This is yet another post about my past personal struggles. As my friends would know, I am Christian, although a most unlikely one. To some, this might come as a surprise. Usually, when I disclose my faith to non-Christian acquaintances, they would more often than not be shocked. Christians, even more so. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but in my experience in Hong Kong, I have been personally attacked by both Christians and non-Christians alike for not conforming with what they think is a “Christian.”
I grew up in a Christian household
My parents are Christians. They were baptised in their youth. My grandparents are also Christians. My great-grandmother, buried in the Hong Kong Christian Churches Union Pok Fu Lam Road Cemetery, was also a Christian. However, I did not grow up in church, as my parents were not frequent church goers when I was little, although they are now. I was never pressured to “confirm” my faith other than that my mom read me children’s bible stories when I was little. The choice was my own.
I “become” Christian after watching a movie
In secondary school, a classmate randomly asked me one day if I wanted to see The Passion of the Christ (2004). His church booked the entire theatre for church members and their friends. I didn’t know what to expect, but there I went. As I watched Jesus’s suffering on screen, with his blood splattering and his flesh ripped from his body, I wasn’t sure why – but I felt quite emotional. My classmate invited me to his church after the movie. Shortly after, I decided to get baptised, as my parents did before me when they were my age.
My parent’s “church” tried to stop me from being baptised
Before I got baptised, however, my parents started going to church again, though another church. At that time, my parents hosted their small group (i.e. bible study group) at our home every week. Their small group leader, brother Mr. Cheung, was an ultra-conservative Taiwan-educated HongKonger in his 70’s. When he found out I was getting baptised, he tried to talk me out of it. He said baptism was a “serious matter.” I needed to undergo more “education” (i.e. recital of scriptures, speaking in tongues, rituals, etc.).
For all I know, I might have went to hell
Mr. Cheung’s wife, Madam Cheung, was also quite the character. She would tell non-Christians that they should believe in Jesus because if they got hit by a car and died tomorrow, they would all go to hell. Ignoring Mr. Cheung, I got baptised. In retrospect, based on his wife’s logic, I might have gone to hell if heeded to Mr. Cheung’s advice to delay my baptism but get hit by a car and killed. Anyways, even after my baptism, he never missed an opportunity to lecture me on what being “Christian” was (as if I weren’t).
I almost joined a “cult” in Hong Kong
After moving to Hong Kong, I looked up the local branch of the church I was baptised. But it was very local and I definitely couldn’t read the Chinese scripture. Few years passed. One day in HKU, a “missionary” passed out a flier for Christian services. I was curious. I went to a one-on-one “bible study” meeting with the “missionary.” Familiar with parts of the bible, I noticed she had a very non-mainstream interpretation of it. I did some research and found that the group was a “cult” based in Korea. I cut off all contact.
I’ve been attacked by both Christians and non-Christians
I’m a “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” Christian. With God’s wisdom, I plan ahead for turbulent times to come, whilst being open minded to new ideas. Having grown up in a liberal environment, many in Hong Kong consider me to be “un-Christian.” To many Hong Kong Christians, my dark humour and bad jokes are blasphemous, whilst non-Christians think I’m only pretending to be Christian to show “moral superiority.” But to me, God created me to challenge the world and I just want to live in God’s glory.
I believe that being a Christian is simply to have faith. It is something that is personal and is different with everyone. Moreover, this concept of “faith” is universal and applies whether one is Christian or not. Faith is a belief that keeps us going in times of peril. Without faith, whether in God, in our family, or in ourselves, something is missing. I believe that for Mr. Cheung (who has since passed away), the world has become a different place from where he grew up. The world is no longer his generation’s. But our future is what we as young HongKongers make it to be.