We just released two more videos on our YouTube channel (Tea with Valerie). On this channel, we talk about a variety of spiritual questions, and share Bible stories. Here is our second spiritual question:
Is Christianity really a Western religion?
Here is a transcript of the above video.
Welcome back to our YouTube channel! My name is Valerie and I’m a Canadian. I’m sorry my Japanese isn’t very good. I’m still learning!
Last time, we talked about why we celebrate Christmas. We talked about how Jesus’ birth, life, teachings and death all told people that God loved them and wanted a relationship with them.
Today, we’ll be talking about Christianity. When we think about Christianity, many of us associate it with a certain country, like America, England, or someplace else. But is Christianity really a Western religion?
Let’s find out!
[drawing section starts]
In 1549, Francis Xavier brought the stories of Jesus to Japan for the first time. He was a missionary from Portugal.
After the second world war, many other missionaries came to Japan, from the US, Canada, England, and other countries in Europe. Even now, many famous Christian teachers come from these countries.
But where did Christianity first begin?
Last time, we talked about the meaning of Christmas. We talked about how God decided to come to earth as a human being named Jesus to share the good news of His love with human beings.
During His life on earth, Jesus lived in a country called Israel, as an Israelite. Jesus’ followers would bring His teachings out of Israel to many other countries in the world, and soon Christianity became a world-wide religion. But it all started in Israel. It all started in Asia.
Israel is an interesting place. In many ways, it’s similar to Okinawa. For instance, it’s hot. It’s at about the same longitude as Kagoshima or Kyuushuu. So when the Bible talks about people walking somewhere in the middle of the day, Okinawans have a good idea of what this means.
Jesus lived in communities that did a lot of farming and fishing. This is similar to the city of Itoman, where I live. There are many farmers and fishermen in this area. Jesus told many stories about everyday things. Through analogies, He conveyed important facts about God. Many of these stories involved farming and fishing.
In Jesus’ time, the people of Israel used a lunar calendar to count time. This is also very similar to Okinawa, especially in places where there are lots of fishermen.
The communication styles in Okinawa and Israel are also similar. In Okinawa, sometimes you speak directly, but you mostly speak indirectly. In His teachings, Jesus also used indirect communication quite often. But sometimes He spoke directly.
Throughout its history, Israel was ruled by many countries. By the time Jesus was born, the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires had all ruled Israel. Okinawa has also been administrated by many countries.
Many people suffered deeply during the war in Okinawa. Because you’ve experienced war less than 100 years ago, you also understand what it means to be tired of war, and to have a deep longing for peace.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace”. I think this is a beautiful title, because peace is so beautiful. But I think that people in Okinawa understand how beautiful peace is even better than I do!
All of these similarities mean that when an Okinawan person reads the Bible, they might understand the cultural nuances better than a Westerner!
Last time, we talked about how Jesus is God.
Because we are small human beings, we have a hard time understanding a big God who created everything. But we can each understand a small something about Him.
God has placed a special ability to understand one part of Him in people from each country, from each culture. Learning from each other, we receive a greater understanding of who God is than we would be able to understand just by ourselves.
In Japan, there are centipedes. When everyone participates in the community, like one leg of the centipede, we can each contribute to each other’s lives.
The Bible calls the connection between Christians the body of Christ. In this idea, everybody is connected to the body, helping the other parts to love God better and understand Him better. We can spend our whole lives in relationship with Him, studying His teachings, and still not reach the bottom of His love.
Coming to know God is an amazing adventure, and we can feel secure in knowing that we are 100% loved by God.
Next time, we’ll talk about what love is.
See you soon!