Am I a sell-out too?

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!

In Danny’s apology, he clarifies and re-iterates that he celebrates Francis’ calling to minister to all peoples:

I applaud Francis Chan for his faithfulness to GOD’s call on his life. Clearly, his life and ministry has blessed the church; I hope he continues to speak and minister to all groups of people.

djchuangThose of you who are regulars to my blog, or have heard of my work in parachurch realm, may have a question in the back of your mind that you may not have asked out loud but might have been thinking. Over the past decade, I’ve been networking with next gen Asian American church leaders & parachurch ministry leaders, first as a avocational hobby, then formally via L2 Foundation, and more recently connecting next gen Asian American pastors via Leadership Network.

And, yet, for all my professional career life in working in that Asian American church world, I personally do not regularly attend a next gen Asian American church, nor am I a member of one. (For the record, my church home is currently ROCKharbor.) Does that make me a sell-out, too? Or is it just one more perplexing inconsistency in my very complicated unconventional life?

ohhhh.. what would I give to get 100+ comments … (;

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14 Responses

  1. as danny puts in his apology post, i'd say its not francis that is a sellout (though his book publishers might be happy with him doing all the conference work he is doing) but to me, from the white anglo male side, he's one of those christian leaders that translates well from an ethnic culture we generally do not understand. lets face it, the likes of catalyst or other super church conferences are many times all anglo & majority male. i'd say its we that exploit the african, female, asian, native american leaders that translate well for us.

    i once walked through opryland hotel here in nashville (a known destination for conferences) and there were three christian conferences happening at the same time. 1 was my own tribe's evangelism conference 2 was a national childrens ministry conference 3 was described to me as a holy spirit conference. my own tribes was mostly male & white in presenters, the childrens i didn't check out, but the holy spirit one (which i was particularly fascinated by) didn't have a single white male presenter in their midst and i'd argue that there were not many mainline/evangelical white leaders in attendance.

    we like the people that relate to us, its on us more than it is chan.. my opinion

  2. Regina says:

    Hi DJ,

    After talking with you at the Catalyst consultation, I decided to be more daring and post/comment more often. Thanks for the encouragement in that direction.

    I'm relatively new to this discussion, and I've already felt the heat for working in Asian American ministry while not attending an (intentionally) Asian American church (whether next gen, immigrant, etc.).

    I'm still trying to figure things out, for myself. As far as I can tell, it's hard to judge why others have ended up in their particular ministries.

    This might be too general (and naive) of a thought, but maybe Asian American Christians aren't all supposed to do ministry in the same context… and maybe that's okay.

  3. The question, as Danny explained well, should not be whether or not you are a sell-out. The question should be, whether or not you are faithful to God. So if you truly believe that God has placed you at RockHarbor, then God is pleased with that decision.

    Sometimes I wonder if I am a sell-out being at Evergreen SGV instead of a more traditional bilingual Chinese church. Maybe I'm a sell-out for now, but I believe this is where God has called and planted me for now. I suspect that God will call me back to the Chinese church as an English-speaking minister. But for now, I am called to be at the all-English speaking Asian-American community of Evergreen SGV.

  4. randplaty says:

    you really want 100 comments? haha we'll get u there.

  5. Dave Ingland says:

    DJ, the question of being a sellout is actually the foundational issue that causes this to be an issue. Being a sellout was originally used in the context of African-Americans catering to a white America to get ahead. If God truly has life partners picked out for us under the eternal covenant of marriage, then is black American man really a sellout for marrying a white American wife? Therefore, is Francis Chan a sellout because he preaches to a mostly white American congregation and is gaining notoriety speaking to mostly white American conferences?

    I also take a bit of an issue with Caucasian-Americans that believe that hearing Francis Chan speak causes them to know a little more about Asians or Asian culture. The reality is that Francis Chan could be named Francis Smith and have no Asian features and speak using the same words. He really doesn't draw his race or culture into his messages. Therefore, he isn't someone to be looked upon as a window into Chinese culture. No disrespect intended towards anyone, but this is how I see it.

    Francis Chan is being who God created him to be, ministering to those that God called to be in his presence at Cornerstone Community Church, and revealing the truth in the way that only Francis Chan can do so, regardless of his ethnicity. The pulpit isn't reserved for white American pastors, nor are Asian-Americans called only to preach/teach to other Asians.

    If a Christian artist were to stop singing songs about God and Christ and start singing songs about one night stands and murdering people because of what color they were wearing, then I'd say that person was a sellout. In the context of Francis Chan or DJ Chuang, I cringe at even the thought of hearing the word used in a conversation that divides white and non-white people and churches. God has you where you are at for a reason. I'm sure you knew that already 🙂

    Thank you for all you do for the sake of the church and God's kingdom!!!