Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm coming out: I'm a member of CHC and I support the Crossover Project

You know, I'm probably going to offend thousands of people with this post and suffer the backlash of two different extreme comments following two thoughts: "you're a sheep who can't think for yourself", and "you're a member of the church right? How can you say these kinda things?". But you know, whatever. I'm also tired of answering these two questions: "how's the church?" and "so did Pastor Kong do it?" (Short answers to both, "great." and "I don't know.")




I want to put it out there before I start anything as well just in case:



I'm a member of City Harvest Church, I don't know ANY of the accused personally, nor am I a leader in any church ministry. Most importantly, I'm a flawed, human being who just wants to continue my walk with God - aka a Christian -

I've spent quite a far bit of my time defending my church and trying to stay objective about it all, but if someone talks shite about your home you'll get a little cranky too right? That's right, CHC is my home. And like every home and every family, they all have their quirks. Yes, CHC is a little louder and more radical than others, but I love that place, flaws and all. I have found a second family and had my ups and downs and my fair share of bad experiences in the human-run establishment. 

A bit about my background first: I was born into a Christian family and was baptised at St Andrew's Cathedral (SAC) when I was a mewling babe. Then I bounced to New Creation Church (NCC) and stayed there till I was in Secondary One. Then in sec one I left church completely and I visited Lighthouse once then my friend finally convinced me to pop by CHC (I refused to go cause of its shitty reputation then) and I've stayed since I was 15 despite it's crap reputation. Now I'm 24 and I'm gonna get married there! NINE LONG YEARS MAN. 

Now answer me this: For a girl who's not a leader in any church ministry, who tries to attend service every week and hardly attends cell group, A REAL ORDINARY CHURCH MEMBER, who doesn't know any of the leaders personally and hence has nothing to gain from being their friend/son/daughter/mother/father/accountant... Why have I stayed for nine long years? That means I've been through the Crossover Project, the times where relationships were scrutinised by staunch church leaders and when the bloody building fund was rampant. 

The reason I've stayed so long despite everything is because: I believe that the Crossover Project is good. Most importantly, I believe in the church's mandate to find a need a meet it and to find a hurt and heal it.

Crossover Project 
For those of you who only have this vague idea that the crossover project was how the congregation was cheated of millions to fund Sun Ho's career, you're wrong. It didn't start out that way. And I can guarantee I was not "brainwashed". If I'd been brainwashed I'd be all sunshine and daisies and I'd love EVERYTHING about the church. But I don't. In fact, there are many things I dislike about my church, the bloody building fund being one of them, the passée Ed Hardy trend - uniform of douchebags - and this incessant need to queue and rush into service - which is not so bad lah to be honest, cause it kinda gives you more time to hang out with friends.. But then again every church has its bad points right? If not I wouldn't have left the ones above...


Back on track.

The Crossover Project started out good. As Christians, we want to share God's love and good works with as many people as we can, and ideas to do this have stemmed from as basic as knocking on doors to having big bake sales and staging community sporting events. The Crossover Project was one of these ideas. In my opinion, it was a good idea. But why not through charity?? - you ask. Well, - and I'm gonna be brutally honest here - through mission work and charity you're given the opportunity to reach out to people who need a lot of help, the sick, elderly, low-income... basically people who have reached the point where they are actively seeking help. It was easier for the church to reach out to these people by meeting their needs and to be there for them. If they wanted to come to church good, if they didn't no worries, we were still given the privilege of meeting these wonderful people and doing our part to help them. City Harvest Community Service Association (CHCSA) gave us the opportunity to reach out to those in need. But the youth, people who are hale and hearty, who would never go to CHCSA for help, this was a bunch of people that were difficult to reach out to cause they were cynical and closed off from religion. Many of them needed just a listening ear, some came from abused families but had no one to turn to. Through Sun's Chinese album and the concerts throughout Asia, there was this sudden avenue for members of the church (mostly youths) to reach out to more people. 

In a way, the concerts gave church members a common talking point with folk on the street and from there it paved the way for members and for Sun to talk more about the gospel. And for a long time this idea worked!  All these broken people, all these kids (most of the members are under 25!!) we were all given this new "home" to grow up in. More people came, cell groups started growing with people who have been hurt at some point in their lives, testimonies poured in from people who come from broken families, abusive relationships and they stayed because members practised the church mandate: to find a need a meet it and to find a hurt and heal it. Of course, not everyone is perfect, and in a big church, as with every society, you're always bound to find all types of crazy. I've even had my fair share of crazy with ugly words slung over Facebook, gossiping and big ole cat fights. 

Speaking of not being perfect, the Crossover Project went downwards with the start of the English album. I just think they got a little too ambitious and wanted to bring it worldwide. You can't reach out to the gangs of New York who love Nicki Manaj with soft Chinese ballads. And going all Asian hip-hop artist makes it even worse to be honest. It just did not turn out right. Yellow-face is not a stereotype we want.

Anyway, let's all be honest CHC members! That was not a good idea. Sorry guys. 

Either way, I've only spoken to Sun once and I thought she was lovely, she was just really... sad. And tired. You could see how weary she was. And I honestly think all that China Wine stuff probably isn't her. She looked way more comfortable with her old Chinese album where she sung soft ballads and mandopop.

Shelling out the money for the project
As students, the majority of the congregation really had nothing, but we gave with our hearts, and I'm sure the pastors, businessmen/ doctors every Tom Dick and Harry who was working gave plenty with their hearts too. You know what, no regrets for every single cent I gave. I don't know about the rest, but for me, I don't regret anything. I'm glad I've contributed to my home church and the mandate they worked towards. Even if it went into the bloody English album, the church still continued to do its good works! Where did the money come to do the good works if not from the tithe and offerings given by church members? Heaven ah? tsk. Y'all are blinded by the awful China Wine music video to see the good that has been done by the church.

I've seen the work my church has done, the lives they have touched and people the have helped both through the Crossover and charity work from CHCSA. And you know what, it is good. JAMS ministry is a shining example of the lives and people who have been touched by the many wonderful works done by my church. Sure, all the limelight has been shifted to a mistake made, but let's not take anymore limelight away from what's more important: the charity and good works done by the church and the lives that have been touched by the ministries. Instead of googling: "how CHC has messed up" try googling "City Harvest Community Service Association". I for one have been blessed by both the pastors and good folk of the church.

If they are really convicted of the crimes...
*shrugs* I'm kinda expecting it already to be honest. Yeah yeah, have faith blah blah blah. There's faith and there's acceptance. - Told you I'm not a very good Christian. I've actually accepted that there's a high chance that they'll be convicted and I'm okay with it. But I'm still not going to leave the church.

I'm taking an objective stand point on this okay.

But what really offends me the most about all this is the quick judgement so easily tossed around. "THEY DESERVE TO GO TO JAIL." - proclaims about half of Singapore simply because you've been fed  the most sensationalised piece of news from newspapers. You've gotten the bad, now get the good from CityNews and maybe form a better understanding before you judge.

And even if they're convicted, who are you to declare their villainy? For those who have labelled the accused as sinners, evil, brainwashers etc, let me ask you this, how have you been affected by CHC? Are you so offended by ONE bad video that you're now mentally disabled? Has the case affected you physically? Has it ruined your life and left you destitute? What wrong has been done that you have to reach in deep for such poisonous words? At the end of the day, no one's perfect. John 8:7 (NIV) "When they kept on questioning Him, He (Jesus) straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." I'm not asking you to convert to Christianity, nor am I asking you to suddenly become their best friends and lay your lives down for them, I'm asking you to practice respect for your fellow humans and forgiveness against something that doesn't even affect you. 

It is sad, because there is no public declaration of support for the pastors. Members keep quiet, some leave to avoid association. Worst of all, some members from other churches are quick to roll their eyes, gossip and whisper about the bad things they've heard about the CHC pastors. All this done despite subscribing to the ideals of grace and mercy as preached from their own pastors - taken from the word of God. It's shocking! You murmur and meditate on grace and mercy but come home and revel in the misfortune of others and say, "this will never happen to my church". I've seen this happen right in front of my eyes with people I know and respect and it's just so so disappointing and hurtful.

Isn't it sad that this one mistake overshadows the help they've given thousands? People sometimes make mistakes despite their good intentions. If your brother made a mistake, would you leave? No. Because you are family. 

Whatever happens, I'm still standing by the pastors, simply because my church - my family - is made of broken people. As a church with a mandate to find a need and meet it, and to find a hurt and heal it, we've attracted plenty of lost souls, broken spirits and downtrodden folk. Now our pastors have reached the point of breaking and it's our turn to meet their needs and heal their hurts. Why would I leave when this is the time they need us the most? Our church has grown since it started 25 years ago, not just in size but in heart. There is love and there is family and I feel it every time I walk through the veil of air-conditioning that guards each door of the hall. Don't believe me? Come in. We welcome you, even if you're there just to visit and to throw rocks at us. Give us a chance to show you that in this house of God, there is no condemnation, no judgement and most importantly, there is love.

God bless, and peace out.

Extra notes: 
- This is my opinion, if you oppose it don't hesitate to leave CONSTRUCTIVE comments.
- If you're offended by my post you can vent by sending me your best angry email. I will chuckle and keep it in the haters folder. 
- If my answer to your comment can be referenced back to my post I will simply state, "please read blog post" and you can read through again.
- If you feel the same way, high-five.
- If you call me a shitty Christian who knows nothing... Yep, you're right.
- If you're my church leader and you want to bring me for discipleship... okay :( 

26 comments:

  1. Love this!! :) Thank you for sharing too!!

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    1. I loved your blog entry too mumseword! A friend pointed it out to me last night :)

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  2. I love how this is as real as it can gets.. you have put it into words so well.. it is an inspite of but we still choose to love!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. Love this! Thank you for coming out! and letting everyone know what CHC does! :)

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  4. Love this! thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts down. It sounds very much like me and I'm going to take the step of speaking out too. So thanks again. And I don't think you need to be discipled much. You seem to have your head pretty squarely on your shoulders...

    haven't said that... SOT wouldn't be a bad decision. *big grin* I've been soooooo blessed and enriched in my time there.

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  5. thank you for sharing Amanda!! (: it's nice to have someone finally voice out our thoughts and feelings.. we are imperfect, but we still try our best to love because God first loved us.. :D

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  6. Steady la! I support ur views Amanda!

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  7. Well said! Very straightforward... No holds barred! Thank you for standing with the church!

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  8. Well said! Many has forgotten God's commandment 'Thou shall not judge' and our Lords prayer '... forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us...' How can we beg for forgiveness if we cant forgive?

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  9. Thank you Amanda. Very well expressed. A friend of mine just shared to me that the same group of people who wrote on social media to NOT trust the local newspaper on the gah-men during the last election is ALSO the same group of people who believed everything (EVERYTHING) the newspaper wrote about CHC leaders and Sun. Funny, isn't it..

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  10. While many here are applauding you for what you typed, I think you should reflect on your blogpost. You're going to get married and you confess you're not a "very good christian"? I can't measure your definition.. but you risk damaging your marriage.

    You may not be a leader in church ministry, but I certainly hope during these 9 years, you've been serving in one platform or the other..and by that, i don't mean a one-off thing like mission trip.

    Please don't bring down other churches (NCC in this case). We're a body of christ. Fyi, There is absolutely nothing wrong in queuing.

    You're right about no condemnation. But I'm not sure your take on judgment. The bible clearly states that we are to judge, but to do so in love. Of course, we ought to re-examine ourselves before we cast judgment upon others. For if no one judges, then how do we have discernment in everything around us?

    Nevertheless.....

    I'm glad you're still in CHC. A pastor's mistake should not waver your faith in God. He is the same yesterday and today—and forever!
    Most importantly, pray.

    If you're offended by what I typed, well...I'm stating the truth. And I hope you love the truth.

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    1. Hello! I should reflect should I! haha. I really do confess that I'm not a very good christian! I mean, are you? I don't know of any "very good" christians. All I know is that we all strive towards an ideal and work hard at loving people.

      I do serve, two ministries in fact, but I'm not a leader in either. And I think that puts me in a position that allows readers to relate better. Because there are many Christians who don't serve despite being in the same church, my parents for example.

      I'm definitely not bringing down any church, I'm simply stating the problems I've found in all. I'm glad you find that there's nothing wrong in queuing... But I don't know why I should have to queue. I'd like to walk in and listen to the word of God.

      I should have been clearer and perhaps referred to what I was saying as self-righteous judgement.

      I'm not offended :) Everyone has an opinion and thank you for sharing yours! It's always healthy to have a opposing opinion.

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    2. Hi ffdbfdbabs dsfdsafs, just like to share with you my two cent's worth about judgement and discernment. I believe there is a very big difference between the two- because the former is by human effort but true discernment is by the Spirit of God. For did the Bible not say “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?" (Mat 7:1-4)
      Hence the Bible clearly states we are not to judge people at all, even after self-reflection, but extend the same understanding and mercy God has towards our circumstances and weaknesses.

      On the other hand, true discernment is not by human logic but by receiving the revelation of God regarding others through the Spirit. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God." (1 John 4:1-3) I believe every Christian has to be careful about what they choose to believe about other people- whether that perception is born from the truth of God (which I believe you strongly seek after) or from worldly wisdom (which can come from our own human interpretation of God's Word and morality).

      Anyway with regards to NCC, I think there is no right or wrong way to crowd control- each church to their own logistics I guess! So think there is no need to split hairs over this issue. That being said, NCC is a great church and I have many good friends in that church even as I am a CHC member. So you are right that as the body of Christ, let's continue loving one another and upholding one another in prayer. Shalom! :)

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    1. Dude I'm definitely not naiive. I spent a long time thinking of what I should write and if you've read the whole thing properly you know I'm not one of those super "on" youth who go rah-rah at every church event.

      I left other churches too, but I feel comfortable at CHC. So what if other's left, then they have a problem with the church, that's not MY problem. I'm happy where I am and I think you should respect that rather than imply that I'm soft-minded and addled.

      You can take some lessons on objectivity from the dude above.

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  12. Love it, sista! City Harvest has been an amazing family to me... Here, I've been blessed, empowered and nurtured. I get to live out my dreams and fulfil my calling at the same time.

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  13. Love it! Yes you will be applauded and you will be dissed at too. But haters gonna hate anyway haha. And *high five* I dun think I mma good Christian too, well I have no good definition of "good" except those laid down by self righteous people which I shall not even think about it and yeah, glad that you're not being bothered by it too... Thanks for penning such heartfelt content. Love it! :)

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  14. Appreciate your heartfelt blog ! We need more members to stand up n shout it loud ! Kudos to your courage to write this ! Thanks !

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  15. ^5!!! (ok except maybe the part on why they chose to launch an English album and building fund) I'm a CHC ordinary member too and totally resonate with your open and candid write up on your thoughts!

    Regarding why they chose to launch the English album, the matter was not so straightforward for reasons that cannot be expressed publicly on social media due to political sensitivity. You can email me: celtaninnshen@gmail.com if you want to find out more.

    Anyway u go girl! :)

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  16. Amanda Lee,

    I'm glad you took it objectively. I'm not here for faultfinding. Simply stating my opinion. I stand to be corrected.
    Once again, I'm not sure of your definition on 'very good christian'.
    But I believe all of us should be well-equipped in His word, deeply anchored in our faith & form our beliefs based on His word.
    The opposite is also true for 'weak Christians'.

    And by using words like 'shitty Christian' or 'not very good Christian', it says something.
    Our confidence is not built on what people think of you, nor what you think of yourself. It's what God says about you.
    Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. - 2 Corinthians 13:5

    At the very least, I presume from your blogpost and reply that you love the church; its people.

    You're right about self-righteous judgment. That would have been a more appropriate word.

    All in all, I hope you're continually growing spiritually.

    I may not be from CHC but know that you're all kept in our prayers. stand strong :)

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  17. CyExL,

    Absolutely. But understand that I do not refer to self-righteous judgment as Amanda Lee has pointed out in her reply.

    "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." - John 7:24

    U stated Matthew 7:1-4. But you forgot about verse 5 which states
    "first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

    It's of utmost importance that we ought to look at ourselves first before judging others. Don't just cherry pick a verse. Take it as a whole so you understand what it's specifically stating.

    Many people have this misconception that we should not judge. No. Wrong.
    You can ask your leader.

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    1. ffdbfdbabs dsfdsafs, I am a member of NCC. I think in regards to judging other Christians, you took the wrong verse because it's a hypocritical verse that points people back to themselves.

      7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

      3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

      What Jesus is obviously saying is that we cannot judge others. Based on our actions and thoughts, we will HAVE planks in our eyes. Everyone does. If you suppose that you can take the plank out of your eye first so that you may judge others, then you missed Jesus's point. We have no power in us to take away the plank. That’s human nature. Even now as we have anger or any bad thoughts in your heart against Pastor Kong in any way or manner, we have sinned in thought.

      There is none good but God, we will ALWAYS have a plank in our eyes in regards to judgement. It's the same story when Jesus said "Whoever is without sin cast the first stone." No one, in actions and in thoughts, is without sin and blameless. The only one without a plank or speck in his eyes is Jesus. This is the most fundamental bedrock in which Christianity stands firm.

      Our standing with God is not based on planks in our eyes or specks in other people's eyes. Our standing and salvation is simple - whether it's plank, specks, buildings or whatever dirt it is in our eyes, we are righteousness by Jesus's blood. Going by actions, we have no hope. Going by Jesus's work, we have no despair. Who are we to judge when Jesus is the one who remove all the planks, all the specks, all the wrong, all the rights? He judges, not us.
      Does that mean we allow sin to run rampant? Of course not, we rebuke sin, but why cast the stone by judging the sinner when Jesus is the only one qualified to do that? Let’s just stand firm in the grace of God and let no other man affect our walk. It’s not our business to meddle with CHC’s issues. By Grace CHC grew, by Grace God will keep them. It’s that simple.

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  18. Quote: I'm not asking you to convert to Christianity, nor am I asking you to suddenly become their best friends and lay your lives down for them, I'm asking you to practice respect for your fellow humans and forgiveness against something that doesn't even affect you.

    Exactly. I will be honest and say that I am from NCC, and very interested in the case. But people swing to extreme, yelling for justice when it's the perfect time for God's grace to shine forth. I really believe that in the midst of all these darkness, God's grace will shine brighter and brighter for CHC.

    Pastor Prince has said over and over again to not comment on other churches, and to be nice. Openly Pastor Prince has asked church members to show grace in the times of troubles. He went on to say that if a righteous man, any righteous man for the matter, should fall, the Lord will always hold him in His palm. If the man falls, he falls inside the hands of God, forever righteous. That's Lord's love. No conditions attached.

    John 10:28
    …28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30"I and the Father are one."…

    Pastor Prince's only concern is that the name of Jesus is at stake, which is true, but over and over again Pastor exalts the grace of God which will tabernacle over the situation, especially for the sheep's sake.

    Pastor Prince often makes a joke about the perfect church. He says there is no such thing. If we can find a perfect church, don't join it because once we join it, it becomes imperfect already. No one is perfect, and every church has a purpose.

    I don't know about the convictions of Pastor Kong and the other accused, but I believe and pray that even as the shepherd is attacked, the flock will continue steadfast in the grace of God. The church must go on, the sheep cannot scatter. No man is irreplaceable, whether it's Pastor Kong or Pastor Prince, we look to no man but to Jesus only.

    Btw, there are no more queues in NCC, if you come for service at the Star, there will always be enough seats for everyone as the seat capacity is enough for walk-ins. Previously, with a sitting capacity of only 1500 in Rock Auditorium, there’s no wonder why queue tickets were required. More a logistical issue than anything else, so please don’t take offense. To be doubly sure, now you can just book your seats online for the morning services. Other services in the afternoon, feel free to walk in.

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  19. kit fan,

    i am simply appalled by your statement. Do not judge? Seriously?
    All I ask is that you read more books, do research on reputable sources on internet, ask your leaders and pastors.
    In fact, do a quick google search and tell me what the sources say in regards to christians judging.

    I'm not going any further with this argument.

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  20. just another puny new generation singaporean slut..no wonder all new generation singaporean girls like you are slut..bitch please...learn the true history of christianity and please don't quote the bible puny slut

    ReplyDelete

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