Archives for category: postmodern

What would characterize a uniquely Asian American worship or preaching experience? Does such a thing even exist? asks David Park over at Next Gener.Asian Church.

It seems that, in order to answer this question, we must first begin with the primary issue of our identity, to know deeply what it means to be created as Asian Americans in the image of God. The “neither/nor” struggle — not being fully Asian nor fully American in our identity — has led to shame, rebellion and self-hatred. Because many of us have wandered through this fog for twenty, thirty, forty years, the quest to discover our God-given identity is not easily or quickly resolved. We need the Holy Spirit to repair, heal, restore and redeem the mess that we are.

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Evidence abounds that our culture, in terms of commerce, is shifting from goods to experience. For example, it’s not enough just to get a haircut, especially if you’re a dude. No, you need to get over to SportClips, where it’s not just a haircut, it’s a championship experience. Maybe that’s how Tom Brady feels every time he gets his precision cut (that is, when he’s not cheating! Ha!). Disney is not just about the rides, or the tasty, tasty pineapple whip (which we recently discovered during our last trip there) but it’s all about the experience of the magic kingdom. After all, where else can you ride a roller coaster with Minnie Mouse (as our daughter did last year) or meet Captain Jack Sparrow (or a reasonable facsimile of Mr. Depp) in person?

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…then maybe you’d be enjoying a medium half-caff, soy macchiato with an extra shot at the price of your choosing over at Terra Bite Lounge in Seattle. This approach flies in the face of the maximize revenue no matter what business model but, apparently, it’s working out.  Here’s a bit more about the Terra Bite approach.

While the Terra Bite website makes it abundantly clear that they have “no political or religious message,” I see an important analogy for our church community as we’re in the midst of relaunching — that is, we want to be the kind of church in which our people commit their time, resources and love because they want to and they believe in it, not because of some religious or cultural obligation. We probably won’t be the model of efficiency, but it would be amazing to see people believing and investing in what God is doing here in our particular community.

We have officially launched our new community here in San Diego: United Presbyterian Church!

Personally, it has been a tumultuous past several months — lots of soul searching, seeking after God and wrestling with some tough questions. In many ways, the struggle still continues — but I’m hoping that just as art is often born of pain, something beautiful could arise from this difficult season.

While we embrace our roots as the English Ministry of Korean United Presbyterian Church, we dream of becoming a missional people who are united with Jesus as individuals and as a diverse community, and to God’s purposes in the world.

If you are in the San Diego area, we invite you to come join what God is doing here at United!

Our website is still in a sort of beta-ish mode, but you can take a peek over at sdunited.org. Below is a graphic I designed to capture the heart of where we think God is leading us.

While I wish I could have heard the messages from David Gibbons, Peter Cha and Ken Fong from this past weekend’s San Diego Asian American Leadership Conference (by all accounts, they delivered fantastic messages), my responsibilities there precluded my ability to sit in on the main sessions there. While I didn’t have an official title, I think Childcare Second Assistant Volunteer would pretty much summarize my role.

Much love to James, Dora and Steve for putting in so much hard work & prayerful effort into this amazing conference. When my wife and I came on board to help out in whatever ways we could, we realized that one of the most important things we could offer would be childcare — thus freeing the post-college family set to attend. It was really great to hear during a dinner chat with Joon Han that, for some people there, SDAALC was the first conference they had attended in years — specifically because childcare was available. My wife did a wonderful job preparing a great kids’ program with limited resources, and we had some really wonderful volunteers help out. I was there to provide box-moving and audio/visual tech support (and to hold multiple crying infants simultaneously).

I recorded my seminar, Asian American Identity + Postmodern Culture, on my little MP3 player. If I figure out how to upload it (and if it seems worthwhile), then maybe I will get around to posting it here. I was humbled that anyone showed up at all, and I sincerely hope that it was beneficial in some way for those who were there.

Another SDAALC note: it was great to see that True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In, by James Choung, was not only available but was sold out by the end of the conference. Check out The Big Story and The Big Story, Part 2 videos James made based on ideas from this book — they are great resources for postmoderns who struggle with sharing their faith in Jesus in a concise, compelling way with others. These short clips (each one is only about three minutes) are also powerful for those of us who were raised in the church believing in the Western, individualistic, consumer-mindset, fire-insurance Jesus who died just for me (and that’s about it) instead of the Christ whose life, death and resurrection make the story of redemption, restoration, healing and rescue possible — in our individual lives, our relationships, families, communities and for the nations and the world.