J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (1735-1813) wrote of people coming to North America, "Ubi panis ibi patria," or "Where there is bread, there is one's fatherland."
My wife and I are both children of immigrants. Her parents hail from Bangalore, India and mine from Seoul, Korea. Both of our parents came in the late 60s, early 70s in order to pursue economic and educational opportunities. In many respects, it was their one fighting chance to carve out a living for themselves. But did they know what it was going to cost them?
A few weeks ago, my wife and I sat around the kitchen table and mused Continue reading “leaving for the land of opportunity means…”
in a recent conversation with a newly acquainted friend, we discussed the validity of the asian-american church, to which he said, “that’s not as interesting to me as the immigrant church.” when asked to elaborate, he said, “well, i don’t consider you asian-american, i just consider you american. you speak english like me, you know this american culture like i know, you don’t even have an accent, david. i mean, what makes you asian? what makes your church asian?”
my heart started to race a bit, “you think i’m american then? because i didn’t have the same experience as you did growing up, i can assure you that. and i certainly had plenty of reminders – whether it was the food i ate, the language my parents spoke, or the fact that there weren’t many other kids that looked like me growing up in Oklahoma.”
“kids are like that everywhere. i was the fat kid with glasses and Continue reading “the slow death of the asian-american church?”
the following is an excerpt from a recent chat i had with DJ Chuang…
DJ Chuang: my theory is this, re: Asian cultural pride… since Asian culture is hierarchial, the place for repentance and cultural change is at the top. if the person (or few persons) who hold sway and influence at the top is willing to repent and to call what's wrong as wrong, then the whole deal can change. so, in a church context, it would be the senior pastor acknowledging a wrong, then proposing and taking steps to correct it
exportjoy: i've seen that done in an "american" church, but never in a korean or asian church
DJ Chuang: and what Asians have in common is that "save face" kind of pride and it is very rare to see open confessions by top Asian leaders
exportjoy: do you think that could change in the next generation of leaders? and would that alter our sense of cultural identity? i mean, would korean christians deem me less korean, if i dared to not save face? to downplay my own culture to lift up my faith? would the church embrace? or push me away?
DJ Chuang: yes, i think that would be the cultural / corporate reaction, to deem you Continue reading “the conundrum of the asian-american christian”