We’re sharing our thinking behind the 7 challenges that inform our mission. Our mission is to ask what God is doing in us, to hear and gather all Asian American Christian voices and build inroads necessary for understanding, reconciliation and fellowship.

This post generally addresses Challenge 2.  We’ll address 6 groups individually in the posts to come:
ethnic churches – multiethnic churches – Asian American churches – emerging generations – seminary-trained Evangelicals – Asian American ministry alumni

AsianAmericanChristian.org is a proposal for a new ministry that offers a framework and a way forward. If you’re wondering where these ideas are coming from, read this. If you’re interested and would perhaps like to join our feedback sessions this Fall, join our mailing list.

 

 

Some caveats: we know that these are just generalizations; there are many exceptions to each group.  There are many who obviously do not feel that Asian American ministries is irrelevant.

“Perceived irrelevance” is our term.  It concerns us because because we often hear comments along these lines:

It’s great for some people, but it’s just not my thing.
I just don’t believe in it.  I just don’t see how it affects my life.
I just don’t see how it’s important.

Perhaps, however, there are 3 prevalent views at the root:

1) It just doesn’t matter: being Christian is enough.
2) It’s just not cool
3) Addressing these issues doesn’t help, but in fact, it makes things worse.

 

1)  It just doesn’t matter: being Christian is enough.
Of course being Christian is primary, our allegiance and identity in Christ is foremost.

Christ has so much more for all of us, for each of us! Being Christian involves every part of our lives—Christ wants to redeem every part of our lives—including the parts that are Asian and American. He wants to make us even more Christian, aligned and devoted to Christ.

Christ made himself a man and walked among us. He meets us where we’re at.  He died on the cross for us.  He knows all about us.  He knows how others around us think and have treated us. He thus knows how we feel, he knows what we’ve been through, he knows us better than ourselves. He knows what we go through and what we need to go through. His Kingdom is not yet fully here, and we still feel the effects of sin.

Being a Christian means living like a Christian, living transformed lives, being molded more into the image of Christ.  It means having the Bible and your relationship with God affect your words, your choices, your relationships, your lifestyle—every part of your life. You cannot do this in a bubble; you can only live your life in the world, in the subcultures of your family and workplace, church and community.

We’ll address this more in depth when we address seminary trained Evangelicals.

 

2) It’s just not cool
Perhaps this topic was cool before 2000, but it’s just not that cool now.  Only angry, militant people talk about it—and they seem to talk in circles around it.

It doesn’t matter if Asian American ministries issues are not “cool” or “trendy” and/or your churches and friends aren’t necessarily talking about it. Is it real? Does it describe your experience or the experiences of those you know?   Do you know Asian American Christians who seem stuck, who struggle with relationships, who struggle to grow?   Do you see things that seem wrong, that go unchecked in the church and in the United States?  Do you know Asian American Christians who are thriving in their faith—only to have no one to share it with, to have few to bless?

 

3) Addressing these issues doesn’t help, but in fact, it makes things worse.

That is true in many cases: sometimes naming a problem just makes it worse; it opens up Pandora’s box.  You point out conflict or a problem, and it just makes the relationship even more uncomfortable.  You point out racism at a church or at the workplace, and people scoff because you’re perceived as weak or less sophisticated, or people tip toe around you because they don’t know how to interact with you.  You think about your home church, and it just leaves you feeling sad or angry—emotions that don’t exactly help you move forward in life.

We don’t think every Asian American Christian has to have these issues on the forefront of their minds at all times.  However, we’d like Asian American Christians to be aware of them, to have help when they need it—because it is likely at some point in their life (when we parent, when we work with non-Asian Americans, when we minister to non-Asian Americans) they are going to wonder how being Asian, American and/or Christian effects their lives.  Many of us don’t realize that there are resources out there, models that can help us negotiate the workplace, churches and families, and thrive in our relationships with Christ.  Many also don’t realize how few resources are out there, and how much we still need to come together and equip ourselves.  Asian American ministries is a relatively new ministry in America.

We’d like to promote broader and deeper thinking to help us more constructively deal with real problems. AsianAmericanChristian.org provides a framework—because we believe much judgement and shame can be taken away if we deal with them at root levels. Many of our misunderstandings can be dealt with if we were familiar with our issues and where others are coming from. Many more can be addressed if we knew what to do, if we had models to deal with conflict.  And the stickler ones, as with all misunderstandings, need the grace of God.  AsianAmericanChristian.org wants to work with our churches and ministers to help point us to the grace of God.

We think that God has so much more for us, and that God really can meet us where we’re at.  He’s at work making all things new—molding us more into his likeness.  If God’s molding us more into the image of Jesus, then wouldn’t he transform us to be able to deal with racism, or cultural confusion or questions of identity or our relationships?  Would he not even in some instances empower us to transcend?

 

 


 

We want to know definitively what we struggle with, how we think and understand God, and what God is doing in us.

We want to make current resources known and available.  And in time, we want constructively to meet Asian American Christians where we’re at, and help create timely and useful resources.  We want to train and empower the Body of Christ.

 

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