As an Asian American minister of the Gospel, we have an unparalleled opportunity to address the particular context of the gunman’s ethnic and cultural identity, which has so much in common with those of us in that 1.5 and 2.0 generation journey. While there are universal principles to the Christian faith, there are also particulars, and it is up to us to speak into it; non-Asians can’t do it for us.
In my quest for other Asian American voices that addressed the tragedy on Sunday 4/22/07 that specifically address our cultural context through a theological lens, here are sermons I’ve found so far [will be updated as we find more; please add more in the comments section below too]::
- Dr. Peter Cha at Cityview Presbyterian Church in Chicago: “A Blessed Unity” (Psalm 133) mp3 audio
around 4:30, mention the collective sense of shame and guilt.. concern for backlash.. how about the family of the gunman.. in his isolation, creating a narrative of anger and resentment.. what would have happened if he had found a loving community that would have accepted him and embraced him? And, at around 13:30, begins reflecting about how we fail to talk about problems in an Asian-cultured church… the Cho family was involved in a small Presbyterian church in Centreville… call: to become a different kind of church.. create a safe place.. mentions theology of misfits [cf. Dave Gibbons’ NewSong church] …
- Rick Kim at First Harvest Chapel in Irvine CA: “Are We Guilty Too”
Pastor Rick spends the entire sermon unpacking a number of factors affecting next generation Asian Americans
- DJ Chuang at Great Commission Community Church in Arlington, Virginia: “Why does it hurt so much?” (John 11:17-36) [mp3 audio]
In my sermon, I strongly suggested that we need a contextualized Gospel and not only a generic Gospel, and how Jesus can redeem and transform every aspect of our lives, especially our Asian shame-based culture and its tendencies (e.g. suppressing emotions, resisting mental health care, and more), and I quote Tim Keller several times
- Reverend Hank Hahm at Christ Central Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia (near Centreville) — “Growing in Christ: Shaped by Suffering” (2 Corinthians 1:3-11) — audio + video
speaks to our need for comfort in the midst of tragedy and suffering, while speaking to the cultural context as well as how the shooter is “not that different from me”; Hank also quotes Keller
- Rev. Eugene Cho at Quest Church in Seattle — “Love Wins” [mp3] (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Isaiah 1:17, Matthew 5:9)
Eugene speaks for almost an hour (57 minutes), I (DJ) haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m sure he had a lot to say!
- Pastor Peter Chin at Open Door Presbyterian Church in Herndon, VA (near Centreville), “The God of All Comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-11) [mp3 audio]
- Pastor Henry Mui at Silicon Valley Alliance Church addressed the tragedy a Sunday later on 4/29/07 in his sermon, “VT – Reflections and Questions“
- Pastor Matt Ro at Journey Church of Atlanta, “The Question of Suffering” (John 9:1-12)
- Pastor Iggi Choi at Hope Chapel, “The Freedom of Forgiveness” (Luke 23:34)