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There’s nothing quite like hearing the entire crowd at MSG shout, “Ooooh!” in unison when Jeremy Lin breaks the ankle of an opposing defender with his quick-strike crossover. Seriously, I can understand why — despite their long run of frustration (and, believe me, as a longsuffering Lions fan, I know frustration) — players want to play for the Knickerbockers.
Watching Jeremy Lin light up the crowd, hearing them chant his name (along with M-V-P), listening to Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s announcing gymnastics about him — it all lends itself to a sense of big-brotherly pride. Well, for someone my age, it’s more like an uncle or cheering on a former youth group student, but you get what I’m saying.
When faced with tragedy on such a massive scale (over 10,000 people killed, thousands missing or unaccounted for, 500,000 homeless or displaced, billions in damage), it is easy to turn away or shut down. However, let us not forget the stories of those who are grieving, even as they search for loved ones.
Yomiuri Shimbun /AFP/Getty Images: This woman was calling out the names of her family in the city of Soma in Miyagi prefecture earlier today (March 14, 2011).
How to Help:
CRASH (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope) Japan: “A network supporting Christians to do relief work in Japan and around the world. CRASH equips and prepares churches and missions to be there to help their communities when disasters strike and coordinates Christian volunteers to work with local ministries in the event of a disaster.”
Evangelical Covenant Church: “Covenant World Relief is responding to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan with our sister denomination, the Japan Covenant Church.”
World Vision: “World Vision plans to distribute relief supplies to meet the daily needs of quake and tsunami survivors. We will also focus our efforts on responding to the emotional needs of children, who are the most impacted after such a traumatic event.”
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: “This designated account supplements the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering to enable a significant response for relief and disasters in Japan.”
Asian Access: “Pray for Japan, for the Church and for us as we prepare to come alongside the Church and other partners to deliver aid and respond with well-prepared teams as the opportunities arise.”
All to say that our American society needs more Asian Americans to be Asian American. It is to say that at this state of the union, we have too few. We certainly don’t have too many. We’d do well to have a few more to stand up and represent. We’d do well to think through and have more robust conversations about what it means to be Asian Americans. We’d do well to allow the richness of our Asian American’ness to overflow and not hide it under a bushel.
The disclaimers DJ writes at the outset are, alone, worth the price of admission:
What is the connection between releasing your new EP thefirst and your family’s commitment to fight human trafficking in Mexico City?
This EP is my first-ever studio project and I am still baffled and dumbfounded that it is complete, in print, on sale and in the hands of people who love it. It has been a dream come true and the way it happened was so sudden and unexpected, I can once again say that it’s because of God’s goodness this came about. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
As the worship leader at Newsong Church in Irvine, California, DK has been living out a personal dream. And yet, on June 15th, DK, his wife Sadie and their young son Micah will be moving to Mexico City for two years, “to do our part in the abolition movement while working with and raising up a generation of indigenous artist/activists in the city to lead the charge… until we see the end of slavery.”
In our NG.AC community, we want to highlight stories of people courageously answering God’s call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. As you can see from DK’s story, which we will share in two parts, this awakening to the intimate connection between worship and justice is both beautiful and challenging.
How would you describe the connection between worship and justice in your life? What have been some pivotal moments in shaping your understanding of worship and justice?
Photo by Scott Hodge at The Idea Camp in Irvine, California
I’ve been a worship leader since I was 15 years old, but it wasn’t until recently, in 2007, that I began to feel discontent in the way that I viewed and experienced worship. So much of our worship can become self-focused and self-indulgent if we forget about the call beyond the mere words of any song. I began to discover the synonymy of worship & justice in a few key passages of Scripture.
Isaiah 58 is a huge one for me: the challenge to consider what true fasting is made me think about what true worship is. “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the chords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
I began to see that my worship was just ritual if I didn’t take it outside of a fifteen-minute set list. I wanted desperately to do something about this unfolding realization but didn’t know where to start. All I could do was pray.
…you might already know that Nooma was the beginning of a much bigger vision – a vision that encompassed working with many highly creative speakers to communicate the way of Jesus to the world.
Early last year, we committed to pursuing the larger vision and began a search for additional speakers to champion new projects. The search process included wonderful conversations with ministry and seminary leaders, publishers, Christians bookstore executives, authors, pastors, and more that helped us identify well over 100 candidates… in the end, we felt God leading us to Francis Chan.
I have enjoyed the Nooma series with Rob Bell – the content, aesthetic, communication style and length (seriously, let’s keep our Bible study DVDs under 30 minutes!) have been a good fit for our church community. I am looking forward to seeing what they do with Francis Chan, if they can capture the energy and passion of his live delivery. Francis’ short film Stop & Thinkhas a similar vibe (and clocks in at a very reasonable 15 minutes!) — a good sign for the future of this partnership with Flannel. Stop and think for yourself below.
If this We Are Church series has a similar impact as the Nooma series, perhaps Francis Chan will become a household name in the way Rob Bell has. While I’m sure that’s not Francis’ goal — by all accounts, he is a genuinely humble follower of Jesus — I would love to see an Asian American find a platform like that to speak to both the church and our culture.
It is heartbreaking for any of us to imagine what we might do in his situation. This hit home for us in a particular way this week: the Korean American community in San Diego is small and, while the Yoon family is not a part of our church, we are only one step removed from them. Many of our church families know this family, and are grieving alongside them at this time.
There have been small glimpses of light, faith and hope in the midst of this tragedy. First, the grace & faith Dong Yun Yoon displayed during his public statement about his loss. Instead of blaming the pilot whose jet killed his family, he asked us to pray for him. A friend of mine said that, while there are some important differences (one was an accident while the other involved hostages and murder) , Dong Yun’s response reminded him of how the Amish responded during their tragic school shooting.The LA Times ran a heartfelt op-ed piece today, likening Dong Yun’s response to that of Horatio Spafford, who lost his family and yet was able to pen the beloved hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. Although I certainly have more than my share of grievances with the immigrant Korean church, Dong Yun Yoon’s response, and the support of his church community, reminds me of what can be so right about the first generation faith: steadfast trust and hope in God, even in the midst of pain and sorrow, and a church that literally cries out to God on behalf of the suffering.
As Eugene Cho notes, the silence in the Christian blogosphere about Dong Yun’s Christ-like response has been disappointing, if not deafening. I have been encouraged, though, to hear the empathetic words of the Yoon family’s non-Korean American neighbors, describing them as hard-working and sweet, and even seeing Dong Yun kiss his family that very morning as he left for work. While San Diego is a beautiful place to live, there is a strong undercurrent of racial tension, so it is particularly moving to see the broader community rally around this family in some ways.