Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Disagreeing with Endo

God, I need to get this out. I'm reading a book by Shusaku Endo and then I'm looking now at an article about him that Philip Yancey wrote.

He believed that Christianity needed to be changed to fit Japan... that Christianity couldn't get roots in the Japanese soil. He felt that western Christianity was too strict and didn't recognize that God is in all things and everywhere... that God had many faces in other religions, etc.

God, I can't even accurately represent what he believed and wrote. All I know is that deep inside of me my spirit is screaming, "No, Lord, no!" because I don't see the conflict that he saw.

No, I do see the conflict if I look at Christianity as Christianity. If I look at things as a matter of viewpoints, or of ways people 'see God' or something like that, yes, then I can understand the problem he saw and the solution he arrived at. Then I could see the clash between east and west, and I would be impressed by his solution.

But God, the question that gets me underneath is that if we stop and really realize You are REAL, then we don't have to go through all this guesswork! We can argue different viewpoints, but howabout asking You about stuff before we go off into making theories? I know people who have done this do have faith, and do pray.

Maybe it's because of how You've shown me Your Holy Spirit, how You still speak to us today, how You never stopped, actually. You're supernatural. I think we've felt abandoned so long perhaps because we've been so afraid of that supernatural. We've become intellectual.

My heart aches with these things, for Endo and all the others out there who have struggled so much trying to reconcile things intellectually and through compromises, because soul's loud crust of "Christianity" and the "Culture" seem never to have been allowed to be still enough to hear the Eternity in their hearts.

And I think that's the kind of "Christianity" the west brought to Japan. I believe that at Japan's roots, in her soul, there is "eternity" -- You said that You set eternity in the hearts of every person, and that the Light shines in the darkness and gives light to every person born into the world. Eternity is sitting in the hearts of Japan, and I believe we've been so occupied and not been still long enough to let You show it to us. We've tried to make the connection, instead of letting You do it.

And I know this is easier said than done. I know I have impatience, and that I'm guilty of all the west has done here, of not waiting on You, of not truly listening to people, of not truly loving them regardless of the decision they make. I haven't waited for You to reveal Yourself to them. But I'm learning. And when "I" step back, You always step in. Thank You, Lord, the God of the Japanese heart.

I wish someone had told Endo these things. I wish so many Japanese knew these things. I know that the Tokugawa government decimated "Christianity" in Japan, but I feel like the nail in the coffin on that decimation was hammered unintentionally by Endo. He bought the Tokugawa claim to have destroyed Christianity in Japan, and it scarred his whole life. His wonderful novels have been accepted in Japan, and because of that I think the Tokugawa claim has survived longer than it would have without his contribution.

All this said, You're worthy of praise. You saw all this coming. And I believe You've brought us to this land because You want us to stop, drop, pray, and be still, wait on You. I believe You want the church to repent for getting involved so deeply in intellectualizing You (instead of communicating with You) and for not waiting for You to reveal and connect with Eternity in peoples' hearts. This is a place of fire, perhaps, a place where You're refining Your church because she needs it here. I need it.


  • At May 01, 2007 11:45 PM, Anonymous Roseline said…


    Endo touches not only at the level of understanding of Christianity, but the very basic soul of human, often with vulnerable soul-ties.

    The one very phrase that haunted me was, "the country is a more terrible swamp than you can imagine, whenever you plant a sapling in this swamp the roots begin to rot; the leaves grow yellow and wither..."

    Treat him as a Catholic, or a fellow believer, or simply a sinner that found mercy in Christ. Treat him as a secular novelist, a nobel prize winner, a popular author that his writtings had stirred and left a huge space for the believed and non-believed to debate on. Faith or without had quarreled over the issues that Endo highlighted for many years.

    Agree or disagree does not matter to me anymore. Finding a way to breakthrough it, being prepared if there are people as Endo. Adventurous takes place, as there might be a whole new setting with the blow of Holy Spirit, or we might continue where it had been. I'm glad that you are making a new way! Or perhaps, the more correct phrasing is: I'm glad that God is making a new way through you. (art-for-jesus).

    This article you wrote left me a lot of thoughts, I will read it again.

  • At May 06, 2007 1:34 AM, Anonymous Shane W. said…

    Like Roseline, this article left me with a lot of thoughts as well as vivid memories of a Japanese civilization class I took in my third year at school. I remember how my professor spent one lecture discussing Endo's views on Christianity in Japan. My spirit similarly echoed what you felt while reading his book, "No Lord - no!". My heart was (and is) screaming for Japan.

    My professor believed in most of what Endo had to say. My heart ached for her to know who He really is, and what He is really like. During that lecture (and lectures thereafter), the Holy Spirit was showing me where Japan had been. He also revealed where He was taking her. It is already happening. She is waking up!

  • At October 19, 2007 12:46 AM, Anonymous Joey said…

    Wow - I randomly found your site, but I just want to say thanks for that encouraging post. It is so amazing to see others with the love of Christ in them, and a heart for people coming to deep knowledge of him. :) I love it! Thank you!


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