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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.

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More reflections coming soon! – Tim Tseng

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