Asian Americans’ growing influence

This is a letter published in Inheritance Magazine, December 2012 – mirrored from web.archive.org/web/20140701175714/http://inheritancemag.com/cover-stories/a-new-frontier/1327

A New Frontier

Asian Americans are on the cusp of something big.

Historians William Strauss and Neil Howe studied American generations as far back as 1584. Based on their findings, they took some guesses at what future generations would look like. Some thought they were more like horoscope experts.

But when they took a stab at what the Millennial generation (b. 1981-2002) would look like as adults, there was a shocking similarity from when they were at their oldest and when they were 10 years old. In their book Generations, they predicted that Asian Americans would be “a major cultural and intellectual force” by 2025 — like the German descendants in the 1880s and 1890s, and their Jewish counterparts of the 1930s and 1940s.

There are certainly critics of Strauss and Howe’s findings and conclusions, which I can’t get into right now. But I will go on record to say this:

I think they’re on to something.

For example — and yes, I’m writing in huge generalities — many Jewish immigrants that came to this country were seamstresses and tailors. Their children, brought up with an emphasis on education, were a more professional class. This generation started many of the most prominent investment banks and law firms in our country. The short time of their social and economic climb is rather unique in American history. The next generation? Prominent filmmakers, authors, actors, musicians, and scholars.

The prosperity of the previous generation helped sponsor the next generation’s creativity.

See a pattern?

Many Asian immigrants started work here as dry cleaners, tailors, grocery store owners and other similar professions. Their children, with an emphasis on education, took on more professional roles, and were encouraged to become doctors, lawyers or engineers. With their prosperity, the next generation is poised to make their cultural and intellectual marks on the culture.

It’s going to be big.

We’re seeing the beginning of this. Asian Americans are filling our colleges and universities, and are becoming influential in their fields, some taking leadership in these academic institutions. But it’s also happening in culture: Justin Lin is directing Hollywood blockbusters. Far East Movement went multi-platinum. Russell Peters, an Indian Canadian comedian, is big throughout the world. And for ballers, I only need to write two words: Jeremy Lin. (He’s an InterVarsity Asian American Ministries alum, by the way. I couldn’t help myself.)

And yes, Asian American Christians are taking their place in traditionally white campus ministries and churches. They’re writing books, filling seminary posts, planting and preaching in megachurches. And our professionals are writing about faith for wider audiences: Michael Luo, in a personal article for The New York Times titled “Faith, Pride, and Points”,  wrote about a phenomena called “Asian American Christianity.”

It’s happening.

But my hope is that Asian American Christians will also find their God-given creativity as well, and release it into the broader world.

Where I am going with this?

What if missions and the arts weren’t divorced, but were fully reconciled with each other? How do Asian Americans keep from succumbing to the temptations of greatness, yet use what we’ve been given to bless others? And what if we, with the growing cultural power we will accumulate, would use our prosperity and creativity to heal a hurting world in Jesus’ name?

 

The answer to this question is one huge reason why this year’s Urbana is important. This year’s vision is: “to compel this generation to give their whole lives for God’s global mission.”

Imagine our whole lives — our work, our resources, our education, our passions, our gifts, our dreams — into the work of God, playing our part in God’s unfolding drama of redemption.

Urbana 12 can stoke this kind of prophetic imagination.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship — a movement of nearly 38,000 core students and faculty on almost 580 campuses, and the U.S. member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) — has co-hosted the Urbana Student Missions Conference every three years since 1946 — except in 2000, when the Y2K scare pushed the conference one year back. Since then, nearly a quarter of a million delegates have been challenged to seek their place in God’s global mission.

 

If you’re looking for your place in the world, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more stimulating environment. It’s a place to experience the musical worship of many different cultures, blending and mixing and praising in a fusion of cultural and heavenly delight. Great speakers, like David Platt, will challenge us to a different vision of life. Even more practically, missions agencies from all over the world help you figure out where you can worship and serve. You can figure out what it means to be a businessperson overseas for the Kingdom, or seek out where justice and spirituality meet, or find a community that loves the world’s urban poor, or explore where creativity and spirituality meet to advance God’s kingdom.

It’s a banquet table of missional dreams. And the good news is that there’s a place at the table for Asian Americans.

At our last Urbana in 2009, just shy of a quarter of the delegates were of Asian descent, including South Asians. It’s great to see how the Asian American umbrella must continue to increase: we are not just Far East Asians any more. We are also South Asians, South East Asians, and Pacific Islanders.

 

And now that we’re looking ahead, Urbana 12 will be the first Urbana led by an Asian American. Tom Lin currently serves as InterVarsity’s Vice President of Missions and the Director of Urbana. And he’s got the chops: he planted a student movement in Mongolia with IFES, and helped plant 16 new InterVarsity chapters stateside — in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. For an Asian American, talk about cross-cultural. And he also serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board for Wycliffe Bible Translators and as the Lausanne International Deputy Director for North America. He’s a great example of an Asian American Christian contributing to God’s global purposes.

He’s someone who’s gone ahead of us. And at Urbana, you can meet many, many more. To meet others, you’ll not only have the Exhibitor’s Hall, but you can also come to the Asian American Ministries Lounge at Urbana. We’ve got new, exciting things this year. One part of the Urbana AAM Lounge will be brimming with content, with 32 8-minute talks from Asian Christian leaders. We’ll also feature “arts spotlights”, where we’ll gather a panel of authors, musicians, and poets — while even having an open mic! We’ll also host ethnic-specific gatherings, particularly for the South Asian, Filipino, and Hmong communities.

The other part of the Lounge will be more of a social side, with food and a chance to unwind and relax. Still, there will be a “Genius Bar” of sorts — though we’re going to have to come up with a better name by then — where you can come and ask any question about doing ministry to and by Asian Americans and get consulting from experienced leaders. Come, bring your friends or your church group, and make connections with other leaders and delegates who are doing great work around the world.

If you make Urbana your next stop, come with your belt a little loosened and your pants a bit baggy, because you’ll end up at quite a banquet.

And possibly, you may start with God’s leading, to make your mark as well.

Your brother in Christ,
James Choung
National Director, InterVarsity
Asian American Ministries

 

Churches in Montgomergy County, Maryland aka MoCo

It took me hours to find interesting churches in the Rockville or Gaithersburg or Germantown area of Maryland during a recent visit. (I had to use creative Google searches and additional research to find all of these; #btw there’s a good church search at faithstreet.com) Here’s short list of MoCo churches in Maryland:

Journey’s Crossing http://journeyscrossing.org/ @ Germantown

GO Church http://mygochurch.com @ Germantown

Restoration Church http://www.restoration.church @ Gaithersburg #new

Connection Church connectionchurchmd.org @ Rockville

Streams of Hope Church streamsofhopechurch.org @ Gaithersburg

Northgate Community Church http://northgatecc.org @ Montgomery Village

Mosaic Community Church mosaicsilverspring.org @ Silver Spring

Lifechurch of Maryland www.l3church.com @ Germantown

Rock Creek Church http://www.rcreek.com

Cedar Creek http://www.cedarbrook.org/ @ Clarksburg

The Cause Church thecausechurch.org/ @ Elkridge

Seneca Creek Community Church senecacreek.org

MBC Montgomery County
https://www.mcleanbible.org/locations/montgomery-county

The Well Community Church thewellsilverspring.org @ Silver Spring

WASHINGTON DC

Grace Meridian Hill http://www.gracemeridianhill.org

3 Strands Community Church 3strandschurch.org

The District Church http://www.districtchurch.org/

Mosaic Church http://www.mosaicchurchdc.org/

NORTHERN VIRGINIA

DC Metro Church http://www.dcmetro.org/ @ Fairfax

Hillendale Baptist Church http://www.hillendalebaptist.org/ @ Dale City, CA

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Since I can typically only attend one or two worship services on a weekend, I have to be selective in choosing the ones that are most interesting, in terms of music,  preaching, and multiethnic diversity.

I know there are many older traditional churches than newer contemporary churches. The older churches better served people who have already been part of that church for a long time, be it years or decades. Newer churches have better odds of being more creative and more conscientious of visitors and newcomers.

Just writing this blog post to save you time on your search. And, make some good churches easier to find.

Also see this list of the most popular churches in the metro DC area: djchuang.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/most-popular-churches-in-the-metro-washington-dc-area/

How to love and serve millennials and vice versa

I’m en route to Tampa for the Exponential East church planting conference exponential.org this week and have a few thoughts to share. This annual event, now bi-coastal and twice a year, has unarguably been instrumental in equipping and inspiring and mobilizing people and churches for the imminent future of churches in America and around the world.

For those privileged to be there in person, I’d love to connect with you in person: I have a workshop on Wed 4/29 morning, and a free lunch on Tues 4/28 hosted by ReGenerant Network + Ambassador Network + EFCA __ rsvp at http://expoeastaacp.splashthat.com

At Exponential, the Social Media team will be live-blogging and posting to exponential.org/sharedexperience with Great Congerencing Tips and the official hashtag is #exponential on Twitter and instagram.

Plus, Exponential will have a free livestream video of all main sessions live.exponential.org – and also a digital pass for archive access. Or, host a watch party for free http://www.exponential.org/proven-tips-for-hosting-the-exponential-east-15-webcast/ to expoentially multiply the value of the experience for your whole leadership team!

From recent conversations I’ve been a part of, there’s of chatter in the marketing world, business world, and church world about demographic shifts and what organizations must do to adjust for this new reality, specifically the different values of the next generation known as the millennials. Links: my list of churches reaching millennials, #20schurch book about the millennial church tour. And got to hear Dave Ferguson tell the back story of his new book, HPFTWBTG.

I found it quite amazing how these two books echoed parallel themes for engaging millennials with an authentic Christian faith. HPFTWBTG describes the 5 longings in people’s lives & hearts, particular millennials, and the 5 awakenings that are essential to loving & serving them and also for millennials to experience true love that’s more than enough, and connect them to the way that makes life fully authentic, meaningful, purposeful, valuable, and satisfying.

2 MVPs (most valuable publications) for real practical ways for spiritually engaging millennials. Hoping to meet & greet all the authors at Exponential for their good work.

#aside

Yes, it’s 2015, blogging this via my mobile tablet, and finding it very hard to add links easily for references above. kinda bummed that in this increasing mobile world, that long-form written thoughts on blogs is so difficult to do, compared to photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter… yes, short-form content has its place, but I sure want long-form content to have a place on mobile too.. trying to use this WordPress app on Android for months on my djchuang.com self-hosted blog, and it hasn’t worked for a long time.. at least it connects now.. so i’m doing what I can here on my alternate blog on wordpress.com to at least get my thoughts out to the world asap.. give Google and Bing a head start to crawl and index this.. then later will have to mirror it over to djchuang.com when I have time for a laptop connection to make the links pretty and so on..

Asian American Quadrilateral – a framework to better understand ministry contexts

practical theology method for the task of constructing local theologies in Asian American contexts, which will be framed as the interaction of four key layers, the Asian American Quadrilateral:

  1. (1) Asian religious and cultural heritages,
  2. (2) Contemporary American culture,
  3. (3) Immigration/post-immigration experience, and
  4. (4) Racialization

http://schedule.fuller.edu/registrar/schedule/ecdtemp.asp?ECD=%2Fsot%2Fecds%2F151%2FTM528_Lee.html

http://fuller.edu/offices/aai/asian-american-quadrilateral-(aaq)/

Redemption Point, a church for Fountain Valley and Westminster, California

Redemption Point Church is reaching people in the Fountain Valley and Westminster, California area, known as Little Saigon, particularly English-speaking Vietnamese Americans. Website http://redemptionpoint.us Sermon videos vimeo.com/user4397298

About Redemption Point via redemptionpoint.us/about

We are the English speaking offspring of the immigrants (mostly Vietnamese), who now find it is easier to express ourselves in English. Therefore we congregate to take a keenly look at God and how He is working in our midst. After all, if there is an eternal heaven or hell, wouldn’t that be the most important thing to consider?

As we look around, we see many fractured relationships: in family, between generations, among the churches, in different cultures – isolations in society. But the “Good News” (in which the Bible called it “Gospel”) is this: all can be (and will be) restored when God reconcile our broken relationship to Him.

Redemption Point worship services are on Sunday night 6pm at Coastal church on the corner of Slater and Ward in Fountain Valley, California.

Bible Teacher Pastor Chris Fukunaga

One of the passionate and gifted Bible teachers in the Japanese-American community is Crit Fukunaga, aka Chris Fukunaga. He’s worked as a church planter and itinerant Bible teacher; didn’t find too much on the Internet about him when I searched online, so I thought I’d be of help and post what I could find here, because I think he’s worth finding and hearing. (And, for full disclosure, he’s a relative of mine, married to one of my cousin-in-laws.)

Crit Fukunaga

About Crit Fukunaga

Church Planter of City Bible Church citybible.church in Artesia, California [fb.com/ArtesiaCityBibleChurch]

Founder & Pastor Emeritus of A Village Community, Long Beach, California

Retreat Speaker at 2010 Youth Winter Retreat – Cerritos Baptist Church Youth Ministry

Connected to The Missionary Church Denomination

Facebook facebook.com/chris.fukunaga

featured in Missional Challenge Newsletter, January 04, 2012: A Village Community – From Darkness to Light

Audios

5 Insights into Suffering and Death from Job 12/1/13 at Crossroads Church, Mission Viejo, CA

Loving Others @ Jesus at Baycities Lomita, August 11, 2013

Reflections on the #100 Reasons for Spiritual Boredom (Romans 12:1 and 1 Thessalonians 2:19) July 2013 at Victory Fellowship, Torrance, CA

Four Things God Taught Me When I Obeyed His Mission For My Life
June 9, 2013 – Chris Fukunaga at The Garden Christian Fellowship (Chatsworth, CA)

Perseverance
September 2, 2012 – Chris Fukunaga  at The Garden Christian Fellowship (Chatsworth, CA)

Walk in Love (mp3) – Chris Fukunaga at AACF Long Beach, March 2013

Mt Hermon Inter High Youth Camp 2013 (JEMS Mount Hermon Conference)

Thank you Lifeway and Dr. Rainer

The following Facebook post is reposted here with permission.

a personal reflection By Andy Kim

When Rickshaw Rally came out in 2003, I was a freshman in college and had done very little thinking about race, ethnicity and stereotypes as it related to my faith. I had done (what I thought) was a great job of assimilating into white culture in both school and church contexts.

When freshman Andy heard about the VBS curriculum and the subsequent outcry, my first reaction is why are those Asians being so angry and outspoken? In other words, I didn’t want people to rock the boat and let’s keep the peace at all costs.

Since then, I’ve grown in understanding of my own family, my culture and my journey as a Korean American. During the journey, I’ve discovered old wounds I didn’t know I had, products of stereotypes, years of racism I experienced as a child and subtle ways I accepted how the media portrayed Asians and Asian men in particular.

I’ve learned in small steps how to use my voice to speak out when I felt offended, and also how to use my voice to speak out on behalf others as well. I’ve learned that in a real community, in a real family, God doesn’t want us to sweep things under the rug, but to deal with tough issues, even if it means rocking the boat. I’ve even rocked the boat myself a few times. Heck, I’m in a job now where boat-rocking is essentially in the job description.

And though I’ve grown so much, there is so much about my culture and background that I’m still wrestling with. I feel an inner tension about my Asianness and my Koreanness that leads me to both love and judge other Asian Americans. To aspire to be accepted by them and to keep them at arms length. There are still days where I hate that I’m so indirect, conflict avoidant, passive and I fit the mold of “typical asian guy” (whatever that means). There are also days, where I’m SO grateful that God made me exactly how he did. And other days there’s just ambiguity.

I felt all these thoughts watching this short video clip. But into the swirls of confusion and unanswered questions, I also felt an inexplicable sense of calm. I think that’s what an unqualified, sincere apology can do. It can bring calm into the inner storms that we don’t realize were there. A calm that is really hope creeping into the dark crevices of cynicism. A calm that gives way to possibility and dreaming about what the Church could be in this country and in our world.

It was a short video, a seemingly insignificant act. But it mattered to me. Thanks, Thom S. Rainer.