so they can have some noise in the area. This includes me.

The congregation apparently likes new people to identify themselves during the service. When the call came asking if there was anyone new, I was sitting there and thinking “Please don’t notice me.” Still, I had already been outed earlier and so I just described myself as a seminary student studying missions and coming there for that. I know hospitality is a big deal in Eastern cultures so I figured this had something to do with that.

Which also led to the final part. That was that the talk was there was a lunch every Sunday in the gym after the second service and all were invited. Those who know me know that this is something that I honestly get terrified over. While other students here I am sure love Crawfest when it comes around, I went to the last one with dread and just stayed long enough to say that I had gone.

I never sat down, but fortunately, someone came up to me who knew me and assured me I could go on and head home if I wanted to. I was waiting for that since again, I know hospitality is a big deal and I didn’t want to seem to be rejecting. It used to be a lot easier back in the days when I was married, but now it seems harder than it has ever been for me in this area.

Right now, my plan for next Sunday is to go to a deaf church to see how they do things where no one can hear. Do they have any music at all? Is the sermon all in sign language or is there a reading component? I’ll find out then.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)