由于种种原因,我在Keio University 交换项目上当Peer Assistant,并且也因此第一次旁观church service。


Church service reminds me of the entirety of my K12 education, and it was very triggering. My brain could not wander off (partially because I drank coffee to make sure I will be conscious enough to notice everything, which was a very bad decision). I still can’t tell what particularly (almost) gave me a panic attack, but I want to write down a list of things I noticed.

  1. The MAJORITY of attendees are old white people. Many of them (retired) couples, upper middle class. There is one black priest (?), and another black woman who welcomes every one into the church, and another black couple who also attends. The rest of them are ALL white. We boosted the diversity of attendees by 300%. I could tell that they were uncomfortable (or at least hesitant) before the service began. The avoidance of social interaction, staring until I look over, things I am familiar with. I don’t blame them though–I was observing everyone, and of course they have rights to discomfort.
  2. I might appear to be very cynical, but I believe that the length of the service and the content itself are specially curated to stop people from thinking. They are really well-organized, reminds me of the vigil me myself hosted, but better–there are more interactions, and so you cannot fully wanter off from the scene to your own headspace, because the pressure to conform is hard to ignore.
  3. Most of the women were very attentive, while men really wern’t.
  4. The message delivered in the Surmon was very interesting. Essentially it could be summarized as “there might be people who don’t believe in the Lord and the presence of the God, but that might be because they are having a hard time, and so let’s be sympathetic, and be there for them. If you are having a hard time, believe in God for His mercy would save you.” Well, as a non-religious person, I don’t know how to comment on this one. It does remind me of Darrison, someone who quite literally did it. I really hope my friend is there for me not because of God’s words, but because they care. I also probably should not demand purity in intention, but I don’t sit well with that…
  5. With 1.5 h, it is really hard to stay critical and absent. I have to be engaged, no matter how unwilling I am. It is hard to not act in the way expected. I guess this might be the most triggering part. It reminds me of my primary school graduation ceremony, when I was extremely cynical (and verbalized it the whole time, which agitated my mom). I was quiet, but my brain spoke really loudly about the disagreement, until it got tired and wanted to kill me.
  6. I haven’t had major suicide thoughts for a while, but on my trip back, I did entertain on the idea that maybe I can lie down on the rail road. A new suicide tactic learned from documentary. It is a bit messy though, so maybe not.
  7. I think I have met one of the pastors before in the soul soup meeting. Damn.
  8. Everyone joined everyone to have the communion–seeing them sipping wine from one glass (they do wipe it off, but still) was unhinged. The instruction said don’t dip the bread into the wine, while I think that sounds delicious. I didn’t have the bread/cracker or the wine. I crossed my arms and was blessed by the God forever and ever.
  9. People came up to us after the pastor mentioned that we are from Keio University, Tokyo, Japan. They keep saying “I’m glad you came, and welcome back anytime in the future.” I wonder if it’s because it’s Japan and we all look well-off (I’m wearing my value Goodwill find, which was a custom-made black dress with embroidery).
  10. The lady who leads the songs has such a beautiful voice, and I like the music (instruments) a lot. I am not moved by the lyrics though. I really do envy that piano and the pipe organ. I really wish I haven’t given up on the piano. I like music so much…
  11. There is a moment left for social interaction after one hour of the service, after the confession of Sin. Then after the whole thing ended, I saw people kissing each other, feeling so moved which looks awkward…
  12. Now I want to know why on earth Kelvin was involved with the church (maybe not this one, but I almost believe that this is on the better side of things, since the preaching still makes some sense)
  13. I do like the fact that they do actual charity work, and that they would mention what tragedies are going on in the world (the Maui fire, Ukraine). I am also impressed by the fact that they raise money when people are singing, so it’s less direct, and as the bowl pass around, it is hard not to contribute (if you are a regular visitor). I think the black woman was there for this purpose, which I have my full respect for, as me myself would not be able to sustain my sanity with the people around me.
  14. The intellectual part of me thought of Prof Hill’s lecture on post cultural revolution literature & arts, some of which challenged the readers/audiences about the institution of art appreciation (museums, galleries, and expectation for novels in general). The church is a very good example of that–agreement on how to behave, what to say and when, dress code, smiling, crying, empathy, etc. It is such a great performance, and I admire people’s conformity to let it continue.

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