A few Slog tippers pointed out a new event series being produced by Youth at Calvary, a fellowship of young Christians at the Calvary Temple in Mountlake Terrage, which are held under the banner of "Ethnic Month," including Black Nite, Scandinavian Nite, and Oriental Nite. A promotional poster hanging in the window says the festivities exist to "celebrate and mock the differences." Sounds tongue-in-cheek to me, not super galling Uncle Tom sort of stuff—but then again, I'm not Black, Scandinavian or, uh... Oriental. But I've come to understand some folks involved in the church are very angry about all this. So I contacted the Calvary Fellowship youth pastor, Craig Finley, who's behind Ethnic Month, and let him have his say. The poster and Finley's comments are after the jump:
Wow, word's getting around.
Here's the deal. We have a multi-ethnic youth group. And a multi ethnic leadership. As a sort of poke in the eye to the over pc sensitivity to stuff like this, we're having some fun celebrating the different ethnic cultures.
Last week we had one of our black leaders host the evening, everything from typical and stereotypical ethnic food, some games and he did a bible study along with our standard worship. By mocking, I guess we mean that we poke fun at our own ethnic traditions—I think it's a bit refreshing with all the stifling over the top "hanky the Christmas poo" type of rigidity people tend towards today.
This next week, my son, (we're Filipino) and some of our other Chinese and various other Asian leaders lead and host "oriental night" (yeah, it's our people so we took liberties with the name! : )) One of the leaders is going to share the Bible study, my son will be leading worship again.
The following week, we've got Hispanic Night, again, our Hispanic leaders heading up the whole thing. One year we had a live Mariachi Band. Mexican food, etc. It's a blast.
The final night it's Scandinavian night, and, you guessed it, a Scandinavian team heading it up... Lutefisk, Lefsa (?) That may be stepping a bit over the line of racial insensitivity, but, again we've got our token Scandinavians running the night!
We're getting some flack even within our church, people not understanding the "take" we have on this. I understand that it's a bit odd. It started a couple of years ago when we did an Ethnic Night where people came dressed representing their ethnicity. From there it went to this 4 nite affair. The thing is, it's just for kicks. And it's driven by the Minority Leaders wanting to do it. What we're really about is teaching the Word of God and worship, discipleship, etc.
It's funny but the Mountlake Terrace Paper just contacted me the other day wondering if we were making some sort of statement about dance because we have 3 dance events in a week's period. Actually I never thought about it, it's probably either coincidental or providential, but definitely not intentional—we just like dancing. We are working on starting a north-end swing dance club once a month called Swinghaus. We started last week on Saturday. Low show, (25 or so) but we had a live band and everyone had a blast. We've got the next one tentatively Saturday, March 9th 7pm.
So there ya go, Dominic. Hope that helps.
I gotta say, I'm surprised and blessed that word of our event, in spite of the agitation, has reached THE STRANGER! Having been a youth pastor for 30 or so years—having guys like David Bazaan, Damien Jurado and Charity Thielen count as "my youth group kids"—this is a first for me, and I count it an honor.