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Does Christianity Matter? — in PKT (Pastor Kid’s Take)

This is a highlighted quote from the blog post.


Growing up as a pastor’s kid was not easy.

My dad’s a pastor and my mom is a choral conductor. A match made in heaven, right? No pun intended.

One of the negative impacts of growing up as a PK (Pastor’s Kid) in a Chinese church is how much you’re encouraged to pretend.

I had to be the good kid, the one that the other kids looked up to. The one that was used as a scapegoat when the kids got in trouble.

It didn’t stop me from leading a bunch of girls in frilly dresses into the forest behind our church, spending our Sunday afternoons exploring while our parents were in meetings.

We stumbled on little treasures, like the treehouse made by the neighbors and a homeless man’s makeshift fort.

We would come back with holes in our stockings, sweaty and tired.

One girl came back with woodlice.

You can imagine who got the blame for that one.

But to be fair, it was my fault.

Fast forward to 6th grade, when I discovered porn.

That was the first time I explored my sexuality. A whole new world opened up, and it both was an exploration and an escape. (Little did I know, that tendency escalated into a sex and love addiction after I went off the college)

At this point, I also started seeing a lot of the ugliness in the church. Members who used to say my father’s name with reverence were quick to point fingers and accuse him of wrongdoing.

To this day, I’m not sure if my dad actually did something he wasn’t supposed to.

It was all so grey and confusing to a child that wanted to believe in her father, but couldn’t ignore the whispered accusations that left the world spinning.

Three separate times my father was run out of a church.

Three separate times we moved states, schools, and churches throughout my childhood and adolescence.

In college, I started out extremely motivated to follow in my older sister’s footsteps as an InterVarsity leader, a campus ministry.

After about of year of leading multiple Bible studies and spending my free time knocking on dorm doors evangelizing about Jesus, I burnt out.

All the momentum my life had built up through Christian church camps and weekly youth group nights had been snuffed out in a year. I faced rejection after rejection by college students who snidely picked apart my world view right before my eyes.

That’s when the pendulum swung, and I started seeking answers elsewhere:

I joined a rugby team and had my first crush on a girl.

I discovered the horrors of being fetishized by white men on Tinder.

I lost my virginity, and two serious romances came and went.

For the first time, I experienced the pain of putting hope in the shoddy foundation of broken relationships and temporary pleasures.

After college, things began to pick up speed. I had a stint with polyamory, did my fair share of binge drinking and unsafe sex, and spent some time in “the lifestyle”. I started dating ferociously, often multiple people at a time, including women.

Now, looking back, that part of my life feels infused with pain. I was aimless, following what felt good to me at the time. And, when things went wrong (which it often did), I would collect a little more cynicism about people and the world.

I was confused, and I couldn’t tell up from down and left from right. I felt empty and numb, habituated to using people like batteries to feel something.

A few years later, I met a cute boy and followed him to church.

I went with wariness and suspicion as churchgoers gave me big white-toothed smiles and asked me for money.

I realized I was stuck in a victim mentality, believing that people didn’t actually mean it when they said they cared, but were manipulating me because they wanted to get something from me.

This was the first of many realizations that began to chip away at my cynicism and jadedness of the world.

A year later, I feel brand new.

After doing an extensive excavation of my childhood traumas, I was able to reckon with my addictive patterns, rising to a new level of self-awareness.

I’m less prideful than a year ago and more willing to own up to my mistakes.

I’ve experienced the power of vulnerability (and not just openness) in my relationships with loved ones.

I finally took up the responsibility to live the way I wanted to live and stopped blaming the people that were also trying the best they could.

As I sit here, I still have so many questions. I’m deconstructing what it means to be Christian in this world, and I want to do it without lying to myself the way many churchgoers do.

I’m going back to the basics, asking questions like:

  • What is sin?

  • Why do we need to be forgiven?

  • What is heaven and why would we want to be there?

From my personal experience, it can be frustrating to ask a religious person a question and get back an answer that sounds like a canned sales pitch.

It’s like they all read the same brochure that says “Are you going to heaven?” written on it.

You know, the one they hand out on college campuses and street corners while yelling, “ YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!” at everyone who walks by?

Yeah. Not the best approach.

Anyway, I’m not trying to convince anyone.

This is my journey, one where I’m trying to figure out why Christianity is still relevant in a post-postmodernist society. But hey, full disclaimer: I’m not some intense William Lane Craig apologist nor am I a decidedly atheist-philosopher powerhouse like Sam Harris. I’m not here to make “a case for Christ”.

I’m just a kid that grew up with a dad as a pastor, left the church, lived a crazy life doing drugs and going to sex clubs, then got sucked back into church because of a boy (classic!) and then figured I owed it to myself to give Christianity another deep, honest look.

If you’re in a similar place, wondering about Christianity and what it actually looks like, then this series is for you.

Maybe you’ve been hurt by the church or rejected for superficial things.

It’s easy to build up resentment toward a group of people preach one thing but actually end up being the complete opposite.

I encourage you if you’re reading this to take on a lens of curiosity. Just as you probably don’t want to be brainwashed by Christian rhetoric, you also shouldn’t be sucked into passively operating under some jaded, antiestablishment, militaristic feminist robot regime that, when taking a closer look, really isn’t that far off from being like a brainwashed Christian.

I’m learning a few things along the way, and I want to share those with you.

All I will say is this: Don’t give up hope.

Don’t give up hope that there’s good in the world.

So far, that’s what being back at church has shown me.

When Christianity is done right, it’s an incredible glowing energy of warmth and light in a cold and isolating world, a guiding force in a world filled with moral chaos and self-inflicted pain.

Take it from someone who has been both incredibly naive and also entirely disillusioned about life and people.

I don’t know what I fully believe yet, but what I do know is that my transformation is real.

I’m not jaded anymore.

I’m not constantly hurting.

I’m not expecting people to leave me or hurt me or want something from me.

I believe others when they tell me they love me.

I believe in beauty and mystery in our world.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, holding this perspective is not naiveté.

It’s a choice to believe, a choice to see Goodness in the world.

It’s a decision you have to consciously make, even in the face of the experiences that left you believing you were a victim, shattering your hopes of what life could be.

“…be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” — Matthew 10:15, ESV

In my journey towards the Ultimate Good (aka my idea of God), I’ve unfolded so many layers of complexity that exist in the life of someone that consistently chooses joy and love.

I’m not an apologist or a raging atheist.

I don’t have an agenda to convince you into organized religion.

My goal is to approach the faith as a normal, everyday person and see if it works.

If it does, it could be a gamechanger.

So, do I think Christianity works?

Answer: TBD

I’ll update you as I go along.


  

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