Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, 3
Our blog-based book discussion of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches is off to a great start! Even though you do not have to have the book to comment, you are encouraged to buy the book to participate in this discussion more deeply and richly.
Now onto Chapter 2, titled Truth-Embodying Households. The chapter challenges churches to be more than truth-knowing or truth-telling; the church must be also truth-living and truth-embodying.
Before we wrestle with this challenging chapter, in last week’s discussion, I asked what the book meant by “Asian American churches.” The “tell” in the book is the wide range of examples cited: the intergenerational ethnic Asian church, the English-speaking pan-Asian church, as well as the Asian-led increasingly-multiethnic church. So, it seems the book is using the umbrella term “Asian American churches” to cover the full spectrum of how Asian Americans from immigrant to indigenous are participating in all kinds of churches where Asians comprise (at least) a majority of the congregational body. Many (most?) Asians in America do not self-identify with the term “Asian American”, but more closely show affinity for their country of origin (i.e. Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) Nevertheless, I think the book does present a broadly pan-Asian perspective applicable to most Asian American contexts, even though every one of the other 30+ some Asian American ethnicities are not specifically mentioned. And, noted, theologically the book stays right-of-center evangelical, and does not specifically address mainline Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox churches.
Discussion questions for Chapter 2:
- One pastor is quoted in this chapter, “There’s a danger especially in Asian American cultures’ emphasis on knowledge. … I’ve seen too many congregations that are solidly committed to right doctrine, doctrinal purity. They know all the doctrine, but it makes no difference in their lives.”
- This chapter itself asks some very pointed questions: Is there a need for ethnic-specific ministries? Where do you find ethnic-specific ministries in the Bible? Isn’t the Asian American church phenomenon a direct result of multiculturalism in ever-secularizing America? Doesn’t the Asian American church inevitably end up focusing on the culture more than the truth of the Bible?
- Can the Church read its Scriptures with any other guiding assumption than that in Jesus Christ, God has himself appeared in human history?