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2 stars 1 reviews

Westside Church

210 1909 Broadway
Vancouver, BC  V6J 1Z3

(604) 263-2314

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Reviews [1]
2 star rating
TheWayItIs February 07, 2012
Pride Themselves on being WASPS from the Interiors and on Being Really Righteous and the Hope of Vancouver

It's not all bad. If you like emotionally charged music like you would get at a Lady Gaga or Lincoln Brewster concert, you will like the worship music here. The sermons are better than many places as Norm does his prep and research, but is often biased. They preach loud at Westside, but their walk doesn't often reflect their preaching. For example, despite stating that the Gospel is bigger than theological differences and even ethnic differences, you won't see too many Black, Asian, or South Asian people at Westside. You won't even find too many liberals, Pentecostals, or either. The thing is the church pastors, elders, and deacons will hide behind the excuse that they are called to these people. Nice try, but if this could be a valid excuse, Christianity would have remained as a small faith like Judaism. Instead, why not try hiring an Asian or South Asian pastor? If one looks at the church leadership, besides the fact that all elders, pastors, and deacons are male, there is only one Chinese administrative assistant. Does this really reflect the Westside of Vancouver demographically? Does it even reflect Biblical teachings?

Another example, though Norm uses the example of Jonathan's loyalty to David to illustrate about how there should be no jealousies on God's teams, Jonathan will probably be rolling over in his graves or crying in heaven (where there are supposed to be no tears) at the rivalries and jealousies that happen amongst the volunteers. The issue is that it is so easy to preach, but the important thing is about walking with the flock. Jesus didn't just preach to his disciples; he lived, walked with them, practiced skills and corrected his disciples and encouraged them on skills such as evangelism and casting out demons. There is a lot of talk at Westside's Sunday Services and community groups (like in many other churches), but very little change or action. It's a bit like going to listen to Anthony Robbins -- you get very excited at the motivational seminar, but you change very little.

Even when there is talk, it is quite shallow. You're expected to agree and rehash what the pastor preached. If you question, you will most likely be labeled unteachable and insubordinate. There is a very limited way to read and interpret the Scriptures (for example, woman preaching in the church), and if you don't agree, you will even be ostracized civilly, if you're lucky.

If you're a WASP, especially a WASP who goes to Trinity Western or Regent College, or grew up in Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, and AB, you will probably fit in really well. However, if you're not a WASP, or a WASP who grew up in west-side Vancouver in one of the more "liberal" churches, you probably won't be too welcomed. Nothing wrong in being a WASP, but the Christian faith is not just for people from any particular ethnic or political background.

But there is a good reason for the phenomenon of Westside. One, as Christian suburban and rural youths move into urban centres, they are often looking to reconnect to Christianity. It is so much easier to preach to the choir than to reach out to non-Christians who were not raised in a Christian environment, like the East Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. (Of course, these non-WASP people don't even speak English fluently, right?) Second, it is so much more fun to hang out with people like us, than to go out into the world and hang out with non-Christians every week. (Indeed, it is so much more fun to go to a hockey game than to go to karaoke.) Third, I wonder how many non-White pastors and elders Westside's pastors and elders really have fellowship on a frequent basis.

Some Westsiders might get defensive and state that we reach out to the non-WASPS when we go to India, but then we leave all that behind and come happily back to our safe WASPy environment at Westside. How many Asians, South Asians, Blacks, South Americans, even Scandanavians do we really know and influence and care in our daily lives. How many agnostics or atheists is Westside really loving and serving and influencing everyday?

I write this to say that if you're a WASP, you will probably find Westside a suitable church for you, but if you're not, try it and see for yourself. If you are not feeling settled in a few weeks, it's not your fault for not trying. Don't feel hurt, simply shake the dust of Westside off your sandals and find another welcoming church. There are other churches in Vancouver that will be willing to share the love of God and Christ with you whether you're Black, Asian, Agnostic, Buddhist, Jew, or Muslim, gay, lesbian, transgender, a woman, a divorcee. Don't let the legalism and the self-righteousness of one church turn you off Jesus for good.

And Westside, hope you will change for the better for the sake and honour of the Christ you serve.

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