Dropped in for half a day at the Academy of American Religion annual meeting. It’s a very large convention, a joint event with the Society for Biblical Literature, with maybe
20,000 academic types in attendance. That’s the whole population of my hometown!
With sociology of religion and interdisciplinary studies being the hottest thing in academia these days, perhaps also affected by globalization and multiculturalism, this is an elite event for intellectual candy with innumerable sessions of perspectives and theories about religion, sociology, philosophy, history, theology, metaphysics.
I took a train up (and back, same day) for one session on Constructing Asian American Evangelical Theologies. A historic gathering, first of its kind, and wildly popular– standing room only. 4 able and articulate presentations by Young Lee Hertig, Elizabeth Sung, Cat Ngoc Jonathan Tran, and Amos Yong. (No decision yet if these papers will get published or made available.)
Many questions were explored: what is Asian? What is American? What is evangelical? What is theology? Definitions aside, each had a different approach on what method to apply in tackling the questions.
Best sound bite was from Jon Tran: I didn’t know I was Asian American until I went to church!
I think there was a consensus that there needs to be much work done in this arena. Best exhortation from an Asian Catholic respondent: don’t worry about what it is, just do it!
So I find myself in a strange place, again, not finding where I fit. I love ideas, but not enough to have the focus and discipline to thrive in an academic setting. Now, a conference setting, yes, a classroom setting, not so much. Meeting up with old friends and new ones for conversations, love doing that. They call it networking. But can’t figure out how to convert that into a job or career. Enjoyed hangin’ out with Peter Cha, Tim Tseng, Jon Tran.