It almost feels heretical to write something along this line of thought. How can we disrupt Christianity? How can we innovate something that is sacred, holy, and religious? I ask myself, “Why not?”
This thought of disrupting Christianity became a new theme recently as I was praying. When the words slipped from my mouth, I was at first shocked and surprised. But after praying over this more, it became apparent that this concept has been brewing for quite some time.
The early beginning of my faith, what I once thought was unique and special to me, I now realize is a common story for many—grow up in the church, have a falling away, then begin the search to come back. However, being the extreme person that I am, I can say that I’ve experienced the polar opposites of this story—i.e., deeply involved in religious activities as a young leader to becoming a self-proclaimed atheist.
And the comeback story, which I believe is still writing itself out, has been quite a journey as well. Initially, the story started out as a simple search for meaning. Meaning encompassed many different areas of life such as developing professional career, relationships with family and close friends, social outreach, and religion. Although I had the Christian background and upbringing, I knew it was empty and dry, thus I reasoned to search the Bible with the desire to discover for myself what meaning of life could be hidden in this book, which at that time was nothing more than a book. And as time passed, every other facet of life faded away and the only thing that remained was reading the Bible.
That’s when the pursuit after a “real faith” began to take shape, and I forced myself to unlearn everything that was taught to me, and began to learn like a new born what, or rather who, God is. I had to deconstruct every aspect of faith and religion, going as far back as, “Is there even a god?” And as the faith and relationship continued to grow, I began asking, “Is Jesus Christ real? Do I truly believe that his death and resurrection is real? What does that relationship even look like?”
During this ongoing search and pursuit, my seemingly non-spiritual compartment of life developed from working for a medical communication company to a tech startup in the music and events industry. What could have easily been contributed to exploring my career, I now see how every stage was preparing me for this new chapter of life. At my time in the corporate institution, I had to jump through hurdles in questioning why certain processes were done, as antiquated as they seemed. There was a natural push to innovate and change, to stay ahead of the curve, to be relevant and profitable in our industry. And at the tech startup, I learned what innovation looked like on a mass scale, through the company I was assisting to build as well as being exposed to the vast networks of entrepreneurship. And that’s where there was this common theme of disrupting what we know, changing the way we work, to either improve and build upon existing structures or tear it all down and build something new. We now see the effect of this disruption and innovation in almost every vertical—retail, housing, entertainment, transportation, even the rigid medical field.
What I first thought as leaving behind one phase of my life, I now see God’s artistry in weaving these two seemingly different paths—the explorative, questioning, innovating mind with the sacred, holy, introspective aspect of faith. It is clearer than ever that I can’t leave this “phase” behind because that’s who I am: I explore. I question. I challenge. I ask why.
In the recent past, it has been difficult to ask questions. Though people struggle with faith and their Christianity, it’s still a nicely packaged struggle. Perhaps this is just in my own circle of influence. But nonetheless, Christianity as I know uses a very similar language and jargon to talk about faith. The struggles almost seem rehearsed. It was almost heretical to ask, “Is Jesus’ resurrection real and if so, how does that affect me?” An impossible act in our human reality, yet something Christians just so easily accept and grasp. Or these days, there’s an abundance of talking about reformed theology and seems like it is a growing elite, the Harvard way of thinking about Christianity, because other schools of thought are just not “right”. But what exactly is this reformed thinking? Is it something that I truly believe, or am I just mirroring and parroting what other spiritual leaders do and say?
I wonder what kind of struggles John Calvin and Martin Luther went through when they challenged the traditional way of thinking in the 16th century, what kind of praises or criticism they faced. And now seeing years later how much the leaders of that time have positively impacted the understanding of Christianity today, I wonder, with a healthy fear, what new ways of approaching and seeing this gospel, can help me and possibly help others grow? How can we begin to talk about Christianity in new ways, new perspectives, global contexts, relevant to the ever so changing cultures of our time now?
To think that I can be the next John Calvin would be far-fetched, nor am I desiring to pursue this path just to create another branch off the course in the evolution of Christianity. However, if I can be a small part of God’s story to help further advance the kingdom in fresh, new ways, that’s something worth pursuing. That’s something that I want formal training in, to be able to approach the Bible, now developing as the Word of God, to really be able to glean wisdom in new and deeper ways. I want to be a part of and work together with global leaders, whether in harmony or in struggle, pushing the boundaries of disrupting what seems like antiquated ways of ministry and approaches to faith.
I hope this time at Regent will help foster me grow to be a deeper man of faith, to have a greater intimacy with Jesus Christ, and a greater fear of the Lord. I’m excited for this next chapter in my journey, I’m excited how my love relationship with God will continue to unfold the story of my life. I’m excited how I can disrupt Christianity.