Jul 062011

Well into the 21st century, an age of spirituality and plurality, hell has returned as a topic of discussion via American mainstream media. Well, maybe not conversation around the water cooler or holiday BBQs, but hell is in the books and news. Not to be sheltered away or isolated from what’s going on, I borrowed a review copy of Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle’s new book, Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We Make Up, and read the book’s introduction on video:

The timing of Erasing Hell’s book release may be interpreted as a response to Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, which got a lot of buzz, even on the cover of Time magazine. That’s pretty high profile. And maybe these books were responses to the ugly stirring of Westboro Baptist Church protests and unapologetic message of hatred:

(aside: I linked to this YouTube video to the 20/20 piece on Westboro, presented as is, instead of the more popular version with editorial revisionism)

Dec 172009

Dr. Young Lee Hertig, Director of Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity-SoCal and Asian American Women On Leadership, coordinated the inaugural Asian American Equipping Symposium, an event that brought together ministry leaders and theologians to engage in some robust reflections and discussions about contextualizing theology for and by Asian Americans. Or it’s also been described as reimagining.

Watch this video with Dr. Young Lee Hertig to hear the story of what happened there on the grounds of Fuller Theological Seminary:

Good thing they’ve recorded the presentations for all to benefit, and all to build upon the good work that began. [aside: we cannot rely on oral tradition to share the wealth of knowledge & experiences!] And, when the video and audio recordings are available, it’ll be at www.isaacweb.org . For a more detailed written (typed) report summarizing the event, you can read that here.

Jun 082009

Danny Yang has now apologied for triggering a firestorm of comments for his provocatively titled blog post, Is Francis Chan a sell-out?

francis-chanThe title obviously struck a nerve, and provoked a good number of mis-readings and reactions, even though it was clearly spelled out in that very blog post that Danny did not think he was a sell-out:

I don’t really think he’s a sell-out; I believe Chan is living faithfully to what GOD has called him to be.

Does that mean the question was mis-stated in the first place? Maybe not. There is a rhetorical device called a hypothetical question where a question may be posed, even though the answer is already known as a definitively absolutely “no.” It’s used in the Bible, you know. Paul posed the question, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Of course not! Is he a sell-out? Of course not!
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Jan 162009

I got an invite from Daniel Lee [facebook profile], a Th.M. student at Fuller Theological Seminary, who is coordinating a newly-formed group on campus called Asian American Theological Fellowship. Last night was quite the privilege for me to share a presentation titled “Reaching the next generation of Asian Americans”.
More than a handful of my long-distance compadres asked about my thoughts and feelings about last night’s engagement. Here they are, in 3 parts: the presentation, the group, and the potential.

The presentation. This presentation consisted of 59 PowerPoint slides. If I ran thru them Lessig style, no big deal, but I dwelled on many of them, skipped a few, and lost track of time. Meaning, I think I went long– I did go longer than I had planned to. As I debrief here, it dawned on me that since I first built this presentation in September 2007, I’ve added on more slides to cover frequently asked questions. Now after (maybe) 5 iterations, I’ve only added more and more slides — didn’t remove any. No wonder I went long! If I were to take Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule of Powerpoint, get it down to 10 slides, I maybe could summarize it as:

  1. The opportunity is huge and urgent to reach more Asian Americans. The population will double in less than 50 years.
  2. Churches naturally have a life cycle like any organization. From time to time, church must adapt to cultural changes to revitalize, or else.
  3. Ethnic Asian churches have adapted to several models of multi-generational multi-lingual churches to accommodate both Asian-language speakers and English speakers.
  4. We’ve got so much more to offer. On the whole, in comparison to other racial groupings, Asian Americans are the most educated and have highest earnings. These resources have yet to be fully activated for Kingdom purposes.
  5. Healthy churches grow AND reproduce.
  6. In the past 10 years, there’s been an exponential growth of new churches effectively reaching next generation Asian Americans.
  7. New churches doing church a new way are found all over the United States. It’s not just a “West coast” phenomena.
  8. We still need more new English-speaking Asian-led churches to reach the next generation, and the unchurched majority.
  9. Ask not how can we keep “them” in church. Ask how can we reach more people for Jesus.
  10. It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

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Oct 192008

Astonishing to hear Tim Keller say at the begining of video segment 2 of 6, “I disagree completely…” Watch the videos for context of this conversation between Tim Keller, John Piper, and D.A. Carson.

The video is shot in real-time conversation between 3 persons, which is way more visually interesting than the typical interviewer-interviewee dialogue. [the video's shot in black-and-white, no need to adjust your monitor]

I’ve put the 6 video segments together in this playlist for contiguous convenient viewing. [aside: why I like Keller more than Piper]
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Oct 132008

The Coffeehouse Theology blog tour makes its stop here today! Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life, responds to 4 of my burning questions here. Coffeehouse Theology I didn’t want to ask the typical junket questions like what is the book about, and he’s already explained why he wrote yet another book on contextual theology.

What would you like to ask Ed Cyzewski? Add a comment below, and since the blog tour is here today, he’ll respond!

Here’s my exclusive interview with Ed Cyzewski –

djchuang >> Having studied theology and thought about it a lot, I’m so glad that you’ve noted other ingredients that shape our theology besides the Bible, namely, tradition, God, and the global church. Some people say they have “no creed but the Bible.” What would you say to them, since I don’t think they’d read your book?
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Oct 012008

So many books, so little time. This one got my attention — COFFEEHOUSE THEOLOGY: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life by Ed Cyzewski. The title is inviting to the masses, but the part that is crucial is how it surfaces the issue of how culture shapes theology!

The blog book tour starts today, runs through most of October and spills over to November! Ed will stop by here at djchuang.com on October 13th. 1st stop at kingdom grace. I’ll dig into the book more by then, and raise more of the unexplored culture aspects of theology, particularly about the mostly missing multicultural perspectives and explore a bit on the bi-cultural perspectives of Asian Americans. (cf. complete list of bloggers where the tour will visit)

The introduction to Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life is online courtesy of Theooze:


… Rather our culture—who we are and our values—becomes both our greatest strength and largest obstacle in theology. Culture can be a strength because it serves as a tool when we use our understanding of culture to study God. Think back to the Beatitude’s example: Christians in the U.S. tend to spiritualize the message of Jesus because we understand the pride so prevalent in today’s culture. Yet, every culture has weaknesses, too. God is so much more than what we can see by ourselves. So while addressing the pride of our culture in the Beatitudes, we can easily miss out on God’s concern for the poor and the blessings he sets aside for them.

Oct 052006

While attending a family friend’s wedding reception last weekend, I sat near a person learning improv comedy. One of the basic principles in improv is “Yes, and” — this opens up dialogue and keeps the comedic flow going. The thing is, dialogue takes a lot of time and effort, and being the busy Americans that we are, it seems we don’t have much time for it.

Like internetmonk, I dislike arguing. Some people like arguing and do it for sport with no hard feelings or after taste. It’s been my experience that most people get their feelings hurt when intellectuals do battle. I’m tired of remarks that begin with “some things that I disagreed with” [caveat: click thru for context b/c I pulled this quote out of context to illustrate my tiredness with 'disagreement'] or “that does not mean that I endorse everything“… maybe it’s my wishful thinking, but I’d think that very few people agree and endorse 100% of what someone else says or writes. Do most people have a different default mode?

Believe you me, I was not oblivious to the blogosphere’s buzz about the Desiring God conference with Piper, Keller, Driscoll, and others. Roger Overton has a nice link list of summaries to the conference [ht: faithmaps]. And, CT did note that “Piper does scare some people.”
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Sep 022005

Met up with an old (recently married) friend, Jeff Jue, over breakfast today. He mentioned a few quotes attributed to him in a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the emerging church [also mirrored at the official Emergent blog]:

“It’s gaining popularity, and there is the potential there to change the entire landscape of what Protestant Christianity looks like,” said Jeffrey K. Jue, assistant professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside and an academic critic of the emergent movement. “It’s not just a new form. It’s not just window dressing. They’re talking about something more radical than that.”
“My opinion… is that the intellectual depth of this movement is really lacking,” Jue said. “… The concerns that the movement has are quite valid – how to address 19th- and 20th-century evangelicalism in a contemporary context. But do we start all over?”

Sounds so “Jeff”. Knowing of my affinity for the emerging church, he was kind to mention it to me personally, face to face, and express concern and care for our friendship. I thanked him for doing that, and reassured him that I do not mind public discourse and dialogue about differences of convictions, persuasions, and perspectives. In fact, I think it is healthy and fun to have differences out in the open. Not everyone can handle that. And, it was kind and gracious of him to pay for breakfast too.

My friends do not have to agree with me 100% on everything to be a friend. Not even 50%. My friendships do not crumble on a few differences or disagreements.

[update: Jeff Jue's article, What's emerging in the church, was published in Reformation 21 (online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals), for his full treatment, thoroughly footnoted. Also published as "What's Emerging in the Church? Postmodernity, The Emergent Church, and The Reformation," Themelios 31:2 (January 2006): 20-39. The opening paragraph is his description of an encounter with me; 01/26/06 - Jeff adds a cynical comment about emerging church]