Archives for category: asian american

There’s nothing quite like hearing the entire crowd at MSG shout, “Ooooh!” in unison when Jeremy Lin breaks the ankle of an opposing defender with his quick-strike crossover. Seriously, I can understand why — despite their long run of frustration (and, believe me, as a longsuffering Lions fan, I know frustration) — players want to play for the Knickerbockers.

Watching Jeremy Lin light up the crowd, hearing them chant his name (along with M-V-P), listening to Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s announcing gymnastics about him — it all lends itself to a sense of big-brotherly pride. Well, for someone my age, it’s more like an uncle or cheering on a former youth group student, but you get what I’m saying.


A Reason to Cheer

As this Times article points out, there are many people who would find affinity with and reason to cheer boisterously for JLin7: Asian Americans, Christians, Ivy Leaguers (who rarely get to watch alumns make it in the NBA – for real, I remember cheering/cringing while I watched fellow Quaker Matt Maloney play alongside The Dream, The Glide, and The Round Mound of Rebound for the Rockets back in the day), New Yorkers, and anyone who like a good underdog story.

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Yesterday, our family made a trip out to Walmart.

We don’t usually shop there, but my wife needed to pick up some supplies that we were pretty sure we could only get there.

While we were leaving the fabric section, an employee engaged me in a game of “cross-race blindness.” Our conversation went something like this:

Employee: Hey, Jackie Chan!

Me: (Blank stare)

Employee: Oh… didn’t I see you last week?  Remember when I told you that you looked just like Jackie Chan?

Me: No, that was someone else. I wasn’t here last week.

Employee: Oh… but you look just like Jackie Chan, too! Right?!

Me: No, I don’t. Not at all.

As we left the area, I could see the employee give another employee an astonished look, as if she couldn’t believe that I could not see my own striking resemblance to Jackie Chan.

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Race, Politics, Family

Back in October, we went to see Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company’s production of Yellow Face, by David Henry Hwang — the Tony-award winning playwright behind M. Butterfly.

I’m a bit of a cultural Philistine, so I don’t make any claims to understand much about theater, but I really enjoyed this performance. Yellow Face is a semi-autobiographical, postmodern take on race, identity, family and artistic integrity. You can read a bit more from Mo’olelo here.

I appreciated David Henry Hwang’s use of humor throughout the play, given the intensely personal nature of the ground he was covering. Discussions about race, politics, family, art, etc. can quickly become glum affairs. The quick pace of the dialogue, the multimedia backdrop (see a few photos here), and the interweaving of fact and fiction held my attention throughout.

Yellow Face raises many important questions: How much of our identity (our “face”) do we choose? How do we understand race and identity in our ever-changing culture? Do our parents’ dreams eventually become ours?

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My friend Jason Coker is hosting a great blog series over at Pastoralia called “3 Questions About Jesus.”

The idea is to ask different people how they would explain Jesus Christ to someone who had heard about him, but really knew nothing about Christianity. Their questions are:

Who is Jesus the Christ?

What has he done?

Why does it matter?

You can read my guest post over at Jason’s blog — I’ve also cross-posted it below:

_______________________

Jesus is the most remarkable person I’ve ever known.

In him, everything that has gone wrong is being put back together, in all the most important relationships we know — with God, others, ourselves, and the world. For many years, because of my disconnected sense of identity, I sought escape. The longer I have followed Jesus, though, the more I have come to see that he offers something better than escape: in him is genuine hope.  That which is lost, broken, and dead is found, restored, and made alive in Jesus.

Before Jesus found me, I struggled with a sense of being “neither/nor” as an Asian American — neither fully accepted as “American” nor fitting in a “home” culture to which we never belonged. In, through, and because of Jesus, I am learning to see another way forward. “Both/and” people learn to navigate fluidly between worlds and cultures, with empathy for those at the margins. Jesus is not obliterating my ethnic identity; rather, he is restoring it and freeing me to embrace it for the sake of loving God and people more fully.

On one day recently, I sent my daughter off to her first day of school, prayed at a funeral service, and visited a family in the hospital who was celebrating the birth of their child.  Life, death, new beginnings – everything all at once.  Days like those remind me of why I love and follow Jesus: the world we long for, which requires the courage, compassion, and creativity he fills our lives with, is already here and is on its way.

Our trip to Delmas, South Africa was a beautiful whirlwind.  There is nothing like joining in the redemptive work of God in the world, whether close to home or far away.

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Recently, I have seen an increasing amount of discussion about “story.” Not just fictional tales, but the unfolding narrative of our lives.  For followers of Jesus, understanding the big story of what God is doing in the world can change everything.

Faith becomes more than just a “ticket to heaven” but becomes an invitation into a compelling way of life — an eternal kind of life that begins today and continues on into eternity. Jesus rescues us and — amazing grace! — invites us to join Him in His work of redemption in the world.

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I just posted the first of a two-part interview with Daniel DK Kim over at Next Gener.Asian Church.  DK is the worship leader at Newsong Church in Irvine, California; he and his family are moving to Mexico City this month for the next two years to fight human trafficking.

We all need stories of courage and redemption to push us further along the path to which God has called us.  You can support DK and his family in their journey by purchasing his album thefirst over at his site.