There are certainly many blessings in Japan. How I wish I can present you the fine works that God had put into these people. I fear the pictures wouldn't be able to capture the real essence of Japan.
How could I put these thoughts completely in words? The limitation of expression of words cause me to fear that I can't relate you to the reality of the fine art in Creation, and bring you to see how these fine people had seriously admired God's creation But MISSED the point. Who is the Creator?
It seems like there are so many pressures that a Japanese pastor has to go through, and so many things that they have to do. If you could link up a typical Japanese culture where overlap images are involved, and putting it up with the urgency to reach out to the unreached, it's often very discouraging. And then, you could imagine being a Christian in Japan, you are really walking against the current of wind, and there are often strong, chilling wind(sometimes typhoon), what more is being a Christian Pastor? (mind that I had exclude the issue of poor membership, poor support to the church, both social and financial. Many pastors have to work part-time to support the work of the church and thier living!)
The pressure that a Chinese Christian in Malaysia feels during main festivals or in the season of "balik kampung" is repeating day by day when a Japanese receive Christ into thier lives. A main line church will distinguish a believer and a non-believer by the issue of sake, cigarettes, shrine and temple activities. And all mentioned are the norm as in the culture of a Japanese.
Take the 1% of Japanese population, as for the government official statistic, split it into Catholic, Jehovah Witness, Protestant. And within the Protestant, split it again into nominal Christian, faithful Christian, what does it left? And even within the faithful Christian, there will be so many division! I think taking all these into account, the conflicts of missionaries and the local pastors certainly HUGE.
This is my heart feeling about Japan, yet it can be so shallow as I was only for a while in Japan. How I wish I can see more churches, to find out more, to see more, to tap my fingers in!
written on 12th, May, 2005