A Lesson for Christians from Lisa Simpson, the Activist

Many people with strong convictions can attest to a simple yet insightful fact: beliefs are double-edged. They have potential to guide to deep truth and compassion, but can also devolve into hypocrisy and self-righteousness, and thereby contradict the very values promoted in the first place.

This is my story with the conservative evangelical church.

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Choosing Friendship over Doctrine: Rethinking my Approach Towards Conservative Asian American Christians

(We all know how difficult it can be to discuss controversial topics, such as politics or theology, with friends who have different beliefs than you. The following is a brief reflection on my process of choosing friendship over being right.)

Photo courtesy of Gia Canali Photography (giacanali.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/gcanali-9037.jpg)

Recently, I attended an evangelical event with some 300 other Asian Americans. The event had a reception to honor a particular pastor who is a long-time friend of mine. Due to my pre-conceived notions about his conservative theological convictions and church community, I prepared myself for an uncomfortable and (potentially) argumentative day.

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Reflections on How We Discuss Politics at Church

(Note: Below is a reflection on the problems with how we discuss politics at church. For context, I’ve noticed this pattern in the churches I either attend or am familiar with, which are largely evangelical, conservative, Asian American, and multi-generational with leadership over the age of 50.)

Shortly after the 2012 presidential elections, I engaged in an email discussion about the role of evangelical faith in American politics with a few older men from my church. Those involved in the discussion were not out to advertise their own political agendas nor did we see eye to eye with each other. We were simply concerned with the increasing polarization of opinions in American politics and how to have constructive dialogue in the church context.

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Why I am No Longer on Church Staff or in Seminary

Written January 4, 2012 as my official resignation letter from GVBC staff. After being on church staff and attending seminary for a year and a half, I decided the position and accompanying vocation was not for me. I tried to be as honest and candid as possible, for I did not want to be fake nor put off the perception I was leaving staff because there was something wrong with our church.

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An Asian American Evangelical Church’s Call: Seeing the Humanity in Our (Black and Low-Income) Neighbors

I wrote this article in July 2011 for GVBC’s bi-weekly Spirit newsletter, when I was on Gardena Valley Baptist Church staff as pastoral intern of neighborhood impact. It was an attempt to help our church members begin the process of looking inward at our isms, beliefs, and values which may restrict our openness toward those who are different. Gardena has seen an influx of immigrant and working class communities of color in the past few decades, which has created new challenges and questions to the cultural and community identity of GVBC. Our church’s historically Japanese American evangelical identity must learn how to be neighbors to its increasingly diverse neighborhood, just as Jesus admonished the Jewish lawyer to be a neighbor to the culturally foreign (and despised) Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. For in the words of Latino theologian Justo Gonzalez, the Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us “to go and be a neighbor to those in need, no matter how alien they may be.”

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Am I an Atheist? Reflections on “From Minister to Atheist: A Story of Losing Faith”

Teresa MacBain, a former United Methodist minister, just “came out” as an atheist. Her story quickly went viral via NPR, gaining more than 26,000 shares on facebook. I believe this massive following of her faith struggle signals America’s deep need to address this long suppressed issue. Her bravery to discuss this shameful topic has encouraged others to come out, including myself.

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My Theological “Evolution”: Tensions, Questions, and Orson Scott Card’s Xenocide

This is a piece that explores the changes I’ve undergone in my perspectives on the Christian faith using a brief story from Orson Scott Card’s book, Xenocide. For those who have yet to discover the depth and brilliance within science fiction novels, I hope my brief analogy from the third book in OSC’s Ender series does not bore you. (If you want to skip the sci-fi intro, the bold sentence is where the “meat” begins.)

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The Struggles of Discussing Race in the Asian American Evangelical Church

Reposted at Racialicious.com and bytheirstrangefruit.blogspot.com.

Recently, while attending one of the most ethnically diverse evangelical seminaries in the nation, I found myself in an environment where I had to defend the argument that race still matters. Don’t get me wrong; students and faculty alike openly discussed ethnic and societal culture; and although all were unanimous that racial prejudice is wrong and diversity is good, when it came to America’s original (and continuing) sin of racism, there were choirs of crickets.

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