Monday, August 5, 2013

Sign 看板 カンバン

According the latest figure, the Christians that include Catholic, Protestant, Mormons, and non-denominational Christians make up a total of 4.5% of the population of Taiwan.

A question I often ask myself, my friends and students is –

“Would Taiwan be better of if the Christian population in Taiwan is up from 4.5% to 45%?”

Here were some of the answers -

“I don’t know…” 

“You pastors would be easy to find a church to work with, like  a piece of cake.”    

“You are from the States and you should know better; say from the south side of Chicago and many areas in the City of Detroit; or even some parts of the DC. Would you say they are better of with ‘Christians’ everywhere?”

In USA, it’s around 73% of polled Americans identifying themselves as Christian in 2012. This is down from 86% in 1990; and slightly lower than 78.6% in 2001.  It is still the majority.  Are we better of then?

When we were in Taiwan from Sep 2011 through Jan 2013, I was occasionally invited to preach in the churches of Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pintung Presbyteries. 

There was a church in a high rising building of a city.  According the building code, anyone over the tenth floor is not allowed to have a sign (看板 カンバン) or even a Cross as a church symbol hanging out the window saying something like Welcome to the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Washington.

I asked the pastor about it. 
Here was his answer: “Our members are the signs, and our Deacons and Elders are the signs.  We are the signs of the church!”

What a sign of courage!

Look at the earliest Christians: a few against the world of Roman Empire.

There were no signs, nor 看板, or カンバン.

There were just Faith, Hope and Love. 

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1 comment:

  1. Most churches in America have small signs in the front. It's usually very hard to figure out what church/denomination a church is without walking up to the sign post. then came the Korean concregations. Many of them rent a time window from an "American" church. Within a week or two of the arrival of the new tenant, you could almost see a Korean Church sign from two blocks away, sometimes blocking the view of the original congregation. Judging the vitality of the two churches, sometimes it makes you wonder: size does matter.
    -- Poshu