The training session for new teachers in Kansai District was held Oct. 8-9 2011 in beautiful autumn weather, with an overnight stay. In total, 44 members—31 new teachers and 13 experienced teachers from as far away as Nagoya and Hiroshima—gathered at the Japan Christian Academy’s Kansai Seminar House in Ichijoji, Kyoto.
The participants, including staff, first introduced themselves by showing a piece of paper on which they had written their names and subjects taught, along with statements on such themes as: “My school days”; “If I compared myself to an animal (or a plant) it would be…”; and “In ten years time, the color that would represent me is….” All made memorable self-introductions, using these key phrases. Perhaps because of the power of these impressive introductions, a harmonious atmosphere was created during meals and chats throughout the session.
Next, an Osaka Jogakuin Junior and Senior High school teacher named Inoue Masato introduced six inevitable problems that arise in the field of teaching, such as: “How strict should we be with students?” “Coping with both home and work”; “Developing mutual understanding with guardians who have different values.” Later, during group sessions, we discussed things like what was good about becoming a teacher and what was troubling, putting the answers in various categories. Most were related to such topics as subjects, classes, management of classes, but the experienced teachers brought forward other issues, including school management, facilities, personal relationships between teachers, and separation of work and private matters, from the viewpoint of the whole school and education as a whole, which new teachers barely realized, thus pointing out their narrow field of vision. We had the new teachers’ training session’s first “nabe” (pot) cuisine for dinner, which helped us have a good time talking to one another and exchanging information about schoolwork and club activities.
On the second day, we began with a Sunday morning worship service and then continued the discussion in the same groups as the previous day. The themes were varied, and the group I took part in focused on two topics: “Guidelines for suspending students from school” and “Keeping work and home separate.” Opinions were divided, especially on the subject of “Guidelines for suspending students from school,” but there was a good discussion from various standpoints. Among those opinions expressed was that of a teacher from Kinjo Gakuin Junior High School named Gotoda Noriko, whose words left a deep impression on me. “It is important to stay close to students’ lives not only during their junior and high school days but also thereafter.”
During the last session, we sat in a circle, with each of us telling about what we had learned and felt over the past 24 hours, as a time of conclusion. Finally, a teacher named Sugiyama Shuichi, from Poole Gakuin Junior and Senior High School, led a commissioning ceremony during which individual teachers were commissioned as a teacher to each school. It was a powerful message that “a life of perseverance and dedication based on the message of the Bible and modeled by Jesus” is at the heart of what it means to be a teacher at a mission school. Through this seminar, Sugiyama expressed through actions the “prepared heart of a teacher.”
Finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the teachers who served as advisors and to the many other people whose cooperation enabled us to have a productive time of learning. (Tr. SM)
Kirisutokyo Gakko Kyoiku(Christian Schools and Ecucation) No. 649
—Tabata Ayumi, teacher
Hiroshima Jogakuin Junior and Senior High School
「動物（植物）に例えるなら」 「十年後の色」などを書き入れ発表するのですが、どなたも淀みなく各キーワードを関連付けて印象に残る自己紹介をされていました。こ の工夫を凝らした紹介の威力でしょうか、その後の食事や雑談、研修中も終始和気あいあいとした雰囲気となりました。
「価値観の違う保護者との相互理 解」など教師として避けては通れない六つの問題が提起されます。その後のグループワークでは、教師になって良かった事、困っている事 を付箋に書き出しカテゴリー毎にまとめ発表します。教科、授業、クラス経営など対生徒に関するものが圧倒的な中、ベテランの先生方は 学校の経営や施設、教員同士の人間関係、公私の切換など、新人教師では思い至らない学校全体、教育全体の視点から提起し、視野の狭さ を指摘して下さいました。夕食は新人研修会初の鍋料理ということもあり、お互いに声を掛け合う楽しいひと時となり、授業や部活など 様々な情報交換の場となりました。
という二つを軸に話し合いまし た。特に「退学制度」については賛否が分かれ様々な観点から意見が出されます。その中で「中学高校時代のみならず、生徒のその後の人 生にも隣人として寄り添うことが重要なのだ」という金城学院中学校の後藤田先生の言葉が強く印象に残っています。
最後のセッションでは円形に座り、まとめの時と して各々がこの二四時間で学び感じた事を発表します。更にプール学院中学高等学校の杉山先生より、一人ずつを各学校へ教師として派遣 する「任命式
が行われました。それは「イエスの生涯、つまり 聖書の言葉を軸に努力と忍耐を以って使命を成す生き方」がキリスト教学校に勤める教師の在り方なのだという強いメッセージです。この 研修会の核となる「教師の心構え」を行動を以って示して下いました。
Hashizume Daisaburo, author of the best-selling book Fushigina Kirisutokyo (Wonders In Christianity) lectured at a meeting held on Jan. 14 at the Japan Christian Center in Tokyo, under the auspices of the Kanto Program Center, Nippon Christian Academy. In his book Hashizume, a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, presents Christian doctrine and history from a sociologist’s viewpoint in an easily understandable way. To the Japanese church, the growth of which has come to a halt at one percent of the population, Hashizume offered frank advice in his lecture about the church’s way of doing things and proposed the strategy to increase the number of Christians as follows.
Become a more open church
The reason my co-author Osawa Masachi and I chose the title “Wonders ” In Christianity was to attract the attention of the 99 percent of the Japanese people who are thinking, “What is Christianity doing?” and “Even so, I would not go to any place like a church.” Average Japanese people who are not Christian arbitrarily keep their distance from Christianity, have no understanding of it, and are on guard against it.
First of all, an issue at point on the Christian side is the sense of the church as being closed from within. Churches in North America and other places operate under the clear principles that anyone may come to church; no church registration is required; and no name is asked for, even on the first visit. Also, anyone may enter at will and listen to the sermon. Japanese people consider the church building a kind of “house,” and this type of thinking creates the perception that some persons are “inside” and some “outside.” For those “outside,” the church becomes a very difficult place to enter.
Make a study of rival religions
My next thought is that believers do not use enough general vocabulary words. It is necessary to stand in the place of the unbeliever and converse first by using the vocabulary of the person being addressed. Believers must put their own beliefs in parentheses and, in their minds, assume the state of the unbeliever. Thus, the unbeliever will want to come to church; and with this kind of approach, the unbeliever will want to read the Bible. Next in order, doubts will be settled, and then it may develop that a person might even want to be baptized. This is the course that must be considered and tried.
Among the Japanese population, 99 percent may be unbelievers, but no one is completely unrelated to faith. Each has a type of religious life. To engage in mission work in Japan, it is necessary to study the rival religions of Japan and develop a roadmap of the kind of words that if used, will acquaint unbelievers with the church.1
Understand different situations in China and Korea
Currently, there is a surge in the number of Christian believers in Korea and China. For the people on the Korean Peninsula who have been intimately accustomed to the Confucian worship of their ancestors, grandfathers, and fathers, the advancement of city life has caused a breakdown of traditional society as well as a weakening of Confucian culture. Into the wide-open space in those empty hearts, the worship of the “Father in Heaven” of Christianity has entered. It is said that at present, 30 to 50 percent of Korean people have become Christians. Currently in China, “house churches” are spreading rapidly, and even conservatively estimated, the number of Christian believers is said to be over 100 million people. Confucianism is China’s national religion, and with the demise of the eminent father Mao Tsedong, there was a need to make up for that loss.2
On the contrary, Japan is the country of the eminent mother. So even if there is a gaping hole in their hearts, it is hard for the Christian faith to become the faith that fits “just right.” What is to be done about the part that does not fit? This relates to the most important point of the strategy. In Japan, Christian events have been accepted as part of its annual activities. Wedding ceremonies are held at churches (or Christian-style wedding chapels) and is where the largest number of weddings takes place. Its kindergartens and schools are making inroads, as are the specialty areas of Christianity, like hospitals and hospices.
First increase the number of those who sympathize with Christianity rather than focusing on the laity
The first thing to be considered, even by Christianity, is increasing its groups of supporters. Supporters may be persons who have not been baptized, although they comfortably go in and out of the church and even participate in its outside activities. These supporters would have a broader network of persons and could widen the church’s ties: going from church members to supporters and then on to the supporters’ friends, who ordinarily relate to and do not ignore even Buddhist believers and persons in Soka Gakkai. Traditionally, many festivals and other annual events have played an important part in village life that helping everyone get along well together. However, the shrines and temples at the center of these events are becoming hard to maintain. As a cooperative body in an area where there is aging and a shortage of workers, I can envision, as a strategy, a widened structure of outreach. For example, Christian churches could conduct such functions as funerals, which they could not do if Christianity was not a religion.
Make more use of the Bible
It is an advantage that the Bible can be easily understood by anyone who reads it. Outside the church building, for example at a public hall or gathering place, a kind of Bible study could be offered that is aimed at persons who, following retirement, want to better understand life and the world situation. Anyone would be welcome and, while consulting commentaries, everyone would read the Bible together.
Another advantage of the church is that it is an international organization with translations of the Bible in English, French, Chinese, and other languages, thus enabling the study of those languages. So persons like children or housewives could be included. Reading the Bible and studying it in English would also be helpful.
So my proposal is that we consider many of these new types of strategies. In the blogs of people who have read Wonders In Christianity, I read the comment by many people that they would like to try something. The number of people reading the Bible has increased, and so I think this has been helpful in propagation and evangelism. The seeds have been planted. Following this, how the harvest will be done is left up to each one of you. (Tr. RMT)
—Summarized by Nishio Misao, member
Suginami Church, West Tokyo District and
KNL Editorial Committee member
Based on an article in Shinto no Tomo
(Believers’ Friend), April 2012 issue
1. The number of Japanese people registered as believers throughout the country by Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and Christian churches are: Shintoists, 52 percent (106,498,381 persons); Buddhists, 43 percent (89,674,535 persons); Christians, 1 percent (2,121,956 persons); and various other faiths, 4 percent (9,010,048 persons). These statistics were issued by the National Cultural Agency in Dec. 31, 2009. [As methods of calculation vary among the religious bodies, the combined number of believers exceeds the total population of Japan.]
2. Statistics quoted are from sources used by Hashizume.
東京の日本キリスト教会館で、日本クリスチャンアカデ ミー関東活動センター主催による、ベストセラー『ふしぎなキリスト教』の著者、橋爪大三郎氏の講演会が去る1月14日に開催された。橋爪氏は東京工業大学教授で、この本では社会学者の観点からキリスト教の教義や歴史をわかり やすく紹介している。今回の講演を通して、橋爪氏は、クリスチャンの数が総人口の１％にとどまっている日本の教会のあり方に苦言 を呈し、クリスチャンを増やすための作戦を、次のように提言した。
共著者の大澤真幸さんと私が考えて、『ふしぎな キリスト教』というタイトルにしたのは、「キリスト教は何をやっているのだろう」と思いつつ、「でも教会なんか行かない」と思ってい る、99%の日本人に興味を持ってもらうためです。クリス チャンでないふつうの日本人は、勝手に、キリスト教と距離をおいたり、知識がなかったり、不必要に警戒したりしています。
まず、クリスチャン側の問題点としては、教会が 内側に閉じているような気がする。アメリカの教会などでは誰でも来ていいという原則がとてもはっきりしていて、受付もないし、初めて でもすぐ名前を聞かれたりしない。勝手に入って説教を聞いてもよい。日本人は教会を「家」みたいに思っていて、そうすると「内」と 「外」ができてしまう。外の人には入りにくい場所になるのです。
つぎに思うのは、言葉のボキャブラリーが少な い、ということです。まず、相手のボキャブラリーで語り、不信仰者の立場に立つことが必要です。信仰者は自分の信仰をいったんカッコ に入れて、頭の中を不信仰者の状態にしないといけない。不信仰者がこういうふうに教会に行きたくなり、こういう段取りで聖書が読みた くなり、こういう順番で疑問が解けて、洗礼でも受けようかという人が出てくる。そういう道筋を考えてみるべきです。
不信仰の99％の日本人にしても、全く信仰と無関係ではなく、彼らなりの宗教生活がある。日本で布教をしようと思ったら、日本 のライバル宗教について研究する必要があります。どんな言葉づかいをすると、彼らが教会のほうに近寄ってくるかというロードマップが なければなりません。
最近、韓国や中国でキリスト教徒が急増しています。父親や祖父、先祖を崇拝する儒教に慣れ親しんできた朝鮮半島の 人びとは、都市化が進むにつれて、伝統社会が破壊し、儒教文化も弱体化した。そのぽっかり空いた心の空白に天の父を崇めるキリスト教 が入ってきた。今や全人口の30~50%の韓国人がクリスチャンになった。中国では最近に なって「家庭教会（ジアティン・ジァオフイ）」（家の教会）が急速に拡がり、キリスト教の信徒数は控えめに見てもおよそ1億人はいるようです。中国も儒教国家で、毛沢東と いう偉いお父さんがいなくなると、それを埋めあわせてほしいというニーズがあるわけです。
ところが、日本は偉いお母さんの國です。心に ぽっかり穴があいても「ちょうどよかったキリスト教」とはなりにくい。このそりの合わない部分をどうするか。これが作戦のいちばん大 事な点です。日本ではキリスト教は年中行事として受け入れられています。結婚式は教会で、が一番多いでしょう。幼稚園や学校にも食い 込んでいるし、病院やホスピスなど、キリスト教のお得意の分野がある。
サポーターは洗礼を受けてないけど、教会に気軽に 出入りしたり、教会の外側でも活動します。そのサポーターにはもっと広いいろんな人びととのネットワークがあり、つながりを広めるこ とが出来ます。教会員→サポーター→サポーターの友だちというふうに、ふだんは仏教徒や創価学会の人でも切り捨てないで接触する。日 本には年中行事があって、村中が仲良く過ごしていた。でも、その中心となる神社やお寺がもう維持できなくなってきている。高齢化し て、人手不足の地域の共同体で、例えば、お葬式を引き受けるなど、キリスト教が宗教でなければできないかたちで手を差し伸べる、シン パが拡がっていく作戦を思い描いてみることができます。
聖書は、誰が読んでも意味がわかりやすい、とい う利点があります。退職後、自分なりに人生や世の中を納得しておきたい、という気持ちをもっている人びとを対象に、教会の外で、たと えば公民館や集会所で、聖書の勉強会みたいなものを開く。誰でもウエルカムで、解説書を読んだりしながら、みんなで聖書を読んでい く。
もう一つの教会の利点は国際組織で、聖書は英語 もフランス語も中国語も何でもあることです。外国語を勉強するのにちょうどよい。子どもや主婦といった人びとを取り込んで、英語で聖 書を読んで勉強するのも有効です。
こういった新手の作戦をいっぱい考えてみたらど うだろう、というのが私の提案です。『ふしぎなキリスト教』を読んだ人のブログを見ると、次になにかやりたくなった、という感想を述 べる人が多い。聖書を読む人が増えて、布教・宣教に少しは役だったのではないかとおもいます。種はまいた。あと、どう収穫するかは、 みなさんの出番です。
（「信徒の友」2012年4月 号より要約・ KNL編集委員・西東京教区杉並教会員 西尾 操）
by Yamazaki Masato, participant
Student Christian Fellowship, Tokyo
I take part in the activities at SCF, but I am not a Christian. At the moment I am not thinking of being baptized. Nor do I attend church services on a regular basis. Yet, I love Christianity. To be more precise, I love the values I have come to know through Christianity: to trust and love people, to be kind, and to respect one another. These are some of the many values that I have learned from the Christians I have encountered. And yet, at the same time, there is something about Christianity that keeps me at a distance. At present, I maintain a healthy distance in my relationship with Christianity.
I had my first encounter with Christianity in kindergarten. Even after I entered elementary school, I continued to attend church school services on Sunday mornings. As I grew older I gradually stopped going. The main reasons were that I did not want to get up early on Sunday and I preferred to play with my friends. I think many young people go through a similar phase.
For most people the relationship with Christianity might end at this point. However, in my case, I just happened to attend a Christmas worship service when I was a high school student. After worship I met a friend of my older brother who invited me to the Student Christian Fellowship (SCF). Through SCF I also came to know about the Nishi Tokyo District Youth Group for teenagers. Through both of these groups, I was afforded wonderful new encounters with people. I discovered friends to whom I could confide my deepest doubts and friends who would open their hearts to me in trust. There were pastors and church women who prayed for me. Even to this day I am in touch with many of the people I came to know through the district youth group. After taking part in the activities of the youth group, and following graduation from high school, I again started to go to SCF.
Just recently I have come to understand the Christian faith that is at the center of SCF’s activities. At first I joined the activities at SCF because they were fun. I would not say that I am pursuing Christianity in a conscientious manner. It is much more natural for me to join fun events organized in the evenings, rather than to get up early on Sunday mornings. I think the reason I have come to think deeply about the Christian faith is precisely because of the “flexibility” of the Christian faith at SCF. At first glance, the Christian faith at SCF seems to be too easygoing and relaxed, and yet I would say that SCF is able to open the door wider, in a sense, for youth who are considering their relationship with the Christian faith.
Activities at SCF are quite different from those at local churches. In my mind, the greatest difference is that at church gatherings faith comes first, whereas at SCF there is no emphasis on the Christian faith – faith will follow later. At gatherings organized by SCF, besides occasional prayers and songs we sing from Taize, there is very little that directly concerns the Christian faith. Emphasis is placed on getting to know one another deeply, opening our hearts to one another, and trusting each other. Through this, we mature together. At times we shed tears together and walk closely with one another along life’s pathway. But the basis of all of those activities at SCF is the Christian philosophy of love for one another.
At the Bible study sessions on Thursday nights, sometimes our doubts and criticisms are expressed in a direct manner. At times our conversations go off on tangents, and at other times we express the kinds of questions we could never ask a local church pastor, such as, “Are we supposed to love the enemy even when our family is persecuted?” and “Do Buddhists go to hell?” But even when we express our deepest and most critical questions, our interaction is focused on what is at the core of the Bible message for us, and we discover finally a message that values life and calls for love. In this way, SCF is open to our criticisms and doubts. And in fact, this openness has provided me a way to come closer to Christianity.
I would not say that I have a deep understanding of Christianity. I have doubts and questions about many places in the Bible. Any yet I am committed to following something that I have come to know as good. Whatever is not good, I will doubt. By so doing I want to persevere until I know in my own way what it means to believe in God. Faith is not something that can be forced on others; nor is it something that you brainwash yourself into. In my searching I may one day be baptized, or maybe not. As I said in the beginning, “I love the way Christians think.” At this point, that is the one sure thing I can say. (Tr. JM)
Ed. note: Student Christian Fellowship is a Kyodan-related youth center where many of the young people who have come to study or work in the large metropolis of Tokyo gather, irrespective of the status of their faith. Here they learn to respect and care for one another, and through these encounters, some are led to read the Bible. As a faith-based community for young people, SCF serves to connect the young people to the local churches. The author, a 23 year-old first-year employee of a company, is among the participants at SCF.
Promoting youth evangelism:
Thoughts about the future of evangelism in Japan
I am constantly thinking that the future of evangelism in Japan is tied to youth evangelism. Reaching and nurturing young people as committed evangelists is a most vital concern, and to accomplish this, the seminaries have an important function as well as a heavy responsibility.
As a pastor for 50 years, I have put great effort into evangelizing youth. In various regions of Japan, I have engaged in youth evangelism and student evangelism in six churches while serving as pastor. Being young myself, I spoke directly and sincerely about the meaning of life and continually spoke about faith and eternal truth and about the joy of salvation in Christ the Lord. The young people listened well to this, applying it to their own life problems. One after another, they confessed the Lord Christ and began living as part of the church. Among those I baptized during my 50 years as a pastor, many were young people. (Together, the high school students, college students, and working young people totaled around 300 persons.) Among those young people, some answered the call to become pastors and now are engaged as pastors and evangelists in various parts of Japan. Many others have central roles as active lay Christians, serving as elders and deacons in various churches.
Sadly, there has been trouble in the Kyodan for 40 years, and the word “evangelism” has become a dead word. The weakness of evangelistic effort and the indifference to it has been serious. However, at the Kyodan General Assembly in October 2000, Agenda 55 proposed that as it entered the 21st century, the Kyodan should put more effort into its mission of youth evangelism. This proposal was officially adopted.
Approaching the 2000th year since the coming of Christ and looking ahead to the 21st century, it was made clear that all of the Kyodan churches should cooperate in youth evangelism. “As we approach the 21st century, the Kyodan should put all its energy into evangelism”; this goal had been already proposed and passed by the November 1998 General Assembly of the Kyodan. Around the same time, church young people in the Tokyo metropolitan area appealed for a gathering to support 21st century evangelism in Japan, and this was held with the cooperation of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary. I was one of the promoters of this gathering, which continues to be held every year on the last Saturday of September at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, with about 200 in attendance. This year, 2012, will mark the 14th gathering. From these gatherings, many have made commitments to evangelism, with as many as ten young people making such a commitment at one time.
This year, approximately 200 young people from all over the country were expected to respond to an invitation to meet in Karuizawa in the summer with the theme “For Evangelism in Japan–Calling and Sending.”* This gathering joins together various groups in a nation-wide summer youth-training meeting. Young pastors are cooperating to plan and bring it together. Through the persistent effort of these gatherings, we hope that young people will receive a call from God and, as committed people, will give their lives to Christ the Lord. We will continue to long for them to proclaim faithfully the gospel of salvation, following the path of an evangelist. (Tr. GM)
—Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary
*“Calling” as in God’s call to service and “sending” as in the church sending to serve those who have received God’s call.