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  • Eric Arnason

When Love Breaks Through


I am a Caucasian Worship Director in a predominately (98-99%) Chinese Church. There are two African-Americans, two Hispanics, and about five mixed families of Caucasian/Asians. My wife is the only Caucasian woman in our church. Our church is tri-lingual (English, Cantonese, and Mandarin). We also represent different nationalities, age groups, worship styles, social mores, and ministry philosophies. When it comes to the issue of race, I like to start and frame discussions within the broader theological frameworks of Biblical Anthropology, Redemptive History, Jew/Gentile relationship to the Gospel, the Cross, Unity in the Body of Christ, and Eternity with God's Family. While we cannot ignore the history of racial relationships in the broader culture and in the church, I don't think that this is a healthy or profitable starting point. It may cause more heat than light. The entrance of God's Word brings light. That is why it is most helpful to structure discussion with an anchored reference point that reaches beyond the limits and scars of a sin-stained history. If I may, I would like to give personal testimony about my experience over the last ten years as a Caucasian Christian in Chinese churches. On the one hand, my connection to the Chinese Christian community in America has been riddled with some of the greatest cultural challenges. On the other hand, this ministry has also reaped some of the most rewarding experiences and relationships of my life. My experience has taught me humility and patience. It has also taught me when and how to speak up in a constructive manner. It has taught me how to be a better listener and critical thinker. It has taught me the value of diversity within the Body of Christ. It has taught me that Worship Ministry is more than personal preferences. It has taught me how to be creative in order to unify people of various ages, ethnic backgrounds, and worship styles. It has not been easy; but it has been rewarding. Right now, I am preparing our combined (Cantonese, English, and Mandarin) worship services for next month's All-Church Camp. Our theme is "When Love Breaks Through". It has made me stop and consider what God's love might break through. I hope these can serve as a catalyst for further discussion: 1. Our excuses - busyness; self-doubt 2. Our defenses - vulnerability 3. Our comfort zones - social cliques; comforts; conveniences 4. Our ignorance 5. Our apathy/indifference 6. Our reservations (What we will/will not do; where we will/will not go; who we will/will not reach 7. Our worldview 8. Our resistance to change 9. Our fears 10. Our limitations on what God can/cannot do


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