What’s the difference between all these churches anyway?

Menu in Chinese script at Golden Harbor restaurant in Champaign, IL

There are now thousands of Chinese students (both undergraduate and graduate students) studying at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and living in the twin cities. One of the favorite restaurants among Chinese students has the menu up on wall all in Mandarin [普通話].  It’s much like I saw in restaurants in China in my three trips there.  If English-only speakers walked in off the street, they would likely think, “Aah, I think we may be in the wrong place.”

One more than one occasion a Chinese student has asked me the difference between the myriad of churches in Champaign-Urbana. 

Today, one of my favorite bloggers, Joann Pittman, helped me understand why Chinese might ask that question.  Very interesting explanation from Pittman.  She has been living in China since 1983; she is incredibly insightful.  And a great writer, too!

I think God probably sees the Church (capital C) in the same way I saw the tiny people in the dollhouse my sisters used to have when we were kids.  There was no roof on the house and you could see the little people inside.

 … I think God looks down on Sundays across this little dot inside the universe (planet earth), sees no roofs on the churches and views we Christians as being way more more alike than different.

You do remember one of the lines in his longest recorded prayer, don’t you?  “Father, I pray that they will be one, just as you and I are one.”  It’s right there in John 17.  Did that prayer get answered?  Hmm…  I presume you think we should continue to pray it.  Yes?  No?  Maybe?

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