So I started this neat class through "Reaching the Japanese through Christ" RJC
to help me remember a lot of the helpful information that makes understanding the Japanese and their religious history a little more clear.
Here are some tidbits I've started learning already that I thought interesting enough to share here.
- The prehistoric period of Japan is called the Jomon era. The dates are pretty scattered but the most repeated date I could find was that there were definitely people in Japan, great at pottery, around 300-600 BC. And this is soon after the time of Nahum the prophet. So when I think about the stories that have grown and adapted through the millennia it makes morse sense to me how so many details have been formed through the various importance milestones since BC. There are even some links in Japanese culture that go back to the Jewish culture like the connection of the story of Isaac with the present-day Ontosai festival. And the similarities of Shintoistic gods to Baal and Ashteroth.
- Also, in my Japanese language study over Skype we were studying passive forms. Anyway, we went over the verb "to throw away" or suteru. After several questions (I have the most patient teacher) I learned that the Japanese use the same verb, suteru, for "to throw away" and "to abandon". This might not seem that interesting yet but just wait. I'm going through a bible study with some local church friends right now. As we read through the book, Anything, by Jennie Allen, we've been discussing, among other things, what would happen if we "abandoned" over lives to Christ. To let him do anything with our lives. In the book, they define abandon as 1. to leave completely and finally, forsake utterly. 2. To give up the control of. 3. to yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation. 4. to surrender one's claim to, right to, or interest in. 5. to give up entirely.
As I connect these two lessons together, it's convicting to me. I'd need to describe (if I was speaking in Japanese) that to abandon one's life for Christ is to "throw it away". They label stray dogs as those dogs that have been abandoned. So to abandon our life is to live like a stray dog, EXCEPT we will be living even closer to our owner. It's mind boggling how to describe this concept. And obviously, I am still brainstorming how I'd clearly communicate this concept. But I am still convicted thinking to myself about abandoning my life, my hopes, my strengths, my goals, into God's hands. To let go of the control I have to make things (usually the goals I logically put into my mind) happen. And I still continue to pray for the discernment between the control I have to "make things happen", more for myself than Christ and selfless, prideless actions reflecting Him and His character. It's scary but exciting to think what Christ will do when there's no other love than him, no other distraction, no other goal, no other planning apart from loving and glorifying God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
So just like this stray dog, I want to be so wrapped up in the Love of my Creator that being cold, lonely, forgotten, destitute, or hungry, pale in comparison to the joy I have in His salvation. And in the same way, being warm, surrounded by a family and friends, self-sufficient, and satiated also pale in comparison to the joy I have in His salvation.
Labels: christianity, Japan, japanese culture, japanese history, joy, language