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Reflections on the Symposium at Fuller

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

We had an exciting symposium at Fuller Seminary two weeks ago. Presentations and other information will be made available soon. To view some photos, go to this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=278672&id=18289178852&l=1f262fba1e

We are posting some initial reflections from Kevin Park and David Choi. Kevin Park is Associate for Theology in the Office of Theology and Worship, General Assembly Council of Presbyterian Church USA in Louisville, KY. David Choi is Senior Pastor of Praise Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. He received his PhD in church history from Princeton Theological Seminary. We invite others to share their thoughts, too!

Kevin Park:

One of my denomination’s (Presbyterian Church (USA)) confessions of faith includes this sentence:

“the Spirit gives us courage…  to hear the voices of peoples long silenced…” (A Brief Statement of Faith, 70).

It takes courage to hear the silenced voices but it takes more courage for those voices to speak out. During the Asian American Equipping Symposium: Living Out the Gospel II—Asian American History—The Lost Coin, a symphony of courageous, creative, learned, and passionate voices was heard, not merely breaking the silence but catapulting Asian American history, ministry, biblical and theological scholarship to new levels. I was especially delighted to hear from Asian American women scholars, leaders and writers who wrote the book Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters. One of the ongoing challenges doing ministry in many Asian American contexts is that Asian American women are often still doubly marginalized in male dominated ministries of Asian American churches. The contributors of Mirrored Reflections have woven their stories with the stories of women in the Bible that results in fresh and often startling interpretations that inform and empower Asian American women and men. It was also gratifying to witness so many young 1.5 and 2nd generation Asian American scholars and pastors who are giving a resounding and robust voice to the often quiet if not silent Asian American experiences.  The AAES was a gratifying experience that helped vindicate that Asian American Christianity in North America is embodied in thriving communities of faith with polyphonic voices that is multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and ecumenical, all grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

David Choi:

What remains with me is the pride I felt at seeing so many Asian American scholars engaged in this topic. While the research seems to be still in its infancy, it was great to hear from so many scholars doing good work and I look forward to their future contributions. I thought, overall, the speakers were relevant and helpful (some, of course, more so than others). I also like the plan of the symposium of having panels and then having responses to them. My one criticism would be that the responders to the panels were not sufficiently critical. They understandably lavished praise (often deserved), but they usually failed to raise the kinds of challenges that could have pushed them into deeper and more fruitful waters. Perhaps this is a reflection of the nature of Asian Americans to keep the peace?  I also benefited much from the table discussions. In the future, I would suggest slowing the pace a bit, especially toward the end. Our table was too tired after the last session and we stopped talking. And it’s too bad because I thought the last panel was the most interesting and I would have enjoyed a follow-up discussion. In any case, thank you again for organizing this and I hope to be able to attend the next one.

* * *

More reflections coming soon! – Tim Tseng

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SANACS Journal 2010 is now available!

August 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Two quick announcements!

• 10% discount sale for ISAAC publications! Go to “publications” at the ISAAC website. Click “Buy” and enter code ‘ FOUND ‘ at checkout You will save 10% off your purchase! [offer ends Aug. 31, 2010]

• The new issue of the SANACS Journal is now available! This issue contains the papers presented at ISAAC So Cal’s Asian American Equipping Symposium held at Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA) on Nov. 2-3, 2009. Go to “publications” at the ISAAC website.

SANACS Journal Call for Papers: Asian American Biblical Interpretation

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

The Society of Asian North American Christian Studies Journal (SANACS)

Call for Papers

“Asian American Biblical Interpretation”

SANACS invites submissions for the next journal under the theme of “Asian American Biblical Interpretation.”  In addition to professional Biblical scholars, those working in other fields are encouraged to submit papers on this topic.  Given the focus of this journal, papers ought to demonstrate relevance to Asian North American Christianity.  The due date for submissions is Sept 1, 2010.

All articles should follow the SANACS Manuscript Submission Guidelines with the following change:  rather than sending your paper to Russell Yee, email submissions to Bo Lim at the information below.

Bo H. Lim
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Ave West
Seattle, WA 98119
Email Bo Lim

206.281.2347

Generating Faith: A Conversation for Reaching and Retaining Future Generations: ISAAC Pacific NW Symposium (Seattle, WA) on Feb. 27, 2010 (9:30 AM – 3:30 PM)

February 5, 2010 Leave a comment

REGISTER NOW FOR THE ISAAC PACIFIC NORTHWEST SYMPOSIUM IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON!

[Click here to Register on-line]

“Generating Faith: A Conversation for Reaching and Retaining Future Generations” (Feb. 27, 2010, 9:30 AM -3:30 PM)

This symposium will explore the impact of culture and race on faith in the context, mission and identity of the Asian American churches, and engage in conversations to help bridge generational gaps.

The symposium will feature Dr. Russell Jeung, Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and author of Faithful Generations – Race and New Asian American Churches and Dr. Timothy Tseng, Executive Director of ISAAC.

Location: Seattle Pacific University, Bertona building #65, classroom #4 (Bertona is E-3 on the map link: http://www.spu.edu/info/maps/index.asp and this link can lead to driving directions, etc. There is parking right next to the building (on Saturdays anything marked “commuter” is fair game).

Cost: Free, thanks to our sponsoring churches and organizations. However, we encourage you to bring $10/registrant to cover the cost of the lunch and snacks (cash or checks payable to ISAAC).

For more information: Contact Rev. Peter Lim 林志堅, Director of ISAAC Pacific Northwest Region Email Peter

Co-sponsors:
Seattle Pacific University School of Theology (host) http://www.spu.edu/depts/theology/
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pacific Northwest http://www.fuller.edu/campuses-online/northwest.aspx
Seattle Chinese Alliance Church http://www.scacseattle.org/
Evangelical Chinese Church http://www.eccseattle.org/

Schedule:

9:30 AM Registration opens. Light refreshments and welcome.

10:00 AM Session 1: Cultivating Inter-generational Church Cultures [Dr. Tim Tseng]

This session provides a framework and some “best practices” for enabling church leaders to build more cohesive and harmonious inter-generational ministries. Participants will have opportunity to design biblically-based practices that can help their congregation leverage its internal diversity as strengths that build unity. Issues to be discussed include:
– Cultural and sociological analyses – possibilities and pitfalls
– The indispensability of saving face (human dignity)
– Building trust: a never-ending practice
– Application to pastoral search and development, staff and lay leadership teams, Christian education, youth ministry, etc.

12:00 PM Lunch & Sharing

1:00 PM Session 2: The Emerging 2nd Generation:  Asian American churched and unchurched [Dr. Russell Jeung]

This session explores the needs and issues of the churched and unchurched 2nd generation of Asian Americans. How can God’s family support these individuals, and what do these individuals have to offer the broader church? Participants should get a clearer picture of how God is using the 2nd generation, and how we can join in His movement in this world. Issues to be discussed include:

– Trends in 2nd Gen church affiliation
– Issues facing the 2nd Gen
– Outreach to the Unchurched 2nd Gen
– Building unity between the Asian-language and English speaking congregations

Each session will be followed by group discussions, and feedback/Q & A with speakers.

3:00 PM Plenary reflection – next steps for ISAAC PacNW [Rev. Peter Lim]

3:30 PM Symposium concludes

Thank you! – Peter Lim 林志堅, Director of ISAAC Pacific Northwest Region.

[Click here to Register on-line]

“Look before you leap” by Timothy Tseng

November 20, 2009 1 comment

As ISAAC’s most productive program year draws to a close this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for all of our supporters. We have learned many lessons. The one that stood out most to me is the necessity of resisting the urge to “leap-frog” Asian America. Asian American Christians are used to being “leap-frogged” by the academia, seminaries, and mainstream church anyway. After all, Asia is considered more exciting, exotic, and enticing than Asian America. Many well meaning friends have urged ISAAC to become more international because of the availability of greater resources. I agree that there is great benefit to engaging an emerging Asian Christianity. My research, teaching, and ministry interests have broadened to include Asia, but for ISAAC, it would be a mistake to “leap-frog” Asian America.

Because Asian American Christians are so deeply impacted by being “leap-frogged,” we are tempted to evade our own experiences in North America. It is easier to “leap-frog” challenges such as intergenerational church conflicts and diversity or poverty, racism, and other social ills in the wider American society. Today, the average South and East Asian immigrant family and their children have “leap-frogged” the inner city and settled in the suburbs. The average immigrant pastor is ill-equipped to minister to inter-generational congregations, having “leap-frogged” any training about the North American context. The average North American Asian Christian is encouraged to participate in cross-cultural ministries overseas or in urban America but “leap-frogs” the Asian American experience. The average Asian seminary professor is trained in Western theological education but is more comfortable with Asia as his or her primary context, thus “leap-frogging” Asian American Christian communities. The average university Asian American studies program “leap-frogs” Christian studies. Most Asian American evangelicals “leap-frog” the Asian American experience because they are taught that culture is to be avoided because it is sinful or that Christianity is beyond culture.

The “leap-frogging” phenomenan goes on and on – even in my personal experiences. I’ve discovered that I’m more valuable to colleges and seminaries when I teach about Asia or the traditional Euro-American curriculum, but not Asian American religion. Many of my second-third generation Asian American friends have told me that they would rather address multi-cultural issues and question ISAAC’s focus on Asian Americans. Most of my immigrant friends focus solely on Asia because they believe that the need is greater there. In the end, Asian American Christianity always winds up being more frog than prince. Is it any wonder that Asian American Christian leaders find it easier to “leap-frog” their Asian American experience?

But the truth is that “leap-frogging” Asian America is short-sighted and hurts everyone – not just Asian Americans. We’ve already witnessed the pain caused by Zondervan’s Deadly Viper curriculum that was quickly cancelled after protests by Asian American evangelical leaders. To me the biggest problem with Deadly Viper was that its authors “leap-frogged” real Asians by using pop culture representations of Asians without realizing that these images have been used in demeaning ways. Reinforcing these particularly stereotypes (which arguably may be better than “heathen” stereotypes) will render American evangelicals culturally incompetent in a global and multi-cultural world. But wait a minute! Acculturated Asian Americans also “leap-frog” when they reinforce stereotypes of immigrant church leaders as authoritarian and backward-looking. Indeed, Dr. Jonathan Tran expressed this concern during his lecture at the Asian American symposium co-sponsored by ISAAC and Fuller Seminary earlier this month. Have Asian American Christians who define themselves as over against, leaving behind, and separating from immigrant churches “leap-frogged” Asian America? Many immigrant leaders, on the other hand, “leap-frog” by romanticizing Asia, disrespecting Asian Americans, and condemning American culture. So when Zondervan invites Asian American leaders to advise them on future publications, I hope that these leaders are not “leap-froggers.” I hope that they have taken time to engage and learn about Asian Americans more fully before they are asked to represent Asian Americans. “Leap-frogging” leaves stereotypes in place, but does little to change them. It is one thing to protest negative stereotypes, it is another to create a more realistic and positive representations of Asian Americans.

We cannot afford to conveniently “leap-frog” uncomfortable situations. All of ISAAC’s work this year – our publications, co-sponsored lectures at U.C. Berkeley and University of San Francisco, the symposium at Fuller, consultations with congregations, pastoral support groups, and advocacy for research – is about Asian American Christian culture making, for the sake of the Church and the world. We invite our current Asian American Christian leaders to join us. We challenge the next generation to stay and build. It has not been not easy for us at ISAAC, but we are glad that we resisted the temptation to “leap-frog” Asian America. Instead, join us in kissing the frog! Who knows – it may be nobility in the making!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tim Tseng

Effective Asian American Young Adults Ministry workshop wrap up

March 29, 2009 Leave a comment

March 28, 2009 – ISAAC’s Bay Area Equipping and Resource Center held the first of several workshops to strengthen Asian American church leaders. 49 Chinese, Taiwanese, Burmese, Korean, Indonesian, Filipino, Japanese, and Caucasian participants made the workshop surprisingly diverse. Video and audio tapes of the presentations were recorded and will be made available shortly. We are grateful to the Good Shepherd Christian Church for allowing us to use their wonderful facilities.

Tim Tseng’s presentation provided some recent demographics about the religious identification among Americans, in general, and Asian Americans, specifically. It also shared some recent findings regarding the culture of consumption among Asian American young adults and the emotional health of Asian American teens who regularly attend Asian American churches. The presentation can be viewed and downloaded here:

Host pastors Joseph Chiu and Peter Wang gave very practical suggestions about how both first and second generation church leaders could help make Young Adult Ministries in bilingual and multi-generational churches more effective. Many of the insights shared by both presenters and the participants are applicable not only to bi-cultural congregations, but also to young adults ministries, in general.

ISAAC hopes to make the audio-visual recordings of the presentations available soon. But this workshop is just the beginning of the development of resources for effective Asian American Young Adults ministries. We are starting an email discussion to encourage participants to continue to communicate and encourage each other. The group is called AsianAmYAM. Here are the details:
– Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/asianamyam
– Group email address: asianamyam@yahoogroups.com

Photos have already been posted at the home page. Please sign up tonight!

We also plan to start a blog where some of our best ideas can be posted.

We are also grateful that Inheritance Magazine, the Southeast Asian Committee, and ERRC-China provided information and resources for our workshop participants!

Keep checking the ISAAC website for updates and new information!

Johnson Chiu, Director, ER Center
Timothy Tseng, Executive Director, ISAAC
Marie McCulley, Registrar

Effective Asian Young Adult Ministry Workshop, Mar. 28, 2009 (Cupertino, Bay Area)

March 4, 2009 2 comments

Friday, March 27, 2009

MORE THAN 40 HAVE REGISTERED! COME EARLY TOMORROW!

Good morning! I am looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow at the Effective Asian American Young Adults Ministries workshop (March 28, 9 AM – 2 PM).

HERE ARE SOME LAST MINUTE DETAILS AND REMINDERS

  • We are meeting at:
Good Shepherd Christian Church, Cupertino
940 South Stelling Road (at Jollyman Lane)
Cupertino, CA 95014
http://www.gschristian.org
(just South of De Anza College, next to Jollyman Park)
Pastors Joseph Chiu and Peter Wang are our hosts.
  • The doors will open at 8:30 AM for registration, tea, coffee, light snacks, and fellowship!
  • If you have not yet paid the registration fee, please bring a check payable to ISAAC and give it to Marie McCulley, our registrar.
  • If you need to contact us tomorrow, call Marie McCulley – our registrar – at her cell phone (626) 372-9264. Email her at this link.
  • If you have any questions today, it would be best to speak to Johnson Chiu at his cell phone (925) 548-3762 or via email at this link. I’ll be in meetings almost all day.

NOTE: If you are one of the first 10 to arrive, you’ll be eligible for a “door prize”! If you stay to the very end, you can win another “prize”! It’ll be informative AND fun!

* * *

Effective Asian American Young Adult Ministry
An ISAAC Equipping & Resource Center workshop – co-sponsored by the Good Shepherd Christian Church
Saturday, March 28, 2008 (8:30 am – 2 pm) <- corrected
Good Shepherd Christian Church, Cupertino
940 South Stelling Road
Cupertino, CA 95014
http://www.gschristian.org

What this workshop is about:

Asian American young adults are fast becoming one of the nation’s most influential groups. Yet, in many Chinese, Taiwanese, and other Asian American churches today they can hardly be found. What do we need to understand in approaching this large segment of the population?

Come and find out by hearing from people who are on the front lines, working with young adults in an effective manner today. This panel features hosting Pastors Peter Wang and Joseph Chiu and Tim Tseng, Executive Director of ISAAC. The workshop also offers plenty of time for questions and interaction to equip you in your ministry.

The workshop is geared towards pastors, ministry leaders and adults concerned about reaching young adults.

The fee for this one-day workshop (including lunch) is only $30. Participants from ISAAC member churches receive a 20% discount ($24/registrant). Find out how your church can be an ISAAC member church – contact Johnson Chiu at faithwalk40@yahoo.com

Register on-line at https://fs16.formsite.com/sanacs/form662985063/secure_index.html

Tentative Schedule:

8:30   Doors and registration open – come for fellowship, tea, coffee, and light snacks!

9:00   Welcome (Johnson Chiu, Director of the ER Center)

9:15   Tim Tseng (Asian American Young Adult Culture and Needs)

9:45   Joseph Chiu (How Immigrant Generation Church Leaders Can Help)

10:30  Groups (to provide feedback and additional suggestions)

11:00   Peter Wang (Ideas for Reaching and Retaining Young Adults)

11:45   Groups (to provide feedback and additional suggestions)

12:15   Lunch

12:45   Panel Questions & Answers; Sharing of Group Feedback

1:45    Wrap up and ISAAC Announcements