The Far East

[[image:shibuya.jpg::center:0]] I’m far from home in a place where my cell phone doesn’t work in Japan…. disconnected. It’s weird, what did we do before cell phones? I can’t just call my wife whenever i want as i walk down the crowded tokyo streets. i can’t call my friends who are here with me to meet up or to grab something to eat. if i want to do any of these things, i have to walk all the way back to my hotel, go up to my room and start going down the rooming list until i find someone who is actually in their room. If you want to stay connected, it takes effort. don’t get me wrong, Japan is an amazing place. I love it here, it just gets a bit weird sometimes. Lost in Translation is so right on. If you haven’t seen that movie, you should.

In many ways I am experiencing the same sort of feeling when it comes to “Church”. Mainly cause me and my family aren’t really apart of one at the moment. actually, this moment has lasted probably 6 months. I could chalk it up to being away from home so much. I could chalk it up to unsatisfying “worship styles”. Maybe those things are contributors but I have a deeper sense that the problem is not outside myself. I WANT to want to be part of a community of believers, but that experience seems so far away. It’s weird, as much as i silently, or not so silently, call out other religious/spiritual/”christian” practices……at least they are practicing. I’m like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation but Scarlet Johansen just checked out of the hotel. Now I just imagine going to a Karaoke Bar with all my friends……only in my mind. Needless to say, over this time I’ve thought long and hard about what Church is. What it should mean to me. What I should mean to it.

This past easter was really weird. As far as i can remember, it’s the first easter where I didn’t go to a Church. We had waffles, read the crucifixion and resurrection story as a family from the Message, and then had an easter egg hunt in the back yard. Our little congregation of 3. Bono was worship leader and Pastor Zach preached the sermon about how Jesus was so nice and full of Love that a bunch old dudes with beards ended up killing him. But that Love kept him alive. Then I got picked up and went to the airport after lunch.

I don’t know where this poorly forged path will lead us. It’s a path nonetheless and I think God has made it a little sketchy on purpose. I’m thankful for that. Anything that comes too easy isn’t worthwhile. I will pray and ask God to show me what it is that brings us to a community, together. The search continues.

Other than all this going around in my head, everything is really good. Japan is am amazing adventure everytime. Korean BBQ, Electronics stores that rock your world, Bullet Trains. I love Shibuya, the area we are staying in. It’s like times sqaure of the East.

I’ve been listening to Pete Yorn‘s Live from New Jersey. Such an awesome live record. If you don’t know Pete, get to it!!!

That’s it for now. At this rate, i’ll blog in about a month.


17 thoughts on “The Far East

  1. Thanks for the update Zach. I know exactly how you feel, it’s something I’ve been struggling with for some time. I want to belong to a community, but it’s hard (especially in Texas) to find a community of Christians who interpret the Gospel the way I do. I’ve found comfort however in my friends, and people I’ve met recently and have taken that as my community. Even if we don’t have a Church we can physically go to, we have each other and God and for now, that’s enough.

  2. I continue to pray for your journey, Zach… Sorry I haven’t been around to chat in a while.

    You need to tell your label to buy you a GPS phone.

    Pete Zorn is cool.

    Be safe!

  3. Zach, I actually went to church for the first time in a long time, and I finally fully understood why church is weird. (I grew up in church). It’s just not natural. It’s not supernatural. I want more. Your post really spoke to me.

  4. Much of my same thoughts. No real answers though. Still in a search for what it all means and how it plays out in real life. I think being gone so much does have something to do with it. I know it does for me. But even in your absence, you have a community of people, be it ever so small, that does keep track of you and pray for you. It’s not the fullness of what church was intended to be by any means, but whether or not you always recognize or feel it, you still belong. Continue to contribute to the whole as you can and allow others to do the same for you. This season of life, with all its advantages and disadvantages, will not last forever. As long as you keep walking the path and not give up it will lead somewhere.

  5. I understand your sentiments, sir. No words of advice and no (what would be from me) false encouragement of “everything will be alright … this will make sense later” … because I honestly don’t know if it will. Maybe it will — maybe it’ll change — maybe something doesn’t need to be fixed, it just needs to be different. It is a growing feeling … when I expressed this two years ago nobody understood, now here is a blog page full of comments relating and understanding. I’ll be in prayer for you my friend, and let us hold each other together in prayer as well, to maybe find out what we are supposed to do.

  6. Z- I relate to your story, exactly. My story dealt with getting hurt SO many times in the church, that I just didn’t have the strength to go anymore. “Pastor JB” and Bono did hundreds of worship services at my home, over the years (we did one last night at Staples!). Not until I was 32 years old- LAST year- did God bring me the church family and the wife that He had for me. We literally drive 50 miles EACH WAY to multi-cultural church in Gardena (we are in Upland/San Dimas). This gets hairy on Wed nights as it takes 90 minutes in traffic. But we are SO desperate for the Word and the TRUE Worship, that it’s worth it! This same church family was instrumental in walking me through my cancer this past month! My heart BREAKS for the church in the US! They are so lost and “controlling” of God. But I know that she IS the Bride of Christ. I’m along with you and your family in prayer- even though I don’t have any magic words to make it any easier! Your day will come!!!

  7. Zach,
    Your thoughts on Church and community reflect exactly the reasons why Nadine and I started our ministry. Have you ever read Elizabeth O’Connor’s Journey Inward, Journey Outward?

    I hope to see you when you’re in Houston in a couple of months. Let me know if there’s anything special I need to do to see you that night.

  8. [cautiously entering conversation]
    what if you have some of those feelings but work for a church?
    what if you’ve been comissioned to start something new/different?

    i’m just trying to determine if the two can co-exist because it’s more than different music, it’s a realigment…

  9. There HAS to be a reason why so many people are feeling the same way as you are about church, Zach. I really believe God is stirring in the hearts of people a new way to approach Christian spirituality. I myself am trying to figure out what to do next as I enter a new chapter in my life – do I continue doing ministry in an established church, or do I pursue a “secular” career and be a bi-vocational pastor and lead a house church type thing?

    I feel like I’m in the Matrix, and I’m just waking up to reality…

  10. Krys, you are in an amazing spot. I would love to see and support something new and different. I know that I came across a bit judgemental earlier in my post, but my post is only from my point of view, not those involved in the service or the congregation as a whole. What I was trying to say was that I do feel disconnected, but want to be a part of a community again.

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