Updated: March 17, 2021
Editor’s note: In light of the mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16, 2021, that involved the murder of at least six Asian people, we are re-upping this collection of various articles that center the perspectives of Asian writers. Please note: this post was originally published May 11, 2020, to celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
In the U.S., the month of May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. To acknowledge its significance, we have collected several articles centering on the perspectives, work, and experiences of various Asian Americans that we have published over the years.
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Among the scenes of insurrectionists bearing crosses and Confederate flags as they shouted racial epithets and profanities such as the one above, Asian American Christians like ourselves noticed another awkward, embarrassing, and paradoxical truth. Supporters of White Christian Nationalism were not all White.
An Asian-American Christian group has issued a statement condemning the rise in hate crimes directed toward Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to grow, Asian Americans around the U.S. have been reporting a startling increase of racist incidents targeting individuals of Asian descent.
Faithfully Magazine Associate Editor Timothy Isaiah Cho appears as a guest in this May 9, 2020, episode of the “Truth’s Table” podcast to discuss the spike in anti-Asian racism during the coronavirus pandemic and the need for Asian Americans to stand alongside African Americans in the fight for anti-racism.
In several Christian traditions around the world, believers have practiced a fourth form of prayer for generations as a regular part of congregational life. This style of praying is most readily recognized as a “Korean” style of prayer, but has actually been practiced in African and Asian churches around the world, and even historically African-American churches in the United States.
Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi was born on April 23, 1918, into a Christian family that was associated with the Mukyokai Christian Movement (無教会主義). The Mukyokai movement was founded by Uchimura Kanzo, a graduate of Amherst College. The movement was known for its emphasis on Bible studies, speaking out against social injustices, intellectual scholarship, pacifism, and a non-church ecclesiology that lacked a liturgy, sacraments, and clergy. During his studies at the University of Washington, Hirabayashi became more convinced of pacifism and ultimately joined the Quaker’s American Friends Service Committee.
Perhaps the reason why the American church is unable to identify reparations as one of the keys to unlocking the next Great Awakening is because we have not seen historical examples of how reparations fueled revivals in the past. To illustrate the evangelistic importance of reparations and its vital role for revival, we need to revisit another revival the American church played a vital part in over a hundred years ago in Pyongyang, Korea.
Years ago during my seminary studies, my family and I were worshipping at an almost exclusively White Reformed church. We chose to worship at this church for about two and half years for multifaceted reasons, ranging from being the closest Reformed church from our house, the fact that there were many families and ages represented, and the fact that several of my seminary professors were members of the church.
Jenny Yang is senior vice president of Advocacy & Policy at World Relief. She co-authored Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate and serves as chair of the Refugee Council USA Africa Work Group. During her appearance at Catalyst Cincinnati (catalystleader.com), Yang took time away from the stage to discuss immigration and refugee care in the church, as well as biases Asian Americans face in the U.S. today.
Churches are called to meet more than the spiritual needs of the communities they inhabit, according to Hyepin Im, founder and president of Faith and Community Empowerment (www.facela.org). “Jesus’ ministry was always holistic. Faith communities—whether they acknowledge it or not—are holistic ministries. They end up having to meet physical, mental, and emotional needs along with spiritual needs. If we’re in holistic ministries anyway, we might as well do it as best as possible,” Im said.
It’s a shocking event that was almost lost to history. Even now, most have likely never heard of it. Over 146 years ago, on October 24, 17 Chinese men and boys were tortured and hanged in public in Chinatown in Los Angeles, California, in an event called the Chinese Massacre of 1871.
I often hesitate when I am asked to check the box on a form that best describes my racial background: “Asian American.” I hesitate to do so because of the laughable broadness of that term, skeptical that the continental landmass from which my parents emigrated can describe me and my experiences with any accuracy. But it doesn’t take long before I inevitably bring pencil to paper and mark that I am “Asian-American,” and I even choose to identify myself as such outside of the form-filling context. I do this because race is not just about what you look like or where your family is from. It’s about what you have to endure.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, pastor Danny Cortez delivered a sermon entitled “Why I Changed My Mind on Homosexuality.” Before the year was over, his congregation, New Heart Community Church, had lost about half of its members and been dropped by the Southern Baptist Convention for choosing to become a Third Way congregation. As a Third Way church, New Heart holds that its members can enjoy fellowship while agreeing to disagree on whether the Bible condemns homosexuality. Three years later, the California pastor says his church is better off, as it is a body that now understands more intimately the gospel’s liberating power. But does he have any regrets? Are there things he wishes he could change about his confrontation with the SBC and disaffected New Heart Community Church members?
Kathy Khang has served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA for years in various capacities. In this episode of Faithfully Podcast, she discusses racial reconciliation and shares her experiences as a Korean-American woman in ministry.
The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, a Chinese/Filipino author, joined the Faithfully Podcast crew recently to share his thoughts and observations on some issues Asian Americans face when it comes to experiences relating to race and culture.