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Last edited February 18, 2007

China’s newly-rich starting to give generously


CHARITABLE activities, which are encouraged by the teachings of Confucius, have existed in China for centuries within communities, clans, and kinships.

As the country becomes more prosperous and the people become more affluent, there have been an emergence of more philanthropists who provide generous support to charities, social welfare, and education of the people in their clans and counties.

China today, is not only a place where fortunes are being made, but increasingly a place where the wealthy people, including famous tycoons and movie stars, are involved in charitable acts.

According to the 2008 Hurun Philanthropy List in Hurun Report, most of the top 100 philanthropists in China are giving away their wealth to education, social welfare, poverty alleviation, health care, disaster relief, culture and sports, and religion donation.

Most donors contribute to the fields of education, followed by Social welfare, poverty alleviation and health care. Of the top 100 philanthropists last year, 73 gave to education, 48 to social welfare, 29 to poverty alleviation and 25 to health care.

Jet Li: Through his One Foundation he has set a mission to shield billions of disaster-stricken victims in Asia.

The Hurun Report says the country’s top 100 philanthropists have contributed 12.9 billion yuan (US$1.8bil) since 2003.

“From 2003 to 2007, China’s top 100 philanthropists had given 9.5 billion yuan in donations,” it says.

Shanghai-based Hurun Report is the leading media platform for China’s richest individuals, including a quarterly magazine, a fortnightly newsletter and an active event business.

The founder and compiler of the Hurun Report Briton Rupert Hoogewerf established The China Rich List in 1999 with two students from Donghua University in Shanghai, and published the first China Rich List in Forbes magazine.

Li Ka-shing: Regarded as one of Asia’s most generous philanthropists, he has pledged to donate one-third of his fortune to charity and philanthropic projects throughout the world.

“More and more wealthy people are setting up their own charitable funds, and the whole of society have paid more attention to charity,” Hoogewerf, who is also a qualified charted accountant says in the Hurun Report.

The Hurun Report discovered that 66 of the top philanthropists were also ranked China’s 100 wealthiest in 2008.

The average age of the philanthropists list last year was 52, compared with the average age of 48, five years ago.

In 2008, the 86-year-old hotel and real estate entrepreneur in Shenzhen, Yu Pengnian was topping the list for the third year. Yu has endowed his foundation with 3 billion yuan in the past five years to provide cataract operations.

According to the 2008 Hurun Philanthropy List, Yu has donated US$420mil to health and higher education, followed by the chairman of property developer Hopson Development Holdings Ltd Zhu Meng Yi, who donated US$158mil to education and health. Zhu, who is also known as Chu Mang Yee, has a stock of donation worth 1.1 billion yuan in the past five years.

Ranked third on the list, Huang Rulun, chairman of the Jinyuan Hotel Group has given away 850 million yuan since 2003. Last year, Huang donated US$120mil into education, poverty alleviation and disaster relief.

Giving away via foundation

In Hong Kong, the richest businessman Li Ka-shing is regarded as one of Asia’s most generous philanthropists, donating over US$1bil to date to charity and other various philanthropic causes via his Li Ka Shing Foundation and other private charitable Foundations.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation was ranked top seventh wealthiest foundations with the endowment of US$10.1bil.

Li is the richest person of Chinese descent in the world and the eleventh richest man in the world according to Forbes. Up to March 5 last year, Li’s estimated wealth is US$26.5bil.

His donation in 1981 resulted in the founding of Shantou University, near Chaozhou. In 2002, his donation of US$11.5mil to the higher education institution led to the setting up of the Li Ka Shing Library at the Singapore Management University, which was named in his honour.

Thereafter, Li also made some big donations including US$3mil to the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake disaster, US$128mil to the Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong in 2005, US$100mil to Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in the National University of Singapore in 2007, C$25mil to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto to found the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, and most recently, US$3.85mil to aid relief in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Li was born in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China in 1928. The Li family shifted to Hong Kong in 1940 due to the financial turmoil in China.

The family stayed with Li’s wealthy uncle in Hong Kong that time and the arrogance of Li’s uncle with his immense wealth ignited Li’s determination to make a place for himself in the world.

After Li’s father passed away, he was forced to leave school before the age of 15 to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of his family; he worked at a plastic trading company.

With sheer determination and hard work, Li started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries in 1950. Li developed and expanded his company from a plastics maker to a leading real estate investment company in Hong Kong. The company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972.

Today, Li is the chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd and Cheung Kong Holdings. He is now the world’s largest operator of container terminals and the world’s largest health and beauty retailer.

In 2006, Li pledged to donate one-third of his fortune, which is estimated at over US$10bil, to charity and philanthropic projects throughout the world.

Megastar in philanthropy

Besides businessmen, the Chinese Kung Fu movie star Jet Li recently made some headlines in philanthropy with its newly formed One Foundation.

This Beijing-born martial arts champ, who has managed to capture the hearts of both eastern and western martial arts fans, has set a mission to shield billions of disaster stricken victims in Asia.

An unforgettable real-life horror experience has changed him forever. After he was caught up in the devastating tsunami that hit on Dec 26, 2004 when he was on holiday with family in Maldives, he realised that a person’s power and popularity does not help at all when disasters hit.

That’s how Li’s One Foundation was born. On Jan 2, 2005, Li gave away 500,000 yuan for the victims of tsunami and he used another 500,000 yuan to start a foundation.

The One Foundation has its own set of auditors, lawyers and accountants to ensure every cent spent is accountable. It is also managed by a 15-member team.

Li, 45, has taken a year off his acting career to garner contribution towards the fund; since inception, he and his friends have been providing the allocations. The foundation has aided victims in seven natural disasters in Asia, including the Sichuan earthquake and the hurricane in Myanmar.

“I have gone through three steps in my life – martial arts, movies and now, the foundation. This foundation is where my heart is; it is my life, my home, my belief, and my dream. I also need to put China somewhere (in the world of philanthropy),” Li had said.

He has been meeting with many world leaders including Bill Clinton, the princess of Thailand , Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Tony Blair to champion the One Foundation cause. He wants to bring people together for a good cause.

He also roped in over 300 people to help, including some of his friends from the movie world like Jackie Chan and Datuk Michelle Yeoh. Others include businessmen, lawyers, professors and athletes.

“The main focus of the foundation is to provide aid to the people hit by disasters,” he said. The concept behind the foundation is ‘’one person, one dollar, one month.”

This is based on the idea that each person who can, donates one dollar per month and the money will just grow to help others.

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Asian-American Children Are Members of a Diverse and Urban Population - Population Reference Bureau
Asian-American Children Are Members of a Diverse and Urban Population

by Juanita Tamayo Lott

(January 2004) Asians in the Americas date back to the arrival of Chinese and Filipino crews of the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco starting in the 16th century. Many of these sailors jumped ship and migrated north and east to the United States. Some established communities along the Gulf of Mexico, such as the Louisiana Manilamen, which produced over 10 generations of Filipino-American descendants.

Historically, reasons for the migration of Asians to the United States were similar in some ways to those for the Atlantic migration of Europeans — to escape from poverty and civil war and to find employment, opportunity, and freedom. Chinese laborers were recruited to build the transcontinental railroad in the mid-19th century and provide domestic services in cities such as San Francisco. They were followed by the Japanese and Filipinos in the early 20th century who labored in Hawaiian plantations, California farms, and Alaskan canneries. Of these early Asian Americans, only the Japanese were allowed to immigrate as families at the insistence of the Japanese government. For these early generations, Asians in America were largely bachelor communities of temporary sojourners, with male to female ratios as high as 10-to-1. Asian-American children in those early years were rare.

Through 1960, the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos represented the majority of the Asian-American population, but together they were less than half a percent of the U.S. population. Through the 1970 Census, the majority of the Asian-American population was U.S.-born.

Since 1970, the demography of this population has changed tremendously. In 2002, Asian Americans were slightly more than 4 percent of the U.S. population. The growth of the Asian-American population since 1970 is due in great part to the elimination of exclusionary immigration policies that existed before 1965, implementation of new refugee statutes directly flowing from the Vietnam War, and the rise of second and subsequent U.S.-born generations. In 1970, there were 1.5 million Asian Americans counted in the census, compared with the 11.6 million (race alone) to 13.1 million (race alone or in combination) in 2002. Depending on which 2002 numbers are used, this amounts to an eightfold to ninefold increase in little more than 30 years.

The population growth since 1970 has been accompanied by tremendous ethnic diversity due to immigration from many countries in the Asian continent — Korea, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and others. The five largest Asian population groups counted in Census 2000 are shown in this table:

Five Largest Asian Groups in the United States, 2000

Asian GroupRace AloneRace Alone or in Com-bination
Chinese (not including Taiwanese) 2.3 million 2.7 million
Filipino 1.9 million 2.4 million
Asian Indian 1.7 million 1.9 million
Vietnamese 1.1 million 1.2 million
Korean 1.1 million 1.2 million

While the majority of the Asian-American population today is foreign-born, the Asian-American population will eventually shift back to mainly U.S.-born as the children of today's immigrants mature.

In contrast to their predominantly rural U.S. history, Asian Americans are now the most urbanized U.S. population, with about 95 percent living in urban rather than rural residences. Asian Americans continue to be geographically concentrated in the West Coast and Hawaii. More than one-third of single-race Asian Americans (4.1 million) live in California, and an additional 538,000 call Hawaii home, but sizable numbers live in other large states such as New York (1.2 million), Texas (649,000), Illinois (481,000), and Florida (316,000). There are almost 800,000 (single-race) Asians in New York City alone — this is more than twice the number in Los Angeles. Like Latinos, many Asian Americans are also migrating into interior states with growth in the South, Midwest, and mountain regions.

Asian-American children, along with other children of color, are a rapidly growing proportion of all U.S. children. In 1990, there were fewer than 2.0 million Asian-American children under age 18 — 3.1 percent of all children. By 2000, there were between 2.5 million (race alone) and 3.2 million (race alone or in combination) Asian-American children — between 3.4 percent and 4.5 percent of all children (again depending on which number is used for 2000).

Asian-American children are notable in many ways:

  • They are quite diverse by religion, language, and ethnicity.
  • They represent the greatest proportion of children of interracial unions.
  • They reside primarily in urban areas.
  • They live in less-segregated neighborhoods.

A high proportion of Asian-American children live in married-couple families. Thus far, young Asian Americans exhibit strong family ties, including extended and multigenerational families, but some Asian Americans worry that their children will become "Americanized," experiencing higher divorce rates and putting a lower priority on family relationships.

Asian Americans have the dubious distinction of being labeled a "model minority" — based on their stereotype as overachievers and as models to other racial minority groups. The model-minority stereotype is a persistent social issue that has important implications for Asian-American children. First, expectations of all Asian-American children (and adults) are initially higher than for other population groups, and this exacerbates the reality that American children are not all playing on the same level field. Second, many overachieving Asian-American children feel they are never good enough, as the bar for achievement continues to be raised. Third, Asian-American children who do not fit the model-minority stereotype are treated as underachievers, resulting in low self-esteem and self-worth.

At this point in U.S. history, Asian Americans are the most diverse racial/ethnic group in the United States in terms of language, religion, and customs. They are a relatively small proportion of the population, but they have a history of collaboration and coalition work extending from Maui to Manhattan, forming diverse groups at local to international levels.

Juanita Tamayo Lott is author of Asian Americans: From Racial Category to Multiple Identities (Lanham, MD: Alta Mira Press, 1998).

This article is excerpted from the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT Pocket Guide "Asian-American Children: State-Level Measures of Child Well-Being From the 2000 Census," to be published in February 2004. The full text of this publication will be on the foundation's KIDS COUNT website:

Asian American Giving: Young Asian American Philanthropists

Young Asian American Philanthropists

YaapGiving circles are really becoming the new charitable vechicle of choice for Asian America young professionals.  The latest giving circle formed is the Young Asian American Philanthropists (YAAP) giving circle housed at the Asian American Federation (AAF).  According to AAF, the circle was founded by four high school students during a Christmas dinner conversation:

The students were concerned about issues in the Asian American community and wnted to learn how they could help.  YAAP's mission is to enourage the "now generation to help one another and work together collaboratively for the better of mankind."  To achieve this, it would be most productive and effective to gather a close circle of friends, pool monies together, make a contribution, and help the community.

Photo courtesy of Jimi Celeste from Asian American Federation

In a twist, USA's Asians are heading to the Mountain West -
In a twist, USA's Asians are heading to the Mountain West
Updated 7/6/2008 10:12 PM |  Comments 167  |  Recommend 62 E-mail | Save | Print | Reprints & Permissions | Subscribe to stories like this
Pauline Ng Lee and her family moved to Nevada from Los Angeles. This decade, the Asian population has grown at a faster rate than that of the Hispanic population in 14 states including Nevada, Arizona and Texas.
Enlarge image Enlarge By Steve Marcus for USA TODAY
Pauline Ng Lee and her family moved to Nevada from Los Angeles. This decade, the Asian population has grown at a faster rate than that of the Hispanic population in 14 states including Nevada, Arizona and Texas.
By Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY
LAS VEGAS — Dozens of workers line up for a buffet catered by Satay Malaysian Grille, a popular Chinatown eatery here. They carry plates piled high with Asian delicacies to nine rows of long tables facing a dais.

By the time the employees savor mango-sticky-rice treats, their luncheon speakers are introduced: a local TV reporter, a former school administrator, a bank founder, a magazine publisher, a chamber of commerce executive, a local politician.

Only one is Anglo. The rest: Chinese, Japanese, Thai — all Asian Americans.

This event isn't in Las Vegas' Chinatown district but in a meeting room at one of the pillars of the local business establishment: Nevada Power. The lunch, held so the utility's employees could hear voices from the Asian-American community, is a reflection of the explosive growth and rising clout of Asian Americans in Nevada and other inland Western states. They've become a powerful voting bloc that's being wooed by presidential candidates — and an economic force that businesses are catering to.

This decade, the Asian population has grown at a faster rate than that of the Hispanic population in 14 states — including Nevada, Arizona and Texas — as well as Washington, D.C.

In a surprising twist to historical settlement patterns, growing numbers of Asian Americans are beginning to bail from the places that have long been their main gateways to the West: California and Washington. Wearied by the same crushing home prices, poor schools, jammed freeways and persistent crime that have sent millions of other Californians packing, Asian Americans are moving to spots in the West they hope will produce better lifestyles — namely Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The Asian migration is fueling ethnic diversity in places that have been overwhelmingly white. Since 1990, Nevada has had the most rapid growth of any state in the number of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

The number jumped 174% in the 1990s and 67% so far this decade to about 211,000, according to 2007 Census Bureau estimates. Asians now make up about 8.2% of Nevada's 2.6 million people — a higher percentage than the national share of 5.4%. Most live here in Clark County, where Asians are the fastest-growing minority.

Arizona also is registering significant growth among Asians, a trend fueled largely by an exodus from California and Washington. They're leaving for lower cost of living, warm climates and better job markets, a reflection of the migration patterns that have made Nevada and Arizona the nation's fastest-growing states throughout much of the past two decades.

Asians are doing what middle-class whites have been doing for decades: moving to more affordable parts of the West, says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution.

"California is losing Asians, and the main destinations are other states in the Mountain West," he says.

His analysis of Census data shows that since 2001, 86,000 more Asians left California for the inland mountain states than vice versa. "It started with whites, followed by Hispanics, and Asians are now continuing that trend," Frey says. "It means a place like Las Vegas is becoming a microcosm of growing America."

Pauline Ng Lee, a Chinese-American bankruptcy lawyer, moved 10 years ago from Los Angeles' Hollywood Hills section to Summerlin, an upscale community on Las Vegas' west side. "We moved into a neighborhood where more than 60% of the residents were from California, either southern or northern," she says. "We came out for two reasons: My husband had a great opportunity … as a physician, and the cost of living was so much lower."

In the first quarter of this year, for example, the median sales price of existing single-family homes in the Las Vegas area was $247,600, compared with $459,400 in the Los Angeles area, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Visible signs of growth

Ten years ago, Las Vegas' Chinatown was less than three blocks long. Today, it stretches almost four miles along Spring Mountain Boulevard. It's beginning to spread out on either side. Business after business, restaurant after restaurant crowd strip malls and office buildings. Signs in Korean and Chinese adorn the facades. Newspaper racks offer publications in more than a half-dozen Asian languages.

"The traditional Chinatown area is really becoming an integral part of our broader community," says Maureen Peckman, executive director of The Council for a Better Nevada, a group of business and civic leaders concerned with quality-of-life issues. "That's the hallmark of a maturing community."

This neighborhood is one of the most visible signs of growth in the Asian American community here. There are others:

• Construction is scheduled to begin this year on the 180,000-square-foot Asia Town Center. The developers bill it as the Southwest's largest Asian shopping center.

"The fastest-growing demographic is Asian but this town doesn't have a major Asian center," says Chris Hardin, vice president of operations at DFG Development Corp., one of the developers.

The center will feature up to 10 of the West's most prominent Asian retailers. The anchor grocer, Hmart, will occupy 50,000 square feet and sell produce, meats, household wares and prepared foods at low prices.

It will be "like an Asian version of Whole Foods, except with Costco prices," DFG says.

• Las Vegas' first Asian bank opened last summer. Founded by local investors, First Asian Bank targets the financial, cultural and linguistic needs of the entire Asian community. Dee Mallas, owner of a real estate firm and co-owner of a mortgage funding company, is one of the bank's founders. She saw the void in banking services for the Asian community when dealing with Asian buyers.

"I saw the growth and I saw the need, but if you target only Chinese or only Korean, it's not big enough," says Mallas, who is Thai American.

That's why First Asian Bank's two branches cater to all Asian groups. The number "8," a symbol of prosperity, is the first number of the bank's branch numbers and all its customers' account numbers (the Beijing Olympics start on 8/8/08 for the same reason). Two Texas companies have since opened banks in Las Vegas to target the Asian market.

• The Asian Real Estate Association of America opened a Las Vegas chapter last year. John Fukuda, its founding president, is a third-generation Japanese American and another California transplant. A successful Internet entrepreneur, he now owns a mortgage company.

He knew there was a need for such an organization when giant homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. asked for help targeting the Asian market. Relocation directors in pursuit of teachers and doctors also needed their help. "Membership went from eight to 800," he says. "Half of the membership is not Asian."

Real estate agents have organized "fly-and-buys" for Californians, offering them three days and two nights in Vegas to play and check out properties.

• The first national glossy magazine to target all Asian ethnicities is scheduled to be launched from Vegas in September. The monthly AsianAm will sell for $4.50, aim for an initial circulation of 700,000 and try to capture the attention of Asians ages 18 to 34, says Bessy Lee-Oh, CEO and publisher.

"Other magazines are small and niche-targeted or ethnic specific," says Lee-Oh, a Chinese American. "We are neither. We go from business to politics — the entire game. … It was my dream."

• Chinese New Year, on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar (Feb. 7 this year), is now the second-largest draw for casinos here — second only to the conventional New Year's holiday. At least four casinos, including the Gold Coast and Palace Station, have beefed up efforts to target the Asian market year-round.

Most hotels and casinos are careful not to offend Asian sensibilities. Fifteen years ago, when the MGM Grand HotelsCasino opened, guests had to enter through what appeared to be the mouth of a lion, the company's corporate logo. Many Asian patrons were not amused. They considered walking into the mouth of a beast bad luck and avoided the casino. MGM spent millions redesigning the entrance.

•The Asian Bar Association, formed in 2002 by three lawyers, including Lee, now has about 50 active members. "Ten years ago, I was one of the few if not the only Asian practicing regularly in bankruptcy court," says Lee, a Chinese American married to a Korean American.

'Asiatown,' not Chinatown

The influx of Asians has been widely accepted because Las Vegas is accustomed to new arrivals from everywhere, Peckman says. "We have over 7,000 people moving to southern Nevada every month, we add 100 cars to our roads on a daily basis. So, to say the Asian growth is visible, yes, it's visible but so is the growth in so many of our other demographic populations."

Laurie Kruse, 47, moved here from California 20 years ago. She began to see dramatic changes about three years ago in the pews of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Catholic Church she attends. More Filipinos were joining the congregation. Then there was the boom in Chinatown. "It's brought in a great aspect as far as I'm concerned," says Kruse, an administrator. "The way they worship is tremendous. … It's brought a different culture into Las Vegas."

Filipinos are the largest Asian group here, at about 45%. Chinese are the next at 15%, Japanese and Koreans make up 9% each, Asian Indians and Vietnamese represent about 5% each, and other Asians make up 12%.

Because the Asian community is still relatively small in numbers, ethnic divisions are not as distinct as in places such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York.

Although it's officially called Chinatown, "it's really Asiatown," Fukuda says.

"A lot of it has to do with maximizing their political clout," Frey says. "They want to identify themselves as a pan-Asian group rather than segment themselves. … It makes sense for Asians to band together."

California generates more Asian migrants than other states, but they're coming from elsewhere, too.

The owners of Satay Malaysian Grille moved from Seattle. Stan Saito, president of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, is a Japanese American who moved from Texas. Magazine publisher Lee-Oh moved from New York.

Los Angeles banker William Chu was still skeptical, however, when he was approached about heading First Asian Bank a couple of years ago. "Yes, there are a lot of Asians coming in but they're visitors to the Strip, I thought," he says. "Then they drove me around and I said, 'Wow.' "

Chinese-American Chu made the move and now is the bank's president and CEO.

Las Vegas is luring Asians young and old, professional and service workers, native-born Americans and immigrants.

"It's somewhat of a bipolar community," says Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Applied Analysis, a Nevada business research and consulting firm. "There are professionals and those with limited skills."

There could be plenty of jobs for both groups. The first phase of MGM Mirage's CityCenter, a $9.2-billion, 68-acre project, is under construction on the Strip between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo hotels and casinos. It will need 12,500 employees, Aguero says. The Echelon, a $4.8 billion hotel project on 87 acres, is scheduled to open in 2010. It will need 12,000 workers.

"We're just yearning for talented human capital," Peckman says.

Las Vegas Now | I-Team: Asian Population, Culture Skyrockets in Las Vegas
I-Team: Asian Population, Culture Skyrockets in Las Vegas

Updated: July 22, 2008 06:41 PM

"The Asian population is growing tremendously here," said Bessy Lee-Oh.
"The Asian population is growing tremendously here," said Bessy Lee-Oh.
Across town, William Chu is ready for year two in an unique experiment.
Across town, William Chu is ready for year two in an unique experiment.
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From games of chance to games of football -- from the living room to the board room, Las Vegas has a quickly growing group of people influencing us all with a unique culture. The number of Asians in Las Vegas is skyrocketing and shaping the way the valley looks, sounds -- and tastes.

For years, everyone has been tracking the rise of Hispanics. But Asian Americans are living and moving to Las Vegas in record numbers. The lives and lessons we're learning from each other are changing our city in profound ways.

It's the staccato rhythms -- the wood hitting canvas. At the Lohan Shaolin Dance Studio, it's a new world for the faces on the masks -- smiling kids and the faces behind them.

Asian Americans are now the fastest growing group of people in Las Vegas. More than 200,000 strong, making up more than eight percent of Clark County's population -- a faster rate of growth than African Americans and Hispanics, turning conventional wisdom on its head.

When most of us think of Asian culture, this is what comes to mind. The four mile long shopping district called Chinatown. A better name for the area might be Asiantown -- reflecting a change in attitude and understanding.

"The Asian population is growing tremendously here," said Bessy Lee-Oh. She and Duy Nguyen are part of a new brand of business in the valley -- young, Asian and ready to succeed.

"It's time for the community to learn who we are and what we're about," said Nguyen.

Their goal -- and baby -- is Asian AM -- a lifestyle magazine for Asians 18 to 34.

"This has been a dream of mine for over twenty years," said Lee-Oh.

Lee-Oh wants to sell the magazine nationally and use its glossy, splashy pages to introduce other Asians to role models -- real models.

"We open the magazine, and we see someone that we relate to or that looks like us," said Nguyen.

And create a magazine specifically for hip, young Asians, typically a culture all but ignored in traditional media.

"So it's time. It's time that they're written about, they're talked about, they're showcased," said Lee-Oh.

Across town, William Chu is ready for year two in an unique experiment. "So that they can feel more at home and understand a little more about their cultures," he said.

The First Asian Bank of Las Vegas -- for more than a year, it has offered the same services as other banks only in Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Chinese and yes -- English too. Chu says it's about breaking down the walls put up by other banks.

"We're here to offer better service, and you don't have to wait in line and you're not a number," he said.

But if you want a specific number, you can get it in the vault. Each account number starts with the number eight -- a symbolic but smart reference to the luckiest number in Asian culture. One more way to make people feel at home and break stereotypes.

"In particularly Asian communities -- culture, they don't necessarily trust banks," said Chu.

It's just part of the delicate dance for the lions of Lohan school, a cutting edge bank and a magazine ready to hit newsstands.

"The potential is huge," said Lee-Oh.

A growing group, a proud culture, kids with smiles again -- with many more smiles to come. Asian AM plans to go national in October. The First Asian Bank has plans for expansion in the near future.

Back to that eight as the luckiest number issue, here at Eyewitness News, or Channel 8 on your dial at home -- maybe it's ancient cultural wisdom. Maybe we're just ahead of the curve.

Bad Medicine

We have long heard of the so-called “bamboo ceiling” in the field of business — Asian American employees who are held back from career advancement because they are perceived by their white superiors as timid, passive, and lacking the aggressive qualities that white America deems necessary to become a leader. Language skills are also a factor in this barrier to promotion: white executives believe, whether accurately or not, that Asian employees lack the communication abilities to effectively represent the company and work with clients at the highest levels.

Now comes word that our cultural differences may also be a hindrance to advancement in the halls of both medical schools and hospitals during hands-on training for medical students known as clinical clerkships.

As Rex Feng reports in this issue, the Journal of the National Medical Association published a study in October showing that Asian American medical students, among other minorities, reported lower overall grades than whites. According to report co-author Katherine B. Lee, who is also national president of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, Asian American medical students may receive lower grades not because of academic ability, but because their culturally based styles of communication come across negatively in a classroom or clerkship environment. The study indicates that white medical students may receive higher grades from observing physicians because they are more assertive than their minority classmates; Asian American students scored lower on assertiveness than their white counterparts.

The study’s findings are distressing, but we should not necessarily have to give up our culturally ingrained behaviors to get ahead in this country, whether it be in medical school, business or any other field. Though we may not be as brash, aggressive, boastful and cutthroat as others, we should not be so quick to give up our cultural traits. We should take pride in our sometimes quiet, patient, respectful ways. And though we may speak with an accent or not be a native English speaker, we can still be highly capable doctors.

We realize that compromise is inevitable in this situation, but we should not be the only ones to adjust our behavior; supervisors should broaden their definition of what a successful doctor or leader is, acknowledging our culturally driven modes of communication and behavior.

Food for Thought

January 27, 2008

Food is one of the ways we consume different cultures. Even if we can’t find a country on a map, when we eat its cuisine, we presume to know it and its people and way of life a little bit better.

As Eunice Lee reports in this issue, Sorabol Korean BBQ & Asian Noodles is quickly joining Hot Dog on a Stick and Sbarro as a common sight in that most American of dining locales: the shopping mall food court.

With 15 locations in California, Nevada and the Philippines, and plans to expand to Washington, D.C., Seattle and New York City, this family-owned chain is spreading Korean dishes to the hungry, shopped-out mainstream masses and challenging Panda Express in its domination of Asian food court fare.

As the first Korean fast-food chain in the United States, Sorabol is not only bringing Korean cuisine to mainstream consumers — it’s broadening their cultural palate beyond sushi and orange chicken. “People are realizing that there is more to Asian cuisine than Chinese and Japanese,” said CEO Richard Hong, son of the Korean immigrant founders.

What’s more, the company refuses to “Americanize” its menu for the notoriously finicky, white American palate, or tone down dishes that can send even the spiciest-food lovers gasping for water. At Sorabol, you can not only find typical Korean BBQ fare like bulgogi and kalbi, but also traditional dishes like the spicy soup yukejang, as well as dishes that challenge the palate like the spicy tofu stew soon dubu.

What was once a sit-down restaurant and meeting place for Bay Area Koreans has now transformed into a quick and enjoyable bite of Korean culture for all. In these ways, Sorabol is a model of how Asian culture (via its cuisine) can infiltrate mainstream American society without compromising. Like its name, which is an allusion to what was once the flourishing capital of the Shilla Dynasty in Korea, Sorabol may be a harbinger of a modern-day golden age: The day when one’s options at the food court include pho, balut and natto may not be so far away. After all, they say the way to the heart is through one’s stomach.

Asian American Eats

March 9, 2008

Did you know that in the United States, there are more Chinese restaurants than all the McDonald’s, Burger Kings and KFCs combined?

This may be less surprising to you if you live in the Bay Area, where one can find delicious Asian hole-in-the-walls on practically every block. To help you sort through the overwhelming number of options in the area, we welcome back in this issue one of the only all-Asian restaurant review features in the country — Asian Eats (previously The Picky Eater).

Giving, the Asian Way

March 23, 2008

In Asian cultures, money is not something spoken about or dealt with in the open. It’s discussed at the family dinner table or whispered about over drinks.

Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that Asian American philanthropy is somewhat hidden in the community. Unlike the Andrew Carnegies, Warren Buffetts, and the Bill and Melinda Gates — deep-pocketed moguls who are figureheads for philanthropy — Asian American philanthropists are virtually invisible.

But that’s not to say they don’t exist. They do — in family associations in Chinatown alleys, in community center rec rooms, and in kitchens and living rooms in Asian American households across the country.

As Emily Leach reports in this issue, Asian American philanthropic groups based on traditional Asian forms of giving are now hoping to bridge the gap between Western-style philanthropy (large endowments or donations to institutions like universities, museums and libraries) and Asian concepts of philanthropy (small-scale giving between families or relatives, often newly arrived immigrants).

Groups like the Asian Women Giving Circle, modeled after the Korean geh, or shared savings circles where contributors regularly pool their money and then rotate its distribution amongst members, are giving support to those in our community who need it most. According to a June 2007 study by the group, the Asian American Pacific Islander population has grown to comprise 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, yet 2004 foundation funding to APIs represented just 0.4 percent of all U.S. foundation dollars. That’s less than half of one percent.

We applaud groups like the Asian Women Giving Circle for encouraging giving from the Asian American community to the Asian American community. Many Asian American groups facilitate giving between community members, yet fall far outside the traditional definition of philanthropy and below the radar of the mainstream. We salute these groups who are helping our community’s economic engine run — our way.

In the words of Peggy Saika, president and executive director of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy: “It’s an empowerment track for us. It’s us raising our own money and deciding where that money should go. We must change the culture and the practice of giving in our communities.”

Unified From Top to Bottom

April 1, 2008

The belief that Asian Americans are a successful group in the United States is no myth. We have an annual household income and education level greater than the national average. We even built an era: the “Information Age.”

Although we have battled adversity time and time again in the form of racism, hatred and negative public sentiment, in addition to social, economic and political inequity, we are still here. We thrive. We are resilient.

But on our way to the top, we should not forget those at the bottom. The rules of American society ensure that success comes easier to some than to others. The story of Chol Soo Lee — a wrongfully imprisoned Korean American man, who at the same time is not innocent — is a vivid illustration of this.

But we are all a part of the same community. We can’t praise our successful heroes and then ignore those who are experiencing difficult times.

For the Asian Americans living in poverty and those who make up the seven percent who are incarcerated in the United States, success is seen in a different light. We should not take our successes for granted. Rather, we should savor every accomplishment and be reminded of stories like Lee’s in hopes to extend our support to those who need it most in our community.

One Asian American organization in Boston, Asian Sisters Participating In Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE), makes sure of that conversion. By empowering the young women of the Asian American community as leaders, we have more control of our community, identities and, most importantly, our destinies.

So let us savor our successes by taking ownership of it as a community but, at the same time, be reminded that we can use them to empower those in need.

Thomas Tseng: When it comes to communicating to Asian-American women, you really have to start by thinking about two distinct segments: immigrant Asian women born outside the U.S. and U.S.-born Asian-Americans or those who are predominantly raised in this country (what we call the “1.5 generation”).

For the former – women who emigrated from all parts of Asia, including mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, India, etc. – linguistic preferences and reference points are firmly embedded in the cultural norms and traditions of their home countries. However, in our research, we've learned that immigrant Asian women also tend to be much more socially and culturally malleable than immigrant Asian males. Many immigrant women arriving in the U.S. enjoy much greater freedom from their traditional roles and often adjust better, and acculturate faster, than their male counterparts. They become more adept at English, take on breadwinning roles, achieve a certain stature outside the home, and often become the de facto cultural navigator for their household – at least until their U.S.-born children come of age. You could say that many jump headfirst into American culture with a relish. Nevertheless, they still adhere firmly to certain beliefs and attitudes from their upbringing.

Those born or raised in the U.S. are completely different. It's a group that grew up in two worlds – the immigrant world inside their parents' household and the American one that they experienced at school, work and other social situations. It's a group that is driven by very similar motivations as other women in the general public – a balance of personal and professional ambitions. It's also a group that is English-fluent, if not completely English-dominant. The type of communications and messaging that will resonate will be those in English – but they will resonate more so if the women's identity and unique cultural experiences are included.

Tseng: Younger Asian-American women – those that are Gen X or Millenials, in particular – are embracing the new media just like the general market is, if not more so. We already know – and there's a ton of supporting data for this – that Asian-American households are highly “wired.” When it comes to in-home online access, use of PDAs and adoption of new technologies, many Asian-Americans are ahead of the curve. On social networking sites like MySpace, Xanga, and Facebook, Asian-Americans are probably even over-represented in their numbers proportional to the population. Some of this influence comes from Asia, where you have the phenomena of Korea's “thumb generation,” online tomes to fictional manga (comics) or anime (animated film) characters in Japan, entire published books that reside on blogs but are written on cell phones, and a boatload of confessional diaries.
‘Invisible’ Minority More American Than First Glance Suggests : AsianWeek

‘Invisible’ Minority More American Than First Glance Suggests

November 18, 2008 

As we prepare to usher in a new year and the newest crop of autos, we asked Thomas Tseng, a principal and co-founder of New American Dimensions, a Los Angeles-based multicultural marketing research organization, to discuss winning in the Asian American market.

Q: Tell us about the Asian American automobile market. Why should automakers care about Asian consumers?
A: The Asian American market, from an automotive perspective, is one of the most lucrative, but “hidden” consumer markets in the U.S. It’s already well established that Asian Americans have the country’s highest per capita income figures in the U.S., with strong purchasing power for upscale, luxury brands and products.
What’s often not as well understood or highlighted is the strong affinity many Asian Americans have for the automobile itself — particularly Japanese or European imports. For many Asian immigrants, among the many symbols that they have “made it” in the U.S. — in addition to homeownership, successful business, children’s higher education, etc. — a luxury automobile is a major emblem. This affinity is passed along to the second generation as well.

Q: How important is in-language marketing?

A: In-language advertising is important for a big chunk of the U.S. Asian market, but I also think it’s overplayed. For many auto manufacturers who want to successfully capitalize on this consumer, it’s important to contend with the 58 percent of the U.S. Asian population who are born outside the U.S. This is where there’s a lot of opportunity right now, it’s a group in their peak spending years — many who are Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and retirees. But when you look more closely at this 58 percent, it’s not as straightforward. First, there is the fact that you have a myriad of language groups — Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc. — so which target are you going to go after? Secondly, there’s a chunk of this 58 percent who arrived to the U.S. at a young age. So, culturally and linguistically, they may be more American than their birthplace suggests. To me, the biggest untapped opportunity are the 42 percent of the U.S. Asian market that is U.S. born — and linguistically, they overwhelmingly favor English — so they’re not watching KSCI or reading the World Journal. This is a segment made up largely of Millennials and Gen Xers, and they’re the ones who are increasingly shaping the marketplace.

Q: How can automakers better understand the market?
A: I think there’s a lot of information out there already via public census sources. So that’s the first step: culling together the profile of consumers and using that as a baseline to see where the opportunities are for automotive marketers.
The second step is to conduct some research (I’m obviously biased since that’s what we do) to answer some of those questions that aren’t attainable through census data. This will provide a strategic footing for the company. The final step is deciding whether to hire an (ad) agency or not. I can go a long time on whether Asian ad agencies offer any value or not but will save that for a future discussion. The short answer is: “It depends.”

Q: Where is the market going?
A: As I alluded, I see the market increasingly being shaped by younger consumers (and that’s not to say that there isn’t a major opportunity among the older segments). But in terms of starting trends and shaping attitudes, it’s the younger segments that will increasingly dictate how automakers should respond. There are a lot of macro-trends going on with this segment, too. It’s the D.I.Y. [do-it-yourself] ethos, the integration of car culture with lifestyle, the intersection of music, technology and driving — and numerous others too rich to detail here. And it’s all in a state of constant change, too.

Q: How do companies figure out where the market’s going?

A: Here I’m going to contradict myself a little. Research is a first step, but it’s not going to answer everything. I think more than anything, automakers and auto marketers need to immerse themselves in the culture of the consumers. There are networks of auto affinity groups, for instance (the youth import car culture is one of those), that those in the industry really need to be tracking, because many of the future trends in autos are incubated in these networks. And for the Asian consumer market, these networks are going to look very different than the general market.

Q: What do auto companies need to do if they want to reach the Asian market?

A: The first step is that there needs to be the recognition on the part of auto manufacturers that the U.S. Asian market is a legitimate, viable consumer base. That’s the first step, and it usually doesn’t happen unless there is a consumer advocate within the car companies who recognizes the opportunity. Once that’s been established, then some cultural immersion is required. Research, discussion with the cultural experts, etc., is all part of the due diligence required, even before a manufacturer commits to an advertising communications agency. (Ed. Note: See what Chrysler has done, page 9.)

Q: What do you drive?
A: When I turned in my leased Volvo XC90 this past summer, I wanted an upscale SUV but was seeking something a bit more environmentally friendly (befitting my California liberal sensibilities) and fuel efficient. So that narrowed my choices to the Lexus RX 400h hybrid — sensible, low-maintenance, practical but with all the amenities reflecting my professional background and standing. Believe me, I really wanted a Porsche Cayenne but couldn’t justify it at the end. Plus, my wife was dead set against it. Maybe if they had marketed to me, it would have put me over the tipping point.

Asian American Geniuses

October 19, 2007

Among the 24 recently announced 2007 MacArthur fellows, we are proud to see a number of Asian Americans, in fields as disparate as dance, chemistry, spider silk biology and neurorobotics (involving the central nervous system and robot technology!).

The fellowships, known colloquially as the “genius grants,” are awarded for creativity, originality and potential for important future contributions to society and include a $500,000 “no strings attached” grant to grease the fellows’ creativity wheels.

Who would have guessed that after first arriving on America’s shores to work as railroad laborers, laundry workers and farmers, Asian Americans would be making inroads in such cutting-edge areas and considered among the most innovative and forward-thinking in the country?

Former MacArthur fellows include writers Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Ved Mehta and Han Ong; composer Bright Sheng; sculptor Sarah Sze; translator Huynh Sanh Thông; ethnomusicologist Sam-Ang Sam; human rights activist Xiao Qiang; public health doctor Jim Kim, and Asian Pacific American Legal Center lawyers Stewart Kwoh and Julie Su.

Among this year’s crop is My Hang Huynh, a chemist at Los Alamos working on making explosives less toxic. Biologist Cheryl Hayashi studies the composition of spider silk and how we can emulate its structure in other materials. Yoky Matsuoka is a pioneer in the coordination of the central nervous system and robotic technology to aid people with physical disabilities. Choreographer Shen Wei combines Eastern and Western influences to create dramatic dance-theater.

As Vivien Hao reports in this issue, the Asian American MacArthur fellows are far from dutiful yes-men: they are risk takers committed to following their hearts wherever they lead, qualities that are sadly not typically associated with or fostered among Asian Americans.

We must encourage each other, and especially our youth, to pursue interests and dreams, no matter what field they may be in. You never know where that spark of curiosity will lead — that kid obsessed with spiders just may grow up to be a genius.

On the Job With Asian American Professionals : AsianWeek

On the Job With Asian American Professionals

September 19, 2008

Asian American employees are stereotyped as passive, unwilling to participate in organized activities and apathetic about doing what it takes to get promoted. They are the overworked, underpaid, under-respected workhorses who toil away and then cross their fingers when eligible for a promotion. They can’t be bothered, the stereotype goes, with connecting with other Asians in our company or lobbying for more Asians to be hired or put in the pipeline for management positions.

But a closer look shows that Asian Americans are indeed active in professional career development, from the thriving Asian employee networks and leadership programs to professional associations. AsianWeek lists almost 40 of the most prominent Asian employee groups from companies across the United States in a special section in this issue, and it is not a comprehensive list by far.

The American tendency is to organize around play or politics. But this passion among Asian American professionals for career development and engaging with our colleagues is perhaps an extension of our community’s high concern for raising a family and cultivating a stable job. Strong ties to the Asian American community may also play a role, and many of these employee groups have demonstrated a dedication to serving this community, donating time and money to causes like Sichuan earthquake relief, local scholarships for Asian American students and Project Michelle, an effort to increase the number of Asian American bone marrow donors.

Inspired by employee resource groups like the Corporate Asian American Employee Network (CAAEN) and Wells Fargo’s Asian Connection, AsianWeek has even started its own organization—the Fabulous AsianWeek Contributors and Employees (F.A.C.E.) to outreach and network with other Asian American associations, recognize and appreciate employee’s successes, construct and strengthen work relationships, provide services that give back to the community and embrace and share our Asian cultural heritage.

Today in a multicultural and global job market, it is important for Asian Americans to learn to embrace their heritage and identity to further themselves in their professional careers. One way to do this is to join your company’s Asian employee resource group.

Why Asians Speak English

August 29, 2008

The Beijing Olympics in China reminded the world that Asia is overtaking Western nations in everything from Olympic gold medals to economic growth. But it took test scores from kindergarten through 12th grade students in California to remind us that Asians are also overtaking usage of the English language.

Grace Tzeng reports in this issue that California Standards testing results show Asian students score higher in both English and math than all other students—including white students.

And whereas these kinds of statistics too often feed into the model minority stereotype, they really point out something quite different.

The use of English among Asian Americans reflects a bicultural nature that combines traditional Asian characteristics with modern Western practices.

And it’s not just happening with Asians in America. English is an official language of India and the Philippines, and some estimates say there are more English speakers in China than the entire adult population of the United States.

A 2006 British study found 450 million native English speakers around the world. But as many as a billion people, mostly from China and India, were learning English as their second language.

“Asia, especially India and China, probably holds the key to the long-term future of English as a global language,” the report called “English Next” concluded. (Maybe this is what the LPGA was thinking this week when they required all players to speak English.)

Asians in America are learning English for the same reason. It’s not a matter of trying to become like “honorary whites.” It’s a matter of adopting the most effective means of communication to add to our upbringing in Asian heritage and culture.

New research being conducted by Professor Larry Shinagawa at the University of Maryland proves this point. The Asian Americans that attain the highest levels of achievement—in everything from education to income to housing—are those APAs that exhibit bicultural attributes.

Asian Americans who reflect only modern American traits like individualism and consumerism do not do as well. Conversely, Asian Americans who do not go beyond their Asian ethnic enclaves and old traditions also do not do as well.

The group that excels most, and lays out the road map for future progress, is made up of those combining both cultures—Asian and American.

Asian American Studies Now

April 15, 2008

Like volcanoes awaking from their dormant state, Asian Americans are again shaking the foundations of educational institutions across America. But this time around, the eruptions are closer to the rising sun.

It’s been a long time since we stood hand in hand with our African American, Native American and Chicano brothers and sisters in the Third World Liberation Front and the fight for ethnic studies. More than 20 years have passed since the last real struggle for dramatic change for people of color in American higher education.

The difficult digestion and, in many cases, outright rejection of establishing an Asian American studies department by both public and private American universities is part of the cultural, social, political and economic context in which Asian Americans live. It’s almost as if these institutions don’t want to understand us, and even perhaps feel more comfortable retaining their stereotypes. Mia Tuan’s book exposes how Asian Americans are labeled as either “Perpetual Foreigners” or “Honorary Whites,” with no middle ground. Well, the reality is that we must be understood as Americans who also have a rich Asian heritage and an important Asian community.

We’re ready for the standard retort — “There isn’t a white studies department, and we aren’t crying about it. Why are you?” — for everything in the American curriculum is already tagged with an invisible label. From (white) history to (white) literature, this lopsided education is sometimes not apparent even to communities of color. It is only through an ethnic studies curriculum that all students (white and colored) are able to realize the real and complete history of America.

As Santi Suthinithet and Lisa Leong report in this issue, Asian American youth on the East Coast are becoming more restless as they hunger to learn a history that includes their own. And why not? Certainly Asian and Pacific Islanders have contributed to building this country from the railroads to the Hawaiian plantations. Today, more than ever, we need to learn from the demonstrated successes and creativity of Asian Pacific Americans to jumpstart our economy and improve our global standing.

Only with a legitimate academic department for Asian American studies will ALL Americans be able to fully understand who we were, who we are and what we can become. Enough lip service: Asian American studies now.

Asian American Heroes

May 25, 2008

Strutting down his platoon of soldiers, an Army lieutenant flashes a photo in their faces. “This is what the enemy looks like,” he explains with conviction. Amidst the growing sound of snickers, the soldiers turn their heads to a small group of Asians hidden in the ranks. Their eyes dissect their confidence. Their glares doubt their loyalty. They wonder if they are the enemy. The Asians, too, wonder.

Asian American history tells this story time and time again. From Chinese, Filipinos and Japanese in the first half of the 20th century to Vietnamese, Koreans and Middle Easterners in more recent decades, Asian American servicemen and women have stood in the face of questions of allegiance, and at the center of the issues that divide our community into pro- or anti-war, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. Loaded questions linger: How can you be loyal to a country that is not loyal to you? Why don’t you appreciate the freedoms and liberties the U.S. military provides? Why are you willing to die for a country that has probably killed your ancestors? How can you call yourself an American without being patriotic?

These dangerous oversimplifications create animosity within our community, and the unique lives, experiences and circumstances of the individual military servicemen and women are lost.

In hopes of focusing more on the Asian American military experience, Peter Swing profiles in this issue a young Air Force commander stationed in South Carolina, Major Seung Paik. Born in South Korea and raised in Chicago, his successes have paved the way for aspiring Asian American military officers to come. In the same light, but in an extremely different time period, Emil Guillermo discusses his thoughts on S. 1315 and why the benefits of Filipino War veterans haven’t already been paid.

In the spirit of the Memorial Day holiday, let us be reminded of the courage that these men and women endure during difficult times and adversity. We acknowledge their contributions and honor their oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” — even when it means that they themselves may be questioned.

The Asian Women Giving Circle

March 23, 2008

New York City women ‘geh-t’ together to give big

The smallest piece of the pie, the least amount of visibility and little financial support are all terms that describe the Asian Pacific Islander nonprofit sector — but Hali Lee and her organization, the Asian Women Giving Circle, are working to change that.

Lee modeled the Giving Circle after the Korean geh, or shared savings circles where members (all women in Lee’s case) raise funds from their contacts and their own wallets for grant-making purposes. “Generally they’re social groups and you have fun,” said Lee, adding that her parents were in a geh in Kansas City and that she was in a geh in New York City. “You get together once a month for dinner or lunch, and then you put some money into a pot. A geh is a way to get seed money to start a business. I took the idea of a geh and added a philanthropic twist.”

In two years, the 20 women of New York City’s Asian Women Giving Circle have raised $130,000 for local Asian women who use the arts to further a social justice goal. More than 100 people put money into the pot last year, and now in their third cycle, they hope to see the same success.

The Asian Women Giving Circle is one of very few Asian American philanthropic groups and the only pan-Asian, all-women philanthropic group in the nation. “And I think one day we can grow to be a national Asian women organization,” Lee said.

Asian Americans are just beginning to flex their philanthropic muscle, fulfilling needs in the community left from the gap in national funding. According to a June 2007 study by the group, the Asian American Pacific Islander population has grown to comprise 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, yet 2004 foundation funding to APIs represented just 0.4 percent of all U.S. foundation dollars.

Asian American nonprofits and agencies suffer more acutely from lack of funding than other groups. For example, local AAPI-led organizations that stepped in to provide culturally competent services following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, particularly to the Vietnamese community, continue to have ongoing struggles to access funding, according to a recent study by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.

With less than 1 percent of all national philanthropic dollars going to Asian American Pacific Islander organizations, small local groups of Asian American donors like the Asian Women Giving Circle have a great impact on the fiscal health of the community.

“Really, it’s an empowerment track for us. It’s us raising our own money and deciding where that money should go,” said Peggy Saika, president/executive director of AAPIP, in a video about the group’s giving circle work on YouTube. “We must change the culture and the practice of giving in our communities.”

According to Jessica Chao, a consultant in program and institutional management planning and design for private foundations and nonprofits, “The most frequent answer to questions about why Asian Americans have given time or money is that giving is done out of a sense of duty and obligation to one’s family, community and society.” Informal giving is more related to close family and social circles for Asian Americans, Chao said.

Though giving circles are on the rise across the country, there is still no central fund for Asian Americans, and Asian American donors lack visibility. Part of this is because most Asian American donations — instead of going to high-visibility causes like museums or libraries — tend to help new immigrants transition successfully to living in the United States. Giving also stays insular within the specific ethnic community that the donor participates in most actively, such as Vietnamese or Chinese; pan-Asian American funds are rare.

Besides supporting Asian American women in the arts, Lee said one of the main impetuses behind the group was raising the visibility of Asian women doing philanthropic work. “Of the stereotypical images of women in the media, there is not one of being philanthropic and doing good,” Lee said. “Equally important to me is raising the visibility of Asian American women giving together.”

More information on the Asian Women Giving Circle is available at

More information on AAPIP is available at

To Our Readers

December 31, 2008

AsianWeek has played a long and significant role in helping develop Asian Pacific America, from publishing the first 1980 U.S. Census data on Asian and Pacific Islanders Americans to co-publishing the most comprehensive textbook analyzing 2000 Census data with UCLA.

AsianWeek has also changed itself to keep up with the rapidly evolving Asian American community. This includes the relaunching of, as the largest Asian American news site, using the newest delivery tools for electronic media. We also have worked to bring together the increasingly diverse segments of the Asian Pacific American community, organizing events like the Asian Heritage Street Celebration and community-wide campaigns like the San Francisco Hep B Free initiative. Our news focus has shifted in turn to reflect the growing focus of Asian Pacific Americans on their own career as well as their professional and business development. We are also producing more special newspaper sections around issues as diverse as heritage, health issues and car reviews.

The economy and the news business have experienced their own changes. There are fewer major newspapers, fewer newspaper readers and fewer newspaper advertisers than ever before. A faltering economy has accelerated the decline. Meanwhile, Asian Pacific Americans have led the way in the digital revolution, migrating away from print media and into receiving their news and information electronically.

To reflect these changing times, AsianWeek will cease regular newspaper publication immediately. We will continue to publish online and in special newspaper editions. Electronic versions of AsianWeek articles will be available free via email. We will also be more active than ever in the community, helping Asian Pacific America to grow, evolve and reach its full potential. We appreciate the support the community has given us over the last three decades and look forward to giving back to the community for many decades to come.

James Fang Ted Fang
President Editor and Publisher

We Can Help Ourselves

December 5, 2008

The notion that Chinese Americans — the largest Asian minority group in the nation, representing approximately 25 percent of our community — are a homogeneous and monolithic entity has now been shattered thanks to a recently released study entitled, A Portrait of Chinese Americans.

Conducted by Dr. Larry Shinagawa, principal investigator and director of the University of Maryland’s Asian American Studies Program, the study is vital in that it portrays the Chinese American community as diverse and bimodal in many of their socioeconomic characteristics.

Though Chinese Americans possess a shared ancestry, members belong to both sides of the spectrum — in terms of their residential pattern (living uptown vs. downtown), education (college degree vs. less than a high school degree), industry (food service vs. scientific/ management), income (poor vs. rich) and generation (foreign raised vs. U.S. raised).

This discrepancy was clearly reflected in the attendees of the Dec. 3 press conference, in which the university and Organization of Chinese Americans held to announce the detailed report. The audience ranged from employees of local Chinatown non-profits to real estate professionals and employees of large corporations and pharmaceutical companies.

Despite these social differences, the Chinese American community remains strong to our cultural values and roots, typically acting as one united family and often partnering and standing up for one another.

Gazing Into A Post-Ethnic Future |

Gazing Into A Post-Ethnic Future

by Thomas Tseng 08/21/2008

Last week’s updated Census projections showing whites becoming a minority by 2042 – far more rapidly than previous estimates – is sure to turn up the heat in some quarters of American society. While it no doubt re-ignites predictable dooms-day scenarios among anti-immigration activists who warn about the “death of the West” and the gradual erosion of American values, it may also give some average Americans pause as well.

Why? Because when one envisages the average American, it is highly likely they are picturing someone with Anglo features rather than one with the skin tones and hues of Hispanics, Asians, or some exotic admixture of different ethnicities. Even as the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama and the rising global prominence of star athletes like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James at this year’s Olympics are changing these perceptions, all-American looks, for the most part, is still equated with ‘white’ for most people around the world.

And who is to argue? After all, approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population is currently white. But according to new Census Bureau figures, this image is set to undergo a fundamental makeover in just a single generation. To summarize:

• By 2050, whites will decline to just 46 percent of the U.S. population. At that time, they will also constitute the vast majority of persons over the age of 85 years — a population that is set to triple to 19 million. Demographers refer to this as the “graying of America.”

• At the same time, the “browning of America” is marching forward in full force. Both Hispanics and Asians are scheduled to double their share of the population by mid-century — up to 30 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively. A majority of that share in growth will originate from births, and not immigration.

• These two countervailing forces — “graying” and “browning” of the country — are impelled by widely disparate fertility levels between whites on the one hand, and Hispanics on the other. While the average American white woman is now producing 1.8 children — a steadily declining figure over the past two decades — the average fertility rate for Hispanic women is 2.3.

It would be unwise to jump to too many firm conclusions based on these figures — especially if one underestimates the power and role of assimilation. Historically, numerous forecasters, pundits, and commentators have made the error of adhering to a fixed, static notion of culture. Benjamin Franklin once famously warned that German immigrants threatened to turn Pennsylvania into “a colony of aliens" and cautioned they would “never adopt our language or customs, any more than they can adopt our complexion." Likewise, an annual report written in 1892 from the U.S. Superintendent’s Office of Immigration cautioned that rising immigration levels would bring about “an enormous influx of foreigners unacquainted with our languages and customs,” thereby forming a “new undesirable class.”

Of course the Jews, Italians, Irish and Germans who comprised the “third great wave of immigration” at the turn of the 20th century did not develop into America’s underbelly as predicted. On the contrary, most of them eventually weaved into the fabric of mainstream society—epitomizing the famous metaphor used to describe their integration: the American “melting pot”.

Moreover, immigration projections themselves are often based on precarious assumptions, many of which do not account for the malleability of culture, particularly when it faces the compelling force of assimilation. To illustrate, back in 1990, California’s demographers forecasted a major population surge due to assumptions made about Hispanic immigration and birthrates. At the time, the fertility rate for Latina women in the Golden State was 3.4 babies.

By 2005, actual population figures demonstrated the state had grossly miscalculated its population estimates. The state’s bean counters had wrongly assumed that high birthrates among Latina mothers would continue to persist across generations. But they didn’t. Fertility rates dropped to 2.6 babies overall among Latina moms. Declines in fertility rates were a direct result of acculturation: as Hispanic women acculturated, they began to adopt upwardly mobile lifestyles that reflected their increasingly mainstream attitudes. For many second-generation Hispanic women, rearing many children simply did not fit into the lifestyles they aspired to have.

In study after study, the data tracking of immigrants show that the longer they remain in the U.S., the better they do economically. Unemployment levels drop dramatically while income earnings increase considerably the longer immigrants have been in the country.

Nevertheless, the true gauge of immigration’s genuine impact is generational — it rests among the children and offspring of immigrants themselves. Historian Oscar Handlin once wrote: “the history of America is the history of immigrants’ children.” A study by the Rand Corporation in 2005 showed that educational progress among three generations of Mexican Americans — from the first generation immigrant all the way to their grandchildren — gradually increases with each succeeding generation group. This progress is the same or greater than those achievements made by those previous European immigrants who came to the U.S. during the early 20th century.

These results are supported by the research conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center. According to Jeffrey Passel, a researcher at the institute, "We have a tendency to romanticize the experience of past immigrants. Yes, there was progress. But the real progress came with their children and grandchildren."

In light of last week’s new revised Census forecast, what are we to gain from all this? Just that despite the fact the “average” American may have a much different “look” or physical appearance in 2042, they will still be firmly, recognizably — and very proudly — American.

Thomas Tseng is Principal and Co-Founder of New American Dimensions, a market research and consulting agency based in Los Angeles.

Features of the Korean Church that can Contribute to the Ecumenical Movement in the 21st Century 

Rev. Dr. Byung-Joon Chung 

The term, "the most regional is the most universal" probably best describes the methodology of this paper. Being regional without acquiring a universality can easily fall prey to provincialism. On the other hand, universality that cannot obtain regional consent can become a hegemonic ideology. In this respect, this paper seeks to identify the regional features of the Korean church that can be considered as universal in nature and ecumenical in scope.  

1. The Korean Church has a strong local-centeredness in its orientation. It is difficult for the Korean Church to engage in ecumenism through a strong centralized institution. The experiences of the Korean Church are different from the Western churches, who have a history of being established traditions within a given geographical area. The local church in Korea functions simultaneously as a worship community, a missionary body and an educational community. Although this feature of the local church does not seem ecumenical their dynamic energy can be a powerful strength when utilized ecumenically. Therefore, it is important for the ecumenical leaders and activists, both inside and outside of Korea, to find creative ways of guiding this energy in an ecumenical direction.

2. The Korean Christians are deeply committed and strongly devoted to their local church community. They naturally accept that giving weekly offerings, faithful tithing, and contributing financially to the work of the local church is a Christian duty that they must perform and also a token of their faith in God. However, their devotion is narrowly confined to their local church. One of the ecumenical tasks that we face is to help the Christians broaden their sense of duty so that it encompasses the ecumenical church, spiritually and financially.  

3. The missionary passion of the Korean Church can become a positive resource for revitalizing the ecumenical movement if it can be directed appropriately. Most Korean Christians learn early that sending missionaries to complete the Great Commission of Jesus Christ is their responsibility. As a result, their passion for mission is strong but sometimes results in triumphalistic enthusiasm. The Korean Protestant churches have faced intense criticism from society since last year's hostage crisis in Afghanistan. Many Korean churches are rethinking how to do mission.  

There are some positive elements for the ecumenical movement coming from Korean mission work. For instance, there is a Korean missionary working with the homeless in Poland who had originally gone to work with Polish workers for the Daewoo automobile factory. Another missionary, Yang, from the Hapdong Presbyterian Church is doing excellent work with Yugoslavian refugees in Greece. In addition, many Korean missionaries are getting involved in diaconal work, regardless of their theological colour.  

We should open up new ways that local Korean churches can experience various ecumenical mission fields and open their eyes to new possibilities. In this respect, many case studies on mission fields and experience enlargement through ecumenical exchange is needed.  

4. The Korean Church has a strong diaconal tradition. During the 1970s and 80s the Urban Rural Mission bore witness to social justice under the severe oppression of the authoritarian military governments. This tradition was succeeded by the Minjung Church Movement and they continue to engage in mission work for the unemployed and casual workers, homeless, migrant workers, and international wives of Korean men. The Youngdeungpo UIM currently operates the Asia URM Diaconia Training Centre so that it can share such experiences.

Last December a tanker accident caused great damage because of the oil that leaked out from its tanks. In order to remove the oil dregs 1.3 million people volunteered from all over the country. The NCCK and the Christian Council of Korea, CCK, worked together to organize a Korean Church Service Team that involved the churches and became a main contributor to the clean up process.  

The Korean churches can overcome their theological differences in diaconal work. In this respect, the saying, "Doctrine divides, service unites" is still useful for the ecumenical movement in Korea.  

5. The experience of inter-faith cooperation in Korea can be useful for the wider ecumenical movement. Christianity in Korea has grown to become a major religion in spite of its relatively short history, 225 years for Roman Catholicism and 125 for Protestantism. With the passage of time Korean Christians have engaged in various forms of inter-faith dialogue and have learned to coexist with people of other religions in their family, among friends and as neighbours. Although the term "inter-faith" dialogue may not be used the Christian's life style is crucial in the expansion of Christianity in Korea. Throughout its history Korean Christians accepted persecution in humility while bravely witnessing to their faith to family and neighbours, particularly through their moral examples.  

In 1919, the Korean Church was a prominent leader of the March First Independence Movement in which the Chondogyo and Buddhists participated. This movement was an act of protest against the inhumane and oppressive policies of the Japanese colonial government. As a result of its leadership Korean Christianity gained a costly respect from the Korean people as a religion of the Korean people. Korean Christianity has peacefully co-existed with other religions. It is only in recent times that Korean Protestantism has been criticised as being exclusivists.

On 25 October the Deogsu Church, a Buddhist temple and a Catholic church jointly hosted a charity event. The church completely washed away the negative image that people had and gained the trust of its neighbours through her 25 years of diaconal work. The charity event clearly shows that inter-faith cooperation in action is more effective than mere inter-faith dialogue. It also provides a good opportunity for Christians to open themselves to other religions without losing their Christian identity.  

6. The newly emerging ecumenical movement in Korea paves a path for overcoming the dichotomy between the evangelicals and ecumenicals. Within the Korean Church there has been a long standing rivalry between the pro-WCC-NCC line and the anti-WCC-NCC one. This division was structuralized and influenced their respective attitudes toward theology, political power, social issues, reunification and the foreign policies of the United States. However, the recently newly emerging ecumenical movement has reached beyond this dichotomy and discord.  

In 1998 the Korean National Association of Christian Pastors (KACP) was organised under the motto, "Unity, Reform, Diaconia." The greatest contribution of this organization is twofold. First, it called for the institutional union of the KNCC and the CCK. The KACP has proposed that the union between KNCC and CCK be one in which a roof is put over the two bodies uniting them under it but allowing them the freedom to work independently of each other. Presently, discussions are still continuing as to the feasibility of this model. Second, it guided the conservative churches to correct their negative attitude toward the ecumenical movement. The members of the KACP come from 15 different denominations, eleven of which are conservative. However, the members of the KACP have managed to cast away most, if not all, of their misgivings about the ecumenical movement.  

The above six features of the Korean Church can be beneficial to the ecumenical movement in the 21st century. Of course, we need to identify a practical and specific methodology for the convergence of the regional in Korea with the universal and ecumenical, a task yet to be completed.


common misunderstandings
- not all the same - extremely diverse
- not foreigners - don't orientalize
- not model minority - don't assimilate
1st generation
tradition, protocols, formality, titles
respect for elders, authority
harmony, unity, conformity
duty and obligation
2nd generation
individualistic- want rights, freedom
caught between 2 worlds
exploring, open to new ideas, getting in touch with their passion/ desires
- in land of opportunity and freedom
2nd gen: looking for role models + mentors, need affirmation and empowerment
common AA traits
strong family ties
sensitive - don't tease
mediated relationship building/ communication
hard working
pursuing American dream
relational, communal
conflict aversive
comfort zone
event oriented - not so punctual
culture vs. gospel
performance oriented
need for:
bamboo ceiling:
hard to get past middle level mgt
style of leadership more collaborative, teamwork
INFORM - get to know us Asians, work with them, open new worlds of relationship, hospitality
INVITE - get involved, encourage to put your faith into action, you have so much to offer and to contribute
both - Love your neighbor
RESPECT, acceptance, celebrate + be celebrated
take time: take it slow, for some come from homogeneous setting
+ immigration timeline
here in DC, it's very ethnically diverse:
Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Indian, etc.
best Asian American religious demographics to date [in order of population size]:
Chinese American: 20% Christian/Protestant (+3% Catholic; 39% None)
Filipino American: 18% Christian/Protestant (+68% Catholic)
South Asian Am: 2% Christian/Protestant (+1% Catholic; 46% Hindu)
Vietnamese Am: 13% Christian/Protestant (+20% Catholic; 49% Buddhist)
Korean Am: 68% Christian/Protestant (+11% Catholic)
Japanese Am: 37% Christian/Protestant (+6% Catholic; 26% None)
* from "Asian American Religions" (Tony Carnes & Fenggang Yang, eds., pub. May 2004); based on Pilot National Asian American Political Survey (N=1218)

Urbana 03 Seminars : Challenges of Asian Heritage

Are we blessed or burdened by living with an inherited Asian culture in non-Asian settings? Why do we need to both repent and rejoice over our cultures and ethnicities? How has God used bi-cultural people throughout history to spread the gospel? How can the Holy Spirit use us to be a blessing to the world?
Korean immigrant finds American dream alive and well | | Thousand Oaks Acorn

Korean immigrant finds American dream alive and well
Yong Shin, a ninth-degree black belt, went from living on the streets to being a successful entrepreneur
By Michelle Knight

IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers CORRECT FORM—Yong Shin, right, gently spars with Logan Farrell, 9, during a white-belt class earlier this month at Shin's Tae Ryong Taekwondo School in Camarillo.
It was nearly 30 years ago when Yong Shin left family and friends behind in his native Korea in search of a new life in America.

But his dream of success would prove more daunting than he could have imagined: The young immigrant lived in a cardboard box for months after arriving in Los Angeles.

A minister who discovered Shin living behind his Koreatown church found him a home and a job. But Shin, who could not speak English, knew working for minimum wage in a sewing factory would not put him on the path to his dream—teaching tae kwon do in his own studio as he'd done in Korea.

Determined to achieve his goal, Shin took on two additional jobs, leaving him with only four hours a day for sleep. To keep expenses low, he ate one meal a day—a hamburger—except when his church served food after Sunday services.

Two and a half years later, with nearly $5,000 saved, Shin went to a bank for a business loan but was turned down. In Korea he'd owned a successful business, but in America he had no credit history. Shin confided his problem to a church member, who loaned him $3,000 and co-signed on a loan at the very bank that had rejected him earlier.

Some of you might think at the last paragraph of yesterday meditation to hand over the post to others for self spiritual discipline purpose was too ideal and unrealistic. Despite the importance of religious discipline they may insist that as getting old to take a suitable post in a church is necessary for considering one’s honour. Such idea used to be a cause to occur a dogfight in a church to get a position of elder of church. It is abnormal. What the Korean churches is where abnormal takes its place of normal?

The above realism caused from ignorance of the centre of Christianity faith and inexperience about this. If a church is a friendly society then such discord can be arisen. However, the church is not a friendly society. A church is purely an eschatological Messiah community. With a familiar expression, it is a community to enter into the mystery of the cross. To take a post means to take up a bigger cross then does it have a sense to compete with others to take more cross?

If I am a lay Christian then I will do my best effort to live in a piety life not taking any role in a church if possible. I will regularly attend a traditional liturgical worship service and read the Bible or theological books at fixed hour. What more else need to me? I will define a church activity at a minimum. I don’t want to expend my life on doing unimportant matters.

Today the believers of Korean church are consuming their entire life to a church activity almost mechanically. They are handled by the church activity. It is obviously a self-torment. Despite doing this they don’t recognize a seriousness of the situation. Does a lingering desire for the position work together with the idea that such vigorous activity in a church is true faithful life?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Korean Churches

While rooting through some old CDs in my collection, I found a 3 1/2 floppy disk. I got really excited because hey, what could be on this disk? The last time I used a floppy was while I was at Wesleyan, so it's gotta be old and entertaining. I found the following document that I had written randomly when I was bored one day back in January 2004:

My family and I had grown up with the Christian church. Both of my parents grew up with some sort of Christian related background, and so they continued their beliefs when they set foot on foreign soil during those turbulent 70s. Living in Chicago, approximately fifteen minutes away from “Koreatown”, or “Koreastreet”, as I prefer to call it, (the whole of "Koreatown" in those days was on Lawrence Avenue; I think it has gotten larger) they had the support of fellow Koreans, from emotional, to food-related, to religion. When they moved into the suburbs, Naperville was still sparsely populated with Koreans, and Asians in general. So, unless they wanted to be cloistered from the rest of Korean society, they got involved with a Korean church. I think that’s why most Koreans became Christians in those days. It was either become friends with whites and “forget your heritage” or become Christian, attend church, and immerse yourself in the Korean culture.

I was okay with this. I mean, I loathed the “mandatory” Korean language class I had to take every Sunday morning and hated the fact that while all my white friends were done with church in about an hour, I could be stuck at church from about 9:00AM until 3:00PM. Along with the other Korean language school I was forced to attend every Saturday, I never got a chance to sleep in, or wake up to Saturday morning cartoons. I resented my culture throughout my entire childhood because of these two reasons. Most people hate being of a different race because of the fact that they look different, are treated differently/with dislike, but I hated the fact that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on while I was learning about how pertinent it was to maintain proper spacing between Korean characters. Without it, a sentence can go from stating "My dad is in the room" to "My dad is in the bookbag".

One and a half generation meant that you were born in Korea, but you moved to America, and became an American citizen…eventually. Second generation meant that you were born in America. There are some who are so stuck on “KP” that you’ll have difficulty prying their green cards from their dead, cold, stiff hands. “KP” is the term scrawled across Korean American high schoolers’ backpacks, notebooks, purses, hands, you name it, and shouted at random in public places. It stands for “Korea Power” and also the sudden pride second generation Korea-Americans have in their culture. I admit I was sucked in during high school: wearing baggy pants, listening to Korean pop music, wanting to be called by my Korean name, and associating myself with Korean friends, not the band nerds I usually hung around. This behavior led to a widening chasm between me and my white friends, a confusion on who I was and whether my culture was what would make or break me, and constantly dirty pant hems. It may have been stylish, but you were never quite clean when one of your pant legs was wide enough to fit both your legs.

Korean churches are strange breeding grounds for one and a half and second generation Korean-Americans. Like typical youth groups, they seem cultish or cliquey, but also occasionally frightening. We always attracted some stares…of course, that could partially have been the result of my former youth pastor’s Mozart-like laugh.

But I’m veering off topic. I don’t think us Korean-Americans really understood what being a Christian was about despite the countless sermons, retreats, and

And that's where it stopped. I should continue it. I did a lot of reflecting on Korean churches after I spent four years as a member of InterVarsity. They really are strange, fascinating places that I didn't think were strange or fascinating until I started worshipping with non-Koreans. Things such as "homodo", ALWAYS eating lunch at church, and personal experiences (my former Korean school teacher is convicted of shooting a man in California; I also played at his wedding) didn't strike me as out of the ordinary until I told non-Koreans.

Yeah, I'm going to continue this when the holiday madness is over.
More than evangelical and ethnic: the ecological factor in Chinese conversion to Christianity in the

More than evangelical and ethnic: the ecological factor in Chinese conversion to Christianity in the United States

Sociology of Religion,  Summer, 2006  by Yuting Wang,  Fenggang Yang

Chinese students and scholars from the People's Republic of China (PRC) studying at U.S. universities have joined the surge of Chinese conversion to Christianity. A highly noticeable part of this growing phenomenon is that some well-known dissident intellectuals and student leaders who fled China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident have converted to Christianity. The most prominent of these is Yuan Zhiming, who was one of the scriptwriters of the River Elegy, a television documentary critical of the Chinese cultural system that contributed to the rise of the student-led democracy movement in spring 1989. Mr. Yuan was baptized in 1991 at Princeton University and has since become an active and popular evangelist among the Chinese in North America and elsewhere. Xie Xuanjun, another scriptwriter of the River Elegy and a renowned mythologist, also became Christian. Among the 21 student activists on the most wanted list of the Chinese government, Zhang Boli and Xiong Yan have become Christian ministers. Many more lesser-known activists have become Christian as well.

Moreover, many PRC students and scholars who are not politically active have converted to Christianity. This phenomenon or movement has caught the attention of some ethnographers at various parts of the country (Yang 1998, 1999; Ng 2002; Abel, Zhang in this issue). They have observed that Chinese Bible study and Christian fellowship groups have been active on most university campuses, especially large state universities and the Ivy League and other prestigious private universities. These campus groups commonly hold weekly meetings for Bible studies, evangelistic lectures, and social activities. Campus ministry organizations and local churches regularly sponsor evangelistic camps that attract large numbers of PRC students, scholars, and their spouses. Since the 1950s there have been many Chinese churches established mostly by Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan in metropolitan areas and college towns, which tend to be independent in organization and evangelical in theology (Yang 1999). Through observations and interviews we have learned that PRC students and scholars currently comprise the majority of first time visitors to Sunday worship services at these churches and the majority of the newly baptized.

Why do PRC students and scholars in the United States convert to Christianity? Is it still because of the contextual factors affecting earlier Chinese immigrants (Yang 1998), or is it now mostly because of ethnic affinity? Put in another way, how much are the PRC converts attracted to the church by fellow compatriots who happen to be Christian? Besides ethnic Chinese churches that are evangelical or conservative in theology, do PRC converts join other Christian churches? To answer these questions, we chose to compare PRC students in two midwestern cities, one with a large and concentrated Chinese population and the other with a small and dispersed Chinese population. The larger city has ethnic Chinese churches while the smaller city does not have a Chinese church. We find that the broad contextual factors of social, political and cultural changes in the coerced process of modernization of China are still prominent issues in conversion narratives. The local context is important as well. Specifically, the religious organizational ecology (Eiesland 2000), or the composition of various congregations at a locality, is an important factor in explaining the variation of churches that Chinese converts have joined. Before describing the two research sites and analyzing their conversion and church experiences, we begin with a brief introduction to some distinct social characteristics of PRC students and scholars.


Since 1979, large numbers of students and scholars from the People's Republic of China (PRC) have come to the United States to study at universities and graduate schools (Orleans 1988; Zhang and Rentz 1996). Indeed, PRC students and scholars have been one of the largest and fastest growing national groups of international students and scholars. In the 1980s and 1990s, the number of PRC students enrolled at U.S. universities ranked first or second among all foreign students. The enrollment of PRC students, excluding visiting scholars and postdoctoral researchers, was around 40,000 in the early 1990s, over 50,000 in the late 1990s, and reached 64,757 in 2002-2003 (Davis and Chin 2005).

PRC students and scholars differ from earlier Chinese immigrants in several important aspects. First, many of the earlier Chinese immigrants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries were displaced by wars, Communist revolutions, and sociopolitical turmoil. They commonly shared a sense of "uprootedness" and alienation while settling down in the new land. This sense is exemplified in the words of a Fred Yu quoted in Yang (1998). Born in 1929 in Shandong, Fred was a college student when he fled to Taiwan along with the Kuomintang (Nationalists) in 1949. After finishing college in Taiwan, he came to the United States for graduate study and converted to Christianity in 1959 while studying at a university in Minnesota. He said in an interview in the mid-1990s:

High grades, high stress for Asian-American students in Bay Area - San Jose Mercury News
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High grades, high stress for Asian-American students in Bay Area

Posted: 01/04/2009 12:00:00 AM PST

Click photo to enlarge
Manisha Kanthilal, 21, mother ManjuKanthilal, father Kanti Bhabuthmal, aunt shashi Khajanchi,...

Senior T.J. Wey says she does "pretty well'' at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont.

That means straight A's so far this year at a school that boasts the eighth-highest test scores in the state — and where students and teachers both joke about the "Asian grade scale":

A = Average; B = Bad; C = Catastrophe; D = Disowned; F = Forever Forgotten.

They may just be kidding, but there's some truth lurking below: Many Asian parents, especially well-educated immigrants, set sky-high expectations for their children. And while that drive to achieve has put Asian students as a group at the top of the class, it's also forcing some uncomfortable conversations within the Asian community about the damage those demands may cause.

At Mission in the Fremont Unified School District, where 75 percent of the student body is Asian, a majority of students think their parents' expectations are too high, according to a survey conducted a year ago. More alarming, half of the 1,175 kids answering the survey showed signs of depression or burnout.

And matching national estimates, the survey showed that 80 percent have cheated on homework and 70 percent have cheated on tests.

As the nation stresses over how to ratchet up test scores and close the ethnic achievement gap — where Asians and whites markedly outscore black and Latino students — "high expectations'' have become an educational mantra. The higher the bar is set at


home, as well as at school, the better students perform, educators believe.

But among those in the top tier, the discussion is shifting.

"At Mission San Jose High, the competition is so fierce, the pressure so big, it's terrible,'' said Linsia Wey, T.J.'s mother. "It depresses students. Most of them are crying 'SOS!' inside their hearts.''

She laments the lack of a middle ground at Mission, between demands that are too high and too low. "I want her to be challenged, but not to the point where it's so competitive.''

Heavy workload

At a recent workshop run by Mission SOS, a student-run project to reduce stress and improve integrity, students cited workload and expectations as reasons why they cut corners.

"It's desperation,'' said Rebecca Holland, 17, a senior, explaining what students do to meet the academic expectation. "Sometimes you're trapped and you have to live up to it.''

With juniors and seniors typically taking three or four advanced-placement or honors courses, students simply don't have time to complete all the work, they said, and use online literature shortcuts like SparkNotes.

The worry is not just that students stay up too late or distort their ethics. It's also the threats posed to their mental and physical well-being.

In the 25-to-34 age group, Asian-Americans have the highest proportion of suicides as a cause of death — 16.8 percent — of any racial group, according to Eliza Noh, assistant professor of Asian-American studies at California State University-Fullerton, who has researched suicide. The alarming numbers are often related to high family and social expectations, she said.

Asian-American students internalize those expectations, she said. "If they don't fulfill it, they feel there's something wrong with them.''

Noh has a tragic understanding of the issue: Her older sister took her own life as a college student 18 years ago, after struggling with those pressures.

Ivy Wu, a Fremont Unified trustee and Mission parent, understands family expectations: "It's the kind of pressure I was trying to escape,'' said the immigrant from Taiwan. "It's not that parents are evil and want their kids to suffer. They want for their kids more than they have for themselves.''

But sometimes, "pressure from parents has pushed kids past the point where they can cope,'' said Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, professor of Asian-American studies at Stanford University.

Mission decided to tackle the pressure head on. It is hosting parent-education nights with speakers on student mental health. Teachers are now coordinating so they don't all give tests on the same day. They also have posted signs in classrooms inviting students to share their concerns. The school is considering a block schedule so not every class meets every day, thereby easing homework pressure.

Martha Kreeger, outreach coordinator of Mission SOS, a project of the Stanford-founded Challenge Success, believes that the most important move would be to strengthen the teacher-student connection. "If you make a connection with adults on campus, then cheating goes down.''

New priorities

The goal is not only to reduce student stress in high school, but also to equip them for the pressures of college and afterward, she said.

"SOS wants to help parents understand that success doesn't lie in pushing your kids for higher and higher achievement,'' Wu said. "Parents need to be partners with their kids, to learn along with them, fail along with them.''

Some parents are already on board. A few years ago, Manju Kanthilal pulled her daughter Dipti off the high-stress track at Mission. The family was trying to plan a vacation to Guatemala, and their three children objected to missing a day of school.

That's when they decided that their priorities were somehow unbalanced, she said. "We make sure they get their homework done, but we don't push them to take more classes just because someone else is doing that.''

Dipti was reluctant. "At first, I was like, I want to take it all,'' she said. "I wanted to overload'' because her friends were.

While dad Kanti Bhabuthmal is a hardware engineer and Manju is an accountant-turned-stay-at-home-mom, they believe in education through travel and in doing things as a family. Even soccer was getting too competitive for their younger daughter, Anjali, and against her wishes they forced her to drop down to a recreational league.

All that makes sense to mental-health professionals. In working with parents, it's a challenge to introduce the notion of "emotional intelligence,'' said CJ Chien of Saratoga, whose group Inner Growth puts on workshops helping Asian-American parents — in both Chinese and English — better understand their children and improve communication.

Murphy-Shigematsu says he suggests that parents ask themselves some hard questions. "If you do, it becomes pretty clear that your son doesn't need to be a doctor just because your older brother's kid is a doctor.''

The question parents should ask themselves is, "What are you doing for the good of the child, and what are you doing for your own good?''

At Mission, T.J. just finished her college applications, defending in essays why she's not taking AP science and dropped down from honors math. She also declined to say where she is applying so people don't judge her through that, too. But, she said, "being in an environment where everyone else is freaking out, the pressure is hard to avoid.''

Increase in Orange County Asian population
Increase in Orange County Asian population

Increase in Asian population chart
Increase in Asian population chart

Korean Americans find a home in Fullerton - Los Angeles Times,0,5233619.story

Korean Americans find a home in Fullerton

Crossway Community Church
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Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
Dads hold their young children in the hallway during a service at Crossway Community Church.
A growing number have been moving into middle-class neighborhoods such as Amerige Heights. To accommodate the residents, Korean churches, grocery stores and restaurants have popped up.
By My-Thuan Tran
December 28, 2008
Perhaps the future of Orange County can be found in the rows of cookie-cutter houses in Fullerton's hillside neighborhood of Amerige Heights. On what used to be the site of the Hughes Aircraft plant, developers have built spacious homes, sprawling parks and landscaped roundabouts next to a large shopping center with a Target and an Albertsons.

But past the master-planned veneer is the changing face of Orange County. Next to Albertsons is a taekwondo studio; across from Target is a Korean tofu stew restaurant. Nearby are two of the largest Korean churches in the state.

Amerige Heights, just like the villages in Irvine and the newer housing tracts of Tustin, has become a destination for Asian Americans, drawn by high-performing schools, relatively crime-free neighborhoods and good jobs. According to recently released U.S. Census data, the Asian population in every city with available data in Orange County has gone up. Countywide, the Asian population has increased roughly 16% since 2000, a much faster rate than the Latino population and in the opposite direction of the white population, which has dropped nearly 8%.

Fullerton, once a traditionally white bedroom community in northern Orange County, has seen growing numbers of Asians moving into its middle-class neighborhoods such as Amerige Heights, where real estate agents estimate more than half of the residents are of Korean descent. To cater to them, smaller Korean churches have sprouted in the area, such as Crossway Community Church in Brea. Korean parents even started a Korean PTA at Sunny Hills High School, where Asian Americans make up half of the student body.

It was a different place 25 years ago when Virginia Han moved to town. There were no Korean markets and few Korean newspapers and radio stations. "But now there are so many Koreans, it's like Korean, Korean, Korean," said Han, a real estate agent.

Most of Han's clients are Korean, some arriving directly from South Korea. "In Korea, they hear about Orange County from their friends and relatives," Han said. "They hear that Fullerton is the No. 1 city for Koreans. It's close to Korean shopping, but it's far away from low-income apartment areas. Also, it has very good schools."

Fullerton is now 21% Asian American -- a 35% jump since 2000, according to detailed U.S. Census data that averages surveys from 2005 to 2007. The increase puts Fullerton among the cities with the fastest growing Asian American populations in Southern California.

The numbers are further proof of Orange County's accelerating diversification -- Irvine, one of the model master-planned communities, is now dotted with Buddhist temples, Chinese banks and Asian grocery stores; central Orange County is home to the largest Vietnamese population outside of the country of Vietnam; and Santa Ana has one of the largest Latino populations in the nation.

Two forces appear to be shaping the population shift, said Paul Ong, a demographer and professor of urban planning, social welfare and Asian American studies at UCLA. One is that many Asian Americans are moving in from other areas, attracted to Orange County's thriving Asian cultural institutions and economic opportunities. The other is that many Asians are continuing to emigrate from their homelands, a result of "chain migration" in which relatives are allowed to sponsor other relatives here.

On the flip side, Ong said, the white population has decreased and become older, with lower birth rates than the county's Asians and Latinos.

Koreans make up the second largest Asian ethnic group in Orange County, after Vietnamese. But unlike Vietnamese refugees who built the thriving business enclave of Westminster's Little Saigon, where block after block is filled with Vietnamese mom-and-pop shops, the imprint of Korean Americans has been far more gradual.

In Fullerton, there are no overwhelmingly Korean enclaves or neighborhoods. Instead, pockets of Korean bakeries, travel agencies, banks and markets have taken root.

Korean entrepreneurs are purchasing entire shopping centers in Fullerton and remaking them, such as an old Pavilions market that gave way to a Korean travel agency and tutoring center, said John Godlewski, Fullerton's community development director. He predicts the future will bring similar developments catering to Asian Americans.

"I'm getting calls from some of the older neighbors saying, 'We cannot read the signs. It's not written in English,' " Godlewski said. "People see things are changing, that they are not the way they used to be."

Korean Americans who move to Fullerton say that the growing Korean business community is simply an added bonus. They are more drawn to the city for the same reasons as other residents. Real estate agent Douglas Kim said many of his clients in Amerige Heights are Korean residents looking for upgrades from their older homes.

"Most Asians -- and in fact most people -- look for neighborhoods with good schools and neighborhood amenities, and with low crime rates," Ong said. "What has happened to Asians is that as they become more acculturated, they are less tied or dependent on ethnic enclaves."

When Dok Kim, an attorney, moved his family to Fullerton four years ago, his priority was finding a new house within the bounds of the reputable Sunny Hills High School so that his 7-year-old could someday attend. He wasn't surprised when both of his neighbors turned out to be Korean.

"I really enjoy living here. Fullerton has nice schools, new areas and nice shopping malls," said Kim, 37. "I can walk to Starbucks and shop at Albertsons and Old Navy. And whenever I need it, I can get Korean groceries not far away."

Many Korean Americans in Orange County started off in Garden Grove because of its cheap apartments and proximity to Little Seoul, a stretch along Garden Grove Boulevard where Korean entrepreneurs began setting up shop in the 1980s, said John Ahn, former president of the Korean-American Federation of Orange County.

As a student in 1979, Ahn lived in Garden Grove but became turned off by what he said was an unsafe area. Like many Korean Americans who first got their footing in Garden Grove, Ahn was lured to some of the more posh areas of the county.

"A lot of people did what I did. Young couples look for a job in the Garden Grove area and live there for three or four years. Then their children grow up and people are looking for bigger houses," Ahn said. "They don't have a choice in Garden Grove, so they move to another city like Fullerton or Irvine."

Ahn now lives in a gated community in Anaheim Hills but still drives to Garden Grove every weekend for the grocery stores and restaurants.
Ten Things To Know About Asian American Youth « Next Gener.Asian Church

SnapDragon consultants, a market research firm, published this last year, but it’s new to me so here goes: Ten Things Every Brand Should Know About Asian-American Youth (pdf). Very interesting stuff, I wonder if this would change the way Asian American churches would present their programs to youth today. It is, after all, a study for marketing purposes. And I have to wonder if this is already dated since it’s been almost two years this has been published.

  1. Many Asian-American youth feel excluded and misunderstood by most brands. It’s made worse by the fact that they see advertisers actively wooing the African-American and Hispanic markets.
  2. Mixed race kids are proudly identifying as Hapa, a once derogatory word in Hawaiian to mean “half.” Hapa is also slang for marijuana in Japanese (spelled Happa). Hapa is supplanting terms like Amerasian, biracial, and blasian.
  3. Asian-American youth are secret fans of “easy listening” adult contemporary music. Lite FM is a hidden passion.
  4. There’s a “hero gap” among Asian-American kids, which is being filled for many by activists from other cultures. Martin Luther King is a role model and hero to many young Asian-Americans.
  5. Most Asian-American kids refer to white people as “white people” the same way African-Americans do
  6. Underage gambling is huge. The “new” American poker obsession is nothing new to Asian-American kids and gambling has a long history in Asian culture. Many students Rigg spoke with are avid online gamblers and cardplayers. Many organize private online poker tournaments.
  7. Asian-American kids want an end to the hyper-nerdy images of themselves on TV and want to see more punked-out skater and graffiti DJ images which reflect a different energy. The feeling is: Enough with the math geeks, future doctors and violinists. Asian-American kids crave street credibility—not just academic accolades.
  8. Asian-American kids universally hate the question: Where are you from—especially since the answers are usually something like “Westchester” or “Boston.”
  9. All things Korean are hot and getting hotter. Fashion. Foods. DJs. Online communities. Korea is the new Japan.
  10. The 15 minutes of seemingly benign American Idol fame for William Hung had a surprisingly negative effect on Asian-American students. There’s a feeling that Hung perpetuated the worst stereotypes about Asian people and gave non-Asians permission to indulge in two years of racial stereotyping and mocking.
UC Davis Magazine, Summer 2003: Between Two Worlds

Between Two Worlds

Pulled by the demands of their cultures and college life, Asian American students face some particular challenges. UC Davis is taking steps to help these students succeed.

By Susanne Rockwell

Christina LynesEven before she was born, it was decided that Theresa Montemayor was going to be a doctor. In fact, her Filipina mother decided for all five of her children that they would be physicians. When Montemayor enrolled at UC Davis in the late ’70s, she was on the pre-med track—and soon struggling in her science classes.

“I hated college,” Montemayor remembers. “I’ll never forget getting advice about changing majors from a chemistry professor who assumed it would be easy for me not to be pre-med. He just didn’t understand that for 18 years I was told I was going to be a doctor. My parents told me this, and all my relatives knew that was what I would be. When I told my parents I was doing poorly, their only answer was ‘Just study harder.’”

Without her parents’ knowledge, Montemayor started taking classes in an area in which she excelled: sociology. When she finally told her parents that she wasn’t going to graduate with a biology degree and go on to medical school, her mother threatened to send her to the Philippines for medical school.

As a face-saving move, Montemayor created her own health major to graduate in 1979 with a science-oriented UC Davis degree, and she went on to a successful career in higher education serving as associate director of the UC Davis Student Programs and Activities Center. To this day, she remembers how miserable she felt about that chemistry course and her failure to fulfill her mother’s dream. But what she remembers most vividly is how she found the strength to chart her own path without alienating her family.

Many UC Davis students—especially the children of immigrants and, even more specifically, the children of Asian immigrants—can tell you their own version of Montemayor’s story. Having been at the top of their high school class, they come to Davis to seek the college grail: education aimed at careers in medicine, engineering, business or, as a “last fallback,” law. Within the first year, many change direction, triggering a crisis that’s not just about career but about family relations and remaining true to both self and cultural values.

To be sure, to be Asian American means as many different things as there are individuals. More than 40 ethnicities qualify as “Asian American,” from Pacific Islander to Pakistani. Students identify somewhat with the overarching category of “Asian American” but identify more strongly with their particular ethnic group, such as Chinese-Vietnamese, Thai or Korean. “There’s no natural affinity, necessarily, across this group,” says Wendy Ho, chair of the Asian American Studies Program. The wide range of economic backgrounds also makes generalizations difficult, as does the varying number of generations that their families have lived here. Family politics and English-speaking abilities, geography and even the diversity of cultures—or lack thereof—in their home communities and high schools all affect students coming to UC Davis.

Nevertheless, faculty and staff working with students do find many common issues and goals within the broader Asian American community.

Alicia CheungWhen Asian American students come to Davis they bring cultural values, communication styles, immigration histories and, above all, extremely strong family ties. A happy college experience for Asian American students often means pleasing their mother and father—but this does not always make for honest communication. Parents are both the all-important emotional support for students entering adulthood and, for many, a major source of stress as the students strive to uphold family expectations of success. Ironically, the emotional closeness in Asian families can be a barrier to students’ adjustment to college life. Students who go home every weekend find it difficult to participate in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, service groups or other student associations—and miss out on what many Davis educators say are the biggest learning opportunities in college.

Asian American students also struggle with career goals. They want to please their parents while sometimes feeling they have no choice in what they really want to do in life. Some students are pressured by poor parents who want their children to realize the American material dreams that have escaped them. Students may want to change career goals, but they may have been so narrowly focused that they’re unaware of the alternatives.

The academic setting adds other challenges. Some Asian Americans come with poor study habits but refuse to seek help because of their self-reliant culture and fear of looking like a failure. Others must traverse the dramatically different cultures of home and university. Students with a traditional Asian upbringing are often unprepared for a university culture that emphasizes individualism, forthrightness and speaking up in a group. The Asian reserve can affect classroom success and has larger implications for creating future leaders, a major goal of the UC system.

Fortunately, unlike 25 years ago when Montemayor struggled, UC Davis now has people and programs targeted to help this growing student population, one that has now reached 37 percent of UC Davis undergraduates. The campus recognizes that Asian American students experience specific challenges in college related to their cultural heritage and identity. Throughout UC Davis academic and student support units, resources have been added to help students figure out what they want to do when they “grow up” and how to successfully achieve those goals.

The past 18 months saw the addition of an Asian American retention coordinator, who is also an English-as-a-second-language writing specialist, and a student affairs officer for Asian American students. Asian American studies became a full-fledged major in 2000 and is considered by its division dean to be one of the strongest interdisciplinary programs on campus. This follows nearly a decade of enrollment growth in the program; students from all majors have been drawn to classes that help them understand their heritage and their communities through the study of psychology, history, literature, sociology and theatre. And the Counseling Center, with five of its 15 psychologists now Asian American, offers intensive career counseling workshops each quarter as well as programs that improve student communication skills.

Hieu Dovan, the clinical director and an immigrant from Vietnam, hears in his counseling sessions about the communication difficulties between students and parents. He concludes that many Asian American parents are not giving their children the emotional support they need during the hard times of college because they want to hear only that their children are doing well. Even when their children are happy, parents may not know it.

“Asian daughters, for instance, don’t share certain intimate news with their parents,” Dovan says. “They could be very happy with a boyfriend, but their parents will never know it, because the parents believe their daughter is not supposed to have a boyfriend; she is supposed to just study.”
According to campus statistics, the people least likely to visit the Counseling Center to share their problems are Asian men—and Asian women aren’t far behind. Dovan attributes the phenomenon to issues of self-reliance and shame in Asian cultures.

The Counseling Center has reached out to Asian American students through the career counseling program, which Dovan says students view as less threatening. Each quarter, 40–50 students—a healthy proportion of them Asian American—sign up for the workshops to learn how to look at career choices through several lenses: cultural values, financial security, passion for the field, parental approval, skill level and future personal growth. The group setting is even more effective, Dovan says, because students realize others are struggling with similar issues.

“They come in assuming there’s only one criterion in choosing a major, or they are looking for the career with the most amount of money and financial security. They think they have no choice because of their parents’ cultural values,” Dovan says. “After attending the workshops, they realize there are different ways to get to a decision.”

Even though students may remain committed to their original career choice, they may be more comfortable with the decision, says Dovan, “because they feel they are the ones who made it.”

Erik MakiAnita Poon, the first student services officer for Asian American studies, has the responsibility of guiding students toward “successful” careers. It’s daunting, she acknowledges. “In Asian American families, ‘success’ is defined for you by your family. It all falls under the American dream: nice home, picket fence, 2.2 kids and really nice cars—things most parents haven’t achieved, but they still have hope, as long as they see their children pursuing opportunities that they didn’t have.”

Poon believes this attitude leads to career choices that are narrowly based on financial gain. She cites a study on Asian immigrant “entrepreneurial” children by UC San Diego ethnic-studies sociologist Lisa Sun-Hee Park. That study found that Chinese and Korean American students defined success and happiness as repayment of their obligation to their immigrant parents through material gifts. Park also determined that the students believed no room existed for personal happiness while they pursued “repayment fantasies” to honor their parents’ sacrifices.

In an interview for this story with two dozen UC Davis Asian American students, a few admitted they have those same fantasies.

“My dad would like a new Lexus, and I plan to save my money to buy him one to honor the sacrifices he’s made for my education,” said one student.

Most of the students acknowledged that their parents are supportive of their emotional needs but still want to direct their future.

“My parents said, ‘Whatever makes you happy, we’ll support you. But it would be nice if you went here and majored in this…,’” one student explained.

Mike BillenaSome students, especially those from the poorer school districts in California, find going to the university a lot more difficult academically than they expected. Of the Asian American students at UC Davis, 16 percent were on academic probation after fall 2002, with certain groups especially having problems.

Susanna Lee, who was hired to work with Asian American students at the Learning Skills Center, says these students, like most on academic probation, have not learned how to study or manage their time—and they are afraid to ask for help. More importantly, Lee believes the students are having problems because they are in the wrong major.

The first quarter Lee was here, in winter 2002, she sent more than 500 e-mails offering help to Asian American students on academic probation.

“Not one replied to me,” says Lee, a Korean-born American. “So that’s when I went out to the classes where there are Asian Americans—Asian history and Asian American studies classes—and started talking to students about how I can help them.” She has found that recommendations from other students are the most effective way to attract Asian students to her program.

Michelle PaoThe problem of too-limited career aspirations is tackled head on in the Division of Biological Sciences, where Asian Americans constitute nearly half of the program. Ellen Tani, assistant dean for undergraduate academic programs, spends much of her time helping students broaden their horizons beyond medical school.

“For instance, we tell our students if they want to affect society, one career to consider is teaching K-12,” says Tani ’75, M.A. ’77, a Japanese American who graduated from UC Davis with a science degree herself. “There is always the issue of money, but I’ve had students turn down graduate school to teach because they have a love of science, and the rewards of teaching are so great.” The Division of Biological Sciences has developed a teaching internship program that sends its students into local elementary schools to help with science classes.

Especially in the last decade, Asian American students are making noticeable progress in expanding their majors beyond engineering and biological science to those in the agricultural, environmental and social sciences as well as the humanities and arts. In fact, the College of Letters and Science, by far the largest college at UC Davis, has 50 percent more Asian American student majors than does Biological Sciences, and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the second largest college, draws more Asian American majors than does the College of Engineering.

Rex WangConsidering Asian American studies has offered a major for only three years, it has done well, attracting about 100 participants so far, and at least 130 more students minor in the subject. Four students from the program graduated last year, 25 will be graduating this year, and nearly 50 are expected to be handed their diplomas in 2004.

According to program chair Ho, the program’s faculty fully understand they must address the career question Asian American parents ask. That is, what does one do with an Asian American studies major?

“We’ve been rethinking what our curriculum should look like in the 21st century,” Ho says. She points to career possibilities in business, public-interest law, international business, university teaching, politics and public service. Moreover, Asian American studies aims to produce critical thinkers with a breadth of knowledge and an understanding of how to solve problems in the real world.

Asian American studies faculty members have used their own experiences and scholarship to create a social and academic “space” for students to learn to succeed in multiple worlds.

One of these professors, Stan Sue, has coined a term for that success: “cultural competency.” He was hired away from UCLA in 1996 to chair the Asian American Studies Program for five years. Just awarded the UC Davis Prize for Distinguished Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, Sue is a national pioneer in helping therapists learn to deal effectively with cultural differences and helping ethnic groups to overcome shame and stigma over mental-health problems. Since arriving at UC Davis, Sue has focused on teaching students how to cross their own cultural borders to better understand race, ethnicity and prejudice.

“We live in one of the most multi-ethnic societies in the world,” Sue says. “Being effective as human beings means being able to deal with different people well.”

For some Asian American freshmen from fairly homogenous communities, coming to UC Davis is a shock. The children of Southeast Asian immigrants, especially, are torn between their family obligations as interpreters and caretakers and a demanding university world, according to Professor Bill Hing, who teaches constitutional law and immigrant rights at the UC Davis School of Law and Asian American history to undergraduates. Unable to juggle the different loyalties expected from two cultures, many students don’t form close bonds with the campus. Hing says often it’s because they leave each Friday night to go home to their families for the weekend. Some drop out.

One way Hing has found to solve that tension between family and the university is to encourage students to work in their home community through internships that he sponsors. Parents can see the university is teaching students how to fulfill their important civic duties at home. This year one Cambodian student, Sokheem Sy, worked with her former high school in Stockton to develop an after-school program based on a similar one in Merced. Another student, Kristy Saelor, created a language class for 8- to 10-year-old Mien children in Fairfield, to be delivered through her community church. Still other UC Davis students are going to high schools to help younger Asian American students be better prepared for college.

Nicole KyaukNolan Zane, UC Davis professor of psychology and Asian American studies, believes that acknowledging that cultural differences exist is the first step in helping Asian Americans learn to live in their two worlds. For example, he addresses a major cultural concern, “loss of face”—that is, how people regard you and, by extension, your family—in his psychology and Asian American studies classes. Zane’s studies of white and Asian American personalities have found that while both groups are fairly similar on most of the personality measures such as stress, self-concept, anxiety and loss of control, Asian Americans have much higher scores about concerns over loss of face.

“Loss of face brings shame, not just to oneself, but to one’s family,” Zane says. Zane expects his students to speak up and give presentations in class, but he also gives them alternatives to this more Western-oriented style of learning. For instance, in pre-exam study sessions, students can fill in cards with their questions and hand them in anonymously. He also teaches a new seminar—community grant writing in Asian American studies—that emphasizes teamwork at the beginning of the quarter but by the end requires each student to leave the security of the group to make individual presentations.

“Asian Americans come from a more collectivistic tradition and are taught to be reserved and not put themselves out there in public,” Zane explains. “But many of these students will have to promote themselves and be articulate in front of groups, and they need to become more proficient at doing it.”

Wileen RungsiridachaIt’s clear that public speaking comes naturally to some Asian American students. Many are increasingly taking on leadership roles at UC Davis: In the past 10 years, four student body presidents have been Asian American, including Peter Nguyen, Ashish Kurani, Phong La and Chia-Saun Lai. The editor of the California Aggie this past year, Fitz Vo, is Vietnamese American. And six of the 20 student assistants to the chancellor over the past decade have been Asian American.

Student Nicole Kyauk points to the Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Program, which she directed this past year, as instrumental in teaching many students about how to participate at UC Davis. The annual leadership retreat helps students gain a sense of belonging and community while they reflect on personal experiences to gain a better understanding of their values and strengths.

Pursuing a double major in communications and sociology, Kyauk said the idea of exploring her potential didn’t begin until her second year of college. During her first year, she returned home to San Leandro most weekends to be with her family.

“I wasn’t actively involved with the UC Davis community,” Kyauk admits, but she began thinking about her future. “I wanted to use college as an opportunity to find myself and challenge myself as a leader. I learned ‘you don’t find yourself, you become yourself.’”

Kyauk says that UC Davis is a friendly college community where students have many opportunities to find support and take leadership roles—whether through sororities and fraternities, the Cross-Cultural Center, religious affiliations or student government.

Rex Wang, a sophomore majoring in computer science, says he found a place for growth and acceptance with the Asian American Christian Fellowship.

“I like the friendliness and the fact that it offers an open environment where people are not as afraid to speak out and show their emotions. The AACF is like another family,” Wang explains.

Another believer in extracurricular activities is Theresa Montemayor, the once-miserable undergraduate at UC Davis, who is now associate director of the Student Programs and Activities Center.

“I tell students most of the growing at college is done outside the classroom in athletics, student organizations, internships,” Montemayor says. “You find courage within yourself and start acknowledging that a big part of your community of friends is going through the same growth pains.”

Third-year student Anita Ma of Alamo says her sorority, which is mostly white, has helped her form close friendships and connect to college life. Feeling comfortable and accepted has allowed Ma to confront her own career dilemma and the issues that accompany it. With the help of her parents, she has a new-generation happy ending to tell. The daughter of a restaurant owner and a retired machinist from China, Ma says her parents were strict with her in high school, and she didn’t share with them much about her feelings.

“Since I’ve come here I’ve dug deeper into my past to learn where my parents are at, and I think more about it myself,” Ma says. She still goes home often on the weekends and talks to her parents every day, but she’s learned to communicate with them about her problems, including a poorer academic performance than she’d hoped for.

“I started in the science field as pre-med, but now I’m pre-pharmacy,” Ma says. She realized that while her grades weren’t high enough for medical school she has a real passion for science. She has found an alternative she is happy with—a career in a medical field that is well respected and, at the same time, will allow her the flexibility to raise a family.

“I told my parents I know what I want to do now, and they said, ‘If you just try hard, that’s fine with us.’”

Susanne Rockwell ’74, M.A. ’96, covers the humanities, arts and cultural studies for the campus. Photography by Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis Mediaworks.

Our student models are:
Christina Lynes, Anglo, Chinese, Japanese and Korean
Alicia Cheung, Chinese and Malaysian
Erik Maki, Japanese American
Mike Billena, Filipino
Michelle Pao, Mongolian and Chinese
Rex Wang, Chinese
Nicole Kyauk, Chinese
Wileen Rungsiridacha, Thai

Jennifer 8. Lee Attracts Americans with Chinese Food > PROFILES > WRITERS

Jennifer 8. Lee Attracts Americans with Chinese Food

October 13,2008 Change Text Size A A A

Jennifer 8. Lee. Photograph by Nina Subin

Chinese food has captured the stomachs of Americans. Jennifer 8. Lee's new book on Chinese food has also captured their hearts.

New York Times Reporter

Jennifer 8. Lee (born March 15, 1976, in New York City) is a New York Times reporter for the Metro section. She spells her middle name "8." (with both the digit and the punctuation) on paper, but on her New York driver's license, it is spelled as "Eight". "Yes, 8 is my middle name," said Lee in an interview with The Boston Globe on August 8, 1996.

Many Chinese and Japanese names contain numbers written in characters. Lee's parents, who are from Taiwan, added the number eight (the Chinese character) to Lee's name when she was a teenager (presumably with her consent). For many Chinese people, the number eight symbolizes prosperity and good luck.

Lee graduated from Hunter College High School and Harvard University (class of 1999). She interned at The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Newsday and The New York Times while working on her applied mathematics and economics degree. She joined the Times in 2001, one and a half years after graduating from Harvard.

A Book on Chinese Food

Lee is presently writing a book about Chinese food titled The Fortune Cookie Chronicles and is documenting the process on her blog Warner Books editor Jonathan Karp struck a deal with Lee to write a book about "how Chinese food is more all-American than apple pie," according to Lee. The book will detail the history of Chinese food in the United States.

In the beginning of her book Jennifer writes about fortune cookies. Many people use the lucky numbers inside the cookies to buy lottery tickets and win a big prize. Is it pure coincidence? The answer lies in the fortune cookie.

Lee traveled around the US, to China, and to Europe to find the origin of the fortune cookie. She has been to tens, if not hundreds of, Chinese restaurants. She visits  chefs, merchants and restaurant owners. She has becomes good friends with local villagers all over the world.

General Tso's chicken is not very popular in China, but is a favorite Chinese dish in America. Jennifer reveals that the recipe that is commonly "known" as General Tso's chicken (crispy-fried, sweet and spicy) was introduced to New York City in the early 1970s as General Ching's chicken by a Chef Wang. (General Ching was General Tso's mentor.)

As General Tso marched across the US, it has morphed into different creations (red colored, radioactive orange, soupy sauce, dry sauce, baby corn, broccoli, carrots) with different names: General Gau. General Chau, General So, and General Tao. But they all share the same basic characteristics. Chicken. Fried. Sweet. All things Americans love.

When talking about Chinese food in the US, Lee has found some interesting stories. With her sensitivity and observation, Lee described how take-away food appeared. (A woman in Manhattan slid her menus under the doors of apartments when her restaurant was not very busy.) She writes about how Chinese employees are treated in the US. She writes with passion like a novelist. From her stories, readers will learn about which Chinese restaurants are authentic. Readers will also learn about historical figures that have spread Chinese food around the world.

Chinese immigrants rushed to the US during the 19th century. However, they were not welcome in the US. Because of discrimination, Chinese immigrants could not work in agriculture, mining or manufacturing, so they had to do washing and cooking. "Cooking and washing are women's work. Such occupations will not harm white people's job opportunities."

A bus line in New York takes new immigrants to look for jobs in restaurants around the nation. The "Chinese bus", traveling between Washington D.C. and New York, is very popular due to its low bus fare.

"Chinese food spread all over the world because it combines Chinese cooking skills with local flavors. Chinese food is not only a whole set of dishes, but also a philosophy to adapt to different circumstances," said a restaurant owner in rural New Orleans.

Chinese food is everywhere nowadays, even on Antarctica. All chefs improve on Chinese food to suit local tastes. Lee said that only New York, the Los Angeles area and San Francisco have authentic Chinese restaurants for Chinese people.

Besides the development of Chinese restaurants in the US., the book also tells fascinating stories. For example, there is a story about the mysterious disappearance of a Chinese deliveryman. Delivering food is a dangerous job in New York. A young deliveryman disappeared after a delivery. Luckily, he was not murdered, but trapped in the elevator for days. The young man who had ordered the take-away was the number one suspect in the case.

Lee visited an old Jewish-American woman in Kaifeng, China. She asked her why she liked Chinese food. Her answer was simple but profound: "It is delicious."

(Source: Xinhua/Translated by

Jennifer 8. Lee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jennifer 8. Lee (Chinese name: ; pinyin: Lǐ Jìng) is a New York Times reporter for the Metro section.

Citing the buzzed-about article in which she coined the term 'man-dates', NPR referred to her as a "conceptual scoop artist"[1]. In response, she explained that "it literally is, kind of, stories that people talk about, [as in,] 'Hey, did you hear that story about cell phones and flirting? That was really awesome.'"

Lee's parents did not give her any middle name.[citation needed] Jennifer added the number eight to her own name while she was a teenager because of the prevalence of her first name.

God's Politics: A Blog by Jim Wallis & Friends

I Am Barack Obama

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-05-2008

Whenever John McCain and Sarah Palin would ask: “Who is Barack Obama?” I would cringe.  The implication to me was pretty clear.  Obama is an outsider.  Obama is not your typical American.  Obama is not like “us.”  He’s an Arab.  A Muslim.  A Terrorist.

I cringed because I am Barack Obama.  Or at least my life mirrors his in many ways.

I too am a child of immigrants.  My father also immigrated to the U.S. from a nation that begins with K and has five letters.  I too have a funny sounding name.  I too grew up in a single parent home.  I became a Christian in a church that would be considered outside the boundaries of a typical white evangelical church.  Obama and I graduated from the same undergraduate college.  We hold graduate degrees from the same institution.  We have both worked in community organizing.  We’re both married to strong, independent women.  We are both fathers of two elementary-aged kids. We both live in Chicago.

I am Barack Obama.

So when Obama was portrayed as someone not worthy of trust by the typical American, I took personal offense.  I was stunned that my fellow Christians would question the faith of an individual whose testimony of conversion is about as evangelical as you could get.  I was deeply wounded at how easily Obama was portrayed as an outsider.  It was as if my own country and my fellow believers in Christ were challenging my identity as an American and as a Christian.  Even now as I glance through blogs of my fellow Christians, I am stunned at the language and rhetoric that is being used against our president-elect.

But our nation is changing.  Young people in droves voted for Obama.  Young people understand that we are not only looking at a multiethnic future, but a multiethnic present.  Whether I agree with all of his policies or not, a President Obama says that the United States is moving towards a multiethnic reality.  Joe the Plumber is not the face of America.  The face of America is Barack, Niyasha, Carlos, Ileana, Anis, Makana, Erik, Katiana, Angela, and even Soong-Chan.

Now this atypical American, this non-white evangelical Christian can look to a political leader who embodies the ethnic and cultural diversity of our great nation.  Now I can connect more fully with the phrase, “… in order to form a more perfect union.”  Now I believe that there is a seat at the table for those with funny sounding names and of a different ethnic origin.

I am Barack Obama, and Barack Obama is America.

Soong-Chan RahRev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary and a member of the Sojourners board. He blogs at

ChristianityDaily : Korean-American Christian News

Ignite the Fire of Truth to the English Speaking Young Adults

[Interview] Korean Church Council of Atlanta Pastor Young H. Hwang preparing for

By   Jena Park
ChristianityDaily Reporter

▲Pastor Young H. Hwang preparing for the gathering
We can No Longer Afford to Just Have Our Hands Behind Our Backs

A few months ago there was a heartbreaking event of 3 Korean American youths being arrested to drug related suspicion at Discovery mall at Lawrenceville. Even though Korean American church community shows a proud statistic of two out of three Korean Americans being believers, they are faced with the question of filling up the empty heart of the young people that are left in ‘blind spot of grace.’

For the young people who fall into drugs, sex intoxication the church community of Atlanta is preparing to ignite a small flame that has the truth of Jesus Christ. This is gathering. This is a gathering prepared by the Korean Church Council of Atlanta realizing and recognizing that the problem of youth and young adult can no longer just be seen with their hands behind their back especially after the Virginia Tech incident of last year.

“The violent rampage of the Korean youth Seung Hui Cho that put the nation in shock pour cold water in the vague relive feeling of ‘My child is ok,’” shared Pastor Hwang.

Pastor Hwang indicated that the problem of Korean American second generation is more serious that they thought. 70-80% of them have used alcohol and cigarette, 50% experienced drug or marijuana and one third have attempted to use drugs. Also there presented a dependable date which shows there are 2-3 Korean American high school gangs in Atlanta area.

“The second generation problem is the problem of parent and church. The parents will now know the child deeply in family absent of conversation, and cannot take interest in the school life busy with their business. It is the same for church even though the young people who are thirsty for the truth gather only limit themselves with fellowship and absolutely lack the foundation that will resolve and listen to their concern and pain.”

Lead by Second Generation Ministers With Support of First Generation

“We revealed that the funds gathered at the last year centennial celebration of Pyongyang Great Revival will be used for the youth and defectors. We actually planned a gathering for the second generations that fall however due to the urgency in preparation and without sufficient discussion with EM ministers decided to change the plan to this year. At the gathering it is lead by second generations, and supported by first generation ministers,” added Pastor Hwang.

In reality the gathering preparation is lead by Pastor Paul Kim and Pastor Peter Lim as the principal axis with about 10 English speaking pastors from 6 churches. At the end of April for 3 days and 2 nights for the gathering held a retreat to prepare and have a mutual understanding.

The misunderstanding and conflict between first and second generation ministers due to language and cultural difference is already a well known fact in reality the average stay of an EM minister is not even a few years. Due to the EM ministers that change their ministry location within a 2-3 year period also can hear complaints of hiring EM minister among the first generation ministers.

“The reason the second generations leave the church even in their 40s and 50s is due to the fact that they are treated as a ‘kid’ that should be always be taken care of and supported in the eyes of first generations,” indicated a 1.5 generation minister, who pioneered a medium sized church in Atlanta, sharing a different thought from first generations. Therefore a large scale joint gathering lead by the English speaking community is required however there is a doubt of ‘can it be done’ that follows.

Focus on the Work of God Rather Than the Conflicts that Arise Due to the Difference

“It is true that there are conflicts due to language and cultural differences. But I believe when we are doing the work of the Lord we should focus on ‘What does God want.’ This gathering is entrusted completely to the English speaking ministry workers. We will just support and pray. Also there is the question of continuing the gathering therefore after the gathering there will be an evaluation meeting to have critical self evaluation and data. More than anything we will support the English speaking ministry through this gathering as an opportunity to bring unity and save the English speaking young people in Atlanta,” revealed Pastor Hwang.

With this gathering as a start the Korean Church Council is planning to hold 3 gatherings every year. Once will be for the English speaking youths then for young adults and then family. Also plan to invite famous Christian singers to use this as an instrument of evangelizing the Asians including the Korean American.

May it be a Gathering that Brings Transformation

“Even now there are many youths that hold the problem within themselves without a place to speak. We pray that they will come to the gathering listen to the word of truth and discover the purpose of life and through seminar and counseling receive transformation as a first step toward the solution of the question,” shared Pastor Hwang lastly advised the youths to participate.

The gathering will begin on July 25, 8 p.m. concluding with a se
ChristianityDaily : Korean-American Christian News

Multi-Cultural Context of Korean-American Families

By   Sophia Park
ChristianityDaily Columnist

▲Dr. Sophia Park
Korean-Americans are among the many cultural and ethnic groups who have come to America to share in the slice of opportunity it offers. The leading motivation for most Korean parents has been to provide further educational opportunities for their children. The hope and determination they have for their children to “succeed” have provided the parents enough strength to tolerate suffering brought on by injustice in systems and discrimination by people in America. However, another “problem,” and a significant one that many immigrant families face has been the cultural conflict with their children in the home. This is because within one family exists multi-cultural realities and practices.

A “typical” Korean-American family consists of 1st generation parents, and for many, grandparents as well, and 1.5 or 2nd generation children. Each generation lives in different cultural realities - Korean immigrant and dominant western - and practices from their own cultural values and systems. Parents rear and expect from their children according to their Korean values while the children think, act, and expect from parents from their western values they were raised in. The gap that causes division between the parents/grandchildren and the children in Korean-American families is more than the generational gap; it is a cultural one. Communicating through the differences in cultural values and nuances becomes difficult or I dare say, impossible. Language and cultural differences as well as inadequate awareness of each other’s cultures prevent the necessary inter-cultural dialogue between parents and children as well as between Korean-Americans and the larger American society. The result has been that while living in the midst of people, many are isolated because they are not in relationship with family nor with the outer society. Due to the lack of cultural awareness, family relationships are divided and disconnected.

This is the reality that I encounter every day in my counseling practice. I have seen many Korean-American parents and children, split apart emotionally, and unable to enter into relationship with each other. Each family’s story is different and their “problems” are also different. But the commonality among many Korean-American families is that many are disconnected from each other within their families and want to reconnect. In a family setting where members are not in relationship with each other, there is a need to reconnect back into “family relationships.” How do parents and children living in different cultural realities connect back into relationship with each other?

The task of reconnecting and reconciling is huge and at times overwhelming. However, reconnecting families is necessary, desperately desired, and in most cases, possible. In the next series of articles I intend to incorporate theories of family relationships, realities of Korean-American families living in bi-cultural settings, and my counseling experience with them in hopes to bring to light the difficulties families are facing, and awareness and education for those who feel “caught” in similar situations as the above. - African and Asian American Unity is the online source for an ever growing African and Asian American community. Unity between the African & Asian American cultures can continue to grow in strength and in volume by using modern media such as the internet. Through AAAUnity.coms advice column, relationship stories and event listings we can learn more about each other and create friendships and bonds with other African and Asian people across the nation and even the world. It is time we get to know each other for who we really are and leave any misinformation behind for good. Click the Relationships link to find out how you can become a part of the relationship story gallery. Explore the site and enjoy!
Breaking down cultural barriers ( | Intelligencer

Breaking down cultural barriers

The Intelligencer

Asian immigrants have for decades been viewed as the “model minority” in American society, an industrious, hard-working, highly educated group of successful professionals and business entrepreneurs who have embraced with gusto the promises of the American Dream.

It's a stereotype which, like all stereotypes, contains a kernel of truth but which unfairly overshadows the fact that Asian immigrants have many of the same health and social problems that beset virtually all groups in the larger society.

If there is a difference, it is perhaps that many Asian immigrants don't avail themselves to the health and social service agencies and programs that can help them.

In the North Penn area, which has a large population of Korean and Asian Indian immigrant families, health and social service professionals wondered why so few members of these communities were among the clients they assisted.

The result is a more than 80-page report compiled by Family Services of Montgomery County and funded by the North Penn Community Health Foundation titled “Koreans and Asian Indians in the North Penn Area.”

Authored by Larry Fiebert, associate executive director of Family Services of Montgomery County, the “needs assessment report” attempts to answer the question of what the network of health and social service agencies in the North Penn area know and understand about the needs of Koreans and Indians in the community, and what these agencies can do to improve their response to those needs.

“There was a recognition that the social service network wasn't prepared, for example, if someone were to call speaking a different language,” Fiebert said. “We need to improve and make our services culturally accessible.”

The report sought to identify cultural attitudes and perceptions that might cause reluctance among members of the Korean and Indian communities to seek assistance.

“For example, if you have a young Indian couple who believe they could benefit from marriage counseling,” Fiebert said, “they might fear that the marriage counselor will push them into a divorce. They see that many Americans divorce, but maybe they don't want a divorce. They need to understand that the counselor is going to work with them to resolve their marriage issues and don't have to be frightened that counseling is going to result in divorce.”

Another example would be the need for a health care provider to understand that in some cultures women would be reluctant to be examined by a male gynecologist, he said.

The report indicates that, between 1990 and 2000, the overall Asian population in the North Penn area more than doubled, with a growth rate that far surpassed that of other groups, more than 10 times that of the white population.

Considered as a whole, Asians now comprise almost 7 percent of the region's population, and within that group, according to the 2000 census, there were 9,482 Koreans and 8,658 Indians living in Montgomery County, a significant number of them in the North Penn area.

Fiebert interviewed 40 male and female members of the North Penn Korean and Indian communities. They included eight individuals who worked in social service fields, six health care professionals, six church pastors or temple priests, six engineers or scientists, three educators, three retired persons, three business owners, and one martial arts instructor, student, discrimination consultant, lawyer and Realtor.

Based on the interviews, the report identified 14 basic “problem areas or unmet need themes:”

* Concerns of the elderly

* Mental health issues

* Domestic violence and child abuse

* Discrimination, lack of power and lack of trust

* Health and medical issues

* Health insurance issues

* Immigration concerns

* Intragroup conflict

* Lack of awareness of community services

* Language issues

* Generational conflict

* Poverty

* Substance abuse and addiction problems

* Transportation problems

The three key themes among Koreans were concerns of the elderly, language issues and mental health issues.

The three key themes among Indians were concerns of the elderly, mental health issues and domestic violence issues.

Members of the Indian community will meet to continue their discussion of Fiebert's report at 1 p.m. today at the North Penn Community Health Foundation, 2506 N. Broad St. Colmar. Members of the Korean community will meet there at 7 p.m. Monday.

Sanjeev Jindal of Harleysville is vice president of the Bharatiya Temple in Montgomery Township, a religious and cultural center for the region's Indian community. He worked closely with Fiebert over the two years in which the study was compiled.

He expects 30 or 40 members of the Indian community will attend Sunday's discussion.

“I think the report has been well received in the community,” said Jindal, a chemical engineer with Merck. “We are going to tackle four areas: women's issues, youth issues, elderly issues and abuse. So we hope that, with those 30 or 40 people, we will divide and conquer these action items.”

Fiebert is quick to point out that a needs assessment, by its nature, focuses on problems within a specific population. Therefore, one shouldn't think that the Korean and Indian communities are deeply troubled with a multitude of problems. The communities have many strengths as well as problems and challenges, he stressed.

How can switchover the first and the last each other in the church? It is only possible when they change their mind for the value of position, which is called overturn of value. Firstly it is better to raise a question for how supremacy is exercised practically.

Generally mainly pastor stand on the top of supremacy or to be stood. There are pastors who insist their qualification or ability to intercede between God and man. It is no exaggeration to say that the problems occurred by a pastor’s arbitrary decision and activities is the first factor of Korean Churches to get ill. So you can well imagine the people who began a church without pastor.

However, nowadays the supremacy of pastor is in name only except a few churches. The meeting of the elders in the church excises much powerful and practical supremacy. The elders generally get hegemony of church in a power struggle with a pastor and it is helpless situation for a pastor stays temporally but the elders stay their life time. The power struggle between a poster and the elders will be intensified and pastors will be gradually relegated. I would like to omit many reasons about this.

The male supremacy in Korean church shows its strength more than any phenomena. Female is completely excluded from church politic structure. The fact that a female pastor cannot be invited as a pastor in-charge is a simple example. The responsibility of female believers is also great for this matter. The reason that they don’t want a female pastor though they are female might be due to their deep-seated fixed idea and prejudice that a pastor should be a male.

How can we change such supremacy design? How can it be happened that the first become the last and the last become the first? Can you see any symptom in you and your society? Otherwise, we are overhearing the Lord’s word.
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008

The Jet Age

By Liam Fitzpatrick

As the convoy of 18 SUVs pulls to a halt on the narrow road above Sanjiang, Wenchuan county, Sichuan, the gleeful shrieks of an excited crowd float upwards through the autumnal mist. The vehicles have made the three-hour journey from the provincial capital Chengdu, spending two hours of it crawling through countryside affected by the cataclysmic earthquake in May. We say countryside — in fact, the view through the windows is an unsettling inversion of what the term normally evokes. Giant fissures sunder the hills and there are yawning voids where roads should be. Broad swaths of boulders and debris remain on the mountain slopes just as violent landslides deposited them on that terrible afternoon nearly seven months ago. Down in a flooded valley, bare and broken tree trunks poke through the water like the spars of a vanquished armada, and over everything hangs the cold, the damp and the fog.

Villagers have been lining the road to Sanjiang, awaiting the convoy's arrival, and now they slip and surge down muddy paths in the hope of getting closer to its head. A vehicle door finally swings open and Donatella Versace — of all people — shyly emerges from her sanctum of tinted windows and tobacco smoke. Standing in blonde tresses and heels, she is a fabulously incongruous sight here in the mountains. But the good villagers of Sichuan have no idea who she is. They are here, instead, to see her companion for the day — Li Lianjie, otherwise known as Jet Li. And when he appears before them, a great roar erupts.

The celebrity duo is visiting a school and counseling facility for children affected by the Sichuan earthquake, paid for by Versace and operated under the auspices of Li's charity, the One Foundation. The occasion is only theoretically private. Hundreds of people pour in from the road or strain at the wire mesh that separates the school from the tract of temporary housing it adjoins. There is barely room to stage the songs and dances that the children have so assiduously rehearsed. When Li and Versace tour a classroom, they do so while amazed farmers press faces at every window. Those who can't get close shove mobile phones through the bars in the hope of capturing a grainy memento. As the stars emerge, they find themselves in a perilously crowded courtyard of people and paparazzi. There are three film crews jostling for sight lines. Tempers fray, pushing starts and a local policeman begins to yell at the top of his voice at a knot of uncomprehending Italian journalists. Li's and Versace's entourages make time-out gestures at each other, cutting the visit short and bundling everyone into the SUVs for the long drive back to Chengdu airport and the evening flight to Beijing. It has been an exhausting business, spending a day in Li's wake. "Oh this is nothing," laughs his personal videographer. "You should have seen the crowds when we were in Shanghai."

The Real One
The cosseted youngest of five siblings, a child sports star and a big-screen actor from the age of 19, Beijing-born Li has known nothing but attention for every one of his 45 years. But the smiles that emanate from the trailing multitudes are often of a different kind now. They are not just the silly simpers that form in response to a celebrity sighting. They are also the warm, seraphic beams accorded to individuals who walk a righteous path. People generally don't ask Li to do flying kicks or the wushu horse stance for the camera these days. They don't even want his autograph much. What they want to do, amid the moral vacuum of modern China, is feed off the aura of a man preaching compassion and civic duty. When Li takes the rostrum, he reminds people of a time before land grabs, kickbacks and beatings — of a China in which people were not counterfeiting, short-changing, corner-cutting, milk-adulterating hucksters but virtuous and simple. "Before this country opened up, people were more focused on their spiritual lives," he says. "Since this country opened we have been more focused on the material life. For the sake of Chinese culture, it's time for a balance."

Established in April 2007, the One Foundation is Li's contribution toward that balance, and for its sake he has taken time out from films, becoming a full-time relief worker and traveling tirelessly on foundation business. This month he is set to appear at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Hong Kong. "Philanthropy is my passion and my life now," he says. "I wake up and eat and I'm thinking about it. I'm still thinking in the bath. I talk to everyone I can." It is difficult to name any other A-list celebrity, not even Bono, who has made such a total commitment. There are plenty who touch down in Africa between albums or movies, but none has actually walked off the job as Li has done, at the top of his game.

The One Foundation's name carries unfortunate echoes of Li's 2001 movie The One — an execrable film, which borrows from The Matrix to an embarrassing degree. Its plot — Li plays a cop saving the world from a version of himself who arrives from a parallel universe and desires to become a god — is doubtless some sort of comment on the struggle between egotism and responsibility. But it's far better to think of the One Foundation as so called because of its essential idea: that if every able person in China were to contribute one renminbi (about 15 cents) once a month, then an enormous reserve could be built up for the relief of deserving causes (and thus create "one big family," to use One Foundation – speak). Although large corporate endowments are solicited and obtained, the soul of the enterprise really does lie in spare change. Ordinary Chinese donate by patronizing one of many businesses that Li has signed up — by dining at the South Beauty restaurant chain, for example (one renminbi off the bill goes to the foundation), or by using their China Merchants Bank credit cards. They can also donate at post offices, through PayPal or via SMS. By these means, the foundation had raised, as of July this year, $13.7 million, the great bulk of which has gone to Sichuan earthquake relief.

It's hardly the biggest charitable sum that China has seen. Property magnate Zhu Mengyi has given away $160 million in the past five years (and the octogenarian entrepreneur Yu Pengnian has set aside well over twice that for the provision of cataract operations). But the One Foundation is not about billionaires. It is about a celebrity who has forsworn a pleasant life of premieres and parties, and the ordinary people who support him with their pennies. It is for them, perhaps, that Li places an almost neurotic stress on the One Foundation's "transparency" and "professionalism." He says he wants to run the organization "like a listed company" and make it a "21st century charity." Before discussing how a single cent has been raised, he speaks of "best practices," explains how the foundation's finances are independently audited by Deloitte, and name-checks Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey as his management partners. Scores of funds were established in the wake of the Sichuan calamity — in fact the public's response to the disaster marked an epochal shift in the whole business of Chinese philanthropy. But the One Foundation's businesslike style and the way in which it has made charitable giving a matter of a mouse click or a text message hopefully presage the sector's future.

Fighting for Nonviolence
To the rest of the world, Li's show-biz sabbatical may appear abrupt, but to his countrymen he is reprising the major themes of his life — self-sacrifice, service and discipline. At the age of 8, Li was randomly enrolled in a wushu class during a summer sports program. He had no idea what wushu was, which isn't surprising. At that time, wushu was only 13 years old. It was a committee-ordained synthesis of the various age-old Chinese combat forms (wushu literally means "martial arts"), intended to create a new codified sport. Emphasis was placed on the solo execution of martial stances and routines, and the system of point-scoring rewarded purity of form. In effect, it was a Chinese form of gymnastics, and Chinese officialdom was rather proud of it, making it an integral part of the country's cultural-exchange program. It reached thousands of foreign spectators, who fancied they were watching something ancient instead of the hypermodern creation of a socialist state.

Young Li was among the performers who accompanied Chinese delegations around the world, and his extraordinary ascent through the sport has never been duplicated. At the age of 11, he was part of a troupe sent on a goodwill tour of America and performed in front of U.S. President Richard Nixon, who jokingly asked the young fighter to become his bodyguard. Li's precocious reply — "I don't want to protect an individual; I want to defend my 1 billion Chinese countrymen!" — was regarded as a great propaganda coup by Chinese apparatchiks, whose darling he became. Li also became, at the age of 12, China's national wushu champion — not junior champion, but champion, period. He held that title for the next four years and performed in over 45 countries before his 18th birthday, trotted out like a national mascot. "I felt like I was carrying a lot of responsibility," he says. "I felt like I was representing a billion people and needed to do good."

You can see those sorts of sentiments running through Li's film corpus. In Bruce Lee's action movies, the Eurasian outsider fought for no greater cause than himself (the sole exception is 1972's Fist of Fury, in which he battled the cocksure Japanese). Jackie Chan made the action-comedy subgenre his own, reducing martial arts to a form of slapstick. Li, however, has most often played the sober upholder of national pride.

Li has made five films — Born to Defence (1986), The Master (1989), Once Upon a Time in China (1991), Fist of Legend (1994) and Fearless (2006) — in which he protects his countrymen from cruel and rapacious foreigners, mostly Americans. In 1994's The New Legend of Shaolin, he is a Han Chinese rebel fighting against Qing (or Manchu, and thus foreign) rule. In Hero (2002), Li is an assassin who, to his own detriment, abstains from an attempt on the life of the Qin King, who goes on to become the venerated Qin Shi Huangdi, the first Emperor of China and the ruler who would unify the nation, standardize the Chinese language and commence construction of the Great Wall. And on it goes. If you want to picture Li's résumé, imagine it on red paper and bedecked with gold stars.

Of his films, Li considers the most important to be Hero, Fearless and 2005's Danny the Dog, in which he plays a senseless brute, trained to savage anyone running foul of his loan-shark master. "Everything I want to say is in those three movies," he declares. "The message of Hero is that your personal suffering is not as important as the suffering of your country. The point of Danny the Dog is that violence is not a solution. Fearless is actually about personal growth — about a guy who decides that in the end his greatest enemy is himself."

That is the thing about Li. He has spent more than two decades as a superior practitioner of on-screen violence, so all he wants to talk about now is oneness and universal concord. "The strongest weapon is a smile and the best power is love" is typical of the beatific remarks he ventures to anyone within earshot. The conventional explanation for this is that after a horrific near-drowning in the 2004 Asian tsunami, Li experienced a Siddhartha-style bolt of enlightenment and decided to abandon Hollywood venality for a life of good works. It makes great press, and Li does nothing to correct this idea, but the truth, naturally, is more complex. He was walking on a beach in the Maldives with his two small daughters and maid when the tsunami struck. The swells came up to Li's chin (he stands just under 5 ft. 7 in., or 1.7 m), but the group was able to struggle the short distance back to their hotel unmolested save for a slight injury to the star's foot. This was clearly a frightening experience, and the poor Li girls are scared of the sea still, but it is by no means among the first rank of tsunami survival stories. Rather than bringing on an epiphany, this relatively clement brush with death simply brought out the spiritual tendencies that Li had been harboring for years. The tsunami liberated him from the desire to make films.

Life After Life
Seven years before, at the age of 34 — when he stood upon the summit of the Chinese film world but had yet to venture into international markets — Li was already having existential ruminations. "I started thinking about life," he says. "I started wondering what it is people want. Is it money, power or fame? Is it to see yourself in TIME?" Over the next seven years his fame increased exponentially, but he was unable to completely enjoy it and ended up engaging over 20 different Buddhist teachers. "The main idea taught by the different kinds of Buddhism," he says, "is that the lower you put yourself on the priority level, the happier you become." Surveying the wrecked lobby of his Maldives hotel, Li recalled this lesson, and decided that philanthropy — a thing he had vaguely imagined doing in retirement — was not something that could be indefinitely deferred. Three years later, he had cleared his film commitments and established the One Foundation.

Today, he leads it from the front. At its Beijing offices, there are no p.r. minders corralling the visitor in an antechamber while the great man readies himself. He walks promptly into his own reception area with hand extended. Whenever he is in town (home is Singapore), he shares an apartment near the office with foundation staff, who must have scant hope of rest. He has addressed at least 20 conferences this year, espousing the kind of China that everyone wants to see. The most important point about the One Foundation, he says, is the example it sets, "so that when the Chinese become stronger we can take more responsibility in the world." In other words, it's not just about food parcels or blankets. It's about an idea of what the world's most populous nation can be. And that gets CEOs sheepishly arising from their cognac and shark-fin banquets to write checks. It makes the poor queue at post offices to offer gifts of a few grubby notes. It even persuades Italian fashion icons to sully their extravagant shoes in the mud of ravaged rural Sichuan.

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Teachers learn students' Korean culture | korean, students, teacher, cypress, training - News -

Teachers learn students' Korean culture

Cypress teachers take a workshop on how to help Korean students, the district's fastest growing student population.

The Orange County Register
Comments 4 | Recommend 3

Cypress Some Korean students avoid making eye contact. They call out "teacher," instead of names. And children will often nod instead of saying they don't understand.

These are all considered ways of respecting teachers in Korean culture. But sometimes, teachers and school staff misunderstand these students, thinking they are being impolite instead.

On Monday, about 200 educators learned about such cultural differences among their Korean students in a workshop meant to help them teach the fastest growing student group in Cypress School District.

At least 15 percent of the district's 4,100 students spoke Korean in the district last year, according to state data. Ten years earlier, only about 5 percent of students were Korean speakers.

"There are a lot of things I'm doing that I shouldn't be," said Julie Bizio, a second-grade teacher at Luther Elementary in La Palma, the city with Orange County's largest concentration of Koreans. "It's an eye opener."

The workshop idea came from Luther Principal M.J. Beatty, who read about a similar program in Irvine. She found out about the Korea Academy for Educators, which does training on Korean culture. Coincidentally, the academy was expanding its training program, funded by a research institute in Korea. The group agreed to pay for and conduct a training session for all Cypress teachers.

Bizio said she was struck to learn that she should avoid writing children's name in red because it signifies death in the Korean culture. She said she will think twice before snapping back at students, asking if they want her to call them "students" when they call her "teacher."

"I hate them calling me 'teacher,' but maybe I shouldn't," Bizio said.

Fourth-grade teacher Judie Braddon said she should add more oral reports and debates into her class at Luther because some Korean students often don't learn to defend their opinions, which can be considered rude. But in the United States, those skills are necessary to succeed in school.

Korean parents helped out with the training by donating money for traditional refreshments, including rice cakes, kimbap rolls, fried dumplings and soft drinks. Seven mothers, along with five girls, wore "hanbok," or traditional dresses, as they sung "Arirang" – the most famous Korean folk song.

"We're very excited about it because more teachers will know about our culture and have more understanding about the behavior," said Jessica Lee, who has a daughter at Luther. "I think it's a great idea."

Many Korean parents have gravitated to the Cypress and La Palma area often because of the schools. Sarah Kim, who has lived in the United States for about 10 years ago, said her family decided to move to Cypress from San Diego when her husband got a new job about three years ago. Now, her life is centered on her two children's school and home, which she prefers to hectic city life.

"It feels very comfortable," Kim said, about the teacher training. "They can do something. This is the first step."

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Since its inception in the fall of 2005, we have garnered premium advertisers and promoted such venerable brands as Audemar Piguet, Cartier, Damiani, Elite Aviation, Franck Muller, Harrah's Entertainment, Las Vegas Conventions and Visitors Authority, Lee Kum Kee, Martell Cognac, Max Windsor Floors, Morgan Stanley, Ritz Carlton Club, Rolex, Rusnak Auto Group, United Commercial Bank, Vertu Cell Phone among over 60 other luxury products and services that is synonymous with quality in craftsmanship and successful lifestyle.

Our bi-annual celebration of luxury in lifestyle events also bring together our demographic and advertisers in an intimate gathering of mind and spirits that takes branding to the next level of personal philosophy through our niche focus.

Perhaps due to the nearing of the new year, I've been ruminating on a variety of things (or perhaps it's just in my nature to ruminate and it seems more obvious toward the end of the year). The spark for my current ruminations was a random phone call from a friend from years ago when I was an active participant in the Korean churches of Los Angeles. Together, my friend and I critiqued, criticized, and upheld extremely high standards since we were role models for younger kids who didn't have any models to follow. We poured out love, reprimands, and were listening ears for kids who didn't have adults to turn to openly discuss their issues and struggles. Things began to crumble when we noted hypocrisies amongst our leaders, and we both struggled to prolong our tenure in the church for the sake of the kids, but the greater politicians conquered our honesty, and we both gracelessly, though tactfully, left our teaching/mentoring positions (for those mentoring enthusiasts out there, I still mentor the kids...). 

For me, it was a lesson in the confining nature of my Christian Korean culture, and I quietly left the Korean church entirely to pursue different alternatives (i.e. non-denominational churches focused on serving its communities), whereas my friend stuck it out in the Christian Korean community to change it from the inside waiting for the "judging, stereotyping, dogmatic elders to die." 

It was fun catching up with my friend, and I thought more about the random people from my past I've seen around town with awkward "hello's" and "how have you been doing's." It's a bit peculiar and reinforces the idea/ideal that the world, for as large as it is, is a really small place. And how we treat each other - how I relate to my family, friends, co-workers, and strangers - has an impact on our little world that ripples into the bigger waters. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this... I suppose to summarize, I feel as though my current actions affect my future interactions - giving a valuable weight to the present. It is a different interpretation of carpe diem! Seize the day with fullness and compassion, maximizing the moment as it may be the last we have!

Time will tell if I will ever return to the Korean church. If my family has their way, maybe someday I will, but I don't have the battle-hardy spirit my friend exhibited on the phone to stimulate reform in institutions blinded by their own empty dogma. 
Mumbai - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In 1996, the city was renamed Mumbai[19] by the Shiv Sena government of Maharashtra, in keeping with their policy of renaming colonial institutions after historic local names.

As Asian-Americans, the worship music we sing at church is largely rooted in European melodic tradition. From the missionary hymns of the 18th and 19th century, to the contemporary worship music of the 20th and 21st century, we’ve sung the songs of Western Christians.

Have you ever considered these questions: When you go to a church full of Asian-Americans and you close your eyes, what do you hear? Would you be able to detect any distinctiveness coming from our ethnicity or culture? When you read the words on the screen, who penned those words? Where is the melody of our ancestors? Are these even valid questions at all?

Dr. Paul Huh

On Thursday, Dec 4th, Professor Paul Huh of Columbia Theological Seminary will lead us in singing worship songs to the tune of our ancestors. Reminiscent of Western monastic singing, the eastern style of worship has simple, meditative, and powerful melodies that centers the worshiper.

Professor Huh’s research interests include liturgical musicology, space, time, history, theology, and arts in both Korean and North American settings.  Additionally, he is interested in the praxis of bilingual/bicultural performing, designing, leading, and evaluating worship in an ecumenical setting.

Come out to the Communitas building located here at 7pm. Hang-out and dinner to follow afterwards.

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Asian-American, Woman, Christian, or what?

What does it mean to be an Asian-American? What is the role of feminism in Asian-America? The role of faith? Of conservatism? And sexuality?

We hope to discuss these in our upcoming gathering as we watch The Grace Lee Project, a documentary about navigating through Asian culture, feminism, and faith. The discussion to follow will be led by Eunjung Kim, a post-doc fellow with the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at the Emory Law School.

Please join us for an honest discussion at the Communitas Building (directions) at 7pm. Hang-out and dinner to follow afterwards.

Asian American Studies Program - University of Maryland

OCA/AAST - A Portrait of Chinese Americans

Available for viewing and downloading.


A protrait of Chinese Americans

A Portrait of Chinese Americans

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A Portrait of Chinese Americans,

A Snapshot of: A Portrait of Chinese Americans

A Snapshot of "A Portrait of Chinese Americans"



The Top Eight MSA* Communities Where Chinese Americans Reside


NY Area

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*The GIS concentration maps are created using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 Decennial Census, and they capture the latest trend in the changing demography and social composition of the eight largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) where Chinese Americans reside.

A Vietnamese Journey Toward the American Dream

New America Media, Commentary, Andrew Lam , Posted: Nov 24, 2008 Review it on NewsTrust

Editor's note: This essay by NAM contributing writer Andrew Lam is excerpted from a longer piece in the anthology "Thirty Years After," to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in spring 2009.

When I think of the Vietnamese narrative in California I think of my mother's ancestral altar. In her suburban home on the outskirts of San Jose with a pool shimmering in the backyard, my mother prays. Every morning, she climbs a chair and piously lights a few joss sticks for the ancestral altar on top of the living room's bookcase and mumbles her solemn prayers to the dead.

Black-and-white photos of grandpa and grandma and uncles stare out benevolently to the world of the living on the top shelf. On the shelves below, by contrast, stand my father's MBA diploma, my older siblings' engineering and business degrees, my own degree in biochemistry, our combined sports trophies, and, last but not least, the latest installments of my own unending quest for self-reinvention—plaques and obelisks, shaped crystals and framed certificates—my journalism awards.

What my mother's altar and the shelves carrying their various knickknacks underneath seek to tell is the typical Vietnamese American transition, one where old world fatalism finally meets new world optimism, the American dream. After all, praying to the dead is a cyclical, Confucian habit — something to keep a Vietnamese connected to her community, her tradition, her sense of identity. Getting awards and degrees, on the other hand, is an American tendency, a proposition of ascendancy, one where one looks toward the future and deems it optimistic and bright. Oftentimes to be Vietnamese American, one lurks between these two opposite ideas, negotiating, that is, between night and day.

Many Vietnamese-American immigrants, when they talk about their own lives, will tell you how drastically different they were before and after they left Vietnam. "Before I left, I couldn't possibly imagine what my life in America would be like." This sentence I often hear from my relatives and friends when they talk about the past.

little sg
Gate of Little Saigon in Westminster, California

Day and night. Trung Tran, the rice farmer's son from Quang Nam province, for instance, the one who brought only seven oranges with him onto a crowded boat thinking that they should last him the whole journey across the Pacific — "How big is the ocean anyway?" — had escaped to San Francisco. And instead of helping the old man plant next season's crop he returned to Vietnam three decades later to design glassy high-rises, the kind Vietnam had never seen before.

What transformed in the Vietnamese refugee psyche was a simple yet potent idea of progression. In the Golden State, where dreams do have a penchant to come true, he grows ambitious. He sees, for instance, his own restaurant in the "for rent" sign on a dilapidated store in a run-down neighborhood. He sees his kids graduating from top colleges. He imagines his own home with a pool in the back in five years’ time — all things that are impossible back home.

A cliché to native-borns, the American dream nevertheless seduces the traditionally sedentary Vietnamese to travel halfway around the world. It's the American dream and in that kissed him hard, tongued him, in fact, the morning he awakes to find, to his own amazement, that he can readily pronounce "mortgage," "escrow," "aerobic," "tax shelter," "GPA," "MBA," "MD," "BMW," "overtime," "stock options." Gone is the cyclical nature of his provincial thinking, and lost is his land-bound mentality.

And why not? The American dream has over time chased away the Vietnamese nightmare. And compared to the bloody battlefields, the malaria-infested new economic zone and communist gulags, the squalid refugee camps scattered across Southeast Asia, the murders and rapes and starving and drowning on the high seas, California is still paradise.

The drama of the initial expulsion is replaced over the years by the jubilation of a newfound status and wealth. A community that initially saw itself as living in exile, as survivors of some historical tragedy — we were, after all, a people defeated in a civil war and forced to flee — slowly changed its self-assessment. It began to see itself as an immigrant community. It began to see America as home. It reorganized and grew prosperous. Soon enough houses are bought, jobs are had, children are born, old folks are buried, businesses and malls are opened, community newspapers are printed, and economic and political organizations are formed. That is to say, ours is a community whose roots are burrowing, slowly but surely and deeply, into the American loam.

There are now politicians, writers, lawyers, judges, journalists of Vietnamese ancestry in California. Pick up a Vietnamese yellow pages phone book in Santa Clara or Orange County these days and you will be astounded at how organized the community really is. The new arrival may not need to speak English at all (though of course, he should learn it) — he just needs to pick up the yellow pages, full of businesses that cater to an immigrant's every need: from law to dentist’s offices, from restaurants to computer programming training centers, from private schools to car rental to real estate services, from funeral services to wedding planning, from cosmetic surgery to travel services, he has an array of choices at his beck and call. Even when the economy is shaky, there is a kind of dynamic that seems unstoppable within the community.

weddingThe pangs of longing are thus dulled by the necessities of living and by the glory of newfound status and wealth. And the refugee-turned-immigrant (a psychological transition) turned naturalized U.S. citizen (more or less a transition of convenience) finds that the insistence of memories insists a little less as he zooms down the freeway toward a glorious chimerical cityscape to work each morning.

Vietnamese translation: Người Việt hải ngoại và California

Lam is the author of Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora.

A Portrait of Chinese America: New Study Suggests Economic Glass Ceiling May Still Exist : AsianWeek

A Portrait of Chinese America: New Study Suggests Economic Glass Ceiling May Still Exist

November 21, 2008

An economic glass ceiling may still exist for many Chinese Americans who are climbing the income ladder, according to a broad-based social and economic study published this month by the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA).

Although Chinese Americans are more educated — the proportion of Chinese Americans 25 years and older who have earned a college degree (51.7 percent) dwarfs that of the general population (27 percent) — and the median household income for Chinese American families also outpaces that of the general population ($62,705 in 2006 inflation-adjusted dollars compared to $48,451), Chinese Americans consistently trail behind their non-Hispanic white counterparts in every pay grade category. For example, among workers who have earned a bachelor’s degree, the median income for Chinese Americans was $55,571, compared to $62,185 for non-Hispanic whites.

“Contrary to popular beliefs, Chinese Americans often face extra barriers to economic success, despite their educational achievements,” said Larry H. Shinigawa, American Studies professor at the University of Maryland.

Controlling for gender and industry of occupation skews the data slightly. Chinese American women who have completed at least some college have a higher median income than non-Hispanic white women. Chinese American workers display slightly higher median incomes in financial, computer and engineering occupations, while trailing further behind, up to 44 percent, in legal and medical fields.

The overall data imply that, regardless of occupation, and given the same educational level, Chinese Americans earn higher than the national median income but lag behind their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

“Time and hard work simply haven’t been enough for Chinese Americans to fully enter into mainstream social and professional circles,” Shinigawa said. “I suspect there are many reasons such as language barriers or simply the difficulties that go along with being identified as an ‘outsider.’ In the long run, increasing mentoring efforts and leadership opportunities can enhance the Chinese American community. You need a pipeline, a network to help young professionals rise to their potential, and increase Chinese American participation in top positions.”

The study paints an intricately detailed sketch of Chinese Americans in the United States today, on topics as diverse as education, voter participation, marriage and citizenship.

An important overarching finding of the study was that Chinese Americans, frequently relegated to a singular ethnic group, are actually quite diverse. Factors such as country of origin, generation, language ability, degree of naturalization and immigration period were all found to affect the socioeconomic profile of Chinese American subgroups — in some cases to a drastic degree, such as household income.

“[This study] surely demonstrates the need to stop treating Chinese Americans as a monolithic group,” said Shinigawa. “Different segments of the population have very different needs.”

Socioeconomic stratification in the Chinese American community was found to be pronounced. Instead of following a bell curve typical of “normalized” population studies, statistics showed split distribution in personal income, residential pattern and education. Younger, later generations who were well educated and upwardly mobile formed a socioeconomic profile vastly different from older, multilingual immigrant generations. This “bimodal” society made a strong case for the level of diversity to be found within the Chinese American ethnic group.

“It makes for a rather bipolar picture of wealth and poverty, high and low education levels, white and blue collars,” Shinagawa said. “It’s a pattern you expect to see after a wave of immigration. But in this case, the long-term settled population has yet to achieve full equal treatment.”

Other interesting findings were that Chinese Americans accounted for 24.3 percent of Asian Americans in the United States, making them the largest ethnic subgroup; 59.5 percent claim mainland China as their country of origin, with 15.9 percent from Taiwan, 15.3 percent from the Chinese diaspora and 9.4 percent from Hong Kong; an estimated 70.2 percent of Chinese Americans are U.S. citizens.

Another interesting find is that 53.8 percent of all Chinese Americans lived in either California or New York, giving the two states the nation’s highest Chinese American populations. Chinese Americans are more likely to be married than the general population and have a lower divorce rate. Slightly more than one in 10 Chinese Americans has a multiracial background.

The study — a joint venture between OCA, a national Asian Pacific American advocacy organization, and the University of Maryland, College Park — was a comprehensive analysis of U.S. government census data.

Written by Rex Feng · Filed Under National, News 

Capital Vietnamese Christian Fellowship
Thi Mitsamphan

Thi is 24 years old and currently serves as Interim Student Pastor at East Side Baptist Church in Fort Smith Arkansas. Thi currently serves as Activity Coordinator for this ministry’s retreats and conferences. He is also involved in Lao Baptist Youth organization.  Thi loves to spend time with family, read, play sports, and spend time ministering to students. Thi plans on attending Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis TN.

Soo Wilson

Soo was raised up in Fairfax County since her family arrived in the US when she was 7 years old. In the past, she has spent many years in youth and college ministries and currently leads a small group. Soo plays the guitar/keyboard/sing in the praise team. She is also a Prayer Minister and teaches classes in church settings. She has had the honor of being part of the Mexico and Africa mission teams. After she graduated from George Mason University, she also received Master of Divinity from Evangel Theological Seminary. Currently she is working on her Doctor of Ministry degree from Evangel and Adjunct Professor at Evangel Theological Seminary. 

Pastor Nguyen Bao Tran 

Pastor Daniel started as a missionary on the Pacific before coming to America.  While living in Virginia, Pastor Bao served as a youth leader at the Vietnamese Hope Baptist Church.  Eventually he was led to serve as the senior pastor at Vietnamese Congregation at First Baptist Church of Alexandria on King Street. In 2005, Pastor Daniel and his family now serve for the Vietnamese congregation at Hollinger Island Baptist Church in Mobile, AL.  

[Capital Vietnamese Christian Fellowship] LOST

Sabastian Huynh

Sabastian was born in Vietnam, in 1970, and came to the United States when he was three years old in 1973. With three American step fathers, he never knew is biological father until 33 years later. Growing up Sabastian struggled with his identity, whether he was Asian? Mexican? Black? or American? This idenity crisis and with serious anger issues, Sabastian landed himself in prison at the age of 19. There he was facing a sixty-six years-to-life sentence in 1989. God intervened, and on July 29, 1990 Sabastian accepted Jesus Christ as his LORD and Savior.

Today, Sabastian is happily married to his wife, Donna, and has three boys (Kaleb, Joshua and Seth). Currently, he serves as the Cause Circle Pastor at Newsong Church in Irvine, CA. In the past, Sabastian also served in other inner city missionaries in Watts, South Central LA and in South Dallas. Impacting the world through Newsong, he has the privilege of mobilizing over 2700 adults for the Cause Circle ministry.

Alan Nguyen

Pastor Alan Nguyen (Tung Nguyen) has a wonderful family - a wife and two kids. He and his family have been serving God whole heartedly for the past 8 years.

Prior to dedicating his life to God, Pastor Alan was an established professional with Engineering Degrees in Computer Science & Information Technology and was working as a Technical Operation Manager with a high-tech company in Silicon Valley, CA.

Pastor Alan started out his ministry by working part-time with the youth group in Sacramento, CA for three years while attending seminary school. In 2004, he accepted his first full-time pastoral position as a youth pastor for the Vietnamese Alliance Church in Washington D.C. His interesting style of teaching, with humor, dedication, and a heart for the Lord has helped the youth group grow from the ground up in quantity and quality. Pastor Alan has recently finished his Masters Degree in Christian Ministry from the Alliance Divinity School of Anaheim, CA and continues to serve God today.

Speaker: Pastor Dan Hyun

Pastor Dan Hyun was raised in the greater Philadelphia area, receiving his degree in speech communication from Penn State University with the intention of pursuing a career in law. Through many personal challenges, Dan began to comprehend the radical nature of God's love and grace for the first time and sensing that God wanted to use his life to share this same gospel with others, he felt a call in his heart to serve the Lord in fulltime ministry. He received his Masters in Divinity from Biblical Theological Seminary and has served with churches in the Philadelphia and Baltimore metro areas for the past decade. He is currently planting a new church in Baltimore, The Village is specifically focused on sharing the Gospel with this emerging generation.

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Speaker: Pastor Bao (Daniel) Tran

Pastor Daniel was called into ministry at 16 years of age. Beginning in 1988, he carried the Gospel of Christ weekly to rural areas of the Vietnam highlands. By God’s grace, he left Vietnam in 1995 and joined an International Mission Ship, a Korean ministry that reaches out to Asian Countries and Pacific Islands. His wife and son later joined him in ministry before the entire family came to the United States. Since 1999, he served in different churches in the Washington D.C area until he clearly received God's call to settle in Mobile AL. He is now serving as a senior pastor of the Vietnamese Obedience Baptist Church formerly a mission of Hollinger Island Baptist Church in Mobile, Al. His congregation has grown to 80-100 active members worshiping every Sunday in a town that has about 3000 Vietnamese residents. He is also serving as the President of Vietnamese Baptist Churches in the Southeastern Region.

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Speaker: Jennifer Ikoma-Motzko

Jennifer hails from Chicago, IL where her husband Michael and her serve as lay leaders at River City Community Church - a multiethnic church committed to worship, reconciliation, and community development. She is the interim National Asian American Ministries Coordinator for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. InterVarsity is a college ministry committed to seeing "Students & Faculty transformed, Campuses Renewed, & World Changers Developed." For the past ten years with InterVarsity she's live in diverse places - from NYC to Madison, WI, spoken to student groups around the country, planned conferences, and created/led training modules with a particular emphasis for developing ethnic minorities & cross-cultural teams. Considering she entered Cornell University vowing to "have nothing to do with organized religion," she considers this ironic or God's sense of humor and grace.

The stunning growth of Christianity in China | Sons of heaven | The Economist

Christianity in China

Sons of heaven

From The Economist print edition

Inside China’s fastest-growing non-governmental organisation

EPA Jesus loves you

ZHAO XIAO, a former Communist Party official and convert to Christianity, smiles over a cup of tea and says he thinks there are up to 130m Christians in China. This is far larger than previous estimates. The government says there are 21m (16m Protestants, 5m Catholics). Unofficial figures, such as one given by the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in Massachusetts, put the number at about 70m. But Mr Zhao is not alone in his reckoning. A study of China by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, an American think-tank, says indirect survey evidence suggests many unaffiliated Christians are not in the official figures. And according to China Aid Association (CAA), a Texas-based lobby group, the director of the government body which supervises all religions in China said privately that the figure was indeed as much as 130m in early 2008.

If so, it would mean China contains more Christians than Communists (party membership is 74m) and there may be more active Christians in China than in any other country. In 1949, when the Communists took power, less than 1% of the population had been baptised, most of them Catholics. Now the largest, fastest-growing number of Christians belong to Protestant “house churches”.

In a suburb of Shanghai, off Haining Road, neighbours peer warily across the hallway as visitors file into a living room, bringing the number to 25, the maximum gathering allowed by law without official permission. Inside, young urban professionals sit on sofas and folding chairs. A young woman in a Che Guevara T-shirt blesses the group and a man projects material downloaded from the internet from his laptop onto the wall. Heads turn towards the display and sing along: “Glory, Glory Glory; Holy, Holy, Holy; God is near to each one of us.” It is Sunday morning, and worship is beginning in one of thousands of house churches across China.

House churches are small congregations who meet privately—usually in apartments—to worship away from the gaze of the Communist Party. In the 1950s, the Catholic and main Protestant churches were turned into branches of the religious-affairs administration. House churches have an unclear status, neither banned nor fully approved of. As long as they avoid neighbourly confrontation and keep their congregations below a certain size (usually about 25), the Protestant ones are mostly tolerated, grudgingly. Catholic ones are kept under closer scrutiny, reflecting China’s tense relationship with the Vatican.

Private meetings in the houses of the faithful were features of the early Christian church, then seeking to escape Roman imperial persecution. Paradoxically, the need to keep congregations small helped spread the faith. That happens in China now. The party, worried about the spread of a rival ideology, faces a difficult choice: by keeping house churches small, it ensures that no one church is large enough to threaten the local party chief. But the price is that the number of churches is increasing.

The church in Shanghai is barely two years old but already has two offspring, one for workers in a multinational company, the other for migrant labourers. As well as spreading the Word, the proliferation of churches provides a measure of defence against intimidation. One pastor told the Far Eastern Economic Review last year that if the head of one house church was arrested, “the congregation would just split up and might break into five, six or even ten new house churches.”

Abundant church-creation is a blessing and a curse for the house-church movement, too. The smiling Mr Zhao says finance is no problem. “We don’t have salaries to pay or churches to build.” But “management quality” is hard to maintain. Churches can get hold of Bibles or download hymn books from the internet. They cannot so easily find experienced pastors. “In China”, says one, “the two-year-old Christian teaches the one-year-old.”

Because most Protestant house churches are non-denominational (that is, not affiliated with Lutherans, Methodists and so on), they have no fixed liturgy or tradition. Their services are like Bible-study classes. This puts a heavy burden on the pastor. One of the Shanghai congregation who has visited a lot of house churches sighs with relief that “this pastor knows what he is talking about.”

Still, the teething troubles of the church are minor compared with the vast rise in the number of Christians. After the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 many disenchanted democrats turned to Christianity: six of the 30 or so student leaders of the protests became Christians. China’s new house churches have the zeal of converts: many members bring their families and co-workers. One Confucian Chinese says with a rueful smile that most of the pretty girls at university were Christians–and would date only other Christians.

Holier and trendier than thou

Christianity also follows Chinese migration. Many Christians studied in America, converted there and brought their new faith home. Several of the congregation of the Shanghai house church studied abroad, as did Mr Zhao. In 2000, says one Beijing writer and convert, most believers were in the countryside. After 2000 they brought their faith into the cities, spreading Christianity among intellectuals.

All this amounts to something that Europeans, at least, may find surprising. In much of Christianity’s former heartland, religion is associated with tradition and ritual. In China, it is associated with modernity, business and science. “We are first-generation Christians and first-generation businessmen,” says one house-church pastor. In a widely debated article in 2006, Mr Zhao wrote that “the market economy discourages idleness. [But] it cannot discourage people from lying or causing harm. A strong faith discourages dishonesty and injury.” Christianity and the market economy, in his view, go hand in hand.

So far, Christianity’s spread has been largely a private matter for individual believers. The big question is whether it can remain private. The extent of its growth and the number of its adherents would suggest not. But at the moment, both Christians and Communists seem willing to let a certain ambiguity linger a while longer.

“Christians are willing to stay within the system,” says Mr Zhao. “Christianity is also the basis for good citizenship in China.” Most Christians say that theirs is not a political organisation and they are not seeking to challenge the party. But they also say clashes with public policy are inevitable: no Christian, one argues, should accept the one-child policy, for example.

Formally, the Communist Party forbids members to hold a religious belief, and the churches say they suffer official harassment. The president of the Beijing house-church alliance, Zhang Mingxuan, was thrown out of the capital before the Olympic games and told he was unwelcome when he returned. In early June, the state government of Henan arrested half a dozen house-church members on charges of illegally sending charitable donations to Sichuan earthquake victims. CAA claims harassment of house churches is rising.

In fact, the state’s attitude seems ambivalent. In December 2007, President Hu Jintao held a meeting with religious leaders and told them that “the knowledge of religious people must be harnessed to build a prosperous society.” The truth is that Christians and Communists are circling each other warily. But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Christianity will have a political impact one day. “If you want to know what China will be like in the future,” concludes Mr Zhao, “you have to consider the future of Christianity in China.”

The spark for my current ruminations was a random phone call from a friend from years ago when I was an active participant in the Korean churches of Los Angeles. Together, my friend and I critiqued, criticized, and upheld extremely high standards since we were role models for younger kids who didn't have any models to follow. We poured out love, reprimands, and were listening ears for kids who didn't have adults to turn to openly discuss their issues and struggles. Things began to crumble when we noted hypocrisies amongst our leaders, and we both struggled to prolong our tenure in the church for the sake of the kids, but the greater politicians conquered our honesty, and we both gracelessly, though tactfully, left our teaching/mentoring positions (for those mentoring enthusiasts out there, I still mentor the kids...). 

For me, it was a lesson in the confining nature of my Christian Korean culture, and I quietly left the Korean church entirely to pursue different alternatives (i.e. non-denominational churches focused on serving its communities), whereas my friend stuck it out in the Christian Korean community to change it from the inside waiting for the "judging, stereotyping, dogmatic elders to die." 

It was fun catching up with my friend, and I thought more about the random people from my past I've seen around town with awkward "hello's" and "how have you been doing's." It's a bit peculiar and reinforces the idea/ideal that the world, for as large as it is, is a really small place. And how we treat each other - how I relate to my family, friends, co-workers, and strangers - has an impact on our little world that ripples into the bigger waters. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this... I suppose to summarize, I feel as though my current actions affect my future interactions - giving a valuable weight to the present. It is a different interpretation of carpe diem! Seize the day with fullness and compassion, maximizing the moment as it may be the last we have!

Time will tell if I will ever return to the Korean church. If my family has their way, maybe someday I will, but I don't have the battle-hardy spirit my friend exhibited on the phone to stimulate reform in institutions blinded by their own empty dogma. 

Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation

The Okura Mental Health Leadership was created through the vision of Mr. Pat and Mrs. Lilly Okura. Following Mr. Okura's distinguished career at the National Institute of Mental Health, they recognized the need to educate promising Asian American and Pacific Islander mental health professions in how mental health services and policies are developed and shaped. The Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation, Inc. was founded on October 1, 1988, and is incorporated in the State of Maryland as a non-profit, tax-exempt public foundation.

The mission of the foundation is to foster and promote education, research and services in the areas of mental health and human services. It is also to foster and promote leadership by providing fellowships, scholarships, stipends and grants for promising Asian Pacific American professionals, students and relevant and related organizations. The foundations seeks to support and conduct activities, meetings, conferences, symposiums, publications and related activities to a) stimulate Asian Pacific Americans to enter the mental health and human service fields and b) pursue and assume national and international leadership roles. The Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation, Inc. is organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. It makes grants available to individuals and organizations that carry out the mission.


The Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation conducts annual leadership seminars called "Week in Washington" to provide young, promising Asian Pacific American leaders in the fields of mental health and human services to learn, experience and build on knowledge needed to be a leader in their respective communities locally and nationally. Over seventy individuals to date have benefited from this opportunity to spend a week in Washington, D.C., attending meetings with members of Congress, national leaders in areas of health and human services, administrators, of national organizations, and other national leaders or role models. Okura Fellows participate in an Alumni Association to continue their group activities. Many stay in contact with each other informally or through other professional networks. Many of the Fellows have attained advancements in their chosen fields and have furthered their endeavors by their leadership training provided by the Okura Foundation.

In addition to the annual "Week in Washington" leadership seminar, the Okura Foundation created a White House Fellowship in 1995. These White House Interns have worked under the supervision of the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. They are given an invaluable opportunity to represent Asian and Pacific Islander communities and to learn how community issues and concerns can result in federal, state, and local policy.

The "Week in Washington" leadership seminars and the White House Fellow Program have been successful due to the support and encouragement of many dedicated contributors to the Foundation.

To find out more about the Okura Mental Health Foundation and/or how to apply to become a Fellow, please contact Mr. Pat and Mrs. Lilly Okura, 6303 Friendship Court, Bethseda, Maryland 20817.

Population: Asian American elementary school students
Beck Depression Inventory - short form (Beck & Beck, 1972)
  Purpose: To assess depression symptoms and mood

Jennifer Crocker, Ph.D.
R. Luhtanen, Ph.D.
B. Blaine Ph.D.
S. Broadnax

Population: Asian Undergraduate students
Beck Hopelessness Scale (Beck & Steer, 1988)
  Purpose: To assess level of negative expectations about the future

Jennifer Crocker, Ph.D.
R. Luhtanen, Ph.D.
B. Blaine Ph.D.
S. Broadnax

Population: Asian Undergraduate students
Chapman Scales (Chapman, Chapman, & Roulin, 1976)
Purpose: To assess number of psychotic indicators

Phillip M. Chmielewski
Leyan O. L. Fernandes
Cindy M. Yee
Gregory A. Miller, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  Population: Asian undergraduate students
General Behavior Inventory (Depue & Klein, 1988)
Purpose: To identify individuals at risk for serious affective disorder

Phillip M. Chmielewski
Leyan O. L. Fernandes
Cindy M. Yee
Gregory A. Miller, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  Population: Asian undergraduate students
Life Distress Inventory (Thomas, Yoshioka, & Ager, 1994)
Purpose: To measure self-reported distress across areas of social life and functioning
Marianne Yoshioka, Ph.D., Columbia University School of Social Work
Tazuko Shibusawa, Ph.D., Columbia University School of Social Work
Population: Asian, Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic adults
Race-Related Stressor Scale (RRSS) (Loo, Fairbank, Scurfield, Ruch, King, Adams, & Chemtob, 2001)
Purpose:To assess exposure to race-related stressors experienced by veterans
Chalsa Loo, Ph.D., National Center for PTSD
  Population: Asian-American adults
Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985)
Purpose: To assess overall satisfaction with life
   Marianne R. Yoshioka, Ph.D., Columbia University School of Social Work
  Population: Asian, Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic adults
Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985)
Purpose: To assess overall satisfaction with life

Jennifer Crocker, Ph.D. University of Michigan
R. Luhtanen, Ph.D.
B. Blaine Ph.D.
S. Broadnax

Population: Asian Undergraduate students
The Elder Life Adjustment Interview Schedule (ELAIS for depression) (Dubanoski, Heiby, Kameoka, & Wong, 1996).
Purpose: To assess depression, life satisfaction, and their theoretical determinants among older adults
Joan Dubanoski, Ph. D.
Population: Asian-American and Hawaiian-American elders
Loss of Face Scale (Zane, 2000)

Purpose: To assess the extent to which one avoids situations and behaviors that are related to loss of face.

   Nolan Zane Ph.D., University of California at Davis
Population: Caucasian and Asian (Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese undergraduate students)
The Medical Outcomes Study short form (SF-36) (Ware & Sherbourne, 1992)
Purpose: To assess health-related quality of life
Marianne Yoshioka, Ph.D., Columbia University School of Social Work
Population: Asian, Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic adults
Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965)
Purpose: To assess level of self reported self-esteem

Jennifer Crocker, Ph.D., University of Michigan
R. Luhtanen, Ph.D.
B. Blaine Ph.D.
S. Broadnax

Population: Asian Undergraduate students

The Collective Self-Esteem Scale (CSES) (Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992)
Race-Specific CSES
(Crocker et al., 1994)

Purpose: To measure one's positive social or collective identity

Jennifer Crocker, Ph.D., University of Michigan
R. Luhtanen, Ph.D.
B. Blaine Ph.D.
S. Broadnax

  Population: Asian Undergraduate students
Six-Factor Self-Concept Scale (Stake, 1994)
Purpose: To measure aspects of self-concept
Barbara J. Yanico, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Theresa Gen Chih Lu, University of San Diego
Population: Asian women undergraduate students
Asian American Family Conflicts Scale (Lee, Choe, Kim, & Ngo, 2000)
  Purpose of Measure: To assess conflicts in values and practices between U.S.-raised children and their immigrant parents.

R. M. Lee Ph.D.
J. Choe
G. Kim
V. Ngo

  Population: Asian American undergraduate students
Coping Attitudes, Sources, and Practices Questionnaire (Yeh, 1999)
Purpose: To investigate coping attitudes, practices, and sources
Christine Yeh, Ph.D., Teachers College
Yu-Wei Wang, University of Missouri-Columbia
Population: Asian undergraduate students
Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale (Piers, 1986)
Purpose: To determine psychosocial functioning and perceived social support among children and adolescents
May Kwan Lorenzo, Ph.D. Simmons College School of Social Work
Bilge Pakiz, Ed.M
Helen Z. Reinherz, Sc.D
Abbie Frost, Ph.D.
Population: Asian American students (Chinese, from China and Hong Kong and Vietnamese)
The Youth Self-Report (Achenbach, 1991)
Purpose: To measure behavioral and emotional functioning in children
May Kwan Lorenzo, Ph.D. Simmons College School of Social Work
Bilge Pakiz, Ed.M
Helen Z. Reinherz, Sc.D
Abbie Frost, Ph.D.
  Population: Asian American students (Chinese, from China and Hong Kong and Vietnamese)
:The Suinn-Lew Asian Self Identity Acculturation (Suinn, Ahuna, & Khoo, 1992)
  Purpose: To assess the level of acculturation of an Asian person

Richard M. Suinn, Ph.D., ABPP
Colorado State University

Population: Asian adults

Asian American LEAD

Grant History

AmountPurposeTypeProgram AreaYear
$15,000To support executive transition Management Assistance Program Children, Youth, and Families 2007
$25,000To support general operations Regular Immigrant Communities 2008
$30,000To support general operations ($20,000) and expansion of programs in Montgomery County ($10,000) Regular Children, Youth, and Families 2006
$20,000To support general operations Regular Children, Youth, and Families 2005

Asian American Leadership, Empowerment, and Development for Youth and Families (AALEAD) promotes the well-being of Asian American youth and families through education, leadership development, and community building.

How many churches?

Korean Church

Seriously, how many Korean churches can you pack into about two square blocks? I counted 11 along a stretch of Orangethorpe in Buena Park. Most have started within the last two years. Most have taken over locations occupied by real businesses (and a damn good bar). I've watched the transformation of an industrial/business park into a religious zone in despair. Each new church robs my community of tax revenue while at the same time guarantying annoying visits by Korean missionaries.

On a drive over the weekend, I saw that an entire strip mall was vacated with the promise of yet another Korean church to come. I would rather see another Korean restaurant.

» Elijah Challenge - Healing at FGA KL Pastor Albert Kang

After the first report on 4th November, I was too tired to write anything. Every night, after the training and healing sessions, I was just too exhausted. However, now the training and rallies are over, it’s time to give thanks to God. Like all the people, during the last five days, who were healed and later testified, I want to testify to the glory of God too.

At the end of the whole event, my impression of Full Gospel Assembly has become very positive. After spending time to fellowship with Elder Wong Ah Chiew, Pastor Tan Eing Lock and Pastor Jessica Leong, I learned that this church is a very evangelistic and magnanimous one. The reason why this church is among the fastest growing in Malaysia is because the leadership emphasizes much on soul winning. The members are regularly encouraged to invite unsaved friends and loved ones to come to church. This has become an expectation and culture of the church. When the mother church becomes too crowded, the leadership sends out ministers to set up preaching points and subsequently these become satellite churches.

Apart from establishing satellite churches in Malaysia, the leadership also allows former leaders, who come from FGA, to establish their independent churches, using the ‘FGA’ name. Therefore, FGA churches, especially in Australia and New Zealand, may not be officially linked with the mother church but they are so proud of FGA that they choose to affiliate with the mother church by association.

The Chinese Church in FGA mother church is one of fast growing Chinese congregations in Malaysia with 700 to 800 adherents. Among this congregation are many young people. That, in itself, is a unique aspect because not many Chinese churches could attract younger people.

Every night, after the training session, the trained believers showed great enthusiasm in healing the infirm. Night after night, the number of people healed became more and more. This was the result of the increased faith of the trainees. During the breaks, I overheard many participants discussed excitedly about the ‘new’ teaching that they had received. They did not know that they could exercise the ‘kingly authority’ to heal the infirm - especially healing those who are unbelievers so as to prove that Jesus is the living God.

On Friday, the large auditorium on the 5th floor was packed with participants and the guests they invited. Quite a few of these came in wheelchairs. My team, which consisted of my wife, Grace and my father-in-law, Brother Ong, was impressed by the attendance. The atmosphere in the sanctuary was that of great expectancy. God was gracious to allow my Mandarin to flow with exceptional ease. Being an English-educated person, I had often feared that my Chinese language would fail me, especially during preaching.

During the altar call for salvation, more than fifty people came forth to accept Christ. This was to be repeated at the next two healing rallies. The number of people healed during the healing sessions was also remarkable. We were overjoyed when we saw many elderly people, with arthritic pain in their joints, received their healings. To prove that they had been healed, some kicked their legs, swung their arms and even danced vigorously.

The healing rally, on Saturday, was a combined service with the regular FGA Chinese Youth Church’s service. This younger generation of worshippers, with their rowdier and fast songs, created a different worship atmosphere. The young people did not remain at their seats but gathered up front and worshipped with much action. Some jumped, some danced, some waved, some whooped, and some simply knelt and praised God. The welcome was also different because there was not just the usual applause but screaming too.

As in the first rally, about fifty people came forth to shake my hands as I welcomed them to accept Christ. The healing session was as expected – the faith of the trained believers was extended and the infirm received their miracles. The trainees then quickly ushered them up the stage for testimonies. Everybody applauded and cheered as one by one, the healed people gave glory to God for their miracles.

There were some of the more exceptional miracles, apart from those healed of headache, neck pain, back pain, stomach ache and pain in the joints. An elderly man took out his hearing aid because he had no need for it any more. He proclaimed loudly that he could hear clearly and had been healed. An elderly lady also had her impaired ear opened and could hear clearly. Another man, who suffered from stroke, got up from his wheel chair and began to walk. He then pushed his own wheel chair to the amusement of the crowd. An elderly woman with pain in her eyes was healed. The tearing also stopped immediately. A young lady testified in tears, that her broken leg was healed and she put her crutches away.

There were too many miracles to report here. All we can say is “Praise the Lord for all these healings”. Apart from many who were healed, we are more excited with the 200 newly trained Mandarin-speaking Elijah Challengers who are able to share the Gospel by showing the power of God to heal. My earnest desire is for some of these trained participants to go to mainland China and conduct their own Elijah Challenge training and healing rallies. May this become a reality soon! Praise the Lord and all glory to His name!

Reported by
Reverend Albert Kang
Elijah Challenge Asia

11 November 2008

Avon's frontier spans globe, a door at a time | | Tacoma, WA
Avon's frontier spans globe, a door at a time
J. ALEX TARQUINIO; The New York Times
Published: November 10th, 2008 12:30 AM | Updated: November 10th, 2008 01:44 AM
The cosmetic company Avon Products traces its roots to the horse-and-buggy days of the late 19th century, when sales representatives sold perfume door-to-door, often to women who lived far from big department stores.

This American frontier model has translated well to countries like Brazil and China, where large populations are dispersed across a vast countryside. Today, more than two-thirds of Avon’s sales are outside the United States.

The direct-selling model – where independent sales representatives do not work directly for Avon – makes it easier to break into new markets, says Avon’s chairwoman and chief executive, Andrea Jung. About 5.5 million sales representatives now sell Avon products, be it lip gloss in Shanghai, China, or face powder in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The company said last month when it reported its third-quarter earnings that the only region where sales fell was North America, which it defines as the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. By contrast, revenue rose 25 percent in both Latin America and China and 8 percent in Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Jung, the daughter of Chinese immigrants in Toronto who moved to a suburb of Boston when she was 10, recently discussed how she thinks the company’s direct-selling model can improve the lives of women in developing countries and where the next big growth opportunities are for Avon.

Since you became the chief of Avon in 1999, the company has expanded into emerging markets. Why do you think your direct-selling model works so well in developing countries?

It is part of a movement around the world for women to have more economic independence. From her very first order, a representative does not have to pull the money out of her pocket. We send her the products, and she pays us after she sells them. The direct-selling model does not have to be centered around where there is heavy retail infrastructure, either. For example, China is going to be one of Avon’s largest market opportunities. It has a large geographic expanse, with hundreds of thousands of women in small villages really striving to make an earnings opportunity for themselves.

And the majority of your independent sales representatives are women?

Well over 95 percent are women and the men are often in Avon couples. I love those conversations, where the husbands tell me that they quit their jobs because their wife’s business was doing so well, so they’ve joined forces to run the business as a couple.

Given the fact that your sales representatives are not employed by Avon, how do you establish new markets?

We hire recruiting managers, who are Avon employees. They start canvassing for representatives in workplaces, in religious gatherings, in school fundraisers. We also run recruiting advertisements in a dozen markets today. And we train our representatives how to manage their businesses online. For example, in Turkey, where there is not much Internet penetration, we have close to 100 percent of our sales representatives entering their orders online. They go to Internet cafes or libraries.

How do you deal with economic uncertainty in emerging markets?

With what’s going on the last couple of weeks, it reminds me of the very difficult time we had in Russia. I recall in the late ’90s, with the massive devaluation of the ruble, our Russian business really became quite challenged. Some companies were retrenching, but we looked across Russia and saw 11 time zones, with women in every small town and village who wanted the opportunity to be economically independent. So we were committed to staying.

Do you feel that your experience growing up as the daughter of Chinese immigrants has influenced your career?

It has given me a global vantage point, being the daughter of immigrants from China, who had nothing when they came here. And now I am leading a company. It speaks to something deep in me, the concept that you don’t have to start with anything. The direct-sales opportunity allows people to change their lives.

Many of your customers are familiar with the work of the Avon Foundation, but they might not know that you have similar programs in countries like Mexico and Malaysia. How global is your philanthropy now?

We’ve got programs in around 50 different countries. Together, we have raised $580 million, mostly for breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.

A couple of years ago, we added a second issue: violence against women. We have made educational pamphlets about breast self-exams and about domestic violence, which our representatives can give to their customers. We have donated mammography units to underserved hospitals in Spain and created mobile mammography units in China.

Recently, I had one of those amazing experiences where life and work intersect. My maternal grandmother, who was from mainland China, died of breast cancer in Singapore in the 1970s. It was diagnosed at a late stage and she just passed away. It was something that wasn’t talked about back then. It was the “C” word. About a year ago, my mother discovered that she had breast cancer. She was diagnosed at an Avon breast cancer center, which our people worked so hard to donate to Mass General. It was detected at a very early stage, with digital mammography, and one year later she is cancer-free. When I look at the two generations in my own family, it shows the progress that has been made on this issue over the last 30 years.

Jet Li, seller of ´crazy´ dreams

Source: CRI

11-07-2008 09:17

On November 2, international movie star Jet Li confirmed that he would take no more lead roles in movies until his One Foundation is firmly on track. Supporting roles that require him on set for couple of weeks will be acceptable. For the time being making movies will become a hobby, while the One Foundation will be his life, he said firmly.

Movie star Jet Li, also the initiator of the Red Cross Society of China Jet Li One Foundation Project, gives a speech at the 2008 Global Philanthropy Forum in Beijing on October 31, 2008. [Photo:]
Movie star Jet Li, also the initiator of the Red Cross
Society of China Jet Li One Foundation Project, gives
a speech at the 2008 Global Philanthropy Forum in 
Beijing on October 31, 2008. [Photo:]

What is up with Mr. Li? What sense does it make for a movie star of his status to give up his career? That's what a lot of other people may be thinking. But they are wrong--it makes a lot of sense. Mr. Li wants to take on the serious responsibility of enhancing philanthropic awareness throughout the world, and especially in his mother land. This represents a major development in social reform--one of the hardest challenges in society is to create a shift in the public mindset.

With his great initiative, extensive network of social connections, and communication skills, Jet Li seems to be the ideal man for the job.

Mr. Li's words are emphatic and touching. At the two-day China Global Philanthropy Forum he described himself as "the world's biggest beggar and its craziest man". As to the "beggar" part, he said he is dedicated to begging everyone on this planet to wake up and show the natural-born kindness buried in their hearts. As for the "crazy" part, he would use any possible means to reach out to everyone and convince them, he said.

When big names such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair pay tribute to Mr. Li, real credibility is added to the movie star's plans.

Mr. Li does not talk like a saint. He relates all his motives to personal experiences, especially to the death of his mother.

"My mother was hospitalized for terminal cancer in 2000 when I was shooting a film in France. I flew back to Beijing immediately after I was informed by my older sister. I criticized her for not telling me earlier, but she said that my mother had forbidden her, as she knew I had always been afraid of seeing dead people. At the time I was 37 years old, but in my mother's eyes I was still a small child. Standing by my mother's bed, I told her that I was back. A whole day passed but mother did not say a word to me. Finally I asked if she had anything to say to me. Slowly drawing a breath, she said, 'It is just a matter of a breath.' She said no more afterwards. Her words made me think hard for a long time.

Southern California's Korean Christians put a premium on evangelism - Los Angeles Times,0,6034140.story

Southern California's Korean Christians put a premium on evangelism

Missionary work is being underscored as well in South Korea, which surveys say is second only to the U.S. in the number of evangelists it sends abroad.
By K. Connie Kang
November 8, 2008
Visit a large Korean church in Southern California and you are likely to see a distinctive part of the decor -- a world map peppered with markers locating missionaries supported by the church.

At Grace Korean Church in Fullerton, two walls inside the elegant atrium serve as a photo gallery highlighting the work of 208 missionaries serving in 47 countries, including Sweden, Italy, Argentina, Bangladesh, Russia and Vietnam.

"Mission is prayer. Mission is warfare. Mission is martyrdom," reads a bilingual sign on a giant board that stands prominently on the 25-acre campus where a new Vision Center with a 3,000-seat auditorium is nearing completion.

The church, begun with three families 25 years ago in Los Angeles, today has 4,500 members and a $15-million annual budget. Half of the budget is set aside to support missions.

Along with rapid growth, 5 a.m. prayer worship and tithing, Korean churches on both sides of the Pacific are distinguished by their emphasis on evangelism. Surveys have shown that South Korea dispatches more Christian missionaries abroad than any other country except for the United States.

"Some passionate evangelicals even predict that it will not be long before South Korea is No. 1," said Sun Gun Kim, a professor of sociology at Seowon University and an expert on Korean churches.

Christianity, in the form of Roman Catholicism, came to the Korean Peninsula centuries ago. But Christianity really took hold and spread after Protestant missionaries arrived in the late 19th century. The growth continued through Japan's colonial rule (1910-1945), the Korean War and up to now.

South Korea is home to 23 of the 50 largest churches in the world, Kim said. Christians make up nearly 30% of the South Korean population -- 12 million Protestants and 5 million Roman Catholics.

The growth of Korean churches in the United States has also been rapid. An association of Korean Protestant churches in Southern California has 1,359 congregations representing 39 denominations. Many, following the style of most churches in Korea, are adorned with red crosses. Often lighted at night, they are a striking element of the Seoul skyline and a familiar sight in Korean neighborhoods in the L.A. area.

The first time the Rev. Douglas McConnell saw red neon crosses in Seoul's nightscape, he was moved to tears.

"The church had such a significant impact on Korea that the most distinguishing feature of the Seoul skyline were the red crosses on top of the churches," said McConnell, dean of the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.

Missions are central to the Korean practice of Christianity. The Rev. John Huh, a former youth pastor at Irvine Baptist Church who led numerous mission trips, sees a fervor for evangelism among many young Korean Americans. "They may not want to get up for the early-morning prayer, but they love serving on short-term missions," he said.

Tommy Dyo, national director of Epic Movement, an Asian American ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, has seen the same trend. "I am so impressed with the Korean Christian movement," Dyo said. "They are willing to step out in faith and take some big risks for the Lord."

The reach -- and potential perils -- of Korean missionary work garnered international headlines last year, when Korean missionaries were abducted by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Nineteen of the missionaries were released and two were killed.

Ho Chung, a former Garden Grove city councilman and a well-known Korean American community leader, tried to sum up the value of missionary work. Being a follower of Christ, he said, means taking up the cross every day. "Sanctification," he said, "is a continuing journey -- of repentance and redemption."

Many congregations place a premium on missionary work overseas, but some churches engage in missions closer to home. One such congregation, Maga Church near downtown Los Angeles, serves the down-and-out.

Dong Sun Chae, a UCLA physics major, started the church in 2001. Maga means Mark -- a reference to the Gospel of Mark. The church reaches out to Koreans who are hurting and needy, including refugees from China and North Korea.

Maga, not to be confused with a congregation by the same name in Koreatown, does not pass around offering plates or ask for donations from the 500 people who attend Sunday services. Instead, a donation box is stationed discreetly in the back of the sanctuary.

The church's mission statement captures its brand of missionary work: "A church for the poor in spirit."

Kang is a special correspondent for The Times.

This is the second of two articles on the growth of Korean churches in Southern California.

After that, I made a promise to her that I would dedicate the rest of my life to all the mothers in this world and the entire human race. Yes, human life is a just a matter of a breath. Years later, a narrow escape from the Asian tsunami again caused me to think about life. Life is such a fragile thing that misfortune can strike any of us, no matter who we are. We should constantly care for and help each other. It has become my dream, as one who grew up on the very land of Beijing, to promote this idea." His words even moved some listeners to tears.

Mr. Li described his One Foundation as a platform to optimize philanthropic resources, rather than an organization dedicated to addressing problems in one particular area. The foundation will enhance the sense of philanthropy throughout society and provide opportunities to specialists from different fields to join hands and make the world a better place. This will certainly promote the development of China's social sector, which, still in its infancy, urgently needs support and guidance.

Mr. Li's actions speak even louder than his words. After the devastating earthquake that hit Sichuan Province in May, the One Foundation helped to ensure that hundreds of thousands of dollars were used effectively. Mr. Li rushed to the quake-stricken areas again and again to supervise his staff's work and console victims.

This is a major change for the actor's image. In the mid-1990s when Jet Li established himself as an A-list star in Asia, he made very few public appearances. In a rare interview at the time, he said that movies were his whole life and he had no interest in appearing in commercials. A lot of people might have supposed him very shy.

In late 1990s he began to be seen in TV commercials, but not often. During those years, he gave many more interviews and began to talk about his family, his films and his first failed marriage. He answered questions directly and honestly. Once he had developed his charity idea, he missed no opportunity to promote it. Now he is constantly in the spotlight. His interviews and speeches are to be found everywhere. The action star has truly become a public figure.

Certainly there is a long way for Mr. Li to go. He says that he expects to devote 20 or 30 years to changing people's attitudes to charity. There remains the question whether people will want to buy what he has to sell. Let us wait, hope, and see.


Editor:Zheng Limin

Cooperation needed for developing global philanthropy --
Cooperation needed for developing global philanthropy
Adjust font size:  ZoomIn ZoomOut

By Fan Junmei staff reporter

The China Global Philanthropy Forum, jointly hosted by the Boao Forum for Asia and the Red Cross Society of China Jet Li One Foundation, opened in the JW Marriott Hotel, Beijing on November 1, with "Philanthropy through global partnership" as its main theme.

Long Yongtu delieves the opening speech. []

Long Yongtu delivers the opening speech. [] 

The Forum seeks to cross all divisive boundaries, such as cultural, racial, and regional differences. It is designed to provide a platform for high-level discussion and collaboration between leaders who are committed to the development of global philanthropy.

At the general conference, Long Yongtu, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia, delivered the opening speech. Confidently, he declared that the spring of China's philanthropy has arrived. He said that 30 years' opening-up and reform have significantly improved the overall strength of China, which is fundamental for China's philanthropic development.

The impressive philanthropic effort inspired by the May 12 earthquake relief has raised China's philanthropic endeavors to new heights. However, the challenges faced are still severe. In order to maintain sustainable progress in China's philanthropy, Long called on all walks of society to participate actively in philanthropic activities, and suggested the establishment of a healthy and accountable philanthropic system, the construction of a philanthropic Chinese-oriented culture, and more importantly, extended cooperation with the rest of the world. He noted that the Chinese people should adopt a more open manner and try to help people beyond their own borders, thus realizing the ideal of "One foundation, one family"--the core value of the Jet Li One Foundation.

Korean American Churches Hurt by Ailing Economy

Korea Daily, news report, Posted: Nov 02, 2008 Review it on NewsTrust

LOS ANGELES -- Experiencing a huge reduction in donations, Korean American churches, big and small, are tightening their belts and readying for seven lean years, reports Korea Daily. According to its survey, most Korean American churches in the Los Angeles area have already slashed their 2009 budget and frozen new spending plans. Some churches have taken more extreme measures. They’ve cut the salaries of pastors and staff, temporarily halted expansion construction and even asked clergy to work without pay for a month. An anonymous official with a Korean American mega church told the newspaper that the donation to his church has been reduced by 15 percent, although the congregation continues to grow. An unnamed reverend of a medium size church said that although his church always used to increase its budget by ten percent every year, he has decided not to do that for the coming year because many members of his congregation are suffering from the current economic downturn.

a boy named su: Korean Churches Growing Rapidly in Southern California-- LA Times
Interesting article from the LA Times about the Korean church phenomenon. Being from Fullerton, I have to say the experience of being a Christian for Korean Americans is definitely a big and intense part of their identity. Some of the quotes about problems church members experience are also quite telling. I also remember finding it disconcerting that the wannabe Korean gangsters at my school would talk about God and then go around doing things like stealing. Repeatedly. And they were the ones who bullied others too. I'm pretty sure I have lived a better, more upright life than they have. Shouldn't God/The Higher Power Above recognize that on some level?

I guess that's why today I hate it when my mom lectures me in a very high and mighty way about going to church. Can't stand shoddy preachers who rain hellfire and brimstone.

One Asian Woman's Journey to the Real Jesus

By Nikki Toyama-Szeto

Recently, I’ve been trying to picture Jesus. Really picture him. Not just slide into a lazy picture of the Jesus in countless religious storefronts on Mission Street. Moving beyond a plump, fed on mac-and-cheese Jesus, I ask him, “Do you know what it’s like to be me? Do you know what it’s like to be Japanese American? And if you do, do you have any changes you’d like to make regarding your commands?” I ask because I find some of Jesus’ words hard and culturally insensitive. Did the command to leave family and fields for the sake of the gospel refer to Asian families, too? Does the suggestion to serve others and take the lowest spot apply when it seems that we often start with the lowest seat—or no seat—at the table?

For the past few months I’ve been on a search for a Japanese Jesus. Does the Japanese Jesus have thick black hair, with brushed-aside bangs like the sansei guys I know? Does his face crinkle and the browns of his eyes disappear when he laughs? Does he eat rice with his dinner and play basketball with the church league?

I know you’re not supposed to make God into your own image. But I desperately needed to know that Jesus knew what it was like to be me, a Japanese American woman.

I know you’re not supposed to make God into your own image. But I desperately needed to know that Jesus knew what it was like to be me, a Japanese American woman. Were my gender and my ethnicity just obstacles to overcome in my relationship with him?

Becoming "Asian"

Shortly after college, I realized I was Asian. I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where my friend Grace quickly informed me that I was Japanese American. She had been working with Asian college students on the East Coast with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship who were trying to understand how their culture affected their relationship with God. “You’re so Japanese-y” she said, referring to my tendency to make everything beautiful. “Really?” I asked, as I primped the calla lilies one last time, creating a perfect fan.

Technically I knew that I was Asian. Well, I knew I was different, and that difference was called “Asian.” In first grade, I was eating dinner at my best friend’s house, my first meal outside my home. Laurie’s mother didn’t cook; she re-heated. And I could never understand why their kitchen was always so clean—it lacked the steaming pots, the bubbling bowls, and the pungent smells of curry, takuan, or stinky tofu. My best friend Laurie laughed out loud when I brought the soup bowl to my mouth. Embarrassed, I stopped drinking the broth from the bowl directly. Apparently you don’t slurp the last bits in show of your appreciation of the meal. I tucked this lesson into my heart.

My ethnicity was embarrassing, so I cut out all cultural elements from the life I lived outside my home. I wanted to prove that I was no different from any of my other friends, and I worked hard to fit in, even if something about it didn’t feel quite right in my skin.

In this way, I became a follower of Jesus. A follower of Jesus without the color, tastes, and textures of my female Japanese-ness. A genderless and raceless follower of Jesus.

Embracing Culture and Gender

Embracing my race and gender did not come to me easily. It did not arrive as a neatly wrapped package with a user’s manual. It arrived as a series of hiccups that came and went as it pleased. I discovered what it meant to be a woman and a Japanese American as I ventured across cultures.

Embracing my race and gender did not come to me easily. It did not arrive as a neatly wrapped package with a user’s manual. It arrived as a series of hiccups that came and went as it pleased.

This voluntary displacement, putting myself in uncomfortable places, made the racial and gender dynamics pop out in clear colors. The politically correct environment in the United States did not allow for a lot of mistakes or gritty conversation. But my work with college students took me to a variety of different places. I took a group of students on a poverty immersion into the slums of Nairobi, the garbage villages of Cairo, and the red-light districts of Bangkok.

In Kenya, I learned that Asian is treated very differently from “black” and “white” folks. The racial and power stratification in the country showed me that race had power. The legacy of British colonization had left a strong power dynamic along racial lines. In Cairo, I felt what it was like to be in a society where men and women have very strict roles. My friendly hello didn’t go over well with the men at the tea shop. And in Bangkok, both my race and gender combined. I saw the exploitation of Asian women, commoditized for visitors of every country. Thai women entertained men from Japan, Germany, and the U.S. in bars and night clubs. Everywhere, women were for sale to the highest foreign bidder.

Jesus' Culture

I discovered how my gender and my race affect so many areas of my life—how people treat me, how they perceive me, how I perceive my role, my communication, and my faith. At this time, Jesus’ life and culture began to come alive in the Scriptures. As I learned to recognize the cultural pushes and pulls of my life, I saw with greater clarity the pushes and pulls of his life. And in this, I found a connection to a man so different from myself. I watched his reaction as his mother urged him to fix a wine problem at a friend’s wedding. His resistance to his “pushy” mother feels familiar and so does his compliance to her request. The strong hospitality culture that pervades the gospel stories reminds me of the Asian women I’ve met in church. Food accompanies every event and honoring guests is a supreme responsibility. I journeyed with Jesus as he ventured into so many homes—Simon the Pharisee, Zacchaeus the tax collector, Mary and Martha, Simon’s mother-in-law. I understood Martha’s indignation when Mary refused to help and instead sat at Jesus’ feet. I felt Simon’s shame as a woman of ill-repute sneaks into his elite gathering and pours perfume on Jesus’ feet.

As I learned to recognize the cultural pushes and pulls of my life, I saw with greater clarity the pushes and pulls of Jesus' life. And in this, I found a connection to a man so different from myself.

And even the elements that feel foreign, like the command to leave fields, fathers, mothers, in order to follow the gospel, came more alive as I could identify why they rubbed me more than my non-Asian friends around me. I thought of my Korean friend, whose parents worked extra hard so that he could attend a private elite college. They forfeited saving for their own retirement so that he could go to school. Putting their hopes in his ability to get a high paying job and take care of them, he was their retirement plan. As he continued to try to follow Jesus, he wrestled with honoring his parents’ sacrifice and putting the kingdom of God first. My Asian friends and I struggled, without the luxury of the “independent at 18” badge that many of my other friends proudly wore. Off they went to worlds unknown, championing the gospel. And we stayed home, left with a complicated scenario. No wonder people said that we were indecisive.

If Jesus had come in a gender-less and race-less form, I would find it hard to relate to him. He is more accessible to me as a Jewish man, even though his gender and race are so different from my own. As I learned more about the Jewish context that Jesus entered, it became even easier to understand. He navigated a Jewish family structure. He had obligations to his community.  

Not Obstacles But Gifts

A few years after my journey of discovery, I began to love the different aspects of being an Asian woman. What had once been a liability that I tried to transcend, I now wanted to investigate and explore. I looked for ways that Asians, especially women, brought unique contributions to leadership and helpful correctives to the independent “do it yourself” attitude I saw prevalent around me. I collected stories of gifted Asian women evangelists who seemed to be the antithesis of the pushy open air preachers I saw. I put up posters of justice workers, Asian women who marched, rallied, organized, and yelled to bring attention to the issues of the marginalized. And I sat at the feet of Asian women preachers who unfolded the truths of God in profound, indirect, holistic stories. In their words, I found my way home. In their words, I found the Japanese American Jesus, the Jewish Jesus, and the Jesus of all humanity.

I began to realize that my gender and my ethnicity were not obstacles to be overcome but gifts, chosen by God so that I might know him better. They weren’t an after-thought but a grace he had given to me. My gender and my ethnicity continually lead me to a deeper understanding of Jesus. And his call to me is, “Even so…come follow me.” So I bring who I am and follow him. I bring my experiences as a Japanese American woman to my discipleship. I bring my experiences as a person who tried to transcend gender and race. And I bring my experiences as a woman who is slowly beginning to understand what it means to steward well this great gift of being “female” and “Japanese American.” Of being “fearfully” and “wonderfully” made. 

Nikki Toyama-Szeto is the co-editor of More Than Serving Tea, an anthology exploring the intersection of race, gender, and spirituality for Asian American women. She is currently the Associate Director of the Urbana Mission Convention. In the past she worked with InterVarsity Christian fellowship on campuses on the West Coast. She and her husband Jesse live in Madison, Wisconsin.

Reformed Worship | One Faith, Many Cultures: Orange Korean Christian Reformed Church, Fulerton,

One Faith, Many Cultures: Orange Korean Christian Reformed Church, Fulerton, California

by Howard D. Vanderwell
Issue #67

Imagine listening to a conversation in which people identify themselves by numbers. One person says, "I'm a 1." "I'm a 2," says another. Someone else chimes in, "I'm a 1.5"; still another claims to be a 1.2, Everyone laughs.

What are they talking about? Korean Americans have devised a numerical way of identifying themselves according to the generation they belong to. A first generation Korean immigrant who was born and educated in Korea and came to North America as an adult is considered a 1. Someone who was born in Korea but was educated in North America is a 1.5. A 2 was born and educated in the United States.

Now imagine worshiping together with a cross-section of all those groups. Some speak only Korean; others speak both languages fluently. Along with these are worshipers for whom Korean is no longer their first language. The Korean immigration started exactly 100 years ago, but it was not until the 1970s that the community started to see a massive influx of immigrants, students, and business people from Korea. Thousands of Korean immigrants come to North America each year. Over 3,000 Korean congregations in North America face the daunting task of maintaining unity among their people, honoring their identity and heritage while ministering to those who perhaps have never set foot in Korea. All are shaped by the Korean culture, which honors tradition and respect for elders. Anyone who visits these churches will be welcomed warmly, and will gain a new appreciation for the intensity of their commitment to be faithful Christians while generational transitions are underway.

Waves of Immigrants

One such church is Orange Korean Christian Reformed Church (OKCRC) in Fullerton, California. This congregation worships in a building they purchased twenty years ago from the Evangelical Free congregation that Pastor Chuck Swindoll was serving at the time. During its twenty-five- year history, the congregation has been fed by waves of Korean immigrants who came to seek new opportunities and continue living out their Christian faith. Their roots are in the Korean Presbyterian Church.

Senior pastor II Yong Kang is deeply committed to the life of this congregation and to the Korean community. He's intensely concerned about reaching Is, 1.5s, and 2s. Kang, Orange Korean's fifth pastor, has a fascinating story that includes mission work in Saudi Arabia before threatening circumstances forced him to leave. Next he spent some years doing church planting in the Los Angeles area; he has been with this congregation since 1997.

My visit to Orange Korean took place in the context of a weekend worship conference led by several Korean leaders and members of the staff of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Korean pastors and leaders came from as far away as Alaska and Ohio. All were eager to connect with a close-knit community and to discuss issues that raise important questions about introducing change.

Different Services, Different Styles

As part of the worship conference, Calvin Theological Seminary President Neal Plantinga was "re-installed" in a moving service during the 9:30 service (see box, p. 27). That Sunday morning, as always, worshipers arrived carrying both their Bibles and their hymnals (for a review of a new Korean-English hymnal, see p. 28). The service was conducted in Korean with interpretation for English speakers. All song and Scripture texts were projected in both languages on a large screen. The worship was lively, passionate, and contemporary in style. A praise team of eleven musicians, including vocalists, organist, piano, keyboard, and guitars led us in worship. A thirty-five-member choir also sang.

Pastor Kang sets the tone and theme for three of the four services by selecting the Scripture passage, sermon theme, and songs. The choral director selects choir music and places it in the order of worship. The first and third services follow a traditional pattern; more planning is invested in the 9:30 contemporary service. The English-language afternoon service for 2s is led by another pastor.

A Vigorous Ministry of Prayer

Korean Christians are deeply committed to the ministry of prayer. Orange Korean Church reflects this strong heritage in its daily schedule of prayer meetings. Each morning at 5:30, six days a week, as well as on Wednesday and Friday evenings, seventy to eighty people spend an hour in prayer. These meetings begin with a few songs and a brief message. Some of those who attend are members of other congregations who live nearby, and some members of Orange Korean attend daily prayer meetings at other congregations.

Most thrilling and moving during my visit was the offering of prayer for Neal Plantinga during the Sunday morning service. Dr. Plantinga preached at the 9:30 service in what was billed as a "repeat" of his inauguration as the President of Calvin Seminary for the Korean community. During the prayers with the laying on of hands, Dr. Plantinga knelt before the congregation. The pastors present placed their hands on him, and then Pastor Kang invited the congregation to pray first. Immediately the whole congregation erupted in vigorous audible prayer, After that, Pastor Kang prayed in Korean, followed by Evangelist Orlando Alfaro, who prayed in Spanish with the same fervor. The prayer was concluded by Regional Director of Christian Reformed Home Missions Peter Holwerda, who prayed in English. Even though these prayers were spoken in three languages, everyone could feel and understand that they were asking the same Lord for an outpouring of the Sung RyungNun, Espilitu Santo—Holy Spirit— on Dr. Plantinga and his ministry.

Challenges and Opportunities

The challenges and opportunities the church faces as a Korean-American Christian Reformed church are similar to most churches, though perhaps more intense: a disturbing exodus of the second generation from the church, education for the younger generation, acculturation and adjustment for the first generation, language and family issues, and so on. According to Pastor Kang, the Korean churches are dealing energetically with these issues:

  • Language. OKCRC conducts three worship services in Korean and one in English. Sunday school uses English, but youth and college-age groups include both English and Korean speakers. As it deals with generational transition, OKCRC faces large language questions. Should it focus energy on teaching and learning Korean? What about generation 1? 1.5? 2? Members have different convictions about this matter.
  • Worship styles. Two of the Sunday morning services reflect traditional Korean style, the third is contemporary. The afternoon English-language service has a style all its own. High-tech equipment is very obvious in the sanctuary. So is the organ and a choir. It appears that the variety of styles used in worship contributes to the congregation's success in reaching multiple groups.
  • Remaining Reformed. Most North American Korean Christians have come from a Presbyterian background. Although most come to North America with the intention of remaining faithful in their practice of the Reformed faith, a quickly adopted secular lifestyle threatens their faithfulness. Will the next generation value this Reformed heritage as much as the Is do? In October 2002 a Reformed Worship conference was held in response to the Korean churches' desire to address these issues in the context of worship.
  • Keeping the 2s. Ones often think differently, live differently, and believe differently than 2s. The Koreans' love for higher education often brings them to secular universities that contribute to an erosion of their faith. The attrition of their youth is a large concern of the Korean community. They frequently ask the question, How can we get a good education, enter a successful career,and yet protect ourselves from the inroads of secular thinking and believing?
  • The structure of church government. Although there are many similarities between the Presbyterian system of church order and that of the Christian Reformed Church, the Koreans experience some tension over the comparative authority of the elders and the pastor. How many elders should a congregation have? What is their role and how much authority should they exercise? How much authority should the pastor exercise?
  • Small groups. Pastor Kang would love to d raw more of his members into cell groups that nurture faith and promote close relationships. Cell groups have long been a mark of Korean Christian churches. Will American Koreans continue that tradition?

The Korean Americans at Orange Korean Christian Reformed Church and other Korean American churches are a part of our Christian family that enriches us all. Let's give thanks, affirmation, and support for their commitment to live out their faith through the generations.




  • Established twenty-five years ago in 1978.
  • More than 1,100 members, about 60 percent first generation Korean, 20 percent 1.5, and 20 percent second generation Korean American.
  • Staff includes four pastors plus two youth staff and two other ministry staff.
  • Sunday services in Korean at 7:45 (traditional), 9:30 (contemporary, bilingual), 11:30 (traditional); in English at 1:15 for the second generation, mainly youth and college-age worshipers.
  • A different choir sings in each Sunday morning service: the Bethel Choir, Zion Choir, and Hallelujah Choir.
  • Praise teams lead worship at the 9:30 and 1:15services.
  • Prayer services Monday through Saturday at 5:30 a.m. and on Wednesday and Friday nights at 7:30 p.m.
North America: Korean Adventist Press Unites U.S. Korean Churches

North America: Korean Adventist Press Unites U.S. Korean Churches

At a time when the Seventh-day Adventist Church is celebrating 100 years in Korea, a group of American-based Korean Adventists are helping immigrant and second-generation Korean-Americans stay connected to their homeland - and their faith.

November 2, 2004 Los Angeles, California, United States

Betty Cooney/ANN Staff


Sunny Oh, KAP founder and general manager. [Photo: Betty Cooney/ANN]

KAP treasurer Joseph Cho and editor Soon-Tae Song (l. to r.) in the retail store of the Korean Adventist Press. [Photo: Betty Cooney/ANN]

KAP magazines (l. to r.) Home & Health, Signs of the Times and Church Compass. [Photo: Betty Cooney/ANN]

At a time when the Seventh-day Adventist Church is celebrating 100 years in Korea, a group of American-based Korean Adventists are helping immigrant and second-generation Korean-Americans stay connected to their homeland -- and their faith.

The Korean Adventist Press (KAP), based in Los Angeles, prints and distributes publications for the Korean community in North America, as well as for 130 Korean Adventist churches in the region. Approximately two million Koreans reside in the United States and Canada. It's estimated that more than 10,000 Koreans in North America are Seventh-day Adventist church members.

Editor Soon-Tae Song works with his associate editor and Treasurer Joseph Cho and a shipping crew to create and/or distribute material. KAP's range of publications is linked to the needs of Korean Adventist church members in the United States and Canada, but don't stop there, Song said. Two magazines, "Home & Health" and "Signs of the Times," are designated as "outreach" publications for the general public, as are books containing the writings of Ellen G. White, a pioneering founder of the church, and several cookbooks emphasizing a healthy lifestyle.

For church members, KAP distributes quarterly Bible study guides and magazines prepared by the world church.

According to Song, the Korean "Signs of the Times" magazine distributed by KAP has a circulation of 17,000 copies. Church members pay for the subscriptions and for books to share with others.

KAP is the only Adventist organization for Korean members in North America, Song said, and serves as a resource for the Korean Adventist community. For the past 16 years, it has organized annual trips to Korea for some 50 high school and college students so they can experience Korean life.

Sunny Oh, treasurer for the Adventist Church in Southern California noted, "The press was established in 1980 as a subsidiary of the Southern California [district] and is recognized ... as a denominational institution." Oh, founder and general manager of KAP, explained the genesis of the institution. "Around 1979, about 40 Korean churches worshiped in the U. S. and Canada, using literature and church supplies each church imported from Korea. Delays, shipping expense and other factors involved in getting materials from Korea to churches on this continent, especially dated materials such as Bible study guides and monthly magazines, created difficulties for the churches.

"Prior to 1980, no central organization or information exchange existed in North America for Korean churches, so they were just by themselves," he continued. "This changed once the press was established. In addition, an annual directory of North American Korean members was developed (now published every 18 months) which includes contact information for all the Korean Adventists in the region. The directory helps Korean members worldwide know how to contact members who now live in North America."

Tale of Two Cultures: Koreans Lend Hand to Guatemalans

Koreans Lend Hand to Guatemalans

By Elizabeth Llorente
The Record
December 7, 1998

Part 1 available in The Authentic Voice

In August 1998, The Record ran a two-part series about the experiences Korean and Guatemalan immigrants have had trying to assimilate in Palisades Park. This article is a follow-up to those experiences.

The Korean immigrants came with hot coffee and fresh bagels. But the Guatemalan immigrants waved them away.
A Palisades Park barber shop offers services to Koreans. (Photo: ABC News/ Nightline)

The Koreans tried again and again, arriving at their church on Broad Avenue at the crack of dawn every Saturday to prepare dozens of cups of coffee and spread cream cheese on the bagels. Weeks passed before the Koreans, one of the region's most successful immigrant groups, achieved a breakthrough with the Guatemalan laborers, who stand daily on street corners in Palisades Park hoping contractors will pick them for a day of work.

The turning point came when the Koreans brought along a Spanish-speaking member of their parish, the Korean Presbyterian Church. The translator repeated, in Spanish, the words of goodwill that his fellow parishioners futilely had tried to relay in English.

Now the Guatemalans warmly accept the coffee and bagels and shake the hands of friendship. Some of the Koreans have learned to say "hola" - hello in Spanish - which always brings a smile to the laborers.

Many of the Guatemalans, in turn, have learned to say "how are you?" and "thank you" in English. For the past two months, several Koreans have been studying Spanish at the church while younger Korean-Americans, who were born in the United States, teach English to the Guatemalans.

The growing bond between the two immigrant groups underscores how so many towns in North Jersey have changed. It is an alliance between two groups that have been - at different times - at the core of ethnic conflicts with Palisades Park's white residents. And it is a most unlikely friendship between one of the borough's most influential immigrant groups and its most powerless.

"They're kind of isolated by language and their limited lifestyle," said associate pastor Eunhyeok Chung, 34, who spearheaded the outreach to Guatemalans this summer. "They didn't understand why we suddenly were there one day. And we were unable to tell them why at first."

"We're immigrants, we're settled, and we've achieved opportunities, thanks to, in a large way, earlier immigrant groups who paved the way," Chung said. "We feel indebted. We have to give back. We have to help immigrant groups that are going through struggles now."

The Rodeo Plaza illustrates the changing look of the neighborhood. (Photo: ABC News/ Nightline)

The Guatemalans, mostly undocumented men who have little contact with people other than contractors and one another, express a mix of gratitude and amazement over the Koreans' outreach. "Some of us are so poor we can't even afford coffee," said a day laborer who, like many others, declined to give his name for fear of deportation.

"It's hard to stand here on cold mornings like this not knowing if you'll get any work," he said on a recent blustery Saturday, as Chung and other parishioners greeted them and handed out warm bagels in brown lunch bags and coffee in foam cups.

"When they come with the bread and hot coffee, you feel someone acknowledges what you're doing to support your needy parents or children back in your country," said the 18-year-old laborer. "For the first time, people have light bulbs in our small village because of the money we've sent back. We look at the Koreans and we feel inspired to reach higher, work harder."

Attempts at communication between the two groups more often than not end in confusion and awkward pauses.

On a recent Monday, Kenny Oh tried to teach two Guatemalans the word "singer." But he wasn't getting through to the immigrants, who arrived in the United States about three months ago.

"Elvis Presley. You know, Elvis Presley," Oh exhorted. His students, who walk more than a mile from their apartments to attend the class, responded with vacant stares. In the most remote hinterlands of Guatemala, many have never heard "Blue Suede Shoes" or "Don't Be Cruel," Oh learned.

There is so much that separates the two groups. The Koreans are among the state's most affluent residents. The Guatemalans - many of whom never had electricity or telephones before arriving in the United States - are among the poorest. The Koreans are largely college-educated and hold professional jobs. Many of the Guatemalans left school before they were teenagers to help support their families.

Still, the groups have much in common.

The Korean parishioners realize that most of the day laborers are deeply religious. There also is the common experience of transplanting roots and finding their way in a new language and culture. On Nov. 23, many of the more recent Guatemalan immigrants celebrated their first Thanksgiving at the Korean church with turkeys, stuffing, and Korean dishes.

They also have the common experience of being the two newest immigrant groups in Palisades Park, a small working-class town that was predominantly white until 10 years ago. As such, both have had collisions with longtime residents.

Sushi takeout begins bright and early at a local business. (Photo: ABC News/ Nightline)

Native-born borough residents resented the large groups of day laborers standing on the corners.

Many complained about them at council meetings and demonstrations. Eventually, the tensions shifted to the Koreans, because of issues including Korean-language store signs and legal battles over business hours.

Jason Kim, a school trustee who often has tried to broker peace between his compatriots and borough officials, echoed many Koreans when he expressed pride over the unlikely alliance with the laborers. "It's a marvelous thing that shows we have a heart and are trying to reach others," Kim said, referring to common criticism in town that Koreans are too insular. "It also shows that not only can Koreans look after themselves, but they want to help bring other people up the ranks."

Outside the Korean and Guatemalan communities, few in Palisades Park are aware of the bridge that the two groups have been building. Told of the budding alliance, many reacted with interest and praise.

"It seems like a very noble thing for the Koreans to do," Mayor Sandy Farber said. "Though I'd like to see more in the Korean community make efforts to learn English themselves, I very heartily commend the members of the church for teaching the laborers English, which is extremely important to progressing in this country. That's a huge, huge plus."

Farber said he wouldn't be surprised if a few people - already uneasy about changing demographics - are less enthusiastic about the outreach. "Some might say, 'Don't do anything for laborers. Let them leave and go back where they came from.' But those are the bigots. This is a good, humane effort."

Local human rights activists, long concerned about the tensions in Palisades Park, also reacted with hope and interest.

"Here's an immigrant community with its own struggles and concerns to deal with, and it's committing itself to helping another deal with obstacles," said the Rev. Steve Giordano, president of the Bergen County Council of Churches and a member of the county Human Relations Commission. "This generous move serves as a great example to other groups and communities. And it can only be good for Palisades Park."

The Koreans admit to being pleasantly surprised by how their journey - full of rejection and awkwardness at first - is unfolding.

"At first, I distributed the coffee and bagels without any thinking, not much expectation," said Dongsoo Lee, 29. "One Saturday, I didn't go. But now, I have a real desire and need to see them every week. I can truly say I've grown to love them. We look different from each other, but we're brothers."

The Koreans have invited the Guatemalans to participate in their prayer circles on Sundays. Some go, although many have said they don't because they cannot understand the English-language prayers.

So the Koreans are planning to recruit a Spanish-speaking pastor and provide space for the laborers to worship at their church each week.

"Koreans have had difficulties in Palisades Park. There's been some problems," Chung said. "Every group has prejudice. Every group can do more to understand the other group. This is a small step, but it's a beginning to establish fellowship with other human beings."

Chung, who is studying Spanish to communicate better with the Guatemalans, conceded that there's still much he doesn't know about the laborers. But every Saturday morning and Monday night - when the two groups mingle over doughnuts after their language classes - he learns a little bit more.

"The more I learn, the more I admire them," he said. "We realized, for instance, that many of them rejected the bagels at first because they didn't want to be seen as charity cases. They're proud of working hard, like we Koreans are, and like to earn what they get. They seemed to think we were treating them with pity.

"If you don't reach out and try to build a bridge, you'll never realize the special things in other human beings, and relations never improve."

Academic Commons: The church community - Korea and New York
Since 1967 more than one million Koreans have immigrated to the United States. In adjusting to their adopted country, they have shown exceptional resilience and achieved a degree of economic success that has been the subject of considerable media attention but little formal analysis. This study set out to fill that void and identify the factors that set Koreans apart from other immigrants and that contributed to their swift and successful adjustment to life in the United States.

The research focused on the Korean community in the New York metropolitan area, where the second largest concentration of Korean immigrants in the United States, numbering 350,000, is found. The largest, Los Angeles, has 450,000 Koreans. The work supported the conclusion that the Protestant Church has played a core role in shaping the Korean-American community, its worldview, and its absorption into American society.

The Korean experience in America has been different from that of other ethnic groups. The Koreans didn't form geographically identifiable communities, as many other groups did, but dispersed rapidly into the larger city communities. Korean churches were soon organized and became the centers for the Korean community with the result that the churches played a significant and distinctive role in helping the Koreans adjust to American life.

This pattern didn't begin in the United States, but had its root in the spread of Christianity by Protestant missionaries in Korea. Because of social and political differences the people living in certain parts of Korea were particularly receptive to their teachings. The missionaries thereby were able to plant the seeds of Calvinism and the Protestant Ethic in these people. Since Korean tradition was not open to the promise of personal achievement, as taught by the missionaries, many Koreans migrated to the United States where they found that opportunities abounded.

This study delves into the experiences of the Korean-Americans, and casts light upon the role the church has played in their evolution. In the process, it raises new questions about the adequacy of sociological theories on community, race, and ethnic relations.

Koreans are a relatively new and fast-growing immigrant group in the United States. Research has shown that immigration experiences are associated with depression, whereas acculturation and social support are moderating factors. Korean culture is informed by Confucianism, which emphasizes family integrity, group conformity, and traditional gender roles, and has influenced how Korean immigrants conceptualize depression, express depressive symptoms, and demonstrate help-seeking behavior. An understanding of Korean patterns of manifesting and expressing depression will be helpful to provide culturally appropriate mental health services to Korean American immigrants.

Luce Colloquium of Korean Christianity "KOREAN CHRISTIAN WORLD MISSION: The Missionary Movement of the Korean Church."

By Timothy Kiho Park, Ph..D. Director of Korean Studies & Associate Professor of Asian Mission Fuller Theological Seminary School of Intercultural Studies

Friday, November 17, 2006
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
10367 Bunche Hall, UCLA
Los Angeles,

The Korean Church has been a missionary church almost from the beginning. Today, the Korean Church has become one of the largest missionary-sending churches. The Korean Church, however, has both strengths and weaknesses in their missionary work. The church will play important roles in the 21st century world mission should the church correct their problems and use their resources wisely. The paper deals with 1) Brief Mission History of the Korean Church, 2) Current Status of the Korean Mission, 3) Strengths and Weaknesses of the Korean Mission, and 4) Suggestions to the Korean Church.

The New York Times wrote, ¢®¡ÆSouth Korea has rapidly become the world's second largest source of Christian missionaries. . . . it is second only to the United States and ahead of Britain. The Koreans have joined their Western counterparts in more than 160 countries [180 as of February 2006], from the Middle East to Africa, from Central to East Asia. Imbued with the fervor of the born again, they have become known for aggressively going to - and sometimes being expelled from - the hardest-to-evangelize corners of the world.¢®¡¾     (Norimitsu Onishe, ¢®¡ÆKorean Missionaries Carrying Word to Hard-to-Sway Places,¢®¡¾ New York Times (Internet Editon), November 1, 2004)

Christianity Today predicted that the Korean Church will be the number one missionary-sending church sooner or later by saying that ¢®¡ÆSouth Korea sends more missionaries than any country but the U.S. And it won't be long before it's number one.¢®¡¾ (Rob Moll, ¢®¡ÆMissions Incredible,¢®¡¾ Christianity Today, February 24, 2006).

The Korea World Missions Association (KWMA) has released recently a statistics of the Korean mission. The number of Korean missionaries as of February 2006 is 14,086 in 180 countries (about 19,000 according to non-official counts).  Leaders of the Korean churches and missions made a resolution to send one million tent-making missionaries by 2020 and 100,000 missionaries by 2030. (Sung Sam Kang, ¢®¡ÆThe Statistics of the Korean Church Mission and Future Ministry,¢®¡¾ Kidok Shinmun, February 15, 2006.)

UCLA Center for Korean Studies: God and a Few Close Friends

God and a Few Close Friends

Rebecca Kim discusses why ethnic-oriented, collegiate Christian groups grow faster than multi-racial ones.

Margaretta Soehendro Email MargarettaSoehendro

Why should I be the minority and pander to whites? Why should I try to figure out what white people like?

In the 1990s, said Rebecca Kim, large numbers of Asian American college students began joining Christian student groups, and their desire for community, as well as for power and majority status, led to a rise of ethnic-oriented groups on U.S. campuses.

For some, even an Asian American Christian group was not as attractive as a solely Korean American one, said Kim, an associate professor of sociology at Pepperdine University. She discussed the UCLA graduate research that led to her book, God's New Whiz Kids?: Korean American Evangelicals on Campus, at a lecture hosted by the UCLA Center for Korean Studies on April 29, 2008.

Kim conducted research on five UCLA Christian organizations: two Korean American groups, one Asian American group, one multi-racial group, and one majority Caucasian group. When she asked students why they chose their particular Christian group, she said most replied, "It is just more comfortable." Kim assessed that "comfortable" for second-generation Korean Americans meant similarities in upbringing and in cultural tastes—like Korean pop music and the stickiness of Korean rice—and in bicultural and generational issues.

Also, the pastors and staff of collegiate Christian organizations observed that homophily, the principle that familiarity breeds connection, works better for membership growth. It is easier to evangelize and convert by starting with commonalities and minimizing linguistic and cultural differences. Ethnic-oriented, on-campus Christian groups grow much faster than multi-ethnic or multi-racial ones, Kim said, and they do so through social networks. She shared that whenever she showed up at services alone, "they look at me like I'm an alien."

"If you say 'I just came because I looked you up on the Internet,' they don't get that… because everyone comes with somebody. You don't just walk into a campus ministry because you like it," said Kim.

Therefore, while ethnic-oriented Christian groups provide students a comfortable environment, a sense of ethnic identity, and leadership opportunities, Kim said they also lead to more ethnically homogonous social circles. One student told Kim that he had forgotten how to start a conversation with non-Korean Americans.

The process also works in the other direction. Staffers at the UCLA chapter of InterVarsity Campus Fellowship, which has a multi-racial membership, admitted to Kim that when they tried to promote greater diversity, for example by singing in Spanish or in an African style, they saw white membership drop.

Not having to please whites is regarded by some as an advantage. As one second-generation Korean American student told Kim,

I'm tired of being apologetic. I mean, I'm at a top university. I'm going to make over $100,000. I have a hot car, a hot girlfriend. Why should I be the minority and pander to whites? Why should I try to figure out what white people like? I'm tired of "let's find a middle ground," so I was like, "screw this, I'm just going to do my own thing with my Korean crew."

Some second-generation Korean American evangelicals also recognize a problem in their willingness to "witness" to non-Koreans but not, in practice, to worship with them. It conflicts with the evangelical theology that "all are one in Christ." During Kim's research, one of the on-campus Korean American Christian groups changed its name to show it did not intend to be ethnocentric.

"If anyone should be a model of multi-racial community, harmony, it should be the church," said Kim, "but it's the opposite because there is that kind of tension."

Date Posted: 5/13/2008

UCLA Center for Korean Studies: Oak to Spearhead English-Language Studies of Korean Christianity

Oak to Spearhead English-Language Studies of Korean Christianity

This summer Sung-Deuk Oak, a UCLA faculty member in Asian Languages and Cultures, was chosen to be the first scholar funded under the Dong Soon Im and Mi Ja Im endowment. He'll be charged with telling a remarkable story in the history of religion.

Margaretta Soehendro Email MargarettaSoehendro

American missionaries were well received by the people, and Korean leaders thought the United States would help them be an independent nation.

Although Sung-Deuk Oak, 47, spent two years as a full-time junior minister in Korea and was ordained there, he says his calling has always been as an academic. His perspectives on religion and history were shaped by serious times: South Korea was under military rule when he returned to Seoul National University from the army.

"My generation, of the '80s, they are very serious. They thought about world history, politics, theology, those big things, because every month we would see public suicides or demonstrations on campus," he says.

Oak, an assistant professor in the UCLA Asian Languages and Cultures department, this summer was named UCLA's first Im scholar in Korean Christianity. The appointment puts him on a track to become the Dong Soon Im and Mi Ja Im Chair in Korean Christianity at UCLA, which was created last year following a $1 million donation from the Fullerton couple. Established under the UCLA Center for Korean Studies, the endowed chair is thought to be the first of its kind at a western, secular university.

As Im scholar, Oak plans to launch an online Korean Christian library to index English-language primary and secondary sources like photos, articles, and books. Up to now, he says, the religious tradition has been written about extensively only in South Korea.

Korean Christians made worldwide headlines this summer when 23 South Korean missionaries were kidnapped by Taliban militants in Afghanistan. Two of the men were murdered, and the rest were released in August after negotiations and a ransom was allegedly paid. Oak says more than 200 teams from South Korea have gone on short-term missionary trips to Afghanistan in the past two years.

But that's just one episode in the history of religion and the Korean people. Today, roughly one-third of South Koreans are Christians, as are 40 to 50 percent of the country's politicians and around half of its business leaders.

The undergraduate class that Oak has taught for four years at UCLA covers the history of Korean Christianity—mostly its dominant Protestant wing—from the 19th century to the present. Because Korea's political and economic transformations are tied to the religion, Oak says, the study of Korean Christianity is the study of modern Korea.

Reformation Counter

Oak first took an academic interest in Korean Christianity as a junior at Seoul National University. With the encouragement of a mentor, he returned to study Korean history even after completing his degree in English literature.

"The year was the centennial anniversary of Korean Protestantism," Oak says. "At the same time, that year was the bicentennial year of the Korean Catholic church. So in 1984 many people thought about the history of Korean Christianity."

So it was after two undergraduate degrees and an ordination that Oak came to the United States to earn a masters degree at Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctorate at Boston University School of Theology. Along the way, he has studied English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

Oak says that Korean Christianity is unique as a western religion that arose and succeeded within a framework of eastern nationalism. After 35 years of Japanese rule in the first half of the 20th century, Koreans had come to view Christianity as a means of rejecting colonialism.

"Politically, Korea was colonized by Japan, so American missionaries were well received by the people, and Korean leaders thought the United States would help them be an independent nation," Oak says.

In the decade after the Korean War, Oak says, Christianity was also seen as one way to stave off communism. Before the war, two-thirds of Korea's Christians, including most of the church leaders, lived in the northern part of the peninsula, but when the war broke out, they fled south.

Later and in different ways, political upheavals and industrialization in South Korea aided the spread of Christianity. Villagers who moved to the city for work wanted a sense of belonging, and churches created de facto families.

Widespread pro-American sentiments were crucial too, according to Oak. Korean political leaders were often educated in American missionary schools and later in the United States. And America engendered good will through programs like U.S. Food Aid. Oak remembers eating free corn soup and tasting cornbread provided by the United States as an elementary schoolchild.

"So many people [who are] now in their 50s, 60s, 70s regard the United States as a savior because of the Korean War, and after the war, they were supported by [America.]" Oak says.

In Los Angeles and on trips to Seoul, Oak has often pointed to the need for grants to advance English-language studies of Korean Christianity. One of the people he spoke with was Rev. Hyung Cheon Rim, senior pastor of Young-Nak Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, where Dong Soon and Mi Ja Im are members. Lee introduced the Ims to Oak after they expressed an interest in donating a portion of their real estate investment to a worthwhile cause. Following meetings with Oak and others and many prayers, the Ims more than tripled the size of their planned donation to create the endowed chair.

On June 20, 2007, the Ims held a reception over dinner in Koreatown to congratulate Oak on his new title and role. In addition to rare prestige, endowed chairs provide faculty members with a budget for research.

"They are very excited, and they expect much from me," he says and smiles.

A four-member search committee formed within the UCLA International Institute selected Oak as Im scholar after considering some 20 candidates and bringing top contenders to campus for interviews.

Date Posted: 10/2/2007

UCLA Center for Korean Studies: Korean Press Lauds UCLA Donors

Korean Press Lauds UCLA Donors

A $1 million gift from humble, hard-working Fullerton couple makes news in their country of birth. Dong Soon Im and Mi Ja Im have endowed a chair in Korean Christianity at UCLA.

The South Korean daily newspaper Chosun Ilbo Jan. 28 took notice of the generous $1 million endowment by Dong Soon Im and Mi Ja Im for the purpose of establishing a chair in Korean Christianity at UCLA in the married couple's name. According to the article, Mr. Im came to Los Angeles 36 years ago as an exchange student and later worked as a computer programmer. He arrived in the United States with $200. Now retired, the Ims, both 64, live in Fullerton, Calif., and attend Los Angeles Young Nak Presbyterian Church. They are hard-working, modest people who drive a used 2000 Toyota Camry. Twenty-six years ago, they purchased a small apartment building, the recent sale of which yielded $1.5 million. This windfall gave the Ims an opportunity, in their words, to do something "good" for America, the country that made their dreams come true. Also in the article, the Ims express thanks to God for allowing them the blessings that made this donation possible.

Other recent Korean-language coverage of the Ims' generous gift has appeared in the Korea Central Daily and the Korea Times.

Date Posted: 2/1/2006

Korean Americans

On January 13, 2003, the United States celebrated the 100th anniversary of Korean Immigration to the United States. Korean Americans have played a vital role in the shaping of the United States in the twentieth century. In 2003, Senate Resolution 185 stated:

“For the past century, Korean immigrants and their descendants have helped build America's prosperity, strengthened America's communities, and defended America's freedoms. Through their service in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and other wars, Korean Americans have served our Nation with honor and courage, upholding the values that make our country strong.”

The centennial celebration of the first wave of Korean immigration to the United States provided an opportunity to reflect on the unique history of the Korean people, their lives and experiences in this diverse country, and their important contributions. 

History of Korean Immigration to the United States

Although 1903 is generally believed to be the first year that Korean immigrants arrived on United States soil, Koreans began coming to the United States as early as the 1880s. Philip Jaisohn arrived in the U.S. in 1885 as a political exile, and became the first Korean to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. He was a medical doctor as well as a major figure in the fight for Korean Independence in the United States. It is believed that three Korean men came to the U.S. as political refugees around the same time, but little is known about them.

Mass Korean immigration to the United States can generally been broken down into three waves. The first wave of Korean Immigration began in the late nineteenth century shortly after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882. Chinese immigrants were now banned from entering the United States, and Korean immigrant labor filled the labor shortage in Hawaii. The first large immigration of Koreans to Hawaii occurred on January 13, 1903, when 101 Korean immigrants on the SS Gaelic arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii to work on sugar plantations. (1)

The majority of these early Korean immigrants who arrived between 1903 and 1905 were young, unmarried, and uneducated males who worked as semi- or unskilled workers when they arrived in the U.S. They left Korea for several reasons, one of which was that wages were too low, and at that time in Korea, “The laborer was worse off than the beggar.” (2) Many men planned to return to Korea after they saved up enough money to live comfortably. In addition, some of these young men had already converted to Christianity because of the presence of Christian missionaries in their homeland who encouraged them to travel to Hawaii to enjoy religious freedom. Between 1903 and 1905, about 7,200 Koreans arrived in the United States.

These early Korean immigrants often worked on sugar plantations in Hawaii, and were subjected to deplorable working conditions. They worked in dangerous environments, enduring extreme heat for very little pay. On average, a male who worked for ten hours on a plantation made only sixty-five cents a day in 1905. (3) Many Korean Americans chose to leave the harsh conditions in Hawaii and head for the mainland United States where some became successful small business owners and others worked on rice plantations. However, most Korean immigrants to Hawaii developed communal living situations and forged close relationships with their fellow Koreans. The first immigrants to Hawaii established a Christian Church to serve the community, which acted as both a religious and social center for Koreans.

In 1907, the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” allowed for wives to immigrate to the United States to join their husbands who were already here. This initiated the famous “Picture Bride” system. By exchanging photographs, Korean men and women arranged marriages, and Korean men in the United States could bring their new brides to Hawaii. Weddings would often be held on boats so that the new bride would be legally married to her husband when she stepped onto U.S. soil. Between 1910 and 1924, over 1,000 Korean women arrived in the United States as Picture Brides.

Second Wave of Immigration
From 1905 to 1945, Korea was ruled by the Japanese Empire. Between 1910 and 1918, 541 young Korean political activists fled from Japanese rule, and arrived in the United States to continue in the struggle for Korean independence. However in 1924, the United States passed federal legislation that banned all immigration from Asian nations. Between 1925 and 1940 only about 300 Koreans were admitted with Japanese-issued passports. They were students who were permitted to remain in the United States so long as they took classes. (4) The second wave of Korean immigration would not begin again until 1951 and was a direct consequence of the outbreak of the tragic Korean War in 1950. The majority of these immigrants were women who married American Servicemen while they served in Korea or war-orphans who were adopted by American families. During the 1970s and 1980s, an average of 4,000 Korean war brides immigrated to the United States every year. (5) Today, it is believed that one-fourth of all Korean-Americans have family members that arrived as either war brides or adopted children. (6)

Third Wave of Immigration
The impetus for the third and largest wave of Korean immigration to the United States was the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965. This Act reformed immigration laws by abolishing the quota system based on race. Entire families could now immigrate to the U.S. and be able to establish permanent residency. This Act also gave preferential treatment to the families of permanent residents or U.S. citizens, so that Koreans in the U.S. could be joined by their families. Thousands of students and professionals left Korea for the U.S. between 1965 and the late 1980s. Korea became the third largest source for immigrants in the United States, next to Mexico and the Philippines. (7) In more recent decades, Koreans have come to the United States in search of educational and employment opportunities.

Modern Immigration
In the late 1980s, South Korea experienced a significant economic boom. Since then, Korean immigration to the United States has slowed, but Korean Americans still constitute the fifth largest ethnic group of Asians in the U.S., with a total population of over one million. (8) The majority of Korean immigrants to the United States today come for educational and employment opportunities. College education in Korea is extremely competitive and expensive, and many parents send their children to the United States for a more affordable education and better career opportunities. 

Life in the United States

Throughout the century of Korean immigration to the U.S., Korean Americans have made lasting and important contributions to this nation, and have done so in the face of discrimination and prejudice. In the early twentieth century Korean immigrants and Korean Americans were subjected to discrimination in California, and accused of stealing jobs. In many parts of the nation, restaurants refused to serve Asian customers, and violent gangs often targeted Korean Americans. (9) Laws such as the Alien Land Laws and other employment and housing segregation laws affected Koreans as well as other Asian immigrant groups. This is why many Koreans engaged in tenant farming and tried to open their own small businesses in predominately Korean communities, so as to provide for themselves and try to escape the prejudiced areas.

However, the Korean-American population persevered and has played a vital role in the American economy. As early workers on sugar plantations in Hawaii and rice growers in California, the agricultural economy boomed in the early 1900s from the hard work of Korean immigrants. In modern times, Korean American small businesses have played an important role in the economy, and inner-city neighborhoods are often revitalized when small businesses are established.

Korean National Independence Movement
The majority of the early immigrants to the United States planned to return to their homeland after they had saved money from working on sugar plantations. However, their dreams of returning home to their families were crushed when Korea was annexed by the Japanese Empire in 1910. As social and economic conditions worsened in Korea, political refugees fled to Hawaii and to the mainland, and Korean immigrants rallied behind the cause of Korean Independence. In 1909, the Korean National Association was formed in San Francisco to harbor support for Korean Independence. This movement fostered unity among Korean-American populations, and some of the most important figures in the Korean Independence Movement continued their work towards independence in the United States, including Syngman Rhee, who would go on to become the first President of South Korea.

The drive to emancipate Korea also encouraged many Korean Americans to actively participate in and support the United States in World War II. The Korean National Association in San Francisco asked all Korean Americans to stand behind the U.S. by serving in the Armed Forces, purchasing War Bonds, or acting as translators for the U.S. Military. (10)

Role of the Korean Ethnic Church
One of the most important institutions for a vast majority of the Korean-American population is the Korean Ethnic Church. For many Korean Americans, church participation is a way of life. Over 75% of Korean Americans are active church-goers. (11) The early Koreans who immigrated to Hawaii in the beginning of the twentieth century had already been exposed to Christianity through American missionaries. Once they arrived on Hawaii, they lived together in very small, isolated communities. Social life in these communities often centered on the Christian Churches they established. This tradition has continued among Korean-American populations today. The Korean Ethnic Church serves as the most stable, inclusive, and important social, cultural, and educational institution in Korea-American communities. The Church not only serves religious purposes, but acts as a “reception center” for newly arrived Korean immigrants. Even immigrants who are not Christian prior to arriving in the United States become active participants because Korean Ethnic Churches are so active in their communities. 

Koreans in New Mexico

According to the latest census information, New Mexico is home to nearly 2,000 persons of Korean descent. There are several cultural, religious, and social organizations for New Mexicans to visit to learn about the unique Korean culture. The Korean American Association of New Mexico and other Korean organizations work to ensure Korean immigrants have the support they need in a new country and preserve Korean culture.

In New Mexico, the tradition of the Korean Ethnic Church is very visible, and these churches serve as a wonderful place to learn about Korea and the Korean-American community. There are several Christian Churches in Albuquerque that serve Korean-American communities. Sandia Presbyterian Church is the home of the Korean Language Ministry and the Asian Young Adult Ministry. Albuquerque is also home to the Korean Presbyterian Galilee Church, Korean United Methodist Church, the Korean American Albuquerque Baptist Church, and the Albuquerque Korean Church.

Rebecca Kim
Rebecca Kim is a Minister to the Korean Community for Sandia Presbyterian Church, and is in charge of the Korean Language Ministry. After graduating from a seminary, Rebecca Kim decided to leave Korea and come to the United States for a better opportunity for ministry. She first arrived in California, and ran a clothing store. She then moved to Albuquerque to run a small business, and became Principal of the Korean Language School in Albuquerque. She is now Minister to the Korean Community and head of the Korean Language Ministry at Sandia Presbyterian Church. Her husband, Yong Kim, is a Grandmaster and Instructor at the U.S. Tae Kwon Do Center in Albuquerque and Los Lunas.

Upon arriving in the United States, Rebecca faced many of the same challenges that other Korean immigrants do, such as learning how to survive in Albuquerque and in the United States. She said, “As an immigrant, I experienced many toils such as adjusting to a different culture, customs, language, etc.” This is why institutions such as the Korean Ethnic Church and the Korean Language Ministry serve such an important role in Korean-American communities. She explains that when new Korean immigrants arrive to a new place, they often want to see other Koreans, experience the Korean culture, eat the food, and hear the language of Korea. At a Korean Church, they can do all of this. Sandia Presbyterian serves as a religious institution as well as a reception center for newly arrived immigrants. Some of these immigrants are not Christian, but come for the community experience and the information to help them survive in a new culture. The Korean Language Ministry that Rebecca runs helps new students arriving from Korea who are going to schools in New Mexico develop their language skills.

Rebecca says that Koreans are very proud of their manners and respectfulness, especially to their elders. Koreans have a deep respect for their ancestors and work very hard to instill these values in their children. She is most worried that the importance of respect for all people is diminishing in the younger Korean-American generations, and she hopes that parents and the entire Korean-American community will come together to ensure these values continue through for generations.

Cultural Celebrations

One of the most important celebrations among Korean Americans is the Chosuk, or Harvest Festival, that occurs in August. This is also known as Korean Thanksgiving, and Koreans take time to commemorate their ancestors and be with their families. Family members from across the globe often travel back to their ancestral homes, and prepare special rituals and meals with their families. Special food is prepared, such as “Songphyun,” which are rice cakes made of rice, beans, sesame seeds, and chestnuts. Chosuk is a time to be with family and be thankful. Entire families will visit the graves of their ancestors and pay respects by offering them food.

Korean New Year is another important holiday for Korean Americans, and Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year. This usually falls in the month of February, and is celebrated by feasting with family members and making offerings to ancestors, in the hopes of ensuring good fortune. It is also a time to reconnect with family members.

The Veterans Memorial Park in Albuquerque is home to a Korean War Memorial Monument dedicated to all those who served in the defense of South Korea in the 1950s. For Korean Americans, it is important to remember the tragic Korean War and all those who served.

Tae Kwon Do
The traditional Korean martial art is very popular and practiced by people of all ages in Albuquerque. It is the national sport of Korea, and believed to have originated around 50 BC. (12) Tae Kwon Do emphasizes discipline, accuracy, and power. There are two U.S. Tae Kwon Do Centers in New Mexico, and one in Texas. The owner, Grandmaster Yong Kim, is a nationally renowned champion and ninth degree black belt. The study of Tae Kwon Do is beneficial physically, mentally, and emotionally and aims to give students the tools needed for a richer and more rewarding lifestyle.


1. Won Moo Hurh, The Korean Americans. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998) 31.
2. Hyung-chan Kim & Wayne Patterson, ed. The Koreans in America 1882-1974: A Chronology and Fact Book. (New York: Oceana Publications Inc. 1974) 107.
3. Hurh, 38.
4. National Association of Korean Americans:
5. National Association of Korean Americans:
6. Hurh, 36.
7. Pyong Gap Min, Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues, Second Edition (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2006) 232.
8. Gap Min, 230
9. Amy Nash, “Korean Americans” Multicultural America.
10. Kim & Patterson, 45
11. Gap Min, 244.
12. Yong Kim’s Tae Kwon Do:

Brief early Korean church history by Andrew E. Kim
The Catholic Beginning

  • Around 1770, a Korean envoy to China, Chung Tu-won ( ), brought back to Korea Matteo Ricci’s
    Tianzhu [The True Doctrine of the Lord of Heaven].
  • In 1783, the Shilhak scholars sent Yi Seung-hun ( ) to visit the Catholic missionaries in China to learn
    about the Western religion.
  • Yi Seung-hun ( ) was baptized by Chinese priest and in 1784 brought back books and articles on
    Christian doctrine, which were distributed to Shilhak scholars.
  • These Catholic Shilhak scholars abandoned all “pagan” rites, and preached Catholicism openly, converting
    people and baptizing them.  
  • By 1795 there were 4,000 Catholics in Korea.  By 1801 about 10,000.
  • King Chongjo died in 1799 and the persecution of the Catholics began.  In 1801 there were about 300 Catholic
    martyrs and more than 1,000 arrests.  Other great persecutions followed: Ulhae persecution of 1815; and
    Chonghae persecution of 1827.
  • In 1831, Chinese priest, Father Liu Fangchi was sent to Korea.  In the next five year, several French priests
    joined Liu’s ministry.  During this time, Kim Tae-gon and Ch’oe Yang-op became the first two Korean priests.
  • In Kihae persecution of 1839 over 200 Catholic Christians died, including a French bishop, two French priests,
    and numerous church leaders.
  • King Ch’oljong began his rule in 1849 and tolerated Catholicism.  
  • In 1857, the Bishop in Beijing reported to the Vatican that there were 15,206 Catholics in Korea.
  • King Ch’oljong died in 1863; and Taewon’gun began his rule.  Another wave of persecution began.
  • In 1866 the French Bishop was executed along with more than 8,000 martyrs.  About half of the Catholic
    population was martyred.  
  • In 1873 King Kojong began his rule; and the Korean Catholic churches enjoyed relative freedom.  
  • In 1888, the printed Bible, prayer books and missals were transferred from Nagasaki, Japan, to Seoul.  4
    women joined the sisters of the Communaute Saint Paul de Chartres, becoming the first Korean nuns.  In 1900
    ten Korean priests were ordained.
  • By 1910, there were 69 churches, 71 priests including 15 indigenous clergy, 41 seminarians, 59 sisters and
    more than 73,000 Catholic believers.

The Protestant Beginning

  • In June of 1883, Nagasaka, a Japanese Christian, landed in Pusan, Korea, as an agent for the National Bible
    Society of Scotland in Tokyo. He distributed bibles written in Chinese and Japanese, as well as portions of the
    Gospel and other religious tracts written in Korean.
  • In 1884, the Presbyterian Church appointed Dr. Horace N. Allen as the first missionary to Korea.  In the same
    year, the Methodist Episcopal Church sent Dr. and Mrs. W.B. Scranton; and Rev. and Mrs. Henry Appenzeller
    as the first missionaries to Korea.  
  • Dr. Allen arrived in Seoul in 1884 and gained an immediate trust by curing the Prince Min, who was brutally
    slashed during Kapshin Chongbyon (Coup d’Etat of 1884).  In April 1885, Dr. Allen opened the first general
    hospital in Korea, Kwanghyewon.
  • From 1884 to 1896, many more missionaries arrived, sent by different churches in America and other
    countries including Prebsyterian church, Methodist Epistopal church, Canadian Baptists church, Church of
    England, Canadian Presbyterian church.
  • In 1886, Mr. Appenzeller, the Methodist missionary, founded the first boy school, the Paejae Haktang.  The
    Presbyterian missionaries followed suit, establishing many schools.  The Severance Union Medical College was
    established in Seoul in 1904.  By 1910, missionaries had founded about 800 schools of various grades,
    educating over 41,000 students.  
  • In 1887, Rev. John Ross and , a missionary to Manchuria (Scotland Presbyterian Church), and Yi Ung-chan,
    an educated merchant of herbal medicines, produced the first Korean translation of the New Testament.
  • In 1907 and in 1909-1910, there were two Great Revivals in Korea.  One in 1909-10 was called the “Million
  • In 1910, Japan annexed Korea.
  • In 1911, 124 Koreans were arrested for the outlandish claim by Japanese that they were plotting to
    assassinate the Japanese Governor-General in Korea.  Of the 124, 98 were Christians.  
  • On September 1, 1912, the first Synod of Korean Presbyterian Church was held in Pyung Yang with Horace G.
    Underwood as the president and Rev. Gil Sun Joo (吉 善 宙)as the vice president.
  • In March 1, 1919, there arose the Independence Movement in Korea.  15 of 33 signers of the Declaration of
    Independence were Christians.  Over 22% of the total (2,087 of 9,458) who were arrested were Christians,
    while Christians consisted of only 1.3% of the total population (16 million) at the time.  47 churches were
    burned down and hundreds of Christians perished in the demonstration.  
  • In 1935, Japanese government ordered all educational establishments to participate in Shinto shrine
    ceremonies; and Shinto shrines were instituted in every town.  
  • Shintoism consists of worshiping the Japanese emperor as the divine descendant of Amaterasu, the sun-
    goddess.  Koreans were required to bow before the Shinto shrine.  Many Koreans, including Joo Gee Chul (
    基 撤), Han Sang Dong (韓 相 東), Joo Nam Sun (朱 南 善), Lee Gee Sun (李 基 宣), Cho Soo Ok (趙 壽 玉),
    Ahn Yi Sook, and Lee In Jae (李 仁 宰), refused to participate in the Shinto worship, citing the fist three
    Commandments. (Prison release photo)
  • In 1937, Japan declared a total war against China; and the “Japanization” of Korea began.  The use of
    Japanese language was strictly enforced while prohibiting the use of Korean language.  All Korean last names
    were changed to Japanese names.  By 1940, about 80% of Koreans changed their family names into
    Japanese names.
  • In 1935, after strong protests, the Methodists and the Presbyterians decided to involuntarily comply with the
    Japanese government order to participate in the Shinto worship.  Few Christians resisted and campaigned
    hard to oppose the order, risking imprisonment and death.
  • In 1941, the Japanese and Korean Methodist churches became united; and the teaching of Shinto and military
    instruction were required in the seminaries.
  • In 1942, a Methodist church in Seoul was refurbished as a Shinto shrine.
  • In 1940, nearly 90% of missionaries had to leave Korea.  By 1942, all missionaries were expelled.
  • In 1942-43, 3,000 Christians leaders were imprisoned for professing faith that was considered anti-Japanese;
    and as many as fifty of them suffered martyrdom, primarily through mistreatment in prisons.  
  • On July 29, 1945, all the Protestant churches were given an order to eliminate denominational distinctions and
    to create the united Korean Japanese Christian Church.  
  • On August 15, 1945 Japanese surrendered to the United States.
  • On August 18, 1945 the imprisoned Christians were scheduled to be executed—out of fear that they may aide
    the allies in an attack on Korea.  Instead, they were released on August 17, 1945 amid celebration of Korean
    independence. (the photo after release from prison).

  • In 1950, the Communist government of North Korea massacred Christians in masses.
  • During the Korean War (June 25, 1950-1953) tens of thousands of Christians perished at the hands of the
    Communists.  (Photo of Easter Sunday
Rev. In Jae Lee family members 이인재 목사 홈페이지와 관계된 다른 홈페이지들

Korean Fire Evacuees Turn to Churches

New America Media, News Digest, Kenneth Kim, Posted: Oct 25, 2007 Review it on NewsTrust

As the San Diego fires threatened thousands of homes and hundreds of thousands of lives, more than 2,000 Koreans living in the fire-affected areas fled to local Korean churches.

Instead of checking into the evacuation shelters operated by authorities, about 300 Koreans have stayed at Calvary Korean Presbyterian Church in Linda Vista since Monday night. Korean Hope Church of San Diego and Hanbit Church, both located near San Diego’s Koreatown, each provided shelter to about 100 people. Korean Catholic Community of San Diego also has accommodated approximately 150 people report the Korea Daily and Korea Times.

The local business community pitched in to ease the pain of those who were affected by the fire. A meat company owned by a Korean brought Korean Catholic Community of San Diego enough of the Korean BBQ dish “bulgoki” to feed more than 100 people. Other community organizations brought blankets, snacks, and other provisions that they thought the evacuees might need, reports the Korean media.

“It was difficult for my family because we had to leave in such a hurry. But we recuperated after eating the bulgoki and experiencing the church’s hospitality,” said Lucy Kim, 15, in an interview with the Korea Times.

“People feel more comfortable when they band together with the same race, and some decided to come to church because the shelters they had gone to were overcrowded,” adds Young Sung Joo, managing editor of Korea Daily’s San Diego bureau.

There are more than 50 Korean churches in the San Diego area – and every church opened its doors to those who needed a place to stay, he says.

Korean American churches have a long history and tradition of giving, says Joo. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Korean American churches in Southern California raised more than $1 million to provide support to the victims of the tragedy. When the tsunami devastated Southeast Asia in 2004, Korean churches raised more than half a million dollars.

Korean churches are more than houses of worship; they are the lynchpin of U.S. immigrant communities, serving as religious, social, cultural, political and economic centers. According to a United Way survey, 75 percent of the Korean American community is connected with a local Korean church. There are approximately 3,400 Korean churches in the United States, according to Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD), a non-profit faith-based organization.

In Southern California, the churches are once again playing a pivotal role in bringing the community together in a time of tragedy.

Korean evacuees have spent sleepless nights there, worrying about what has happened to their homes.

Kye Ho Kim, who lives in Rancho Bernardo, tried to return to his home the morning after he and his family were ordered to leave. But the roads leading to his home and beloved neighborhood were still blocked.

“The police only allowed entry to the residents who needed to pick up prescription medicines, and the lines to get permission were too long. After waiting for a long time, I got impatient and went back to the church,” said Kim.

Kimchi Mamas: Going to a Korean church: it's not just about God

Going to a Korean church: it's not just about God

As I mentioned last week, my parents are a first generation Koreans and came in France in 1975. With a group of fellow immigrants, they started to gather in each other's houses to sudy the Bible and pray and, since my father was a TaeKwonDo professor, held Sunday services at the gym. There are now about 12 Korean churches in Paris.

I have very fond memories of going to church. But growing up in the Korean community was not always easy. Yes, all mothers could not help talking about grades and expensive private schools. And it was especially hard to balance what was completely accepted in France but would have been highly controversed in Korea. Having a boyfriend at 14 for example, or wearing makeup at 16. But I have also learned a lot about the Korean culture at church and I believe it has helped me define and accept my true identity.

Our family goes to a Korean church every Sunday. Young mothers still gather to compare their babies' weight and milestones and I still feel slightly uncomfortable at times. But it also gives me a deep sense of connection with who I am. And I hope that interacting with other Korean kids, learning Korean songs and immersing in the Korean culture every week will help Sean and Will not only understand where their parents come from but also fully appreciate and embrace who they are.


What Makes the Korean Church Grow? | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Only about 3 percent of Asia is Christian. In Japan, for example, after four centuries of Christian witness, only one in a hundred is Christian. In China, which Christian missionaries reached more than thirteen hundred years ago, the percentage of Christians has never risen higher than a possible 1.5, and today after a quarter of a century of Communist repression that tiny proportion has eroded to a brave remnant.

But Korea has one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. Though it is situated squarely between China and Japan and far more recently opened to the Gospel (Protestants are ninety years old, Catholics a century older), Koreans have turned to Christ in unprecedented numbers. It is true that in North Korea Communists have wiped out the organized church, but in South Korea where there is freedom of worship some 10 to 13 percent of the population is now Christian. This makes Christianity the strongest and probably the largest organized religion in the country, outdrawing in fact, if not in dubious religious statistics, both Confucianism with its dwindling social influence and Buddhism with its more religious appeal.

Why has the church grown so spectacularly in Korea? The Christian community there just about doubles every ten years. There are now some three million Korean Christians, and if marginal semi-Christian sects were included, the total would be four million. The growth rate is approximately 9 percent a year, which is four times the rate of population growth in South Korea as a whole.

Korean Christianity has its problems and weaknesses, but lack of growth is not one of them. The contrast between this enthusiastic, expanding church and the more static churches of most parts of Asia and the West raises the question, What makes the church in Korea grow?

More than one answer has been given, but few have improved upon an answer given by my father, Dr. Samuel A. Moffett, more than half a century ago. Korea was already then one of the miracles of the modern missionary movement, and a commission of inquiry was sent to study the methods that had produced such great results. Since the first dramatic leap in church growth had occurred in my father's area of work in north Korea, they came to ask him the secret. I think his answer disappointed them. It was too simplistic. Too pietistic. But I think he was right.

"For years," he said, "we have simply held up before these people the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit has done the rest."

Any analysis of Christian strength in Korea that does not begin, as he did, with the power of the Spirit to cleanse and vitalize and the priority of Scripture in Christian faith and education will miss the mark. The mark of the Spirit was startlingly and indelibly imprinted on the Korean church in the very first generation. Within twenty years of the arrival of the first resident Protestant missionary, early stirrings of a great revival began to sweep through the staid Presbyterian and Methodist beginnings of missionary effort. The climax came in 1907 with "extraordinary manifestations of power," that reminded observers of the revivals of John Wesley. Church membership spurted upward, quadrupling in the five years between 1903 and 1908.

PC(USA) - Korean Ministries - Strategies for Korean New Church Development
Korean American congregations in the Presbyterian Church(U.S.A.) From 20 some churches in early 1970s to 350 churches in 1999.
PC(USA) - Korean Ministries
Korean American congregations are vital, visible and growing part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They are the second largest racial ethnic constituency group after black congregations. There were about 20 Korean Presbyterian congregations in early 1970 which had grown to 400 congregations with 50,000 members in 2005.
PC(USA) - Korean Ministries
Korean-American congregations are the fastest growing membership group of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Number of Korean Congregations
1970: 20
1980: 110
1985: 230
1990: 320
2002: 370
2004: 403

Membership: 50,000
Church membership ranges between 50 to 3,000 with an average of between 50 an 150. The total number of active members and their children are about 50,000.

Giving Statistics
Regular Contribution: $51,253,230.00
Mission: $1,163,323.00
Per Capita: $762,178.00

PCA Mission to North America Multiply Spring 2001

Korean Church Planting

Second-Generation Korean Church Planters Meet

In January, MNA sponsored a conference for Korean church planters who lead second-generation congregations. Organized and led by Henry Koh, MNA Korean Ministries coordinator, the meeting was held at Korean Central Presbyterian of Washington in Vienna, VA, one of the largest Korean churches in the PCA with about 4,000 people each week at Sunday worship. About 80 church planters, pastors, and their wives attended, including representatives from other denominations.

The conference examined different models for planting Korean English-speaking churches and ministries, while keynote speaker Randy Pope, senior pastor of Perimeter Church, Atlanta, GA, stressed the importance of evangelism and discipleship.

Jim Om, a PCA Korean-American pastor said, “The conference helps widen perspectives of second-generation Korean pastors, particularly in terms of church planting and cross-cultural ministries.” Jim is currently planting a multicultural church with two locations, Teaneck and Hoboken, NJ, which is a daughter church of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC.
As a result, over the past three decades, about 4,000 Korean language churches have been planted across the US by these first generation Koreans. There are 190 Korean PCA churches and more than 400 Korean PCA pastors in the US.
The Korean Experience in North America
Hello, my name is Henry Koh, and I would like to welcome you to the Korean Ministries home page. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is committed to reaching all people groups in the US and Canada for Jesus Christ, and Koreans are key among these groups. Since the 1970s, about two million Koreans have immigrated to the US. Because of the strong presence of Presbyterian and other evangelical churches in Korea, a great number of those immigrants are Christians. As a result, over the past three decades, about 4,000 Korean language churches have been planted across the US by these first generation Koreans. There are 190 Korean PCA churches and more than 400 Korean PCA pastors in the US.

Most first generation Koreans living in North America prefer a Korean language church. Second generation Koreans (born in North America), however, are often comfortable with English language churches. And when Korean Americans are called to ministry, they have the capabilities in terms of language and culture to serve more broadly and provide leadership on varied ethnic fronts. MNA Korean Ministries, led by Henry Koh, seeks to work in cooperation with Korean language and other PCA churches to identify and develop second generation church planters. In addition, first generation Korean churches will be assisted in addressing the changes and adjustments in ministry often required as a result of language and cultural transition.

The vision of MNA Korean Ministries is to reach Korean Americans and other people groups of North America with the Gospel of Christ through the planting of multiethnic PCA churches

  • Train second generation Korean Americans for leadership in the PCA and encourage them to plant multiethnic churches.
  • Challenge PCA churches to participate in the training and development of second generation Korean American church planters who will serve in a variety of church and community settings, not only Korean or Asian.
  • Encourage PCA churches to employ second generation Korean leaders as interns and assistant pastors and also to give financial support to their church planting efforts.
  • Urge first generation Koreans to grasp the potential for evangelistic mission of second generation Koreans and to support multiethnic church planting.
World's largest church has tremendous political clout
World's largest church has
tremendous political clout

By Ju-lan Kim

Over the past century, the world has been witness to the growth of Christianity throughout Western and non-Western nations alike. However, few countries can rival the expansion rate demonstrated by South Korea during the last several decades. Some within the Christian church would herald the spread of the Christian faith in Korea as a remarkable achievement. Yet, one must not forget to examine the full-scope of effects that Christianity has had on the native way of life on the Korean peninsula.

Religious tradition in Korea had been dominated by Buddhism and Confucianism; but, by the end of the 1800's, the number of Catholic followers began to escalate. The late 1800's through the early 1900's was a period of great political chaos with the Choson government, the last ruling Korean dynasty, falling under the power of Japanese colonization. The government, growing uneasy with the advance of Western influence over Asia, began to treat missionaries within their country with hostility.

One major source of conflict was the important long-standing tradition in Korea of paying homage to ancestors during the Dan-o festival. This practice of expression of ancestral respect had been an extremely valued practice in Confucian society. The Catholic church declared this custom to be paganism and converts were banned from taking part in the ceremony. The stand-off between the Confucian Choson dynasty and the newly emerging Korean Catholic Church served to escalate the fear of cultural disintegration due to Western influences.

In 1910, the Japanese annexed Korea and implemented a harsh cultural policy with the intent of wiping out the Korean sense of identity. Publication of Christian writings into Korea's native language, Hangul, allowed the people another means of keeping their language and writings alive. This brought together the mission of restoring the Korean government and spreading Christianity. By combining these two goals, the missionaries were able to manipulate the explosive anger of the Korean people against the Japanese for their own gains.

The Christian church experienced tremendous growth, the results of which are evident in contemporary Korean society. Korea, in the span of a few short decades, has become the home to the world's largest Christian church. The Yoido Full Gospel Church, led by David Yonggi Cho, has approximately 750,000 members. David Yonggi Cho is a popular speaker among many Christian groups in the United States.

In Seoul and its surrounding cities, Yoido Full Gospel Church has the ability to wield tremendous political power, due to the sheer number of its followers. In recent local government elections, many candidates chose to campaign on platforms emphasizing their relationship to various religious organizations in Korea. With new parties moving into the government, many special-interest groups are now gaining access to the channels within the developing bureaucracy. The Christians have proven themselves to be well-positioned political figures capable of marshaling their followers on any issue they believe action is needed.

Seoul has also been the playground of the well-known Unification Church led by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. With membership circling the globe, a fervently faithful following, and a seemingly unending financial supply, the Unification Church has been very forward in its attempts to influence the politics of the emerging international system, both in its home country and abroad.

In the United States, the Unification Church has been a significant contributor to Radical Right. Using its extensive treasury and its establishments in all fifty states, the Unification Church has aided presidential, congressional, and local campaigns since the Nixon-era. In return, many of the Moon-supported politicians began to push for overseas interests that have proven to be very profitable for corporations affiliated with the Unification Church. Additionally, the Unification Church has shown itself to be a strong lobbyist in favor of a continued U.S. military presence in South Korea.

In the years following the Japanese occupation, Korea found itself in the unfortunate position of relying upon the U.S. and other countries for much needed foreign aid. Economic growth plans called for the development of Korea as a primarily exporting nation.Consequently, Korea's relationship with the U.S. became very important as investment capital and open exportation laws with the U.S. became Korean priorities. By increasing its influence with the United States government, the Unification Church has been able to meet many of its own objectives, as well as those of its allies.

Many churches in Korea are patterning themselves after the Unification Church and the Yoido Full Gospel Church in their efforts to reach a wider audience. The spread of Christianity in Korea has begun to have its effects in the international political sphere. The effect of religion on government has demonstrated itself to be dangerous in Korea where political rifts caused by religion are becoming more commonplace. Christianity has begun to destroy the Confucian cultural foundation upon which Korea was built by threatening the freedom of individuals who wish to practice traditional Asian religions.

Ju-lan Kim, who recently visited Korea, attends Simon's Rock College of Bard and interns with IFAS.

Life's Happenings: World's Largest Church @ South Korea

World's Largest Church @ South Korea

Yoido Full Gospel Church, founded on 18 May 1958, has the world's largest congregation of Christians in a single church situated at Yoido, western Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. It's founder pastor, Rev. David Cho Yong-gi (biography), through God's calling has led a tremendous Christian growth in the country.
Today the church is attended by an estimated 750,000 members with 11 worship services in the main building throughout the week. The church organisation has 527 pastors with 100,113 leaders supporting them.

Yoido Full Gospel Church, has named Rev. Lee Young-hoon as the successor to its current pastor and founder Cho Yong-gi. Lee, who is currently the pastor of the Full Gospel Church's Los Angeles, California chapter, won 435 of the 933 votes cast by church officials in a closed-door vote at the church's headquarters in Yoido on Sunday. Lee, 52, will take over the congregation in 2009 after receiving a two-year apprenticeship from Cho, whose pastorate will then officially come to an end.
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao: Remarks to Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD)

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao

Printer-Friendly Version

As Delivered

Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD) Awards Dinner
Washington, D.C.
September 30, 2003

Thank you Hyepin [Hyepin Im, President of KCCD] for the kind introduction and for this prestigious Legacy Award. I also want to thank Jin Kim, the Executive Director of the KCCD and the Board for the invitation to join you.

Let me also congratulate tonight’s other Legacy award winners for their outstanding service to the Korean and Asian Pacific American community.

I am delighted to be able join you this evening to celebrate the centennial of Korean immigration to the United States and the establishment of the first Korean American church.

It’s a tribute to the Korean Churches for Community Development that so many outstanding Korean Americans from around the country have gathered for this conference and dinner.

The Korean Churches for Community Development is a shining example of President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative. The purpose of that initiative is to help others through creative government partnerships with faith-based organizations.

Giving and serving comes naturally to church leaders and pastors. This Administration recognizes that places of worship and religious organizations can play a valuable role in assisting the government’s efforts to help people reach their full potential.

Your ancestors, who first came to the United States one hundred years ago, would be so proud of the progress Korean Americans have made!

Like so many Asian newcomers to this country, the first Korean Americans were willing to take the most humble jobs to build a better life for their families. Today, their descendents are leaders in every profession. One out of every eight Korean American owns his or her own business, the highest rate of any group.

And for those in the audience from Los Angeles, I saw your entrepreneurial spirit first hand last year during my visit to “Korea Town.” Your resilience and optimism is an inspiration to all of us.

Korean Americans, like all Asian Pacific Americans, are also advancing to the highest levels of government.

President George W. Bush has appointed more Asian Pacific Americans to top-level positions in the federal government than any other President in history. For the first time, two Asian Pacific Americans serve in the Cabinet.

Following the President’s lead, there are more Asian Pacific Americans in leadership positions at the Department of Labor than any other government agency—like Shinae Chun, the first Asian American Director of the Women’s Bureau.

At the Department of Labor, we continue to seek new ways to reach out and assist Korean and other Asian Pacific American communities.

We all know how important the Korean American church is to the vitality and success of Korean American neighborhoods and businesses. The Los Angeles Times, for example, recently reported that 70 percent of Korean immigrants regularly attend church.

The President believes in the transforming power of faith. Under the President’s Faith Based and Community Initiatives, the Department is moving forward with two regulatory changes that would eliminate barriers to faith-based contracting and training.

First, the Department is proposing a change in the publicly funded $12 billion workforce investment system with over 3,800 local one-stop resource centers. It will allow individual training vouchers, provided by local workforce investment boards, to be used by men and women pursuing faith-based careers.

Second, as many of you know, faith-based institutions can be barred from competing for federal contracts if they hire staff of their own religious affiliation. The Department is now revising that regulation so that faith-based institutions that secure government contracts will no longer be prevented from hiring members of their own faith.

These changes are part of this Administration’s ongoing efforts to remove barriers for faith-based organizations. Korean American and other churches play such a vital role in helping workers and others find new job opportunities. The Department’s new Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives will do all it can to help you succeed in this task. Visit our Website at for more information.

The Department is also making it easier for Korean American and other Asian Pacific Americans to access our agencies and programs.

We are translating our publications and Web sites on health, safety and fair compensation into multiple languages. For instance, the reference guide to our country’s employment law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, is now translated into Korean. We have also hired interpreters to assist non-English speakers who call the Labor Department’s telephone center to reach our agencies and programs.

The Department also has a number of on-going initiatives targeted to help entrepreneurs in your communities. We recently launched a $9 million pilot program: Project GATE—Growing America Through Entrepreneurship. This program promotes small business development in urban and rural communities—particularly historically underserved Asian-Pacific American and other ethnic populations.

And to help build the next generation of Asian Pacific leaders, the Labor Department has established a special Summer internship program for young people. This is a unique opportunity to acquaint young people with functions of the federal government. If you have some young people who may be interested in this program, we welcome you to encourage them to apply. Being the Department of Labor, we, of course, offer attractive pay for those internships.

As you can tell, I care deeply about our community. As Secretary of Labor, I want to help others achieve the American dream. As an immigrant to this country—I came from Taiwan when I was eight years old—I can still remember the challenges my family and I faced building a new life and adapting to a new culture.

Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of Korean Americans and build on the great legacy that you have already created for your families and our country.

Thank you again for choosing me to receive the Legacy Award. I deeply appreciate the invitation to join you this evening.

This study is based on the hypothesis that a functional relationship exists between the emergence of Korean Christian churches in America and an increasing number of Korean immigrants to the United States. The categories investigated include: (1) demographic characteristics of church membership; (2) the purely religious role of the churches; (3) the assimilative functions of the churches; (4) the relationship between clergy and laity; and (5) ethnicity as it relates to the churches. Data collected seem to support the theory and concepts presented in related literature that religion does function for the integration and survival of people in a society. In this case, Korean churches in America function as agents of religious and social assimilation, reinforce Korean ethnic identity and solidarity, and are gradually becoming a center of civil rights activities for Korean Americans. In conclusion, although Korean churches in America suffer from many problems including the lack of religious faith among members, financial difficulty, and intra-church conflict between clergy and laity, their emergence and functions are directly related to the multidimensional needs of Koreans as a minority in this country.
LA Observed: 'De-coloring' of the Los Angeles Times
One of the most remarkable stories I read in the Los Angeles Times this year was a look at a small community of immigrants from Mexico's Costa Chica centered in Pasadena. The story, published in April, gave us a fascinating dose of nuance for a region long accustomed to overwrought tales of 'brown vs. black' violence and tension. Veteran metro reporter and editor John L. Mitchell wrote the piece. This week he was named among 75 editorial staffers at the LAT who were bought out or fired.

Mitchell will no longer be bringing L.A. and world readers stories such as these at a time when we need smart community journalism the most. Neither will Francisco Vara-Orta, a young staffer just starting out his career. Or Lynelle George. Or Agustin Gurza. And these are just a few names from this recent round of cuts at the LAT, the third so far this year. Add to them Connie Kang, Lorenza Muñoz, Cheryl Brownstein-Santiago, Sergio Muñoz, Solomon Moore, Sam Enriquez, Caitlin Liu, Gayle Pollard-Terry, Frank Sotomayor, Camilo Smith, Barbara Serrano, Daniel Yi, Martha Flores, Evelyn Iritani, Mike Terry, Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Mai Tran, Joe Hutchinson, Janet Clayton, and many others, all journalists of color who have left around or since the departures of former editors John Carroll and Dean Baquet.

Los Angeles Times: Korean churches growing rapidly in Southern California,0,1130400,print.story,0,6289122.story
From the Los Angeles Times

Korean churches growing rapidly in Southern California

They tend to practice a brand of Christianity that puts an emphasis on daily worship and missionary work.
By K. Connie Kang

November 1, 2008

Six days a week in Koreatown, hundreds of people converge on Oriental Mission Church for a prayer service before sunrise.

Some worshipers inch their way to the base of the cross on their knees. Others raise their arms heavenward, calling out, "Hana-nim Aboji! (Father God), or Joo-yoh! (Lord Jesus)." Some just sit, weeping.

The scene is repeated at Korean congregations throughout Southern California, with thousands of Korean Americans packing churches for predawn services before hustling off to work or school.

Korean immigrants in Greater Los Angeles have established the biggest Korean community outside Asia, and their growing influence on the business community is well known. Perhaps less obvious is the extraordinary growth of Korean churches, which tend to practice a brand of Christianity emphasizing daily worship and missionary work.

Experts say that nearly 80% of Korean immigrants attend church. By comparison, a study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life this year found that 54% of Americans went to church weekly, more than once a week or a few times a month. The rest attended services occasionally or not at all.

"The local church is the center of fellowship, comfort and consolation," said Anselm K. Min, professor of philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont Graduate University.

An association of Korean Protestant churches in Southern California has 1,359 congregations, representing 39 denominations. A study last year by the L2 Foundation, a Christian group that strives to develop Asian American leadership, found that of 7,000 Protestant Asian congregations in the U.S., 4,000 were Korean.

The Rev. Hee-Min Park, a respected pastor and former missionary who pastored Korean churches in L.A. and Toronto, attributes the proliferation of the immigrant churches to the huge influx of Koreans since the 1970s, the growth of Korean seminaries and a tendency for congregations to split when they run into disagreements. "Our strong points are passion, prayer and evangelism," he said.

Yet for all that vibrancy, some Korean Americans are wondering when and how Korean churches will interact more with other institutions in the region. They cite some tendencies in Korean church life: a reluctance to work in partnership with other churches and not paying sufficient attention to social justice issues.

"We are a little weak in living out our faith in social action," said Ho Chung, a former Garden Grove councilman and Korean American community leader. "But in terms of vision and faith and sincerity and enthusiasm, Korean Christians are incomparable."

Missionaries brought Christianity to the Korean peninsula a century ago. Before the partition of the country after World War II, two-thirds of Christians lived in the north. Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea, was known as the "Jerusalem of the East." Today, South Korea is considered the most Christian nation in East Asia.

Estimates put the U.S. Korean population at 1.2 million, and researchers say the vast majority are Christian.

Min believes Christianity appeals to Koreans because it demands unconditional commitment, which blends well with the Korean work ethic and emphasis on achievement.

But Donald N. Clark, a history professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, who as a missionary kid and Peace Corps volunteer spent years in Korea, says the cost of discipleship has been high. He said Korean Christians are "often held up as sacrificial, dedicated and a suffering community" because of the struggles they've been through under the Japanese colonial rule -- Christians were persecuted for refusing to bow at Shinto shrines -- the partition after World War II, and then the Korean War. The tradition of daily dawn services began in Korea, as did another Korean church import -- red crosses on church buildings.

Another import is an exuberant worship style. Grace Korean Church in Fullerton stands out. When the congregation sings hymns -- led by a "worship team" and accompanied by an orchestra and a full choir -- the sanctuary feels like a music hall. Some worshipers get up and dance. At times, the Rev. Paul Gilhong Han, senior pastor, will urge congregants, "Let's give Jesus a big hand!" The sound of applause then fills the sanctuary.

Kang is a special correspondent.

This is the first of a two-part series on Korean church life in Southern California. Next week: Korean churches and missionary work.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at
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CHINA: Official denomination leaders reach out to 'house churches'

By Francis Wong, October 29, 2008
[Ecumenical News International, Hong Kong] Recently elected leaders of China's officially sanctioned Protestant churches have said they care about house churches that sometimes operate underground and that they are willing to provide them with Bibles.

"For those house churches without registration, we will try our best to be with them, to recognize them and to help them, so long as they have an orthodox faith, don't stray from the truth and don't follow heretics," Elder Fu Xianwei, chairperson of the National Three-Self Patriotic Movement, told some 200 Hong Kong church leaders at an October 22 seminar titled "Chinese Church - New Leaders, New Challenges."

The 12 member-delegation of TSPM and China Christian Council paid their first visit to Hong Kong and Macau October 19-26 since assuming the national leadership of their church organizations in January.

Fu, the leader of the delegation, said that CCC/TSPM was willing to help house churches by, for example, providing them with Bibles, and also desired to work with them in building the Chinese Protestant church.

The officially sanctioned Chinese Protestant church estimates there are at least 18 million Protestants in China, but many other Christians belong to "house" or underground churches, say some analysts. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement was conceived in 1951 and formed in 1954 as the only legitimate umbrella for Protestant activities. The China Christian Council emerged with the support of the TSPM after China's Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, when the expression of religious life was effectively banned.

Fu said that there were insufficient pastors and preachers, and that theological education posed challenges to the church. He said that when more and more people in China were migrating from rural villages to urban areas, pastors in cities were exposed to greater challenges.

Asked if members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party could convert to Christianity, the Rev. Gao Feng, president of CCC, said that although the Communist Party's constitution stated that members should follow Marxism, which espouses atheism, the doors of the church remain open to all.

Church leaders say there has been debate in China concerning a third way for the existence of Christian communities in the mainland, and about whether all Protestant communities seeking registration need to do so within the framework of the CCC/TPSM.

Yu Jian Rong, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said on October 8 at a conference on religion and social sciences at Beijing University that it was time to consider whether to recognize the legitimate status of house churches, and let them register separately from the CCC/TSPM, which describe themselves as post-denominational. Yu said that some house churches in China were already in the process of seeking government registration outside the CCC/TSPM.

Jesus Creed » Loosening the Grip 3

We are doing a series on J. Kameron Carter’s book, Race: A Theological Account. When I say “we” I mean a number of folks, and today’s post is written by Soong-Chan Rah, professor at North Park Theological Seminary.

For the past few weeks, I have become a complete news junkie. I am glued to CNN. I’m perusing all the political blogs. I’m constantly checking for SNL parodies and clips from Comedy Central. Like many Americans, the presidential election has taken over my life.

Even if you are following the election less closely than I am, you could probably still conclude that race is very much a part of this race. An AP-Yahoo news report documented what many already guessed, but had not verbalized or quantified – that there are many whites who will not vote for Barak Obama, simply because of his race. Some reports claim that racism could yield up to a 6% swing towards McCain. Much of the hidden racism in America is being exposed (see McCain-Palin rallies from last week).

My main concern, however, is how Christians have been at the center of two of the more explicit examples of racism in the Presidential campaign: Obama Waffles (created by two Christian writers) and the hanging in effigy of Senator Obama at a Christian college. These shameful examples serve to further the media perception of the deep level of racism rooted in the American Christian community. So I am personally thankful that we are having a serious theological discussion on race.

In the first chapter of his insightful and revelatory work, J. Kameron Carter examines the link between the problem of race/racism with modernity as well as with Christian theology. As Carter states: “modern racial discourse and practice have their genesis inside Christian theological discourses and missiological practices, which themselves were tied to the practice of empire in the advance of Western civilization” (p.3).

Drawing upon the writings of Cornel West and Michel Foucault, Carter asserts that “race functions to support the coming-to-be and the sustaining of modern society at an inarticulate level” (p.39-40). In other words, the problem of race is directly related to the problem of modernity. “West is out to isolate . . . what it is about ‘the very structure of modern discourse at its inception’ that allowed and even mandated it to ‘[produce] forms of rationality, scientificity and objectivity as well as aesthetic and cultural ideals’ that ‘require[d] the constitution of the idea of white supremacy’” (p.44-45).

“Foucault’s analysis of the problem of race is bound to an analysis of the problem of the modern nation form – to the problem, that is, of how the modern state gives form, shape, and substance to the political” (p.43)

Put boldly: Modernity needs the problem of race in order to justify and further its existence.

There are two implications from chapter one I’d like to focus on. First, how has the establishment of “the other” in modern society been expressed in American evangelicalism? West states that [modernity] “establishes a ‘normative gaze’ by which it is determined that blacks do not adequately measure up to the standards of truth (in science), the good and morality (in philosophy), and beauty (in the aesthetics of culture)” (p.49). Foucault, meanwhile, speaks of modernity’s need to “employ bellicose mechanisms to address the problems, deviancies, and so-called abnormalities of the population” (p.55). In other words, we create a sense of otherness (yielding a virulent racism) to justify and perpetuate modern systems.

If indeed, the problem of modernity, the problem of race, and theology are intertwined, how have Christians bought into the concept of otherness, in order to justify the modern systems of Christianity?

Second, even as we move away from a modern framework to a more postmodern framework, does the problem of race continue (i.e. – race plays the same role in postmodern society that it did in modern society), but now in its postmodern form. So that postmodern expressions of Christianity are just as much in danger of becoming inter-twined with racism as modern theology.

My response to both of these issues is to point out that for many centuries we have been witness to the Western, white cultural captivity of the church. Christianity has more accurately reflected the norms, values, and practices of Western, white culture than the Scriptures. The Western, white captivity of the church has meant that non-white voices are often marginalized and placed into the category of “exotic” and non-normative expressions of Christianity (such as the black church or the immigrant church). The problem with evangelical Christianity, therefore, is not merely a captivity to modernity (as many postmodern Christians would claim), but captivity to white supremacy (which could include postmodern Christians).

Despite what politicians might claim, it is actually imperative that we understand the causes of the problem in order to formulate the answers to the problem. Is there a problem with the American evangelical church? If so, is it simply the way evangelicalism has gotten into bed with modernity? Or is there a way that theology, race, and modernity have been intertwined and that this white captivity of modern evangelicalism could also creep into postmodern evangelicalism.

God's Politics: A Blog by Jim Wallis & Friends

Last week at North Park Theological Seminary, we conducted our annual Scripture Symposium, which focuses on the theological interpretation of scripture.  This year’s topic was “The Idolatry of Security.”  The topic was actually picked years ahead of time, so the organizers had no idea how appropriate it would be in light of the economic meltdown of the last few weeks.  I offer a few observations and reflections based upon the hard work of biblical and theological reflection that is occurring here on our seminary campus.

One of the presenters, Daniel Carroll of Denver Seminary, referred to the proper exegesis of Amos 7:7-8, the third in a series of pronouncements about imminent danger:

7 This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand.

8 And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”

“A plumb line,” I replied.

Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. (NIV)

As Prof. Carroll explains:

The key term there is “anak,” usually translated “plumb line.”  Recent studies, however, make clear that a more correct rendering is “tin.”  This translation conveys the self-deceiving ideology of Israel’s defenses.  From a distance, the walls of their fortresses might appear to be made of iron, a strong metal; surely, they could resist attack.  In reality, however, they are but tin.  Perhaps the meaning of the vision is that Yahweh has reached down and ripped out a piece of this fragile wall and thrown it in the midst of his people, as if to say, “This is nothing!”

Amos 7:7-8 reveals the fallen capacity of the people of God.  We have the fallen capacity to trust in everything and anything but God.  But God has the capacity to reveal our walls to be nothing more than tin.  God reveals our idols, even the idol of security in all its forms: national security, economic security, military security, social security, securities and exchanges, and so forth.

Don’t misunderstand me –- I’m not saying that God and God alone is directly responsible for the current economic crisis.  Nor am I indulging in the common mistake of confusing God’s words to the kingdom of Israel as words intended for 21st century secular United States.  But can this economic crisis help reveal the idolatry of security to American Christians?  Can the tearing down of the tin wall allow the light to shine upon Christians that have placed their security in securities?

Theologian Walter Wink writes about how mediating narratives are necessary in order to prop up the powers that be.  In American society, the mediating narrative of materialism and capitalism provides an undergirding that sustains our way of life.  I would also raise the challenge that American Christianity operates under the narrative of materialism and capitalism, that there are times when American Christians are more enamored with materialistic and capitalistic values above biblical values –- in how we shop for churches, in how we look to church to meet our needs, in how we value success, and in the type of books that push us towards a materialistic worldview.

But what happens when the economic security and materialistic value system we have trusted more than God begins to collapse?  What happens when this wall is revealed to be nothing more than tin?  At that moment, will we do all it takes to restore the wall of tin, or will we willingly embrace God’s revelation to examine the American church’s captivity to materialism and consumerism?

Soong-Chan Rah
Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary and a member of the Sojourners board. He blogs at

God's Politics: A Blog by Jim Wallis & Friends

More reflections from the North Park Theological Seminary’s Scripture Symposium on “The Idolatry of Security.”

One of my favorite papers was presented by theologian and ethicist, Scott Bader-Saye. In his paper, Bader-Saye contrasts the perception of security in two different gardens found in the Bible: the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane. In the Garden of Eden, Adam responds to the possibility of insecurity with fear and an attempt to trap and control God’s blessing. In contrast, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus responds to the possibility of insecurity with faithful obedience, yielding his blessed position for the sake of the cross.

A common thread in the two gardens is that there is an imminent state of emergency. In a state of emergency, the temptation is to change the rules that we live by. Fear of the unknown, fear of loss, and fear of insecurity can lead to the shutting down of the “ordinary processes of deliberation, reflection, and conversation in favor of quick and decisive measures.” In some sense, the idolatry of security leads to the loss of freedom and democracy. National crisis leads to national panic and insecurity, which can yield unprecedented power to the government without civilian/citizen oversight. Case in point: the suspension of many democratic principles in order to fight the war on terror. In a state of emergency, those who idolize security will do everything possible to preserve their way of life. Concessions will be given and drastic measures will be taken to help our nation out of the crisis.

The stark difference in the two gardens is in the response of Adam versus the response of Jesus. Adam responds in crisis mode seeking to preserve his own life and preserve his own assets –- even to the point of hiding from judgment. Jesus, on the other hand, states: “Thy will be done.” Jesus seeks the blessing and salvation of others even at the cost of his own life.

In this state of emergency, the temptation will be to preserve our own security at the expense of others. There will be the temptation to uncritically accept hasty solutions that benefit some but not others. If Christians idolize security more than Christ alone, then we will also fall into the trap of doing everything to preserve our own security rather than caring for the poor among us.

However, I believe that the call for the Christian is to be even more concerned for the very least of these, the marginalized in our society, rather than to protect our own assets. Wall Street will not be the first to feel the pain of this economic crisis. While the parachute may not be golden, it’s still a parachute -– something that the poor among us do not have at all. Brokers and bankers have enough of a nest egg that they won’t be out on the street anytime soon. But there are many low-income and middle class families that are already feeling the pain. They have already lost homes and jobs. Already marginalized, the margin for error just got a lot smaller.

I am not stating a position on the bailout plan. Nobody cares what my position is on the bailout plan. I’m asking Christians to consider what values are being exhibited when we discuss and reflect on the bailout plan. Is our first priority caring for the poor among us or the preservation of our right to worship at the foot of the idol of economic security?

I close with a citation from Dr. Bader-Saye’s paper:

And so we are left with two gardens and two choices in the face of fear -– one is to hide and sacrifice the other for our own safety, making security the highest good; the other is to embrace a cruciform ethic of risk, losing our lives to find them, extending blessing in the face of curse because we trust that our flourishing comes not from controlling or consuming the good but from extending it.

Soong-Chan Rah
Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary and a member of the Sojourners board. He blogs at

I was accepted into the PCUSA New Church Development Pastor’s Discernment Conference. In essence it was a group of twenty of us that were trying to figure out our goals and direction in life. Many there were looking to see where God was to call them in the direction of their ministry. Were we called to do new churches or simply to do ministry in a new way in the contexts where we were serving. To get into this was told to us was competitive. What that actually means is unsure. Were there thousands that wanted a free weekend? I seriously doubt that was the case but who knows beyond the leadership team? All I know is that everything was paid for which was a bonus. Of course I probably would have gone even if I paid for it. All I know is that I came back more than a few pounds heavier thanks to JP’s Deli.

I was put into a small group with two other people. One was from Virginia and another from Indianapolis. It was very interesting to hear their stories about where God is leading them in their journeys. While we all had different stories and backgrounds, their was one common thread. That was that the church needs something new, and we did not know quite what that was going to be. Our small group spent a enormous amount of time together in the 48 hour period that the conference lasted. From Thursday noon to Saturday noon almost all of our time was discussing what did God have in store for us. For some the answer was obvious in others the process of discerening had started but nothing had come clear yet. We were asked questions that we were to ponder through the time that helped us explore and realize what was out there for us. The initial question embodied everything: Who is Jesus?  That first question represents everything that we believe in. If we think that Jesus is a community organizer or savior of the world. The way that we view that essential tenant is how we respond and lead to what we are called to. Made me think and it hurts when I do that.

Me, being a cocky guy sometimes, thought that I knew what I wanted to do. That was to be a New Church guy. Entering the room on the first morning I was surrounded by a bunch of ordained minister and here I was a very little fish in the big pond. As the pastors around me were working on discerning their own situations, I thought that it was all done for me. Boy was I wrong. Through this I realized what was missing in my whole process. That being the impact on my family, etc. Sure I was (and still am) willing to be in great locals such as: Hawaii, California, Fiji, or on Carnival Cruise Lines, but what about other places and contexts? Before this weekend I was steadfast in saying “no”. The more time that I spent on that question, the more a word came to me. That is to “prepare”. Not in the sense that I need to get an emergency kit together with water and everything, but to get all my family, church, and personal affairs together. This weekend made me understand that I can reside in areas other than the ones that I am accustomed to.  

More Than Serving Tea: Asian American Women Sharing the Journey

A One Day Conference for Asian American Women

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More than Serving Tea is a one day gathering for Asian American women to be inspired, to encouraged, and empowered. This event will have four primary streams: Worship and Inspiration through a multi generational, interchurch praise team and a key note address by Kathy Khang. There will be Reflection and Interpersonal Sharing in small groups, a delicious lunch and an afternoon of Conversations of Hope. A variety of Focus Groups will cover topics such as Asian-American identity, leadership, spiritual growth, marriage, social justice, vocation/calling, service and more. We will conclude the day with a Ministry Time facilitated by women who are gifted and equipped in inner healing prayer, spiritual direction and counseling. Throughout the gathering ample space will be provided for reflection, prayer, conversation, and building relationships.

We are inviting women college age and up - singles, married, working, stay at home moms, retirees. We will have something for everyone!


8:45 Check in/meet and greet

9:30 Worship

10:00 Keynote address by Mrs. Kathy Khang

10:45 Reflection and interpersonal sharing

11:30 Break

12:00 Lunch and New Hope Seattle Interpretive Dance Team

1:00 Focus Groups

2:00 Ministry Time

3:30 Closing Worship

More about the speaker:  Kathy Khang is the Multiethnic Ministries Director for the Great Lakes Region of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  She is a graduate of Northwestern, a former journalist, and a mother of three.  She is co-author of More Than Serving Tea:  Asian American Women on Expectations, Relationships, Leadership, and Faith. You can read Kathy’s blog.

Registration includes lunch and early registration ends Oct 8, 2008: General $15; Students and Groups of five or more $12.  After Oct 8 registration for all participants $18.  To register click here.

The Conference will take place on the campus of Seattle Pacific University on the 2nd floor of Gwinn Commons (Bldg 10 on map). There is free parking on the weekends in the Dravus Parking Lot (Lot 45 on map).

For more information contact Carolyn Shimabukuro,, 425.417.7401; Bo Lim,, 206.281.2347; or Becky Zeigler,, 206.440-1787.

Registrar: Diane Young,

Please consider bringing a pair of new white adult men’s socks to donate.  These will be distributed to homeless people in Seattle as part of Operation Nightwatch’s “Sock it to the Homeless” Campaign.

Sponsored by Seattle Pacific University, Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society, International Students Inc., in partnership with local area churches.


September 18, 2008

Ministry Time

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This is an opportunity to be ministered to through a variety of means. You can walk the SPU grounds, meet up with a friend and encourage one another, develop new friendships, or spend time in prayer or silent meditation. In addition we are providing resource leaders to minister to you individually. These will be available in a first come basis. Sign ups will be taken at check-in.

1. Inner healing prayer

Inner healing prayer is time spent with one or two intercessors in which you to first briefly share the issue or memory from your past with them, then invite Jesus into the issue/memory in prayer to see what Jesus wants you to see or know to bring healing from the wounds and hurts.  This may come in the form of visions, verses, or a sense of something from the Spirit.” Prayer teams of two will listen to you and pray for deep areas of need.

2. Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction takes place when two or more people agree to give their full attention to what god is doing in one or both of their lives and seek to respond in faith. Certified spiritual directors are available to sit with you in a posture of listening and discernment.

3. Counseling

Professional Christian counselors and therapists will be available to listen, counsel, and empower you. All counselors and therapists have experience working with Asian American clients.

4. Pastoral care

Theologically trained and ordained ministers will be available to listen, counsel and pray with you. Share your concern or area of need and pastors will be present to minister to you.

5. Labyrinth

A labyrinth is a circular path that fosters reflection and prayer. Walking the labyrinth is a spiritual practice rooted in the Christian tradition designed to quiet the mind and free the spirit. Whether you are an avid labyrinth walker or a first time seeker come deepen your connection with God and listen to the longing of your soul.


September 18, 2008

Focus Groups

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A variety of pertinent topics are offered for you to participate in conversations of hope.  The resource leaders will introduce the topic and lead the conversation.  The purpose is to share thoughts, experiences and gain insights and perspectives.   Feel free to read over the descriptions and choose the focus group that most speaks to you.

 1.  “Everyone Can Contribute”:  Ministering to our Community

 Sharon Okamoto and Ann Sakaguichi

 Have you ever wanted to help someone who is less fortunate than you are?  We will discuss some of the needs of the inner city and how to respond to these needs.  Our primary examples will be ministering to the homeless and in educating at-risk youth.

 Sharon is the visionary leader of Seattle Urban Academy, an alternative, Christian, educational community where at-risk high school students develop academic, social, and spiritual maturity to graduate to higher education and sustained employment.   She has been Principal there since 2001.   Sharon is a member of Japanese Presbyterian Church, where she serves as worship leader and an advisor to the high school youth.  She is married to John, Executive Director for the Washington Education Association, and they have two married daughters.

 Ann is the Deputy Director of Operation Nightwatch, an interdenominational Christian ministry serving the poor and homeless.  Ann spent over 30 years in secular business before being called into full time ministry in 2003.  At Operation Nightwatch, she uses skills learned from business to support ministry to our most vulnerable neighbors.  Ann is a member of Japanese Presbyterian Church, where she leads Precept bible studies and helps with the Kindergarten church school class.  She is single and lives in Pioneer Square in Seattle. 

 2.  “Desire to go Deeper with God”:  Spiritual Growth

 Carolyn Shimabukuro

 Where ever you are at in your faith journey, you are invited to pause and take notice of how you are doing in your relationship with God.  Are you stuck, have you hit a wall?  Have you been derailed, wondering, wandering,  and wanting more?  If you desire depth and increased awareness of God in your life, come to share to make inroads and take new steps in our faith development.

 Carolyn Shimabukuro serves as the Pacific Northwest Director of Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). She is a campus minister at the UW Asian American Christian Fellowship and has been developing a ministry of spiritual direction.  Carolyn is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Christian Formation Direction Ministries Spiritual Direction Certificate Program and ordained with the American Baptist Churches USA.  She has two children:  Kristen a sophomore in college and John a junior in high school.  She participates at Washington Cathedral Church.  Among her favorite things:  Sushi, downhill skiing and mushroom hunting.

 3.  Mentoring

 Melanie Mar Chow

 Central to the New Testament are many examples of the role of mentoring to encourage personal and spiritual growth as well as leadership development.  Unique to women is the encouragement that comes in the mentoring processes.  We will discuss the need for mentoring, its various aspects and practical applications, and directions for mentoring relationships.

 Melanie Mar Chow, a native of Seattle, WA, is a Campus Minister for Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF), the campus ministry division of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS) headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.  A graduate of the University of Washington, she went on to marry an AACF alumni, Bruce.  She was granted a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) upon completing studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.  Ordained by the American Baptist denomination in 1994, she, her husband and daughter Chloe, are active at Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles.

 4.  Relational Harmony among Asian American Couples

 Karen Quek

 Asian Americans tend to build life structures with one foot in the Asian culture, valuing the cultural construct of social harmony of collectivism, and one foot in the American culture, promoting self-directedness and acting according to their own volitions. How do Asian American couples manage the egalitarian ideals of the dominant culture and the value of family harmony in the collectivist tradition in their day-to-day interaction? The purpose of this group is to dialogue about the day-to-day experiences of Asian American couples with young children in order to explain the processes involved as they traverse and attempt to integrate these two seemingly contradictory cultural orientations

 Karen Quek, PhD is  assistant professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Seattle Pacific University. Also as clinical director of the MFT program, she has extensive clinical experiences nationally and internationally. She has a private practice and provides relationship therapy, specializing in couples, parent-child/adolescent issues, multicultural & gender issues. Some of her clinical and research interests include diversity issues; gender construction in couples; family and community systemic practice.

 5.  Asian American Identity

 Kathy Khang

 Kathy Khang is the Multiethnic Ministries Director for the Great Lakes Region of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  She is a graduate of Northwestern, a former journalist, and a mother of three.  She is co-author of More Than Serving Tea.


6.  “The Power of Being Here Nor There”:  Racial Reconciliation

Susan Okamoto Lane

Susan will share the personal story of her journey toward her current position as Director of Multi-Ethnic Programs at Seattle Pacific University and the insights she has gained about the unique and powerful role Asian American women have in the hard and sometimes hot work of racial reconciliation.

Susan Okamoto Lane is the director of Multi-Ethnic Programs at Seattle Pacific University, where she has worked for 20 years.  Her passion is that every student, faculty, and staff member would engage in increased understanding of what it means to be reconciled to God and to one another.   Susan has been described as the “iron fist in the velvet glove,” and as someone who “builds things to last.”  She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, a master’s of education degree from Lewis and Clark College, and a graduate diploma in Christian studies from Regent College.   She and her husband, Tom, and their 15 year-old-freshman-in-high-school daughter and 12 year-old-7th-grade-son enjoy living in West Seattle.  They attend Bethany Community Church.

 7.  “The Journey Toward Leadership”:  Asian American Women in Ministry

Nancy Sugikawa

What does the journey toward leadership look like? For many women the path to positions of leadership has been full of questions and struggles as well as blessings and fulfillment. In this workshop we will discuss theological and practical issues of women in leadership and ministry, including the discernment of spiritual gifts and calling.

 Pastor Nancy is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles.  After working as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry, Nancy left engineering to help with a church plant and complete her M. Div. program.  She served as an Associate Pastor at NewSong Church in Irvine, CA for 5 years and is now at Lighthouse Christian Church in Bellevue, overseeing the areas of leadership development, evangelism and missions.   Nancy enjoys movies, skiing and watching HGTV.

 8.  “The Harvest within your Reach”:  The Insider Movement of the Gospel in your Relational Network

 Debbie Law Schwartz

  Through the book of Acts the Holy Spirit empowers a natural relational movement and expansion of the gospel to the ends of the earth.  He has placed us where the “Harvest” is within reach in our natural family and friendship networks.  We will focus discussion on empowering a movement of the Gospel in your relational network.

 Debbie is serving with The Navigators as the National Co-Director of Spectrum Mission to grow fruitful ministries among ethnic minority groups in America which includes the Asian American Ministries, NavVida, the Native American Discipleship Ministries and the African American Network.  Debbie and her husband Rob are passionate about mentoring disciples, laborers and leaders for the movement of the Gospel and the establishment of His Kingdom.  Rob works in the construction industry for Mortenson Construction.  Rob and Debbie and their sons Sam (18), Andrew (16) and David (13) live among the lost and unconvinced in Bellevue, Washington.

 9. Intricacies of Interracial relationships”:  Interracial Marriages and Families

 Erica Goos

 There are many factors that contribute to the relational dynamics of our significant relationships.  Those factors can be personalities, or preferences, or the family systems that each person comes from or the race or a specific culture one identifies with. During our time together, we will dialogue about how race and culture particularly has impacted how we view ourselves and how it impacts our significant others.
By day, I am the super-hero primary care provider for my two young daughters and by night I am a master level therapist who works with individuals and couples experiencing life transitions, grief and loss, depression, abuse and personal growth issues.  My expertise is in working with cultural issues whether it be with Third Culture kids, bi-cultural persons, internationally adopted children and adults, couples in bi-racial marriages and professionals repatriating to the US. You can find out more about my work at In my spare moments, I love to run, hang out with my children and my husband, and travel. 

 10.  “Let Your Life Speak”:  Finding your Calling and Passion in Life

 Becky Mar Zeigler

 Whether young or old, we find ourselves at crossroads in our lives that can be difficult or confusing. In this session we will look back at our lives and look forward to what God is doing. Each one of us has a unique life story that is unfolding - let’s explore it together.

Becky Mar Zeigler is a Chinese Japanese Canadian American mom and international student campus minister with International Students. Inc (ISI). She is a spiritual director and is also beginning to let her life speak for at risk women and children. She can be reached at
  11.  For Seniors:  Leaving a Legacy

 Perla Belo

 12.  Women in the Workplace

 Meelin Nakata

Anita Lie-Carman - Founder and President of Inspire! Women
Anita Carman is the Founder and President of Inspire Women. Anita came from a background where she was uprooted from family, country, and all that was familiar to her. In an incredible journey where she overcame rejection, betrayal and setbacks, Anita clung to God's promises and fought for the dreams His heart longed for. In May of 2003, God separated a servant without a known family name to birth a ministry that empowers thousands of women across ethnicities, denominations and economic levels to step into God’s purpose. Under Anita's leadership, in 3 short years, the ministry of Inspire Women invested over $1 million to train women for missions and ministry. The impact of Inspire Women has been featured as front cover stories in local and international magazines. Anita has received numerous community awards as well as the national Americanism medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution, headquartered in Washington D.C. Anita is a sought after inspirational speaker and the author of “When Dreams Won’t Die” and “Transforming Emotions in a Leader’s Heart.”
Anita Carman | Gifted for Leadership | A Community of Christian Women Leaders

Anita Carman

Get to know Anita Carman, one of our Gifted for Leadership editorial advisors.

January 5, 2007 | 

At the age of 17, Anita Carman arrived in America after the tragic suicide of her mother. In God’s grace, He carried Anita on an incredible journey from bondage and fear to physical, emotional, and spiritual freedom. Today, Anita is the Founder and President of Inspire Women, a non-profit organization that inspires women across ethnicities, denominations, and economic levels to connect their lives to God’s purpose, and funds scholarships to train women for missions and ministry. Since its formation in May 2003, Inspire Women has invested over $1 million toward training women who change the world with the power of God’s Word.

Education and Corporate Work Experience
Anita received her bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi, obtained an MBA from the State University of New York, and pursued an aggressive career in management consulting, working for top companies such as Booz, Allen, and Hamilton and Exxon.

Seven years into her career, Anita followed God’s call to lay down her laurels from the corporate world. She served as a leader in Beth Moore’s Sunday school class for seven years, where Beth called upon Anita to teach in her absence and told her one day, “Anita, you have the cloak; just dip it in the water.” Anita left Beth’s class to seek God’s calling for her life. She completed graduate-level studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, where she graduated at the top of her class to receive Dallas Seminary’s award for the student with the highest academic achievement in the master’s program. She served for five years at the College of Biblical Studies, the largest multi-ethnic Bible college in the country, where she began as director of women’s ministry and became the vice president of special programs and special assistant to the president. She left the college with zero in the bank, no office space or infrastructure, but with a vision from God to establish Inspire Women to release the potential of God’s daughters for maximum missions and service.

Speaking Engagements
Anita is a sought-after speaker in corporate America, women’s leadership conferences and churches. Her most recent speaking invitations include a company-wide employee motivation lunch with Reliant Energy, Inspire Women’s “When Dreams Won’t Die” Rally, the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention Women’s Ministry Leadership Forum, the Women’s Leadership Summit founded by Jill Briscoe and organized by Elmbrook Church Women2Day.

Community and Leadership Recognition
Anita’s leadership is recognized by both business and ministry leaders. She has received awards such as the Professional Women’s Fellowship Community Leader award, the Chinese Community Center “Asian American All-Star” award, the Daughters of the American Revolution “Americanism” award for her contribution to the community, and various awards from local churches. The city of Houston recognized Anita’s impact in the city by declaring November 10 as Inspire Women day. She has appeared on the front pages of the Houston Chronicle religious section and featured in the “extraordinary stories by ordinary people” segments on both WB-39 news and Fox 26.

Read Anita's Gifted for Leadership articles:

-- Fulfilling God-Sized Dreams" (February 20, 2007)

Willow Creek Association Group Life: The Monkey and The Fish: Misconceptions of Small Groups that

Post 1 of 3 highlighting breakouts from the Group Life Conference 2008 at Willow Creek.

Gibbons_dave_70_98 Using an eastern parable about, well, a monkey and a fish, this breakout eyeballs the misconceptions and assumptions that result in unhealthy small groups, along with the strengths that cause small groups to flourish. Find ways to deal with these challenges and embrace these strengths within the individual contexts of your small groups and church.

Dave Gibbons
Dave is the CEO of, a new cause driven, east/west social movement. He is the Lead Pastor of the NewSong Global Alliance (Third Culture communities in Irvine, NOC, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Dallas, India, Seoul, and Bangkok) which catalyzes churches with multiple forms and styles.

Click to watch Dave Gibbons describe his session on GLTV.

To hear Dave Gibbons in The Monkey and The Fish: Misconceptions of Small Groups that Screwed Us Up! choose Featured Breakout D190 at the Group Life Conference 2008.

They had a main speaker come to lead the group and he was awesome! His name is Gideon Tsang, and I found his church’s podcast the next day when I got home and downloaded them all….I just uploaded them below here, so you can listen to them for free if you’d like. They are all great. He has a way of telling bible stories and making them come alive. His church, Vox Veniae, is located in Austin, Texas and I will visit next time I’m down there.I never got a chance to speak with him or thank him for how his words impacted my life alone, because he was always surrounded by so many people.  I will next time I visit Austin. One line of his lines is now my favorite phrase to quote…

He told how his professor in Seminary once said to him, after he had given a horrible sermon for class,  that “Gideon if the Lord can speak through Balaam’s ass, he can speak through you.”  I just love that quote!  He’s referring to Numbers 22:23, when Balaam’s Donkey speaks to Ballaam.  I will use it now whenever someone says (or I say) “I feel like I just can’t do the word’s justice” or refer someone else to read the scripture in a group setting. I think it’s just a great line!  And if I were a teacher of any Sunday school class or group like it, with kids afraid to speak in public, I’d use this story as an example !

Young, Asian American, and Christian

UC Berkeley is home to some of the brightest young minds in the country. And many of them are increasingly drawn to evangelical Christianity.

By Kathleen Richards

April 2, 2008

Jamie Soja
Students at an event sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.
Jeff Chiu in a photo from his blog.
Jamie Soja
Students at an event sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.
Jamie Soja
Former Cal student Matt Huang changed his focus from medicine to social work.
The Veritas Forum brings top Christian thinkers to campuses like Berkeley.

On a Friday evening in January, UC Berkeley sophomore Jeff Chiu approached the podium in a large lecture hall inside the Valley Life Sciences Building. It was Bible study time for the members of Acts2Fellowship, one of the largest evangelical Christian ministries on campus. The room was full of hundreds of students — nearly all, like Chiu, Asian American. Reading from a piece of paper, the handsome nineteen-year-old told how he'd become a Christian. It was quite a tale for someone who'd never been exposed to Christianity before attending Cal.

Growing up in Taiwan, Chiu was an ambitious student whose main goal was to get into the National Taiwan University Medical School. After moving to Texas at age thirteen, he excelled both athletically and academically. He joined his high school basketball team because he wanted to be "the coolest Asian guy." And he graduated from high school with a 4.3 grade-point average, he said in a subsequent interview.

The pre-med business major chose Berkeley with his mind set on becoming a doctor. But he also maintained his other passions; his blog lists "sportz, music, books, and girlz" as his interests, and "basketball, swimming, badminton, violin, piano, and girlz" as his "expertise."

At Cal, Chiu hoped to find his purpose in life. Yet instead, he found himself struggling academically. He stressed out when he scored a B+ on a chemistry midterm, and wrote on his blog that, "Classes aren't as easy as I predicted."

Then one day in the dining commons, Chiu met a Bible study leader who invited him to Acts2Fellowship's student welcome night, during which a variety of skits were performed. In the "mask skit," a character goes to college and tries to fit in by wearing different masks, but can't find any meaningful relationships. The scene struck a chord with Chiu. "That's how I lived my life through middle and high school," he said, "trying to act cool."

Berkeley began to challenge Chiu spiritually as well as academically. He started attending Bible study, though he retained doubts about whether its stories were true. "If Jesus didn't resurrect, then the whole religion would be faulty," he said. "That was a big thing for me. It seemed mythical and unnatural." But Chiu's dormitory floor-mates taught him that the Bible wasn't just an arbitrary text but a rather a record of history. "I thought Jesus was another pagan god that people worshipped, not a real person."

Eventually, Chiu took Course 101, a semester-long class offered at Acts2Fellowship's Gracepoint church. In addition to introducing him to the concept of sin, the class outlined three reasons for the reliability of Jesus' resurrection. Chiu's faith started growing, but he still wasn't a full believer. "I felt like I didn't need Jesus," he said. "I didn't have the mental connection that I needed to be saved."

In particular, Chiu said he found it hard to believe he was very sinful. Like many Asian students, he said, he was mostly concerned about making good grades and obeying his parents. "I never did anything bad, like kill anyone or do drugs," he said. But he did start considering how he saw himself — particularly, how proud he was. And he admits that he tended to look down on others who weren't as good as him academically or athletically.

He began reading the Bible each morning before class — during what is commonly referred to as "DT" or "Devotion Time." Then one day he ran into his high-school swimming coach, a Christian, who asked if he was ready to accept Jesus.

"I was angry and confused," Chiu told the Friday night Bible study crowd. "He said if I died I wouldn't go to Heaven. Now I know he was right." It was a pivotal moment for him.

On November 3, 2006, Chiu accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. "I felt like a dead person brought back to life," he told his peers.

Chiu believes God wants him to change the way he lives. "Because of God's love for me, he wants our relationship to be restored," he said. Today, Chiu says he's not as crazy about grades as he once was. And while he used to want a girlfriend to fill his loneliness, now he says he's focused on his male friendships. "I began to see that my future is secure because God has a plan for me," he said.

Back at Bible study, Chiu wrapped up his testimony, which was greeted with applause. In a month, he'll be baptized.

It's not a story you might expect to hear on a campus more famous for its Nobel Prize winners, tree sitters, and free-speech advocates. And yet, Cal has increasingly become a place where Asian-American students like Chiu are finding God. Their Christian faith is having repercussions on how they approach their studies, how they think about science, and what careers they pursue — perhaps even the future of academia. In some cases, the changes are already underway.

The growth of a movement

Asian-American evangelical Christians have become commonplace at elite universities across the US. The trend started in the late '80s and early '90s, and increased as the presence of Asian Americans on campuses grew — specifically East Asians of Chinese and Korean descent. By the 2000s, it had become a phenomenon meriting research papers, books, and articles.

Although Asian Americans only make up about 4 percent of the US population, they constitute about 15 percent of the students at Ivy League colleges, and more than 40 percent at schools like UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC Berkeley, according to a 2007 article, "Asian Americans for Jesus: Changing the Face of Campus Evangelicalism" by Rebecca Kim, an assistant professor of sociology at Pepperdine University. And yet their numbers are disproportionately higher in campus fellowships, sometimes as much as 80 percent.

It's hard to get an exact number of how many Asian Americans are involved in Christian ministries at Cal, or how many Christian groups there are. UC Berkeley's Office of Student Life reports more than half of the 62 self-identified religious student groups are Christian, though some put the figure closer to fifty or sixty.

Relatively speaking, they're still in the minority. There are more than 800 student groups at Cal. And in recent surveys by the Office of Student Research, between 11 and 13 percent of undergraduates or incoming freshmen have identified as "Born-Again Christian" from 2004 to 2007.

But why are so many collegiate Asian Americans embracing Christianity?

For one, many already come from church backgrounds. "In some ways it's a class-based phenomena; more suburban kids are going to these elite universities," explained Russell Jeung, an associate professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and author of Faithful Generations: Race and New Asian American Churches. "Their parents come as professionals and move to the suburbs and there aren't many ethnic institutions in those suburbs — and the churches become ethnic places. Kids grow up there and then when they go to elite universities, they join ministries."

Often, students are scoping out ministries before they arrive at college. Youth group leaders will advise high-school seniors of which fellowships to look into. "There's an already-made group of people," said Collin Tomikawa, East Bay area director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. "We can recruit people that way even before they come to campus, whereas those networks aren't as strong in the Caucasian world."

In the '90s, most Berkeley members of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship were Caucasian. Today, InterVarsity is composed of four ethnic-specific groups: the Black Christian Fellowship; La Fe, which caters to Latino students; Kapwa, for students of Filipino descent; and Cal Christian Fellowship, the largest, which boasts 250 members, 200 of whom are Asian. "I can't figure out how to actually reach white folks," Tomikawa lamented. InterVarsity has tried starting a Greek ministry, he said, but hasn't had any success.

While campus ministries ramped up their efforts to recruit Asian members, local ethnic churches sought ways to fill their thinning congregations. These days, many of the fellowships have developed a pretty marketed approach — just try walking through Sproul Plaza during Welcome Week. Fellowships perform as a cappella groups, give away candy or gift baskets to incoming freshmen, and stage skits.

Culturally, Asian-American students may relate to the Christian mentality easier than others, scholars say. "A lot of the Asian Americans are very committed, and that makes them more evangelistic, too," Jeung adds. "Part of their higher zeal and commitment is that I think a lot of the fellowships call for total dedication, total sacrifice, self-sacrifice. I think these Asian students understand sacrifice and giving back. They see their parents sacrifice a lot. I don't think that ethic and understanding of sacrifice is as understood by nonimmigrant groups."

In addition to the spiritual component, fellowships provide a much-needed social network and support group, especially at a large university like Cal where students can often feel lost, said Kim, author of God's New Whiz Kids? Korean American Evangelicals on Campus. Members of the fellowship help others study, run errands, and even cook for them during finals week, she noted. Fellowship web sites display pictures of students bowling, sightseeing, playing games, performing skits, and other social activities.

Perhaps most importantly, fellowships preach a message of acceptance. For many Asian-American students who face intense pressure from their parents to succeed academically, Christianity provides a shelter.

"Asian-American students ... feel like they can never really meet up to their parents' expectations," said Jeung. "But Christianity offers a Father who extends grace and mercy to their followers."

Not your parents' church

If the ethnic churches of their parents' generation were conservative, insular places, the second- and third-generation Asian-American churches aim to be everything they're not: young, hip, multi-ethnic, and relevant to the issues of their lives.

Locally, nondenominational churches such as Regeneration in Oakland and Church Without Walls in Berkeley have tried to reach out to a younger, more racially diverse crowd. But few appear to be as successful as Gracepoint Fellowship Church.

Founded in 1981 as the Korean-American, college-oriented Berkland Baptist Church in Oakland, Gracepoint today operates out of Willard Middle School's auditorium near the Cal campus and teeters on the brink of mega-church status. Just in the last year, its weekly attendance has grown from about 700 to 1,000. It now has churches in San Francisco and Taiwan, and sister churches at UC Davis and in Silicon Valley.

Though it bills itself as multi-ethnic, 90 percent of its members are Asian American — about 40 percent Korean American, 50 percent Chinese American, and 10 percent other, according to Acts2Fellowship's pastor. Most are members of its three campus fellowships — Acts2Fellowship, Koinonia, and Kairos — but it also has ministries for singles, couples, and youth.

Acts2Fellowship's pastor says the church's growth has less to do with more Asian students on campus but rather "more hunger for spirituality." He calls Asian-American culture "mindful of God's love," and says that with their increased outreach has come multiplicative growth and "the power of sheer numbers." A recent introductory course on Christianity offered by Gracepoint drew 140 people, forty of whom had little or no Christian background.

Its popularity may have something to do with how the church markets itself — a combination of cutting-edge and highly personal. On its web site, a splashy, MTV-style music video shows entertaining skits, youth programs, women preparing food, men barbecuing meat on enormous grills, and a big buffet after the service. The video ends with close-ups of Asian, white, and black college students smiling, laughing, mingling, and hugging one another.

But popularity can have its drawbacks. Acts2Fellowship's 38-year-old pastor would only consent to be interviewed if he could remain anonymous because he was wary about press coverage since the fellowship was once mentioned in a Daily Cal article about cults. As it turns out, there are several blogs online by former members that accuse the parent church Gracepoint, its former entity Berkland Baptist Church, and church Pastor Ed Kang and his wife Kelly of being manipulative, controlling, and power-hungry.

That didn't seem to have deterred any of the hundreds of congregants gathered there on a recent Sunday. Although the service's official start time is 11:45 a.m., by that time Willard's huge auditorium was already packed with people in mid-song. Folding chairs were arranged elbow-to-elbow to the back of the building. Its weekly handout revealed just how successful they've become — a tally of donations from the prior week totaled $23,917.

A main attraction of Gracepoint's service is its music. An attractive young male lead singer on stage led a full band in modern-rock-sounding songs about self-sacrifice. With colored lights and a giant screen scrolling the lyrics, it felt like a Coldplay concert where everyone sings along.

During Pastor Ed's lengthy sermon, he warned the students not to let their academic ambitions get in the way of faith. "Some of you are very ambitious," he said at one point. "I think that's great. ... But you understand the word of God is authoritative. Before you come before the Lord, you have to let go of all your desires."

While this might seem like a curious message to preach to students who got to Cal on the strength of their test scores, it appears to be a message many students are eagerly embracing — as video testimonies during the church's baptism service later that day revealed. Sophomore Brian Jue said that since arriving at Gracepoint, he's learned that he no longer needs to participate in the rat race. "Just trusting in God was enough," he said. "He'd provide the rest."

Sunny Zhao, a senior who grew up in China, was taught in school that there is no God, and she thought anyone who believed otherwise was superstitious. But at Cal, a friend invited her to join the Kairos fellowship. She took Course 101, and during winter retreat she learned that in order to enter the Kingdom of God, she needed to be Born Again. "Grades are not important compared to Jesus dying on the cross," she said.

Jennifer Dong says she's "thankful I no longer have to place my life's worth in how well I do in school."

But the acceptance also comes with feelings of unworthiness for some.

Senior Cindy Wu said she picked business as her major because of its competitive academic environment. But her roommate told her that God doesn't expect you to be perfect. Wu said she is still "learning to love God and accept his love without feeling guilty."

Yan Hui Zeng grew up atheist in China. "Jesus Christ died on the cross, but what did I do in return?" she asked. "It's time for me to return to God as a prodigal daughter."

Don't let studying get in God's way

Even non-believers might understand the attraction of Acts2Fellowship's Friday night Bible study session. It's part concert, part stand-up comedy, part lecture, and part therapy session. And everyone's incredibly friendly.

Before it began, as this Korean-American reporter sat alone, it only took a few minutes before several young women introduced themselves and asked my name, year, or who I was friends with. Even after learning I was not a co-ed but a reporter, they were eager to find out more and share their stories.

Two Korean-American students told of how they rebelled against their Christian upbringing as teenagers, but felt free to choose Christianity for themselves at Cal. Another said that her family initially feared her coming to liberal Berkeley would corrupt her morals, but that, upon arriving, she found it wasn't difficult to find like-minded conservative Christians like herself. All spoke of finding Acts2Fellowship through friends or roommates.

By the time it began, the 429-capacity room was nearly full.

They started the evening singing contemporary Christian rock songs with reaffirming titles such as "Salvation Is Here," "Everlasting God," and "You Are God Alone." The Korean-American pastor, dressed in blue jeans and a V-neck sweater, led the students in song with his acoustic guitar, flanked by a student band and backup singers. Hear the sound of the generations, making loud their freedom song, they sang, clapping their hands and swaying back and forth, reading lyrics displayed on a screen with images of floating clouds and sunsets. On a nearby wall hung a giant poster of the Periodic Table of Elements.

When the pastor began his lecture, the students dug in their backpacks bringing out notebooks and Bibles. He reminded them of the key verse of the year: Philippians 3:8. "Did anyone memorize it yet?" he asked.

A few raised their hands. He called out the first name of a male student sitting toward the back, joking about his engineering major. The student stood and recited the passage from memory: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."

"It's impossible to earn our way to heaven," the pastor told the students, as they jotted down notes. "The only way to heaven is through the cross of Jesus Christ."

Interspersed throughout his explanation of the passage, the pastor kept things lively by relating things to students' cultural experiences. He likened the Apostle Paul to the "guy in the Korean newspaper" who "your mom points out, who goes to Harbard," he said, laying on a thick Korean-mom accent. Later, he compared God's power to that of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, when the white-haired wizard releases King Theoden from the spell of the evil wizard Saruman. "God releases you and you can be healed," he said.

Then he got serious again. "What is life all about?" he asked. "The one thing that's certain about everyone's life here is that we're all going to die. We're all sinners, and we're all going to die and face our God one day." He acknowledged that this might sound harsh to some. "I'm not trying to be a morbid prophet, I'm not trying to scare you," he continued, adding, "Shouldn't we try to find a way to salvation?"

One way to achieve that, the pastor said, is by not letting too much studying get in the way of your faith.

"We have to evaluate the worthiness of your goals," he said. "I'm not saying to drop out of school. But if you place a high value on these things that lead you away from God, that's foolish. Those things don't last. Wouldn't it be better to make an eternal difference? You'll have an eternal relationship with God and can give that to others."

Later, he clarified his motive: "My goal wasn't to get people to stop studying," he said. "Some people have a hard time seeing that. ... I'm trying to get them at balance. As Christians we should do our best at workplaces and at school, but GPA isn't everything."

In his talk, he assigned the students a goal: "To get to know Jesus a little more this year than I did last year." Knowing God isn't about intellectual knowledge, he said. You can't know God by Googling, he added, but rather through experiential and personal knowledge.

Finally, he gave them two tips: Confess who you are and what you've done, and walk as Jesus walked. "God wants a relationship," he urged.

When it ended, nearly two hours after it began, it was clear his message hit home. A girl next to me sobbed softly.

Then the students went and got ice cream together.

Changing career goals

While Christianity has spread on campus, students still encounter plenty of negative attitudes toward their faith. But some fellowships are trying to challenge that.

On an unseasonably warm day in February, Sproul Plaza buzzed with activity: students eating lunch and on their way to and from class, and groups from various causes vying for their attention with fliers or Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Members of InterVarsity's Cal Christian Fellowship, armed with clipboards, were stopping passersby with the question, "What are your issues with Christianity?" In a couple weeks they planned to discuss the responses in the dorms — ground zero for recruiting.

Behind their folding table, pinned on clotheslines, were some of the answers:

"Too strict."

"People try to convert you."

"'Taking over' developing world."

"Institutionalized religion."

"Fear of the abyss."

"Overly zealous Christians."

"People who claim to be Christian but don't act it."

"How do you know God is the supreme one?"

"People rely so much on the Bible but fail to realize that it was written/translated by white men who forced people of other races to conform."

Such strong opinions seem antithetical to InterVarsity's activist, ethnic-studies-oriented approach. Twenty-year-old third-year student Andrew Tai, a business and social welfare major, was attracted to InterVarsity for this very reason. In fact, part of the reason he chose to attend Berkeley was because he liked the passion people here have for their causes.

Founded in 1941, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is the oldest Christian fellowship on the UC Berkeley campus and has more than 560 college groups nationwide. It also was one of the first Christian ministries to actively recruit Asian Americans to its ranks.

An important part of InterVarsity's outreach is its focus on issues of social justice and racial reconciliation, meaning "acknowledging that there is racism and racial preference and that it actually colors the way that we approach the gospel," said Jennifer Hollingsworth, InterVarsity's associate area director for the East Bay.

Recently, at InterVarsity's "Jesus, Justice, and Poverty" conference, students went into San Francisco's Tenderloin district to sleep out on the streets among the homeless or on church floors. Tai worked in the soup kitchen at Glide Memorial.

It's these experiences that InterVarsity leaders hope will have a profound impact on students. During his freshman year, Tai went on an "urban plunge" to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. When he got back, he decided to pursue social welfare in addition to business. "I was all about becoming an investment banker and making money," said Tai, who grew up in Irvine. "Now I want to figure out how to help people."

Hollingsworth said such changes aren't uncommon among their members. "It's part of our discussion usually with students, what is God gonna do with your major versus I'm just doing this major, it's a means to an end," she said.

While Tai still plans on pursuing business, he says he no longer believes in cutthroat competition. "My belief is that if God is in control of my life, maybe it's less important how much money I make," he said. "I hope to be ethical and do things ethically. I couldn't work for Philip Morris."

Though Tai's parents approve of his fellowship involvement, they don't like it getting in the way of his studies. Now that he's a leader in the group, he spends up to fifteen hours a week officially, but with outreach and ministering, it adds up to more than that, which Tai said can be overwhelming. "They always tell me no matter what, don't spend more than five hours per week," Tai said. "I try not to bring it up."

Such attitudes are common among parents, says researcher Rebecca Kim, even if they're also Christian. While they want their kids to pick up Christian values, they don't want them to get too involved or cut back on study time. "I've seen conflicts," she said.

Similarly, Matt Huang was pursuing a medical career at Berkeley when his involvement in InterVarsity caused him to think otherwise. During his senior year at Cal, Huang volunteered to become the leader of InterVarsity's social justice Bible study group, although, as he now admits, he didn't know anything about what social justice was.

Huang was raised in the suburbs of Fremont, in a "very homogenous neighborhood" of mostly churched folk. His family attended the Chinese church Home of Christ 3. Though Huang intended on becoming a doctor, he felt as if something was missing.

At Cal, after shopping around for a fellowship where he could grow spiritually, Huang settled on InterVarsity, drawn to its community activism. Compared to his upbringing, InterVarsity offered the chance to interact with a more diverse crowd, and in a way acted as a buffer for race relations. "It's a diverse group of people and we come from different backgrounds, and coming from a diverse fellowship of people, you get to experience a lot of walks of life, people from urban neighborhoods and suburbs, but they have different ethnic perspectives on Christianity," Huang said.

Exploring further, he took an internship at Cal Corps Public Service center, leading a student-run class on promoting civic engagement among college students. That's when he began to seriously rethink his career. "I don't want to be at school for so long," he reasoned. "I wanted to impact my community now. And I realize that there are other ways to help people besides health care."

Today, 22 and recently graduated, Huang is unemployed and looking for a job in the nonprofit or government sector. His parents weren't too happy about his decision.

"It was very difficult," he said of telling his parents the news. "I need to prove to them still that it's workable, it's doable. ... My parents come from a generation where it's important to prepare for the future, to prepare for a job, family, things like that. Whereas my generation is more concerned with, what am I doing here?"

Matt's mom, Dora, said that while she was hoping for her youngest child to become a doctor, she also just wants him to be happy. She's not opposed to her son's religious involvement — to the contrary; her eldest son is studying to become a pastor. But she's realistic about the income of a social worker.

"Right now I'm okay," she said by phone. "I have to give him some time and some space to figure out what he wants to do. I want him to be happy to do what he does, not because of me. It has to come from himself. But he has to be able to support himself. ... Maybe one day if he can't find a job maybe he will find something else or go back to grad school," she added hopefully.

Jeff Chiu's parents, who are atheists, also have struggled to accept their son's newfound spiritual pursuit. "They're always trying to discourage me from spending too much time in church and to study more," Chiu said.

But slowly, that's changing. During a recent mission trip to Taiwan, where he said less than 2 percent of the population is Christian, he introduced his mom to his church leaders. He says she's a lot more open now. "They thought I was getting sucked into this crazy unknown thing."

It's not an uncommon tension that arises for some Christian students. "For many whose parents are immigrants, their kids are their IRA," explained InterVarsity's Collin Tomikawa. "So if I get them off the med school route, I'm totally threatening their future. When I talk to kids, I'm also talking to parents and grandparents." Researcher Russell Jeung says that in some seminaries, a third of the students are Asian.

Tomikawa admits he's intentionally trying to get some of Berkeley's liberalness to rub off on his students. "A lot of our students at Cal are from Chinese churches in the Bay Area, which I would stereotype as more conservative, socially and politically," he said. "Because the whole Bay Area politically is such a liberal scene, it galvanizes the more conservative [folks], and I think that's happened in the Chinese church, and then I get their offspring. I hope to challenge or begin to unravel some of that stuff."

Clearly, with Huang, the tactic worked. "I think Asian Americans are looking for more than just what they're doing in their life," Huang said. "They're looking for more than just what their parents brought with them from China or other Asian communities. That looking for more has translated into looking for God. I think a lot of Asian Americans, their moms and dads found suburbia and privilege. And a lot of Asian Americans who grew up in privilege realize it's not enough. We have a nice house, two cars, food in the refrigerator, but there's still something missing. When we go to UC Berkeley, we want to know what's out there. We want to experience more."

Faith and science

Religion and academia are increasingly mingling at UC Berkeley. One area in which this can be seen is among the campus' faculty. Chemical Engineering Department Chairman Jeff Reimer leads a faculty Christian ministry group sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ. The intention isn't to stage rallies or convert the campus, but rather to offer support.

"Our fellowship not an 'activist' group, and we largely confine our activities to reading books and discussing the tenants of the Christian faith as expressed in literature," Reimer wrote in an e-mail. "The group also forms a support network for Christian faculty who themselves struggle with the day-to-day expression of their faith in a ... complicated ... environment."

"For some in the group," he continued, "identifying themselves publicly risks tenure and promotion."

But perhaps the topic discussed most often — or at least the most controversial one — revolves around matters of faith and science. Many Christian students say it's a hot topic among their peers — especially because many are science majors — although their fellowships aren't necessarily taking vocal stances.

In February, the Veritas Forum — which brings top Christian thinkers to university campuses — sponsored a high-profile talk by Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project and a devout Christian. The event packed Wheeler Hall, plus two overflow lecture halls. Collins eschews intelligent design arguments in favor of a more science-embracing notion of "theistic evolution," or what he calls "BioLogos." In essence, evolution happened but God started it all.

Christians on campus vary in their beliefs on science and religion. But the consensus is that the two are not mutually exclusive. InterVarsity's Jennifer Hollingsworth says that while it does come up among students, it's not an obstacle to their faith. Student Andrew Tai says some students in InterVarsity take a literal reading of Genesis, while others believe in theistic evolution. On his part, Tai leans more toward the latter.

But there are others on the opposite end of the spectrum. Initially, when asked, Acts2Fellowship's pastor said his church doesn't take a position on intelligent design versus evolution. "We do study it because we know it's important for people," he said. "The Bible's not particularly clear about those kinds of things. The Bible's goal is to know God. ... The fact is, God created. Evolution is just a process. To think something came out of nothing, the probability of that is zero."

Yet the church's web site tells another story. Under its "Resources" are links to numerous PowerPoint presentations on science and God. One, labeled "Evolution and God," puts forth arguments for intelligent design, stating that "microevolution," or "small changes (coloration, height, etc.)," is "feasible," while "macroevolution," or the process that would give rise to new species, is "under question." It even went so far as to state that Darwinism acts as a shield for racism and rape.

In response, Acts2Fellowship's pastor called the PowerPoints "study aids for people to know the arguments for intelligent design." "But we're not very doctrinal," he added. "We don't hold these things to be certain. ... Intelligent design is ultimately something out there that's a theory, but we're not saying it's absolutely certain."

Jeff Chiu has questioned evolution since high school because he thought it was "too simple." Certain things were missing, he felt, such as the explanation of what makes humans different from animals. Although he says it's not something he brings up in his classes, he does discuss matters of faith and science with his peers.

Today, he said, "I feel like Darwin might be wrong," although he noted that he's still studying evolution and doesn't want to falsely interpret it. While Chiu is convinced that certain species may have adapted through evolution, he said he doesn't think it's logical to conclude that humans themselves are a product of evolution.

Kevin Padian, a professor of Integrative Biology and curator of the Museum of Paleontology who teaches classes on evolution, says students who don't believe in evolution typically don't identify themselves. "I think the general pattern is that students don't make a big deal out of this in their classes — for several reasons: they don't feel it's relevant, or you teach me science and I'll believe what I want to believe."

But he stressed evolution's importance as a theory — the strongest construct in science and not the type of loose conjecture the public associates with being unproven as fact. "Without a knowledge of evolution, antibiotics would make no sense; imunology would have no basis," he said. "We could not explain anything in the history of geology or of life on earth; comparative anatomy would make no sense; neither would embryology, physiology, or virtually any other area of biology and related sciences."

Whether some Christian students go on to question evolution in their studies or careers remains to be seen. Yet it seems certain that Christian students will incorporate their faith into their careers in more visible ways, whether that means changing fields or taking a more altruistic approach to their jobs.

"These are the people who are going to be the future doctors and lawyers and politicians or faculty members at universities," notes Brad Fulton of Campus Crusade for Christ. "So places where there hasn't been as large of a Christian representation ... there's just going to be an increase because a lot of these students have academic aspirations."

No going back

Darkness envelops Willard's cavernous auditorium. Jeff Chiu's face appears on a large screen. He tells his story of accepting Jesus. It was "heartbreaking for me to see God suffering to save a wretch like me," he says. "My life has been a miracle."

The screen goes dark. Then a stark, bluish spotlight glows down on a hot-tub-sized pool, set up on the left side of the auditorium floor. Pastor Ed and another male leader are already in the tub, as Chiu, dressed in a dark T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, gingerly steps in. A microphone is just outside the tub.

"I, Jeff Chiu, profess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior of my life," he says into the mic.

"Let's pray," says Pastor Ed, as he and the other man

Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry(一) : China Aid

Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry(一)

Posted Sep 22 2008

Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry

Dr. Chloe Sun
Gospel Herald Contributor
Tue, Sep, 02 2008 05:37 AM PT

Looking back at my journey as a Chinese woman in ministry, I can summarize it in one word: challenging. So, I entitle this presentation “Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry.” I will be speaking primarily from my own personal experience, but I hope my experience will serve as a mirror reflecting other Chinese and Asian American women’s experience in ministry.

Gospel Herald

Dr. Chloe Sun
Cultural Identity

Let me start by sharing my social location and the struggles that I face as a Chinese woman, both in academia and at church. I am an ethnic Chinese. But since my grandmother is half Vietnamese and half Chinese and my parents were both born and raised in Vietnam, I have some Vietnamese heritage, although I’ve never been to Vietnam nor speak the language. I lived in both China and Hong Kong before I came to the U.S. and I am fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. So, the term “Chinese” itself encompasses a diverse background.

Because of this diversity, I struggle with my cultural identity. I am no longer a first generation immigrant because I have embraced the American way of life, but I am not quite an American because the Americans always see me as a “Chinese girl.” Within the Chinese context, I am closer to the second generation culture yet not totally belonging to that culture. I am always in the state of “in-between-ness” wherever I go, but I am not a 1.5. I think the acculturation process depends on many factors and not just the age we come to the U.S.

It’s been a struggle to teach at a first generation setting during the week and minister to the second generation at church on weekends. On Sundays, I worship God with contemporary music and on Monday mornings, I sing traditional hymns at our prayer meeting at the seminary. I am shifting cultural gear every week, going back and forth, not feeling like I totally belong to either the first or the second generation culture. Although I can read and write in Chinese and English, neither of them is perfect. This state of “in-between-ness” has been disconcerting.

Ministry Identity

I received the call to ministry during my sophomore year in college, so, I went straight to seminary right after college to pursue an M.Div. In several classes, I was the only Chinese woman. However, when I was single, there seemed to be plenty ministry opportunities. I could serve at a local Chinese church as a woman minister (of course that depended on many factors), or work in a para-church ministry on campus, or as a missionary overseas. But then after I got married to another seminarian, things became different. I was no longer perceived as a minister in my own right, but as a spouse of a seminarian and later as a pastor’s wife. I remember when my husband and I were at Dallas Theological Seminary, whenever we visited different churches, people always paid attention to him, asking him, “what year are you in seminary?” “Have you worked with the youth?” And they simply ignored my presence.

The idea of pursuing a Ph.D. arose not only because of my interest in theological education, but also because of the dilemma I was facing: If I wanted to retain my own ministry identity, then I needed to have a different ministry than my husband’s. If I wanted to stay with my husband at one church, then I would become a buy-one-get-one-free pastor’s wife, since it is very rare for a Chinese church to be willing to have both husband and wife on staff, paying two salaries. Pursuing a Ph.D. seemed like the best possible option to have my own ministry and to stay at the same church with my husband. Another drawback of marrying someone who is also in ministry is that the wife tends to follow the geographical location of her husband’s ministry and not the other way around whereas a single woman can go anywhere she wants.

Not all Chinese women who are called to ministry are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., considering the time it takes, the cost it involves and the turmoil it brings. Some of my married Chinese woman students who graduated with an M.Div. who felt called to their own ministries, ended up serving alongside their husbands as spouses only and taking care of kids at home. Some still cannot find a ministry position at Chinese churches after years of graduation. Some are doing clerical work at Christian organizations. The ministry paths for Chinese women are very limited.

In general, Chinese churches prefer hiring male pastors. Many denominations such as Southern Baptist and Chinese Missionary Alliance still hold conservative views about the roles of women in ministry. Even though my own denomination (EFC) supports women in ministry and approves of women’s ordination (we even have a few women who function as senior pastors), the reservation for women as pastors still persists among pastors and church members. The lack of positions at church open to Chinese women is disempowering.

The lack of support for women as pastors can come not only from the church but also from parents. My parents never approve of my seminary education or my ministry at church. In fact, it wasn’t until I started teaching as a professor that my dad told me “finally, you are more ‘normal.’”

Race/Gender/Age Issues

Ministry and theological education are largely male-dominated. When I was at American seminaries, both my race and my gender stood out because there weren’t many Chinese women around. Naturally, finding role models was difficult as well, which often resulted in loneliness. At the American seminaries (excluding DTS), race is more of an issue then gender. People always asked me where I came from. Some minority students were treated differently from the white students. At the Chinese seminary, gender seems more of an issue than race.

In regard to gender, most of my male colleagues keep a friendly distance from me – reminding me of my “potential danger” to men as a woman. In terms of temperament, as a Chinese woman, if I were tough and outspoken, I would be perceived as a roaring, defensive “lioness.” If I remained silent and gentle, I would be considered a “cute little lamb” but would have less credibility to influence. I am yet to find a Chinese woman in ministry who has the toughness of a lioness and the softness of a lamb.

Age is another issue. Grey hair is still a symbol of wisdom in the Chinese culture. When an older Chinese pastor or professor speaks, he seems to gain instant respect. But for a younger female, I have to make extra effort to earn my respect. In Chinese culture as in most Asian cultures, it seems “safer” to be an older woman in ministry. One of the Chinese pastors once told me, “If I want to hire a woman on staff, I will hire an older woman so no one would say anything.” It is also “safer” for Chinese women to serve as a children’s director or a Christian Education director as opposed to senior pastor. But then not all women have the calling or gifts to work with children or youth. Again, the ministry path for Chinese women is very limited.

Balancing between Ministry and Family

Another struggle that I face as a Chinese woman in ministry is the juggling between multiple roles, particularly between family and ministry. I think this is true for most working women. When Tim Tseng asked me to be on the panel tonight, the first thought that came to mind was “I need to find child care for my son. I need to check with my husband’s schedule and with my in-law’s schedule.” Only then could I consider the possibility of accepting this engagement. And there is always a guilty feeling whenever I leave my child to another care-taker. Men can have both family and ministry at the same time, but it is often difficult for most women in ministry.

For single women in ministry, many of my Chinese women students are in their 40s and still single. What are the chances for them to be married? Very few Chinese men would want to marry women in ministry, especially when these women are over 40.

Physical limitation is another issue. Pregnancy, taking care of young children, menopause and decreasing energy level affect our effectiveness during certain seasons of our ministry experience.


To conclude, as Chinese women in ministry, the odds are against us – from outside factors and from within.

Regarding outside factors, Paul’s statements that women should not preach or women should not have authority over men are still etched deeply into the minds of Chinese Christians. The predominant preference for male pastors, the judgmental attitude from those who hold conservative view against women in ministry, the lack of ministry opportunities for Chinese women at church, the lack of role models, the lack of parental support, all contribute to the odds from outside.

From within, our own struggles with cultural and ministry identities, with multiple roles, with balancing between family and ministry, between being a “lioness” and a “lamb,” our physical limitations and the sense of loneliness that we are on our own all add to the challenge as Chinese women in ministry.

I can’t help but ask God, “Why are you calling us, the marginalized of the marginalized, into ministry?” I think God is doing something unconventional by calling Chinese women into ministry against the cultural norms and traditional expectations. Perhaps God is challenging all of us to break our own stereotypes for Chinese women in ministry and to seek for a better alternative to welcome and to support them for the common good.


Professor Chloe Sun teaches Old Testament at Logos Evangelical Seminary in Southern California. She was a panelist during ISAAC’s Summer Immersion Program 2007 visit to the contemporary Chinese Christian context.

The idea of pursuing a Ph.D. arose not only because of my interest in theological education, but also because of the dilemma I was facing: If I wanted to retain my own ministry identity, then I needed to have a different ministry than my husband’s. If I wanted to stay with my husband at one church, then I would become a buy-one-get-one-free pastor’s wife, since it is very rare for a Chinese church to be willing to have both husband and wife on staff, paying two salaries. Pursuing a Ph.D. seemed like the best possible option to have my own ministry and to stay at the same church with my husband. Another drawback of marrying someone who is also in ministry is that the wife tends to follow the geographical location of her husband’s ministry and not the other way around whereas a single woman can go anywhere she wants.

Gospel Herald

Dr. Chloe Sun
Not all Chinese women who are called to ministry are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., considering the time it takes, the cost it involves and the turmoil it brings. Some of my married Chinese woman students who graduated with an M.Div. who felt called to their own ministries, ended up serving alongside their husbands as spouses only and taking care of kids at home. Some still cannot find a ministry position at Chinese churches after years of graduation. Some are doing clerical work at Christian organizations. The ministry paths for Chinese women are very limited.

In general, Chinese churches prefer hiring male pastors. Many denominations such as Southern Baptist and Chinese Missionary Alliance still hold conservative views about the roles of women in ministry. Even though my own denomination (EFC) supports women in ministry and approves of women’s ordination (we even have a few women who function as senior pastors), the reservation for women as pastors still persists among pastors and church members. The lack of positions at church open to Chinese women is disempowering.

The lack of support for women as pastors can come not only from the church but also from parents. My parents never approve of my seminary education or my ministry at church. In fact, it wasn’t until I started teaching as a professor that my dad told me “finally, you are more ‘normal.’”

Race/Gender/Age Issues

Ministry and theological education are largely male-dominated. When I was at American seminaries, both my race and my gender stood out because there weren’t many Chinese women around. Naturally, finding role models was difficult as well, which often resulted in loneliness. At the American seminaries (excluding DTS), race is more of an issue then gender. People always asked me where I came from. Some minority students were treated differently from the white students. At the Chinese seminary, gender seems more of an issue than race.

Asia Major

Aug 11, 2008 12:00 PM, By CAROL ANGRISANI

Asian American households have a higher per capita income than any other group, with one-third spending more than $100 a week on groceries

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Wal-Mart delivered a strong message about ethnic retailing when it launched its first-ever Asian American ad campaign three years ago. And the message is even stronger now that the world's largest retailer operates more than 300 stores whose layout and merchandise mix reflect the population.

Located in areas with large populations of Asian and Pacific Americans, the so-called “Stores of the Community” carry essential products and brands that are staples of the traditional Asian diet and lifestyle.

Wal-Mart appeals to Asian Americans in other ways, including sponsoring the first South Asian Excellence Awards, supporting the achievements of South Asians in the United States, in May.

As of 2006, the Asian American segment numbered 13.1 million people, or 4.4% of the population. They represent about $459 billion in spending power.

The Asian American community may be smaller than the country's 44.3 million Hispanics, the largest ethnic group in the United States. But Asian American households possess the highest per capita income of any ethnic group. More than one-third spend more than $100 a week on groceries.

Wal-Mart's Asian American marketing campaign sought to tap into this powerful group in 2005 with advertising and public relations efforts aimed at the Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino markets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Houston.

The original television, print and radio ads were developed in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and English by IW Group, a Los Angeles-based Asian American advertising and marketing company.

“It featured real customers and culturally relevant consumer insights for each ethnic market,” IW group account director Betty Kao told SN.
The campaign has since grown to include the burgeoning South Asian market in the U.S., and now runs in all of California as well as in New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Hawaii, according to Kao. Cable has also been added to the media mix.

Other retailers should follow Wal-Mart's lead, according to Tanya Raukko, managing director at InterTrend Communications, a Long Beach, Calif., communications agency that helps companies reach Asian Americans. The same goes for consumer packaged goods manufacturers. Despite the size and economic clout of Asian Americans, American food manufacturers, for the most part, don't take the group seriously, Raukko said.

“They're still not talking to Asian Americans yet, for some reason,” she said.
Much of that may have to do with them not understanding the market, Raukko noted. About 67% of Asian Americans are immigrants who have varying levels of acculturation and consumption habits.

Still, food plays a big part in their life, so food marketers and retailers should make more of an effort to use culturally relevant marketing tactics to reach them.

“Food is the way they connect back to their culture,” Raukko said. “It's a huge focus of their lives.”

While Asian Americans prefer fresh meat, vegetables and seafood, and view frozen and packaged products as inferior in terms of taste and nutrition, there's plenty of opportunity for retailers to make the Center Store attractive to the group.


Second Annual Imprint Culture Lab Will Host Forums, Discussions and Workshops
on the Latest New Ideas and Perspectives that will Inspire Change

Los Angeles, August 28, 2007 - On September 13, 2007, the second annual Imprint Culture Lab™ (, hosted by interTrend Communications and Giant Robot, will take place at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Los Angeles, California. The Imprint Culture Lab is set to have the top trend spotters, tastemakers and influencers who will share their experiences on new ideas shaping pop culture today.

The word “imprint” is simply defined by the dictionary as: “to make an impression or a mark on one’s perception, product or attitude”. interTrend Communications, Inc, a leading full-service marketing agency specializing in the Asian American market, took the word to be their inspiration into exploring the latest Asian inspired trends that are influencing pop culture today. These ‘imprints’ created by Asian influenced artists, cultural icons and trendsetters are shaping how we connect, relate and evolve in our communities. From this idea, the Imprint Culture Lab™ (Imprint) was created and last year held its first conference highlighting the most feverish trends captivating the mainstream culture. This year Imprint will take a deeper dive into the social landscape and will host several forums to discuss the latest new ideas, perspectives and case studies from those who inspire change and innovation.

Street Style
Last year, Imprint delved into the billion-dollar sneaker industry whose beginnings arose from a small group of collectors, designers, boutiques and bloggers. This year Imprint will highlight speakers from the street wear craze, which grew from brand-spoof t-shirts, but now influences and dictates what the largest brands design for the next season. Heading this discussion will be Jeff Ng (aka ‘jeffstaple’), founder and owner of Staple Design, Staple Clothing and the Reed Space. Joining the discussion of Asian inspired apparel will be Alyasha Owerka-Moore, an urban fashion designer who has traveled the world working with well renowned fashion houses from Mecca to Phat Farm.

The Art Movement
The art movement in the U.S. is evolving and increasingly becoming Asian inspired. One such emerging genre is an illustrative art form known as ‘Superflat’, created by Takashi Murakami. Superflat is a post modern style characterized by flat planes of color and graphic images involving a character style derived from anime and manga. Superflat is an artistic style that comments on otaku lifestyle and subculture, as well as consumerism and sexual fetishism at large. Murakami takes this low culture, repackages it, and makes it available to all in the form of paintings, sculptures, videos, T-shirts, key chains, mouse pads, plush dolls, cell phone caddies, and the $5,000 limited-edition Louis Vuitton handbags. During Imprint, there will be a discussion on how upcoming young Japanese artists such a Murakami have influenced global brands and street fashion.

Another phenomenon from Asia is PIKAPIKA, an abstract animation film created by flashlights and a series of photographs using long exposure edited together to make them appear as animation. PIKAPIKA was created by a group of artists in Japan and their series of art works gained popularity throughout the world by online video sharing. During the Imprint Culture Lab, a demonstration and live workshop, sponsored by Toyota’s HEYA project, will be made available for participants to learn how it works.

In addition is the growing popularity of the DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) culture and indie art movements such as Uglydolls. David Horvath, Co-Creator of Uglydolls, Little Bony and Bossy Bear, will be speaking on how customization and individualization is key to reaching the next generation, who want to express their own unique personality and seek self-identity. Where can we find these young Asian artists or their work before it goes mainstream? At a one-day event called ‘GEISAI’, where artists and or galleries rent booths to display their work. The event draws hundreds of artists, enthusiasts and media from all around the world who are seeking the latest in emerging art and talent. While appealing to a progressive audience, GEISAI remains rooted in rich Japanese artistic tradition and hopes to renew and influence the next generation of Japanese artists. Imprint will show a video highlighting this unique art festival and its strictly Japanese heritage.

Online Sub-Cultures
The blog culture has grown into a widely accepted social networking subculture and now influences social and consumer buying behaviors of users. In succession to blogging, there will be a focus on online video on-demand such as YouTube, which began with personal video sharing and transformed to a widely popular broadcast medium and a social media tool to identify and track emerging trends. Imprint will explore this growing phenomenon by hearing from speakers from the online world such as Danny Choo, Bobby Hundreds, Danny Lam and Josh Spears.

Implications to Marketers
Attendees of Imprint will be able to take away these trends and infuse them toward their marketing and business strategy by hearing from current influencers and top marketing executives. One such forward thinker is John Jay, Executive Creative Director and Partner of Wieden + Kennedy, who is kicking off the conference by sharing his thoughts on the future.

Whether you are talking about street wear, new media or contemporary art, there are distinct cultures being created at a rapid pace to meet the demands of social change. Imprint is a must for anyone interested in uncovering, analyzing and successfully understanding Asian inspired key trends.
For more information about the conference, please visit or contact the individual below.

Research Reveals the Asian Appetite



Register columnist

Just in time for the holidays, a new survey tracks the shopping habits of Asians when it comes to an all-consuming purchase: food.

Want to know what brands inspire our loyalty?

Want to know when we go to Ralph's or the 99 Ranch Market - and the type of offers that get our attention?

Wonder why moms still rule the decision-making roost?

To understand, I read the study from interTrend Communications, with researchers sampling 325 people, including a dozen interviews in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese. They also talked to households spanning Orange and Los Angeles counties.

They asked participants to keep kitchen diaries and they worked with a strategic planning group at the Long Beach ad agency to analyze store receipts and meet with store managers, conducting conversations with everyone in English or a native language.

Their objective: learning consumer feelings and behaviors regarding packaged foods - snacks, juice, condiments, sauces, prepared items - to better understand the opportunities when it comes to selling to the growing Asian market.

Their findings:

Asians strongly prefer fresh ingredients, from meat to seafood to vegetables. Consider that in the homeland refrigerators tend to be much smaller than in the U.S. Here, Asians visit ethnic grocery stores at least once a week, believing that meals are healthier because things are fresher.

Asians buy most packaged foods at mainstream grocers, though they lack multilingual instructions on how to cook American meals.

For breakfast, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, sausage, toast and microwave-warmed milk appeal to a preference for hot food.

Asians like American foods for their quality and consistent standards, while preferring Asian foods for their taste. They cite high awareness for the following Western brands: Nestle, Haagen-Dazs, Dreyer's, Breyer's, Yoplait and Campbell's, a legacy from abroad, remembering such names from their birth countries, says Tanya Raukko, managing director of interTrend and a leader of the study.

Asians, being health-conscious, perceive that American dishes are fatter and sweeter than their own dishes, and they are more receptive to nutritious products such as cereal and yogurt.

Most Asians claim they are not price-sensitive when they shop, but store managers counter that. Buy-one, get-one-free promotions are popular as well as in-store samples.

"And when it comes to what goes in the cart, moms have the final word. I think that's international," says interTrend's president and CEO, Julia Huang, who describes a grocery outing as "quality time. It's not just a chore, it's entertainment. It's part of the lifestyle. Wherever someone happens to live, they pack the members of the family in the car, go get what they need to get, have dinner, have lunch, buy music."

Many travel as far as 40 miles to visit Asian strip malls. Part of Raukko's wish list is for the food industry "to be more open-minded, to commit to further research, to test trial marketing to Asians" and see what results. "It's a shame they're not taking advantage of it."

Packaged-food companies are among the top spenders in marketing to African Americans and Hispanics - with Frito-Lay and Gerber creating special flavors for the latter - while still being slow to target Asian consumers, according to the report.

The survey also found that Japanese and Filipinos eat the most "American food," compared to Koreans, who eat less. Additionally, families with children - influenced by kids asking for such things as macaroni and cheese - consume even more American meals. Over a third of Asian households spend more than $100 weekly on groceries. What can marketers do to gain some of those dollars?

Offer foods that appeal to youngsters to boost consumer demand. Launch products that can be used in traditional or fusion cooking. Demonstrate how to create easy American courses.

"Remember the core Asian cooking values," Raukko says, "capitalize on that."

Asia Major

Aug 11, 2008 12:00 PM, By CAROL ANGRISANI

Asian American households have a higher per capita income than any other group, with one-third spending more than $100 a week on groceries

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Wal-Mart delivered a strong message about ethnic retailing when it launched its first-ever Asian American ad campaign three years ago. And the message is even stronger now that the world's largest retailer operates more than 300 stores whose layout and merchandise mix reflect the population.

Located in areas with large populations of Asian and Pacific Americans, the so-called “Stores of the Community” carry essential products and brands that are staples of the traditional Asian diet and lifestyle.

Wal-Mart appeals to Asian Americans in other ways, including sponsoring the first South Asian Excellence Awards, supporting the achievements of South Asians in the United States, in May.

As of 2006, the Asian American segment numbered 13.1 million people, or 4.4% of the population. They represent about $459 billion in spending power.

The Asian American community may be smaller than the country's 44.3 million Hispanics, the largest ethnic group in the United States. But Asian American households possess the highest per capita income of any ethnic group. More than one-third spend more than $100 a week on groceries.

Wal-Mart's Asian American marketing campaign sought to tap into this powerful group in 2005 with advertising and public relations efforts aimed at the Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino markets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Houston.

The original television, print and radio ads were developed in Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and English by IW Group, a Los Angeles-based Asian American advertising and marketing company.

“It featured real customers and culturally relevant consumer insights for each ethnic market,” IW group account director Betty Kao told SN.
The campaign has since grown to include the burgeoning South Asian market in the U.S., and now runs in all of California as well as in New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Hawaii, according to Kao. Cable has also been added to the media mix.

Other retailers should follow Wal-Mart's lead, according to Tanya Raukko, managing director at InterTrend Communications, a Long Beach, Calif., communications agency that helps companies reach Asian Americans. The same goes for consumer packaged goods manufacturers. Despite the size and economic clout of Asian Americans, American food manufacturers, for the most part, don't take the group seriously, Raukko said.

“They're still not talking to Asian Americans yet, for some reason,” she said.
Much of that may have to do with them not understanding the market, Raukko noted. About 67% of Asian Americans are immigrants who have varying levels of acculturation and consumption habits.

Still, food plays a big part in their life, so food marketers and retailers should make more of an effort to use culturally relevant marketing tactics to reach them.

“Food is the way they connect back to their culture,” Raukko said. “It's a huge focus of their lives.”

While Asian Americans prefer fresh meat, vegetables and seafood, and view frozen and packaged products as inferior in terms of taste and nutrition, there's plenty of opportunity for retailers to make the Center Store attractive to the group.

Asia Major

Aug 11, 2008 12:00 PM, By CAROL ANGRISANI

Asian American households have a higher per capita income than any other group, with one-third spending more than $100 a week on groceries

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For instance, breakfast food is appealing for unaccultured members of the demographic as they begin to adopt American food customs.

In fact, breakfast foods are the most frequently consumed CPGs among Asian Americans. For instance, more than one-third (38%) of Asian Americans said they eat cereal once a day, according to a 2006 InterTrend study. Similarly, 32% said they eat oatmeal daily; and 31% drink coffee at least once a day.

“As they start to acculturate, breakfast foods are the first things they adopt,” Raukko said.

While many Asian Americans shop ethnic grocery stores about once a week for authentic specialty items and unique produce, they tend to buy most American packaged products at mainstream stores. They are most receptive to products and brands that have aggressive marketing efforts that promote taste or health benefits. Nestlé, Häagen-Dazs, Dreyer's, Breyer's, Yoplait and Campbell's are among the brands that have high awareness among the group.

In terms of their shopping preferences, Asian Americans are very loyal to food brands. If they have a positive experience with a brand, they will continue purchasing it and recommend it to others, according to InterTrend.
While Asian Americans may claim that they are not price-sensitive, the InterTrend study found the opposite is true. Not only do they shop around for price comparisons, they seek out in-store samples and buy-one, get-one-free offers.

“They value discounts and promotions,” said Raukko.

Bret Vitek, international department manager at Jungle Jim's International Market in Fairfield, Ohio, agreed, saying Asian Americans respond well to case discounts. “We buy in large quantities and sell products by the case at a discount,” he said.

Vitek described Asian Americans as a major part of Jungle Jim's business. About 80% of Jungle Jim's Asian food purchases are made by members of the demographic.

“They know exactly what they want,” Vitek said.

To cater to promotion-sensitive Asian Americans, Jungle Jim's includes between six and eight Asian items on special each week, either via temporary price reductions or BOGO offers. Certain frequently purchased items such as coconut milk have everyday low pricing.

Among other promotional efforts, Jungle Jim's frequently samples such Asian items as dumplings, tofu and ethnic sauces.

While Asian Americans seek out fresh products, they also rely on packaged goods as ingredients for recipes made from scratch. So while they may not tend to buy a prepared curry sauce, they'll buy spices, dry powders and other ingredients needed to make the sauce themselves.

And don't forget the rice. That's their staple, and they buy a lot of it, so much so that Jungle Jim's sells between 28,000 and 30,000 pounds a week.

“We have a wide rice variety to cater to all the different [Asian] ethnicities,” Vitek said.

Asia Major

Aug 11, 2008 12:00 PM, By CAROL ANGRISANI

Asian American households have a higher per capita income than any other group, with one-third spending more than $100 a week on groceries

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Although they're price-conscious, Asian Americans don't mind spending more and stocking up if it saves them money in the long run. Asian Americans typically buy a four-month supply of rice. Even now, with prices higher due to a rice shortage, they're still stocking up. A 25-pound bag at Jungle Jim's now costs $17.99, below average, but still about 30% higher than what it cost this time last year. Nevertheless, most Asian Americans do not have a problem buying several bags.

“Even now, in light of the world rice issues, they're still buying a four-month supply,” Vitek said.

Asian Americans are also responsive to holiday promotions. That's why Jungle Jim's promotional calendar features several Asian holidays, including Chinese New Year.

“There are so many different cultures in Asia, with their own holidays, so we can't hit every one of them,” Vitek said. “But we try to get the big ones.”
Even authentic Asian food stores rely heavily on promotions.

Lyndhurst, N.J.-based H Mart, a chain of 24 stores (with another slated to open soon and seven more on the way) caters to Asian American consumers — and mainstream consumers who like Asian food — with weekly specials and in-store samples.

“Everyone likes a discounted price,” H Mart's marketing manager, Jimmy Kim, told SN.

Customer demographics vary from store to store, but about 90% of H Mart's base is Asian American.

When asked what mistakes mainstream retailers tend to make when reaching out to the group, Kim said many don't understand that there shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, retailers need to recognize the differences between Japanese, Chinese, Korean and the many other Asian cultures.
“It's important to understand the different nationalities, because each has a different culture and different foods,” he said. “Because Asian food consumption is based on their background, one Asian group may like a certain type of sauce while another doesn't.”

One way Jungle Jim's accomplishes this is by arranging its Asian department into nine Asian regions, including Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

“There's a lot of crossover in the products that are carried in each section, but there's a focal point of items directly from the specific region,” he said.

38% of Asian Americans said they eat cereal once a day.
Source: 2006 InterTrend study

Census: Immigration Boom Slowing Down, Struggling Economy, Increased Border Enforcement Behind 1.8M

Census: Immigration Boom Slowing Down

Struggling Economy, Increased Border Enforcement Behind 1.8M Drop From Previous Year

Comments Comments69

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2008

Text Size:  A  A  A

The U.S. has added an average of about a million immigrants a year since 1990, including those in the country legally and illegally. (AP Photo/Stefano Paltera)

Immigration And Naturalization

Immigration And Naturalization

Who's coming to America? Find out what's being done to screen for terrorists and take a citizenship quiz.

The Nation We Live In

The Nation We Live In

Who are Americans and what do they do? A comprehensive look at our economic, sociological and racial breakdown.


(CBS/ AP) The wave of immigrants entering the United States slowed dramatically last year as the economy faltered and the government stepped up enforcement of immigration laws.

The nation added about a half million immigrants in 2007, down from more than 1.8 million the year before, according to estimates being released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

"The U.S. is still a beacon for many people who want to come here for all kinds of reasons," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the numbers. "But what this shows is that the economy plays a big part in it."

One other obstacle could be the 69 percent increase last summer in citizenship fees, about 281,000 immigrants applied to become U.S. citizens in the first half of 2008 - less than half the number of applicants in the same period last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services noted two weeks ago.

The decline follows a rush of applications when immigrants hurried to get their paperwork filed before fees shot up at the end of July 2007. In that month alone, more than 460,000 immigrants applied for citizenship.

They paid $400. The new fee is $675 - a price some people believe is a barrier to citizenship.

The U.S. has added an average of about a million immigrants a year since 1990, including those in the country legally and illegally.

At more than 38 million, the number of immigrants in the U.S. is now at an all-time high. Immigrants made up 12.6 percent of the population in 2007, the largest share since 1920, when the U.S. was nearing the end of its last immigration boom, one that brought millions of people from Europe to the United States.

That wave of immigrants ended with the Great Depression and the onset of World War II.

The immigration figures released Tuesday were from the 2007 American Community Survey, the government's annual survey of about 3 million households. The survey, which is replacing the long form from the 10-year census, yields reams of demographic, social and economic data about the nation.

Because the estimates come from a survey, each includes a margin of sampling error that makes year-to-year comparisons inexact. Annual immigration changes for many states and cities were within the margins of error, but the national trend was statistically significant: The nation's immigration boom slowed substantially in 2007.

Fourteen states showed declines in the estimated number of immigrants from 2006 to 2007, including New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont and South Dakota. Several major cities also posted decreases, including Atlanta, Las Vegas and Oakland, Calif.

Other cities continued to show gains, including Phoenix, Boston and Denver.

"Immigrants have always come to the United States for jobs, but before they went to big immigration magnets to be with family or other immigrants," Frey said. "Now the geography of where these people move is much more tied to the economy than ever before."

Much of the nation experienced a housing boom in the first half of the decade, providing jobs that attracted immigrants. The housing bubble burst last year, sending housing markets tumbling and contributing to a slumping economy that some economists believe is in recession.

The Census Bureau's' estimates for immigrants include those in the country legally and illegally because the agency does not ask about legal status. Government and private estimates put the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. at about 12 million.

A little more than half of U.S. immigrants are from Latin America and about a quarter are from Asia. About 13 percent are from Europe and 4 percent from Africa.

In August, the Census Bureau reported that white people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2042. The United States has been growing more diverse for decades, but the process has sped up through immigration and higher birth rates among minority residents, especially Hispanics.

The U.S. has nearly 305 million people today. The population is projected to hit 400 million in 2039 and 439 million in 2050.

The latest immigration boom has sparked political and social turmoil in many communities unaccustomed to large influxes of foreigners. About one in five U.S. residents spoke a language other than English at home in 2007, about the same share as a year before.

The issue, however, has been muted in this year's presidential election in part because both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama support comprehensive immigration packages that include increased enforcement and an eventual path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants.

Obama and McCain aren't talking much about immigration reform - at least not in English. Both, however, are running Spanish-language TV ads accusing the other of derailing comprehensive immigration packages supported by many Hispanics.

Voters say other issues are more important to them than immigration policy, including the economy, gas prices and education, according to the latest AP-Yahoo News poll.

In many communities, though, immigration is an important issue.

Federal agents started conducting more high-profile immigration raids the past several years. The effects on local immigration levels have been mixed.

For example, a leather goods manufacturer in New Bedford, Mass., was raided in March 2007, and the number of immigrants living there dropped for the year. At the same time number of immigrants in Boston, about 50 miles away, jumped.

A temporary employment agency in Baltimore was raided in March 2007, and the number of immigrants in the city dropped slightly for the year. But a meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colo., was raided in late 2006 and the number of immigrants increased in 2007.

Some communities have tried to get tough on illegal immigration with local ordinances.

In Northern Virginia's Prince William County, officials debated a crackdown for months before directing local police to check the immigration status of everyone they arrest. The county experienced a small drop the number of immigrants last year despite overall population gains.

"In our county there is a tremendous amount of fear," said Nancy Lyall, legal coordinator for Mexicans Without Borders, an immigrant advocacy group. "The people who can leave Prince William County have."

© MMVIII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Feeling of kinship

Immigrants embrace local Korean church

Tribune Staff Writer

GRANGER — On Sundays, Kevin Lee, Mia Jun, Sung-Chang Chun and Moonsup Jeong converge at Korean Grace Baptist Church on Gumwood Road.

Grace Baptist is one of a few Korean churches in Michiana.

Lee and his family — his wife and two kids — make the trip from St. Joseph, where Lee is employed at Whirlpool Corp.; Chun, once a labor union activist in Seoul, is a sociologist who teaches at Mercy College in Toledo, Ohio; Jun is a student at Indiana University South Bend who’s experiencing newfound freedom after buying a car recently; and Moonsup Jeong is a worker at Culver Duck Farms in Middlebury who claims Michiana’s flat landscape reminds him of his native Incheon.

The congregation they belong to is small. Pastor Chang Ok Rah estimates that some 60 are in attendance at any one time. The Sunday service is in Korean and takes place in a building that belongs to nearby Grace Church, which has a much larger congregation. Rah says that except for their American-born children, all members of his church are Korean immigrants.

Lee, Jun, Chun and Jeong came to the States from South Korea. Their stories are of immigrants who, with the help of their church, have made America their home.

In the arms of the church

Repressed for more than a century by the imperial government of Korea and then by the Japanese, Christianity in South Korea blossomed after World War II.

Traditionally, Koreans have practiced Buddhism and Confucianism, as well as indigenous religions such as shamanism. Today, some 30 percent of South Koreans practice Christianity, according to 2005 national census figures. Slightly fewer, about 23 percent, practice Buddhism.

Christianity grew more popular in the 20th century in part because it became associated with democracy and liberation, Chun says.

The situation in North Korea differs. There, the rise of communism has led to religious persecution and repression. According to a 2008 State Department report: “North Korea remains among the world’s most egregious violators of religious freedom. The cult of personality surrounding the ruling family remains an important ideological underpinning of the regime, at times resembling the tenets of a state religion.”

North Korea’s history of persecution is very personal to the family of Moonsup Jeong, a soft-spoken man and father of two who serves as deacon of Korean Grace Baptist and works at Culver Duck Farms. Jeong says his wife Sunbo’s grandfather had been a Christian pastor in North Korea when he was murdered by Communist soldiers.

Jeong’s family fled south. He was born in Incheon, now a high-rise, metropolitan city on South Korea’s west coast. Michiana’s flat landscape reminds him of the Incheon of his childhood, Jeong says.

Jeong’s children — Myeonghun and Eunice — were in sixth and fourth grades, respectively, when Jeong’s family moved to the States in 2000. They translate for their dad, who speaks little English.

Jeong’s children, as well as Mia Jun, the IUSB student, and Kevin Lee of St. Joseph, are fluent in English but say they can’t worship comfortably using that language — perhaps a testament to the personal nature of religious worship. Due to their discomfort, they say, it was important to them to find a Korean religious community.

Jeong’s son, 20-year-old Myeonghun, remembers worrying when his family first moved to Michiana about how he would fit in.

The Korean community in St. Joseph County is small. In 2006, the U.S. census showed 348 people who identified as Korean. But at church, Myeonghun says, he found a group of young people like himself with whom he identified.

“Because of a cultural difference, the way we think is different,” Myeonghun says. “With Koreans I can share what is inside me, what I think. … I can be myself.”

Chun, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Ph.D. in Korean Christianity, and is a deacon, says the most important role of the immigrant church is to assist its members in adapting to life in a foreign country.

At first, when Pastor Rah started Korean Grace Baptist in June 2002, it was just him, his wife and son.

In the case of Jeong and his family, Korean Grace Baptist has been supportive in more than one way. Jeong says it literally helped him find a house in Mishawaka and the right school for his children.

“They gave us a lot of information and helped us move here,” he says. “They set everything up for us to get here.”

An American journey

Kevin Lee used to dream of life in America before he came in 1989 to live with his aunt in Georgia.

Lee was a sophomore in high school when he left South Korea. Something about American culture with its emphasis on individualism attracted him.

“I always wanted to come here and experience the lifestyle,” he says.

Lee wanted to fit in, and few knew him by his Korean name, Sang. He was picked on for being different until he joined his high school’s swim team and started breaking school records.

But his journey hasn’t been as he expected. It has taken him from outsider to insider, and to the practice of Christianity and a religious community that changed his life.

Lee is the only one of those featured in this story who was not religious before he came to the States. According to 2005 national census figures, almost half of South Korea’s population is secular.

Lee says he joined a Korean Christian church more than a decade ago, after briefly attending graduate school in Oregon, because he longed for a piece of the old country.

“I wanted to be in a Korean community,” he recalls.

His decision, about which his parents had been skeptical, proved to be life-changing. It was there that he met his wife, Kris, with whom he has two children, Shawn, 9, and Michele, 5. And it was there that he began a relationship with Jesus Christ, he says, that has made him a different person.

For two years, Lee says, he and his family have been making the weekly 25-mile trip from St. Joseph to Korean Grace Baptist because it’s a church with the right “chemistry.” And that means being in the right company as much as worshipping in your own language.

“There’s a sense of deep sharing here,” Lee says. “It’s an understanding of what everyone’s been through.”

Lee also is grateful that his American-born children can gain a better appreciation of what it means to be Korean through the church.

Learning with each other

Like Lee, Mia Jun didn’t fit in right away.

She moved to South Bend from Seoul in 2005 to study English, and now she is working toward a degree in secondary education.

During her first year in South Bend, Jun recalls, she was terribly homesick. She felt different, like she didn’t fit in.

With time, the feeling left her. Recently, she says, she bought a car and has become more independent. She feels more at ease.

Because she wanted to learn English, Jun says, she had assumed she would practice her religion in English. But she couldn’t focus very well during services. The pastor’s words didn’t touch her in the same way. Worshipping in English, she says, was “not fully in my heart.”

One of her classmates at South Bend English Institute took her to Korean Grace Baptist, and she liked it right away. Although back home she had belonged to a large Presbyterian church, Jun says she felt “very good” in the smaller, more personal setting.

In South Korea, Jun, Jeong and Chun were of another Christian denomination. But they say they don’t mind the change. They also say they like church services here, which they describe as more modern, or less conservative, in part because of a more general use of musical instruments.

Korean Grace Baptist pays a small fee to Grace Church, the larger congregation at 52025 Gumwood Road. The two mingle during some holiday services, and some Korean-American children attend Sunday school at the English-speaking church.

The Rev. Brent Wood, the pastor of Grace Church, says he’s glad that in a small way his church can “impact a part of our community that we wouldn’t otherwise.”

Coexisting with Grace Church is a good thing, Chun says, because immigrants benefit from interacting with and raising their children in the wider English-speaking community.

“It’s a good way of interacting while keeping our cultural Christianity and learning with each other,” Chun says.

“Our children shouldn’t be in an ethnic enclave.”

Staff writer Pablo Ros: (574) 235-6357
Affluent Asian-American Segment Generates Opportunities as Crown Jewel of Multicultural Market:

Affluent Asian-American Segment Generates Opportunities as Crown Jewel of Multicultural Market
Wednesday October 8, 12:07 pm ET

NEW YORK, NY--(MARKET WIRE)--Oct 8, 2008 -- With buying power approaching $600 billion, the burgeoning Asian-American market segment offers the most lucrative opportunities in the multicultural consumer market. And the trend isn't expected to evaporate anytime in the foreseeable future. According to the all-new and updated Packaged Facts report, "Asian-American Market in the U.S., 4th edition," the buying power of Asian Americans is projected to total $750 billion in 2013, a cumulative growth of 32% during the forecast period.

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Asian-American households are more affluent than any other population group in the country, including non-Hispanic whites, with about one in three (36%) possessing an income of at least $100,000. This is compared to only 25% of American families as a whole.

"Although the Asian-American segment of the multicultural market is not just smaller but more diverse in language and culture than the Hispanic and African-American segments, Asian Americans have far more economic clout. Thus, there is great opportunity and challenge to market to Asian Americans," says Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts

Asian Americans are on the cutting edge of the digital media revolution currently underway in American society. They are not only more likely to use online versions of traditional media such as magazines and newspapers, but also display an enthusiasm for spending large amounts of money shopping online. Hunting for bargains is a key aspect of the Asian-American consumer profile, yet they possess an above average penchant for shopping. Subsequently they aren't shy about making lucrative purchases such as new cars or designer clothing.

Packaged Facts profiles major Asian-American populations such as Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese. This includes special data analyzed from New American Dimensions (NAD) focusing on Asian Indians, a population at the pinnacle of the economic pyramid within the Asian-American segment.

"Asian-American Market in the U.S., 4th edition" contains the latest information on marketing opportunities generated by Asian-American consumers in financial services, travel, electronics, technology, the Internet and online shopping, telecommunications, automotive, fashion, and health and wellness; trends in acculturation and use of English language; and key aspects of consumer behavior including interest in going green and eating organic food.

For further information visit:

About Packaged Facts -- Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. For more information contact Jenn Tekin at (240) 747-3015 or

Asian-American Market in the U.S. 4th edition : Packaged Facts
$3,850.00   Online Download$4,250.00   Hard Copy Mail Delivery$7,700.00   Global Site License$4,650.00   Online Download plus 1 Hard Copy

Asian-American Market in the U.S. 4th edition

Oct 1, 2008
275 Pages - Pub ID: LA1905000
AbstractTable of ContentsRelated Reports

This new Packaged Facts report focuses on the consumer attitudes and spending patterns of Asian Americans, who continue to offer the most lucrative opportunities in the multicultural consumer market. Asian-American households represent 40% of all multicultural households with an income between $150,000 and $200,000, and they account for nearly half of those with an income of $200,000 or more. With buying power now approaching $600 billion, Asian-American households are more affluent than any other population group in the country, including non-Hispanic whites.

The first chapter of the report analyzes key trends shaping the Asian-American market and identifies opportunities created by Asian-American consumers. Using data from a just released 2008 survey conducted by New American Dimensions and interTrend Communications, the chapter highlights key characteristics of Asian-Indian consumers, the fastest-growing and most affluent Asian-American market segment.

The next chapters of the report assess the buying power of Asian Americans, provide an overview of demographic trends affecting the market, analyze the economic status of Asian Americans and discuss ongoing trends in language use and acculturation on the part of Asian Americans.

Another chapter provides comprehensive profiles of the largest subgroups of the Asian-American market—Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Koreans and Japanese. The profiles provide in-depth data on topics important for marketers to understand about each of these Asian-American population segments. The profiles rank metropolitan areas in terms of the population of each subgroup and include data on language and acculturation, family structure, educational attainment and employment patterns.

The next section of the report provides a comprehensive overview of the attitudes and behavior of the Asian-American consumer. One chapter evaluates how Asian Americans manage their personal finances and their shopping and spending patterns. Another chapter offers an in-depth look at the involvement of Asian-American consumers with technology and the Internet. Another chapter analyzes key aspects of Asian-American consumer behavior across a variety of areas. One part of this chapter highlights the interest of Asian Americans in eating organic and natural foods. Other aspects of consumer behavior covered by the chapter include leisure and entertainment, fashion, car ownership and health and wellness. The report concludes with a chapter on the media usage habits of Asian Americans.

Research Methodology

The report is based on information collected directly from firms active in the Asian-American market as well as a comprehensive analysis of relevant industry and trade publications. Primary research sources include the Winter 2007/2008 National Consumer Survey of Simmons Market Research Bureau.

The report also includes data from "Asian Indians in the U.S.," September 2008, a study based upon an online survey of 458 first-generation Asian-Indian respondents conducted by Los Angeles, California-based New American Dimensions (NAD) and Long Beach, California-based interTrend Communications.

U.S. Government sources include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Office of Immigration Statistics. Census Bureau data used in the report include population projections and data from the 2007 American Community Survey that were released in August 2008. The report also includes the latest available data on detailed demographic characteristics of Asian-American subgroups from the 2006 Community Survey.
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Life: How to give away half your salary | says, parents, money, made, salary -

How to give away half your salary

MORNING READ: The Hsieh family made $200,000 last year – and gave away all but $48,000

The Orange County Register
Comments 4 | Recommend 3

Who on earth would make $200,000, and give away all but $48,000 of it?

Who would hunker down in the hood when they can afford the heights?

Tom and Bree Hsieh. That's who.

The couple belongs to a club made up of people who donate at least half their salary to charity for at least three years straight.

It's called the 50 % League and it grew out of Bolder Giving, an organization started in 2007 by Boston suburb philanthropists Anne and Christopher Ellinger. The mission: To encourage people to publicly proclaim their stories of giving in hopes that it inspires others to give boldly.

Many of the 120 club members are millionaires, often folks who inherited giant sums of money and, feeling either burdened or guilty or unbelievably generous, decided to give most or all of it away.

Folks like John Hunting, who is quoted on the Bolder Giving website, saying this gem: "When I got a $130 million windfall in 1998, I decided to give it away quickly."

But as admirable as that is, its one thing to give away windfalls when you're still left with enough money to live comfortably (Hunting kept $10 million). It's another thing to give away so much money that you wind up wearing 99 cent thrift store ties to corporate meetings. Cheerfully, we might add.

Not everyone understands. Take Tom's dad John for instance.

Tom was 5 when his parents left Taiwan with him and his little brother Tim. They arrived at the airport in San Francisco, not speaking much English, bought something called a hotdog and immediately feared they had made a wrong decision.

Tom's dad had been a successful businessman in Taiwan. Here, they had to start over. They were lonely. Hotdogs were disgusting. But there was a payoff: "My children will get an education in schools that are the envy of the world," Tom says his dad thought. "God will reward me for what I've endured."

In eighth grade, Tom decided the high school he was about to enter was not good enough to get him into Cal Tech. So he put together a chart for his parents, showing other school districts with better college admissions rates and SAT scores, as well as median home prices in those areas. His parents agreed to leave West Covina for the more affluent South Pasadena so he could attend high school there.

Tom did get accepted into Cal Tech. But a friend of his happened to be heading off to Harvey Mudd. Tom visited the smaller private college, fell in love and enrolled.

"It was there that my faith came alive," he says. He joined the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and soon came to a conclusion: "First, that God had love and passion for the poor. And, second, that I did not."

He began working at soup kitchens and doing laundry at shelters to try and change his heart.

This was not what his parents had in mind.

"We kind of had a pact," Tom says. "And instead of being focused on studies and making career my first priority, I was talking to them about God and homeless people."

They disowned him.

After graduating in 1993 with a degree in physics he was offered some lucrative jobs. But fearing they would "move me in a different direction," he turned them down, instead taking a low-paying tech job.

Again he made a spreadsheet of possible neighborhoods where he and a few like-minded friends could live; this time of poor neighborhoods that needed help.

"We weren't just gonna come in and be saviors; but where we could become neighbors." They rented an apartment in south Pomona.

And for the last 13 years, Tom has lived in the same three block radius, despite two stolen cars and a gun fight in front of his apartment, even as his income steadily climbed.

"When I cracked $100,000, I sat my parents down and told them: 'I'm not the Chinese son who buys you the Mercedes,'" he says.

In 1999, Tom met Bree. She was interning for Servant Partners, which works in slums around the world, and living by choice in South Central.

When Bree, who grew up middle class in Fargo, N.D., learned that Tom gave away much of his salary, she says, "I was really pleased."

The couple married in 2001 and decided to live at the national median household income. Last year that was $48,000. It recently jumped to $50,000, U.S. Census statistics show. "We'll have to give ourselves a raise," Tom joked, when he heard.

Two years ago, Tom became CEO and co-owner of SplinterRock, a telecom consulting firm. His salary hit a high of $200,000. He gave all but $48,000 to various charities that work with the poor, including Pomona Hope, a community center that Tom is founding president of. This year he expects his salary will be less since he has to invest more money in his company, but it will still be far more than the $48,000 he and his wife are living on.

They don't feel at all deprived, says the couple, now living in a 2-bedroom apartment with their baby girl.

Tom likes to point out that one of the compliments he most often gets is for the 99 cent tie his wife found for him at the Veterans Thrift Store. "I always enjoyed a bargain," says Bree, 33.

That's not to say there are no temptations. When a $300 Coach bag recently caught her eye, she had to tell herself: "I have a purse. And it's a good purse." The longer she has lived frugally, "the less the wants drive me."

Keep in mind that she doesn't consider Starbucks a "want." "That actually falls into my needs category," she says.

When Tom heard about the 50 % League last year he shot an email to the founders. They didn't just make him a member, they made him a poster boy. The couple's story is on the Bolder Giving website.

Tom, 37, agrees his lifestyle isn't for everyone. "But at the same time, wow, how powerful would it be if more people took that challenge. What is wealth? How much do you really need?"

Are you ready Orange County?

The Bolder Giving founders are making two trips to California. To book them for a speaking engagements, go to

Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry(一) : China Aid chinaaid. org/2008/09/22/against-overwhelming-odds-. ... - Online Employment Resources for Churches, Ministries, and Individuals

Youth Worker

Chesterfield, Missouri, United States

Date Posted:
Job Category:
Youth Pastor
Company Name:
St. Louis Chinese Christian Church
Worship Style:
Church Size:
Pastor Mark Manning
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Job Type:
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Job Description:
Youth Worker. St. Louis Chinese Christian Church is looking for a part-time youth worker for High School level ministry. Qualifications: Christian, burden for teens, experience in youth ministry, heart to minister to Asian American youth. Ministry includes weekend evening Youth Group, and counseling youth and their families as needed on weekday evenings. About 10-12 total hours per week. Must attend our Church on Sunday mornings. Start ASAP. Minimum two-year commitment. Compensation. Contact Pastor Mark Manning, phone 314-346-7210, or,

Our Church is independent and conservative, and uses contemporary music in worship services for youth. Church address: 832 N. Woods Mill Rd., Chesterfield, MO, 63017 (Do not enquire by calling or writing to the Church).
Participating in religion may make adolescents from certain races more depressed

Participating in religion may make adolescents from certain races more depressed

Medicine & Health / Other
One of the few studies to look at the effects of religious participation on the mental health of minorities suggests that for some of them, religion may actually be contributing to adolescent depression. Previous research has shown that teens who are active in religious services are depressed less often because it provides these adolescents with social support and a sense of belonging.

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But new research has found that this does not hold true for all adolescents, particularly for minorities and some females. The study found that white and African-American adolescents generally had fewer symptoms of depressive at high levels of religious participation. But for some Latino and Asian-American adolescents, attending church more often was actually affecting their mood in a negative way.

Asian-American adolescents who reported high levels of participation in their church had the highest number of depressive symptoms among teens of their race.

Likewise, Latino adolescents who were highly active in their church were more depressed than their peers who went to church less often. Females of all races and ethnic groups were also more likely to have symptoms of depression than males overall.

Setting all other factors aside, the results suggest that participating in religion at high levels may be detrimental to some teens because of the tensions they face in balancing the conflicting ideals and customs of their religion with those of mainstream culture, said Richard Petts, co-author of the study, who did the work as a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University.

"Most research has shown that religious participation, for the most part, is good and can be very helpful for battling depression. But our research has shown that this relationship does not hold true in all instances," he said.

While the study shows that females and males from certain groups may be more inclined to become depressed, involvement in religious services still had an overall positive affect for many youth in the study. The results do provide important insight into the impact of religious participation on teenage depression, but race and gender may only be part of the reason certain youth were more depressed, Petts said.

"The study shows that we need to consider the broader social aspects of institutions such as religion on an individual's well being, both good and bad. We focus specifically on race and gender, but these are not the only two factors that may be contributing to higher and lower depression among youth," he said.

Petts, who is now an assistant professor of sociology at Ball State University, conducted the study with Anne Jolliff when they were both doctoral students at Ohio State. Jolliff is now a research coordinator at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The pair based the study on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a study surveying middle and high school students throughout the United States.

Adolescents in grades 7 through 12 were initially interviewed in school and a random number of students were again interviewed at home. Students were asked to identify the positive and negative feelings they had experienced in the preceding week such as depression, loneliness, isolation, happiness, or excitement. They were also asked about their behavior in the last year and asked to identify their race, religious preference, and how often they attended services during the same period of time.

Adolescents were then interviewed a second time one year later at home about the same topics. Parents of these adolescents were also asked about their child's moods and behaviors. Only the 12,155 adolescents who participated in both parts of the study and had information from their parents were included in this study.

The results were recently published in the journal Review of Religious Research.

Among adolescents who never attended church, Asian-American adolescents reported 4 percent fewer symptoms of depression in the preceding week than did their African-American peers.

In comparison, Asian-American youth who attended church at least once a week reported 20 to 27 percent more symptoms of depression than their white and African-American peers who attended at the same level.

Latino adolescents fared about the same as Asian Americans, reporting 6 to 14 percent higher rates of depression symptoms than did African-American and white teens when attending church at least once a week.

The results showed that in stark contrast to the findings for white and African-American adolescents, Asian-American adolescents who never attended services and Latinos attending at intermediate levels were the least likely to be depressed within their groups.

The results suggest that something unique was affecting adolescents within these two groups when they went to church often. Petts believes that the traditional nature of religion for these two groups may be conflicting with the ideals and customs of mainstream American society. This conflict may be putting additional stress on these youth as they try to balance competing principles and traditions, he said.

"Asian and Latino youth who are highly involved in a culturally distinct church may have a more difficult time balancing the beliefs of their family and their traditional culture with mainstream society. Their religious institution is telling them what should be important in their lives and how to behave, and mainstream society is saying something else," he said.

At higher levels of participation, Asian-American and Latino adolescents had a harder time juggling which set of ideals to adopt because they were more involved and committed to their religion.

Meanwhile, Asian-American adolescents who had lower levels of involvement in church were able to focus more on life without worrying about conflicting ideals, resulting in lower depression. At lower levels of involvement, adolescents still gained the social support of their religious community while also feeling in touch with mainstream society, Petts said.

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The results also showed that the problem for Latino adolescents may be two-fold. At high levels of involvement in their religious community, Latino teens experienced the same tension between culture and society as some Asian-American teens. This led to higher reports of depression symptoms among these youth.

But Latino teens who never attended church reported high levels of depression as well, reporting 26 to 28 percent higher rate of depression symptoms than did white and African-American American youth. Religion is often an important part of social support for these adolescents and no involvement in their religion may leave these teens without a sense of connection to their community and culture, he said.

"Participating to a certain extent may enable these youth to balance their lives better. They have a connection with a religious community and all the benefits it offers, but they are not so immersed that they're out of touch with mainstream society. So they're sort of getting the best of both worlds," Petts said.

The tension between society and religion may also help explain why females who were sexually active report higher levels of depression than do sexually active males. The disconnect between how their religion told them to act and what they chose to do may cause these females to have higher emotional distress and increased depression, he said.

In addition, Latina females who participated heavily in their religion were more likely to become depressed then Latino males. Not only were these young women more at risk for feeling depressed than were their male counterparts, but they were also more depressed then Latina females who attended church at intermittent levels.

"Females in these religious institutions often have subordinate status and if females feel that they don't have equal say in that religious institution, that may contribute to higher levels of depression," Petts said.

This may also explain why attending church at intermediate levels resulted in lower depression for these females. Latina females who attend at moderate levels may benefit from the social support of the religious community, while avoiding the patriarchal tensions experienced by those who attend services weekly.

Source: Ohio State University
Young Disciples of Jesus Research Center: NCKCA Ends Relationship with Christianity Daily
Decision to Hold back Relationship with Christianity Daily

Until the Suspicion is DissolvedNorthern California Korean Churches Association (8 Associations) held its monthly meeting at Canyon Creek Korean Church on August 11th and consequently the members have agreed to the following position on the matter.

1. Until all the suspicion about Christian Daily is clearly dissolved, we will temporarily hold back support to Christianity Daily, and the Northern California Korean Churches Association will conduct it own investigation in the matter. This decision was made in consideration of the press conference held in Los Angeles on July 17th by Rev. Dr. Thomas Wang (王永信), a speaker at upcoming 2008 Northern California Mission Conference to be held from August 28th to 31st, where Dr. Wang made a statement about strong theological suspicion he has on Christianity Daily’s founder and where Dr. Wang sent a warning to other church leaders. Our decision was also based on the findings of the Independent Enquiry Committee of Hong Kong and the fact that the Heretical Inquiry Consultation Committee members of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK) are currently conducting their own investigation in the matter.

2. Northern California Korean Churches Association (8 Associations) hereby affirms that we will proceed with our comprehensive research to protect the evangelical faith of all the member Associations, member churches and individual members within our organization; and to assist them in maintaining the righteous and sensible Christian life.

3. In addition, we would like to ask each church and members to accept those brothers and sisters with warmth if they truly repent and return to us from any suspicious organizations, and to assist those brethren to settle well within our established churches.
August 20, 2008

San Francisco Peninsula Korean Church Federation
San Jose Korean Church AssociationSolano Korean Church Association
Association of Churches in Contra Costa CountySacramento Korean Church
AssociationEast Bay Korean Church AssociationNorth
Bay Korean Church Association
Monterey Korean Church Association

President: Rev. SHIN, TAE HWAN
On the Verge |
On the Verge
His understanding of the gospel led him to build a multi-ethnic megachurch. And now it's leading him to build smaller churches he calls "verges."
an interview with David Gibbons

On the Verge

David Gibbons had an unlikely education for someone who would pastor a multi-ethnic church. Growing up in a fundamentalist church, he attended one of fundamentalism's flagship schools, a university with a policy at that time against inter-racial dating. "There were many great things about the school," he says. "The speech and arts programs were phenomenal, the academic standards were high, and they had a lot of women! I thought my chances were pretty good." But David was quickly informed of the school's policy against inter-racial dating. "I complicated things for them," said David, "because my dad was white; my mom was Korean. I'm inter-racial!" The school told him he had to choose between Caucasian or Asian. He couldn't date both. Eventually David met the woman there who would become his wife. She is Caucasian and American Indian. Today David is pastor of NewSong Church, which he planted in Irvine, California, in 1994, with multi-site locations in Los Angeles, North Orange County, Dallas, Mexico City, London, India, and Bangkok. Andy Crouch and Marshall Shelley interviewed David about how his understanding of the gospel has grown and developed.

What part did your carefully segregated college experience play in your calling and ministry?

Looking back on that whole experience, I always ask, "Why did God take me through that?" I think he was preparing me, actually, for the way we do church around the world.

That's a surprising twist on the story.

Ethnic churches have their own forms of prejudice. It's not talked about much. It's okay for people of other ethnicities to come to the church and sit there. But when it comes to marrying my son or dating my daughter, there's hostility.

The Asian church was unfamiliar to me—I had grown up in a white, majority culture church. But some mentors encouraged me to explore the Asian part of my heritage. So I attended a Korean church that was known as the premier church on the East Coast at the time, and I saw the children bored during the service. I had never before experienced that.

I'd been raised in a fundamentalist church that kept it lively and fun. And I thought, Hey, things should be a little more engaging than this. I realized that if the leading Korean church is having trouble retaining their second generation, this must be going on all across America. So I joined the staff of a Korean church in Dallas. I fell in love with the people, but also experienced the heartaches of second-generation issues—the so-called "silent exodus." All these experiences caused me to examine my life and who I was, my biracial background, my heart for the globe and not just one culture.

Where did that examination lead?

When I visited California in 1993, I sensed God saying something. In a hotel room, I heard two words: "Psalm 40." I heard it twice, and I looked it up: "I waited patiently for the Lord; he … heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit … out of the miry clay. He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord."

I felt an urging to move to California. It was crazy, because we had just bought a house, but we moved. We sold everything, moved to Orange County, and launched NewSong Church in 1994.

You can't reproduce the megachurch model around the world in most urban settings.

What influences shaped NewSong?

We had a vision of multi-ethnicity and ethnic reconciliation and reaching the next generation. The country was still reeling from the L.A. riots, and the need for a church like this was obvious. We were also influenced by the church growth principles that were so important in the 1990s. And our church experienced rapid growth.

It started taking off, which was great. But the problem with rapid growth is it's very hard to reflect deeply. You're juggling twenty balls, and you're just trying to keep up with small groups, community life, the various crises that come along.

About ten years into New Song, I began to be dissatisfied. I was in the middle of a funding campaign—I don't know if you've ever been through one, but they're not easy, man. Really difficult.

I hear plenty of amens from our readers.

We were about to buy more than ten acres of land in Orange County right off the freeway. It was a beautiful piece of land—and it was going to cost $20 million just for the land, and then over $30 million for the different phases.

And I was thinking, Why am I doing this?

To be frank, I started asking myself, "How many of these church people really do anything? Maybe 20 percent like most churches. Am I just building a bigger shoebox for people to sit and listen and leave? Do I want to raise all this money for a bigger shoebox?"

I was going through my "reluctant pastor" phase. It was probably part of my midlife reorientation, but I was really questioning what I was doing and whether it was worth it.

In the midst of this, I went to Bangkok with some strong CEO-type business leaders.

What happened in Bangkok?

We met with a missionary who spoke to us about his work, and he really emphasized his despair over Bangkok: "We've been here for more than a hundred years, and just one percent of the population is Christian." He described the sex industry, the mafia, and so forth, a dark and negative portrayal. But much of what he said was true.

As he was speaking, I noticed something I hadn't felt in a while: surges of excitement. Why am I feeling so much energy right now? I wondered. I was in the midst of something so much bigger than me, something so beyond human capacity. Things I couldn't figure out. A huge city with complex problems—and I realized that's what had been missing.

Things had gotten too predictable at my church. I was just running a big congregation.

In the end I felt God was saying I needed to move to Bangkok—right away.

"But God," I argued, "the church is growing. We're right in the middle of a lot of things, including a capital campaign. C'mon, not now!"

No, he seemed to say, you've got to go now.

So I went home told the story to the leaders. Amazingly, they were overwhelmingly affirming. Some were crying, but they said, "You've got to go." So we changed the fundraising campaign. We raised money not just for buildings, but for furthering the cause of Christ all around the world and especially Thailand—and they sent me off with my family. My children agreed to go, which was a shock, by the way.

How long were you intending to be there?

At least one year. It was a great change of pace. In Bangkok, you don't drive, you walk. There's a lot of time for reflection while walking from place to place. I had time to sleep real well and time to think. I visited other churches and discovered that the Evangelical Covenant denomination there had 4,000 people in roughly 400 churches. It hit me. Back home NewSong had about 4,000 in four congregations.

I saw four churches with 4,000 people versus 400 churches with the same number of people, and the question I felt God posing to me is, Who's stronger?

So who is stronger?

The four hundred churches. You could knock any one of them out, and the rest would keep going. So much of our default protocol is centralized and built around one leader.

That same year I visited Vietnam. Have you heard of the Cu Chi Tunnels? They were dug underneath the fields—miles and miles of tunnels, dug with their hands. And they survived the onslaught of the biggest military force in the world. Actually, when the United States dropped napalm on that ground, it actually hardened and fortified those tunnels.

These guys were all about small units. And they were so resourceful. They would actually use the Americans' tools. When American planes would crash, they used the rubber from the tires as shoes. They could almost float in the water in the rice paddies. Whereas American soldiers would drop in with their boots and their 80-pound backpacks, and they were sitting ducks. I felt horrible for the Americans, out of their element. But looking at it from a Vietnamese perspective, the resourcefulness was tremendous.

So a lot of times you don't want to go in big. You want to go in small.

I started to ask what this meant for the church and our emphasis on bigger and bigger. We decided to launch organic-sized churches. Not house churches, but mid-sized.

By mid-sized, you mean …

From 30 to 300. Most verges would be 30 to 100. That size has a lot of power especially for young adults, because they want intimacy but they also want energy of a larger group.

Something as small as a house church is very fragile, not sustainable in many cases. And if you look at how modern armies and special forces move, they work in units of three, 12 through 30, and about 300. My guess is the biggest movement in churches of the future will be among those 30 to 300.

We call them verges, short for convergence, because they are a convergence of the best features of a small and a large church. I believe this size is going to be the most effective in many places around the world.

At the same time I was learning the absolute necessity of letting local people lead in this kind of church planting. You have to believe that the locals know more than you.

This is not always easy for an outsider from a powerful corporation or nation or church to believe. But innovation always happens on the fringe, and the larger an organization is, the more removed the leaders are from the growing edges where real change can take place.

You constantly have to fuel the fringe.

So leaders of larger organizations can become isolated at the center?

Absolutely, because you get larger, you give more attention to internal systems to keep the machine going. So you're not in touch many times with the little movements on the fringes. Yet the next significant thing will probably start as little movements on the fringe.

I also learned I needed to lift up local leadership—we don't always come with that mindset. We had to learn it. We have to believe that the locals really do know more than we do!

We're sort of trained to assume David needs Saul's armor—that leaders need a certain structure.

Yes, Saul really wanted him to use the armor, but David tried it on and said, "No, that's not going to work for me." He preferred his slingshot.

I began to realize that as a young church planter, working the church growth principles like crazy, I had been wearing someone else's armor. I began to realize maybe it didn't fit that well. Then I was reading about Gideon in Judges 7, where God whittled down his army from 32,000 to 300 men.

There's that 300 again.

It seemed like the Lord was saying, Dave, what do you want? Do you want 30,000, or do you want 300 radicals? I remember boldly saying, "Three hundred, Lord! Yeah, three hundred warriors!"

So I was fired up. But after that year in Bangkok, I came back to California and assumed my church understood the vision and values. I started asking, "Are we willing to give up our buildings? Are we willing to decentralize into many forms, many different sizes? To focus more on third culture leadership than on Sunday morning experiences? Are we willing to move into Santa Ana, not far from Irvine but with an under-resourced population we've neglected so far?"

Wow. How'd that message go over?

I started sharing that vision, and people started leaving. We had a 25-percent reduction in people and in giving over a year. I remember thinking, God, I didn't really mean it.

Many were disappointed in me. I think they just wanted to celebrate having me back, to have a time where instead of talking about mission and change, they could just say, "We just missed you, Dave." But I thought they were ready to hear the Word in a new way.

From the beginning of NewSong, we had a dream of planting a church in every major urban center in the world. But the form we were trying to replicate was the megachurch model. Of course, to have a megachurch, you have to have a megaleader.

So I was always looking for the capital-L Leader, the Bill Hybels-type leader. And the truth is, that kind of person is very hard to find.

Oh, c'mon, there must be at least six of them, worldwide. (Laughter.)

Yes. And in the meantime I'd been ignoring some really great people. To be honest, I wouldn't pay as much attention to them. I began to realize I had missed a lot of opportunity to develop leaders who could lead really well with groups of 30 to 300.

Then we did a cost analysis. How much did we spend each month for this building? I think it was about $70,000 a month. And how much space did we use? About 30 percent of the space in a given month.

Well, in an urban center, every square foot is big dollars. Add parking lots, and you're talking major money down the chute. For what? I realized I wasn't being a good steward of space. You certainly can't reproduce the megachurch model around the world in most urban settings. How are you going to do that in London or Mexico City? There churches will have to be creative in use of space and development of indigenous leaders.

What did you learn about leadership from your time in Bangkok?

At first, we were ramping it up according to the megachurch model. People were wowed. We had several hundred coming out, and not many had seen that before in Thailand. Then one of our leaders, a young man named Meta, came up after one of our services looking very disappointed.

"Dave, this isn't NewSong," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked, but inside I'm thinking, Hey, man, I started NewSong!

But he said, "We say we're about everybody getting involved, but only one person is speaking, only a few are leading worship, few people are doing anything. The rest are just sitting there. Before, when we met in our smaller groups, our verges, we were in circles. Now we're in rows."

I took a step back. I realized he knew this culture better than I did. "Okay, Meta. What do you think we should do?"

What did he think should happen?

Smaller units. Decentralized. We ended up creating smaller units all over the city. People don't like to drive in Bangkok—it's too difficult to get across the city. So we created what we call undergrounds. They can meet in cafes, restaurants, academic buildings. They meet everywhere.

And to tell you the truth, if we had gone the megachurch direction, it would have required huge resources. Instead, now after two years, they're self-sustaining, meeting in cafes, clubs, restaurants, and homes.

When you do church this way, it means handing off leadership into smaller groups. Do you worry about a loss of control and uneven quality?

No. This is how real movements of God start. Bigness can slow you down. There's nothing wrong with bigness, by the way. I've seen beautiful whales in the ocean, man. I've seen them dance and splash in the water. Those are miraculous moments. They're magnificent creatures. But the truth is there aren't a lot of whales. But there are millions maybe billions of minnows. I like both big and small. But assuming big is better can hurt us, especially if we consider cultures, cities, and God's focus on the weak and the fringe of culture.

I don't think bigness is going to fit most people or most cultural contexts where the church needs to grow.

Does this imply a new level of trust in God, rather than in systems that can scale predictably?

I meet a lot of pastors, and many of them see pastoring like a job—they're just tending the machinery nine-to-five. I think the next movement has to shift toward saying, "I'm willing to sacrifice my pastoral job and be bi-vocational … do whatever it takes."

The truth is that it's harder to make a living with a mid-sized, organic model. So if you really believe in this, embrace the fact you're going to have to support yourself with another job. I've started doing that myself. I'm a partner in several outside ventures—a commodity trading firm, a nonprofit called Xealot, a Web startup called I don't have to be a pastor to support my family. In fact, I'm a better pastor because I have other occupations. My jobs change; my calling remains the same.

We've been asking, "Is our gospel too small?" It sounds like you've been rethinking what counts as big and small.

I love the church. It's God's vehicle for transformation. But I don't want the church to become so centralized that it can't reproduce, can't adopt multiple forms. And that works better when you're small, when you're on the verge, on the edge. Small is the new big. Big isn't bad, but it's overrated.

If the core of the gospel means truly loving God and our neighbor, then individual churches may not get big. But the church will be more enduring and virile than ever.

When the world, especially the up and coming generations, see the church willing to forego size and instead loving people who are not like us, treating them as neighbors, it's a thing of beauty. And it's irresistible.

Copyright © 2008 by the author or Christianity Today International/Leadership Journal.
Joining the Green Revolution | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders

September 16, 2008

Joining the Green Revolution

Rethinking our stewardship of the church's space and staff.

by Dave Gibbons

We are witnessing what some are calling the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. The McKinsey Global Institute has shown how assets are moving primarily from Europe and America to the oil countries of the Middle East and the manufacturing giants of Asia.


At the end of 2007, these oil producing countries owned about 4.6 trillion dollars of assets. That’s about 1.6 times the whole economy of the UK. The six Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are receiving 1.5 billion dollars a day. Those are pretty staggering numbers.

Our “dangerous dependence on foreign oil” and the transfer of wealth it is producing, is moving both political parties to emphasize a new green agenda. This includes new technologies, further exploration into alternative energy, clean energy, drilling off-shore, and conservation.

As we consider conserving energy resources for environmental and economic reasons, maybe we should reconsider how we steward our resources in the church.

Around the country, there is growing concern with diminishing giving because of the state of our economy. People are giving less because they are earning less, and because they’re having to pay more for things like gas. But this trend may prove to be good in the long run, especially if it teaches us to better manage church resources.

The largest expenses for most churches are facilities and staff. First, let’s consider the stewardship of our space. Is it really the best to buy as much land as possible and erect large buildings, when the same dollars could be better deployed in other initiatives that prove more impactful? How much of our space is actually utilized during a given week? In expensive urban centers, every square foot comes at a very high purchase price, and we can’t forget about the cost of furnishing and maintaining the space.

I’m not saying buildings are bad, but are we being good stewards? I asked our director of operations who helped build three of the largest church facilities in America, to assess our space usage. I discovered that we use our facilities about 30 percent of the month—mostly on weekends. So how much were we spending for facility space that we didn’t use? Around $60,000 a month; $720,000 a year! In ten years that’s over $10 million dollars!

How about staffing? As culture moves from a hierarchical model to a more flat, open, or wiki model, how should we staff? When I looked more closely at our budget, I realized that over 55% of our budget was staff related. While our staff is amazing, it had unintentionally created a bottleneck in our mission—it impeded the development of our people because we were “staff-driven.”

Our first instinct to address needs in the church tends to be hiring professionals. The economy is going to force us to re-examine that practice. Look at a church website. How many of the leaders listed there are lay people? How many unpaid people function as pastors/leaders in the congregation? Am I saying we should do away with pastors? Of course not. But we must see the congregation as the leading edge of the church and redefine our pastoral role to support and resource them. The movers and shakers should be in the congregation, not the professional staff. We serve, support, and at times lead—but we lead in the way Paul defined it…equipping our people to do the work of the ministry.

Can you imagine what would happen if the bulk of our resources focused on the development of our people rather than on staff and facilities? Can you imagine the impact that would have on our mission? It might just result in the greatest transfer of wealth in church history.

Exciting news to share! :

Exciting news to share!

September 28, 2008 · Filed Under Uncategorized 

We are busy planning for our upcoming “Go Conference” and we are extremely excited about what God is going to do during that weekend. Last week we received word of a change that we needed to make in our schedule. Bob Roberts is going to, unfortunately, miss our conference. We are in the process of rescheduling him to come and speak with us next year. Bob has worked with us, however, to connect us with the speaker that we are excited to announce as our new keynote speaker. Dave Gibbons is the Pastor of NewSong Church in Irvine, CA. Dave is an incredible young leader who started NewSong in 1994. NewSong has grown rapidly and is now a multi-campus church with campuses in California, Texas, Mexico City and Bangkok.

Dave has contributed to books like Unchristian and is about to see his first book, The Monkey and the Fish, released through Zondervan. Dave has a passion for seeing communities transformed through the Gospel. Dave also has a passion for the poor which is seen not only in his leadership at NewSong, but also through his service on the board of directors for Worldvision.

Although I’m dissapointed that Bob Roberts can’t be with us, I am absolutely excited about hosting Dave with us next month! If you aren’t already planning to be with us, you need to take advantage of having a free conference with men like Dave Gibbons and Jerry Rankin leading us as we think through God’s calling to be living His mission in our communities and around the world. 

Below is a video that highlights Dave’s passion in his church. I hope it blesses you!

Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry(一) : China Aid

Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry

Dr. Chloe Sun
Gospel Herald Contributor
Tue, Sep, 02 2008 05:37 AM PT

Looking back at my journey as a Chinese woman in ministry, I can summarize it in one word: challenging. So, I entitle this presentation “Against Overwhelming Odds: Chinese Women in Ministry.” I will be speaking primarily from my own personal experience, but I hope my experience will serve as a mirror reflecting other Chinese and Asian American women’s experience in ministry.

Gospel Herald

Dr. Chloe Sun
Cultural Identity

Let me start by sharing my social location and the struggles that I face as a Chinese woman, both in academia and at church. I am an ethnic Chinese. But since my grandmother is half Vietnamese and half Chinese and my parents were both born and raised in Vietnam, I have some Vietnamese heritage, although I’ve never been to Vietnam nor speak the language. I lived in both China and Hong Kong before I came to the U.S. and I am fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. So, the term “Chinese” itself encompasses a diverse background.

Because of this diversity, I struggle with my cultural identity. I am no longer a first generation immigrant because I have embraced the American way of life, but I am not quite an American because the Americans always see me as a “Chinese girl.” Within the Chinese context, I am closer to the second generation culture yet not totally belonging to that culture. I am always in the state of “in-between-ness” wherever I go, but I am not a 1.5. I think the acculturation process depends on many factors and not just the age we come to the U.S.

It’s been a struggle to teach at a first generation setting during the week and minister to the second generation at church on weekends. On Sundays, I worship God with contemporary music and on Monday mornings, I sing traditional hymns at our prayer meeting at the seminary. I am shifting cultural gear every week, going back and forth, not feeling like I totally belong to either the first or the second generation culture. Although I can read and write in Chinese and English, neither of them is perfect. This state of “in-between-ness” has been disconcerting.

Ministry Identity

I received the call to ministry during my sophomore year in college, so, I went straight to seminary right after college to pursue an M.Div. In several classes, I was the only Chinese woman. However, when I was single, there seemed to be plenty ministry opportunities. I could serve at a local Chinese church as a woman minister (of course that depended on many factors), or work in a para-church ministry on campus, or as a missionary overseas. But then after I got married to another seminarian, things became different. I was no longer perceived as a minister in my own right, but as a spouse of a seminarian and later as a pastor’s wife. I remember when my husband and I were at Dallas Theological Seminary, whenever we visited different churches, people always paid attention to him, asking him, “what year are you in seminary?” “Have you worked with the youth?” And they simply ignored my presence.

The idea of pursuing a Ph.D. arose not only because of my interest in theological education, but also because of the dilemma I was facing: If I wanted to retain my own ministry identity, then I needed to have a different ministry than my husband’s. If I wanted to stay with my husband at one church, then I would become a buy-one-get-one-free pastor’s wife, since it is very rare for a Chinese church to be willing to have both husband and wife on staff, paying two salaries. Pursuing a Ph.D. seemed like the best possible option to have my own ministry and to stay at the same church with my husband. Another drawback of marrying someone who is also in ministry is that the wife tends to follow the geographical location of her husband’s ministry and not the other way around whereas a single woman can go anywhere she wants.

Not all Chinese women who are called to ministry are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., considering the time it takes, the cost it involves and the turmoil it brings. Some of my married Chinese woman students who graduated with an M.Div. who felt called to their own ministries, ended up serving alongside their husbands as spouses only and taking care of kids at home. Some still cannot find a ministry position at Chinese churches after years of graduation. Some are doing clerical work at Christian organizations. The ministry paths for Chinese women are very limited.

In general, Chinese churches prefer hiring male pastors. Many denominations such as Southern Baptist and Chinese Missionary Alliance still hold conservative views about the roles of women in ministry. Even though my own denomination (EFC) supports women in ministry and approves of women’s ordination (we even have a few women who function as senior pastors), the reservation for women as pastors still persists among pastors and church members. The lack of positions at church open to Chinese women is disempowering.

The lack of support for women as pastors can come not only from the church but also from parents. My parents never approve of my seminary education or my ministry at church. In fact, it wasn’t until I started teaching as a professor that my dad told me “finally, you are more ‘normal.’”

Race/Gender/Age Issues

Ministry and theological education are largely male-dominated. When I was at American seminaries, both my race and my gender stood out because there weren’t many Chinese women around. Naturally, finding role models was difficult as well, which often resulted in loneliness. At the American seminaries (excluding DTS), race is more of an issue then gender. People always asked me where I came from. Some minority students were treated differently from the white students. At the Chinese seminary, gender seems more of an issue than race.

In regard to gender, most of my male colleagues keep a friendly distance from me – reminding me of my “potential danger” to men as a woman. In terms of temperament, as a Chinese woman, if I were tough and outspoken, I would be perceived as a roaring, defensive “lioness.” If I remained silent and gentle, I would be considered a “cute little lamb” but would have less credibility to influence. I am yet to find a Chinese woman in ministry who has the toughness of a lioness and the softness of a lamb.

Age is another issue. Grey hair is still a symbol of wisdom in the Chinese culture. When an older Chinese pastor or professor speaks, he seems to gain instant respect. But for a younger female, I have to make extra effort to earn my respect. In Chinese culture as in most Asian cultures, it seems “safer” to be an older woman in ministry. One of the Chinese pastors once told me, “If I want to hire a woman on staff, I will hire an older woman so no one would say anything.” It is also “safer” for Chinese women to serve as a children’s director or a Christian Education director as opposed to senior pastor. But then not all women have the calling or gifts to work with children or youth. Again, the ministry path for Chinese women is very limited.

Balancing between Ministry and Family

Another struggle that I face as a Chinese woman in ministry is the juggling between multiple roles, particularly between family and ministry. I think this is true for most working women. When Tim Tseng asked me to be on the panel tonight, the first thought that came to mind was “I need to find child care for my son. I need to check with my husband’s schedule and with my in-law’s schedule.” Only then could I consider the possibility of accepting this engagement. And there is always a guilty feeling whenever I leave my child to another care-taker. Men can have both family and ministry at the same time, but it is often difficult for most women in ministry.

For single women in ministry, many of my Chinese women students are in their 40s and still single. What are the chances for them to be married? Very few Chinese men would want to marry women in ministry, especially when these women are over 40.

Physical limitation is another issue. Pregnancy, taking care of young children, menopause and decreasing energy level affect our effectiveness during certain seasons of our ministry experience.


To conclude, as Chinese women in ministry, the odds are against us – from outside factors and from within.

Regarding outside factors, Paul’s statements that women should not preach or women should not have authority over men are still etched deeply into the minds of Chinese Christians. The predominant preference for male pastors, the judgmental attitude from those who hold conservative view against women in ministry, the lack of ministry opportunities for Chinese women at church, the lack of role models, the lack of parental support, all contribute to the odds from outside.

From within, our own struggles with cultural and ministry identities, with multiple roles, with balancing between family and ministry, between being a “lioness” and a “lamb,” our physical limitations and the sense of loneliness that we are on our own all add to the challenge as Chinese women in ministry.

I can’t help but ask God, “Why are you calling us, the marginalized of the marginalized, into ministry?” I think God is doing something unconventional by calling Chinese women into ministry against the cultural norms and traditional expectations. Perhaps God is challenging all of us to break our own stereotypes for Chinese women in ministry and to seek for a better alternative to welcome and to support them for the common good.


Professor Chloe Sun teaches Old Testament at Logos Evangelical Seminary in Southern California. She was a panelist during ISAAC’s Summer Immersion Program 2007 visit to the contemporary Chinese Christian context.

The idea of pursuing a Ph.D. arose not only because of my interest in theological education, but also because of the dilemma I was facing: If I wanted to retain my own ministry identity, then I needed to have a different ministry than my husband’s. If I wanted to stay with my husband at one church, then I would become a buy-one-get-one-free pastor’s wife, since it is very rare for a Chinese church to be willing to have both husband and wife on staff, paying two salaries. Pursuing a Ph.D. seemed like the best possible option to have my own ministry and to stay at the same church with my husband. Another drawback of marrying someone who is also in ministry is that the wife tends to follow the geographical location of her husband’s ministry and not the other way around whereas a single woman can go anywhere she wants.

Gospel Herald

Dr. Chloe Sun
Not all Chinese women who are called to ministry are interested in pursuing a Ph.D., considering the time it takes, the cost it involves and the turmoil it brings. Some of my married Chinese woman students who graduated with an M.Div. who felt called to their own ministries, ended up serving alongside their husbands as spouses only and taking care of kids at home. Some still cannot find a ministry position at Chinese churches after years of graduation. Some are doing clerical work at Christian organizations. The ministry paths for Chinese women are very limited.

In general, Chinese churches prefer hiring male pastors. Many denominations such as Southern Baptist and Chinese Missionary Alliance still hold conservative views about the roles of women in ministry. Even though my own denomination (EFC) supports women in ministry and approves of women’s ordination (we even have a few women who function as senior pastors), the reservation for women as pastors still persists among pastors and church members. The lack of positions at church open to Chinese women is disempowering.

The lack of support for women as pastors can come not only from the church but also from parents. My parents never approve of my seminary education or my ministry at church. In fact, it wasn’t until I started teaching as a professor that my dad told me “finally, you are more ‘normal.’”

Race/Gender/Age Issues

Ministry and theological education are largely male-dominated. When I was at American seminaries, both my race and my gender stood out because there weren’t many Chinese women around. Naturally, finding role models was difficult as well, which often resulted in loneliness. At the American seminaries (excluding DTS), race is more of an issue then gender. People always asked me where I came from. Some minority students were treated differently from the white students. At the Chinese seminary, gender seems more of an issue than race.

Revival or Ghetto Brazilian Christianity in London: Stromberg

huge population movements and migration of people that have upset all religious practices, especially that of protector of space, both geographic and cultural.”1

differentiates between multiethnic churches and multicultural churches “Multicultural community implies a sharing of visions, of hopes for the future; too often, in their experience, there is a variety of cultures without any trace of togetherness.”2

“Koreans are among the newer residents in central and western Europe. In establishing churches in Europe, they have re-created the diversity of denominations from Korea. The primary purpose of the consultation was to build bridges between the different Korean church groups in Europe”3

“There was the painful recognition that language operates as a mechanism of exclusion. For example, to refer to immigrants as foreigners, or even as guests, does not suggest the family relationship of Christian brothers and sisters. An emphasis upon hospitality by local parishes replaces the challenge of an ecumenical sharing of resources or common mission.”4

“Korean churches, whose mission focus has been largely on pastoral care and spiritual life in the local congregation, were challenged to strengthen their common witness as Korean congregations, their cooperation with European churches, and their solidarity with minorities in Europe. They need to face all this in the midst of the diaspora experience itself, including the identity questions of the second generation!”5

“these new churches and congregations are not really on the agenda of the mainstream churches, which in some situations may not even be aware of them.”6

“The context of Western secularization and postmodernism of the historic indigenous churches contrasts with the context of many migrant churches that emphasize the reality of transcendental experience. When migrant churches express their call to mission as "bringing back the gospel," they misunderstand the secularized postmodern context in which they are heard and thus are often not taken seriously. Another area that reveals the contrasting contexts and the need for dialogue between historical and immigrant churches is that of health, healing, and wholeness. To what extent can the Western debate about an integral concept of health and healing be challenged and enriched by an African understanding of healing?”7

1JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 45.

2JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 46.

3JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 47.

4JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 47.

5JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 47.

6JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 48.

7JS Stromberg, Responding to the Challenge of Migration: Churches within the Fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC)” Missiology 31:1 (2003)4550, 48.

It's Primetime in Iran | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

If there is a budding missional community of Muslim-background believers in America, it is the Iranians. These believers' passion is to reach Muslims worldwide, and they are being energized not by the now-grown children of the Islamic Revolution, but by their bicultural kids longing to discover their Persian roots.

On Sunday mornings in the church's bright sanctuary in Sunnyvale, California, 200 smartly dressed adults worship with traditional tambourines in their native Farsi language. Down the hall, a rhythmic Persian beat fades into David Crowder rock lyrics through a door diminutively marked English Worship Center. Gathered in the dimly lit room are 50 young people with spiked hair and stonewashed jeans.

This house-church plant evolved several years ago when ICC's original youth group began growing their own families and careers. "They weren't comfortable in their parents' Farsi culture," Shariat said. "But they didn't fit into purely American churches either. We were losing them."

His own daughter, Hanniel, announced at age 18 that she was leaving the church her father had painstakingly planted because it was "too Iranian." After two years of self-discovery in American megachurches, a curious thing happened: Hanniel wanted to know her Persian story. She recognized her calling to Iranian ministry, starting with a cliquish youth group that brushed off "FOBs"—those "fresh off the boat" Iranians who emulated their American lingo and style.

"We didn't like the Iranian in ourselves, so we wrote it off in others," recalls Hanniel, now 23. "But we have realized that it's important for us to be who we are."

Hanniel and others convinced leadership to recast the vision for an English service that seemed "too American." They began reaching out to both newcomer immigrants and the main church body—which they are being groomed to replace.

"We know that first-generation churches don't last long," Shariat says.

The two cultures collide in a sanctuary corner, the only available space for the colorfully chic set of a new Farsi children's show directed by Hanniel (which even VeggieTales writers have toured). Last year, several 20-something producers aired the first original Farsi Christian hip-hop video. For now, it's their parents' Farsi-language service that's beamed live via satellite into Iran. But it's the younger generation that's at the helm of the TV ministry. The studio is their portal into a homeland they long to visit. The daily call-in shows relay the stories of peers in Iran, where 75 percent of house-church leaders are 25 or younger. The popular Tuesday program Home Church models a living-room fellowship for Iran's underground audience.

It's Primetime in Iran | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | S Korean churches question mission
S Korean churches question mission
More than three weeks ago, a group of Korean Christians were kidnapped in Afghanistan. The BBC's Daniel Griffiths found out how the news had affected their church congregation back in Seoul.

South Koreans pray for the hostages at a church in Seoul - 12/08/07
About a quarter of South Korea's population is now Christian
At Saemmul church in South Korea they are praying for a miracle.

The hostages kidnapped by the Taleban in Afghanistan last month were all regular worshippers here, in this anonymous office block in the suburbs of the capital, Seoul.

Now their friends and fellow believers find themselves at the centre of a hostage crisis.

So far two of the South Koreans have been killed, and two released. A South Korean government delegation is negotiating with the Taleban about the fate of the remaining hostages.

The kidnappings have sparked a debate about the rights and wrongs of Christian charity workers going to danger zones like Afghanistan.

Difficult time

The evening service is at 8pm. A few hundred people have come to worship, and the sound of singing can be heard throughout the building.

"It's a very sad situation and I hope that the hostages will return home safely," says one man attending the service. "I hope the Taleban will have sympathy and release them."

We are very sorry for the whole nation to be in this situation, but some of the criticisms of us have been too harsh and unfair
Bang Young-kyun, Saemmul church minister

Many other worshippers are reluctant to talk to the media.

News organisations have been camped out here since the crisis began.

Their satellite trucks are parked in front of the church, and journalists and camera crews mill around the building. A media centre has been set up in the basement.

The story has become a national obsession here in South Korea.

Among the public there is sympathy for the hostages and their friends and families.

19 July: 23 South Korean Christian aid workers seized on bus in Ghazni province
26 July: Body of hostage Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu is found
31 July: Second hostage Shim Sung-min, 29, found shot dead
13 August: Two hostages freed

But many are also asking why members of Saemmul church went to Afghanistan, ignoring the official warnings about threats to their safety.

There has been strong criticism in some sections of the media and online, with many claiming that the hostages were inexperienced and should have listened to government advice.

The minister of Saemmul church, Bang Young-kyun, says his parishioners are hurt by the public outcry.

"Everyone here is devastated, but we are still not giving up hope," he says.

"We are praying that the situation will not end in tragedy. We are very sorry for the whole nation to be in this situation, but some of the criticisms of us have been too harsh and unfair."

The relatives of the two hostages who have now been released have apologised for the ordeal, but at the same they said they would continue to help the families of those still held captive.

Soul searching

The row over the hostages has led to much debate in the Christian community about the rights and wrongs of church members working overseas.

"At this point, we should reflect on where we are, and reconsider where we are heading to in our missionary work," a former senior South Korean church official, Reverend Park Jong-soon, said recently.

Relatives of the hostages wait for news in Sungnam, south of Seoul - 12/08/07
Hostages' relatives have been praying for weeks for good news

At the end of 2006, it was thought South Korea had as many as 16,000 Christian charity workers abroad. They are mostly professionals, and more than half of them are in Asian countries.

They are part of a growing trend in South Korea.

The nation's traditional faith is Buddhism, but more and more people are turning to Christianity. It is thought that Christians now make up a quarter of South Korea's 49 million people.

Overseas charity work is a big part of their mission. Other churches here still have workers in Afghanistan, although they are reluctant to talk to the media about it.

Some Koreans claim that the work of these churches overseas is something which has long been a matter of discussion.

"Even before this incident, debate was under way whether we should be more cautious," Pastor Park Seung-cheol, a spokesman for the Korean Council of Churches, told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

That debate is only going to grow in the light of the current hostage crisis.

Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) - HERI Home
Asian American Leadership Development: Examining the Impact of Collegiate Environments and Personal Goals
Gideon Tsang | The Story of A Girl

Gideon Tsang

Posted by Girl in Wednesday, September 17th 2008   under: God, Life, blog, lessons, understanding       

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I went on a young adult retreat for Watermark Community Church of Dallas.  It was held at Pine Cove Camp in Tyler, Texas.  I usually don’t do camping, or more I haven’t in a long time…but besides the mosquitoes, it was really a wonderful event that I’m so glad I went on. Having my best friend their though to listen when I complained about bugs, was priceless and probably the only way I managed to make it through that first night. She actually switched bunk beds with  me because I was freaking out over the bugs by my bed! That’s a real friend for ya.  She said they don’t bother her, but how could a bug not bother you? lol  She is just an amazing example of self-sacrifice all the time though.  I doubt I would of stayed through the first night without her.  And the other part that made it great, was how much God was working all around us.

They had a main speaker come to lead the group and he was awesome! His name is Gideon Tsang, and I found his church’s podcast the next day when I got home and downloaded them all….I just uploaded them below here, so you can listen to them for free if you’d like. They are all great. He has a way of telling bible stories and making them come alive. His church, Vox Veniae, is located in Austin, Texas and I will visit next time I’m down there.I never got a chance to speak with him or thank him for how his words impacted my life alone, because he was always surrounded by so many people.  I will next time I visit Austin. One line of his lines is now my favorite phrase to quote…

He told how his professor in Seminary once said to him, after he had given a horrible sermon for class,  that “Gideon if the Lord can speak through Balaam’s ass, he can speak through you.”  I just love that quote!  He’s referring to Numbers 22:23, when Balaam’s Donkey speaks to Ballaam.  I will use it now whenever someone says (or I say) “I feel like I just can’t do the word’s justice” or refer someone else to read the scripture in a group setting. I think it’s just a great line!  And if I were a teacher of any Sunday school class or group like it, with kids afraid to speak in public, I’d use this story as an example !

Nevius Plan for the Early Korean Church « Donald Kim: “Life’s a Blur.”

Nevius Plan for the Early Korean Church

Posted by donaldkim under Church, History, Korea

The autonomy of the Korean church is partly the result of conscious missionary policies. For example, at the turn of the century the Presbyterians, who comprised the largest missionary body, adopted a program to foster self-propagation, self-government and self-support. This was the Nevius plan, named for John L. Nevius, the Presbyterian China missionary who devised it. It opened unheard-of opportunities for common people, women and men, to enjoy social and educational advancement through participation in the church. It spurred modernization through literacy programs and leadership training. It also emphasized rigid adherence to doctrine and strict rules for Christian behavior, which led to much hair-splitting later on.

–Donald Clark, Christianity in Modern Korea.

The Davidian Watcher: North California Korean Churches Dispatched A Statment Against Davidian

Decision to Hold back Relationship with Christianity Daily Until the Suspicion is Dissolved

Northern California Korean Churches Association (8 Associations) held its monthly meeting at Canyon Creek Korean Church on August 11th and consequently the members have agreed to the following position on the matter.

1. Until all the suspicion about Christianity Daily is clearly dissolved, we will temporarily hold back support to Christianity Daily, and the Northern California Korean Churches Association will conduct it own investigation in the matter. This decision was made in consideration of the press conference held in Los Angeles on July 17th by Rev. Dr. Thomas Wang (王永信), a speaker at upcoming 2008 Northern California Mission Conference to be held from August 28th to 31st, where Dr. Wang made a statement about strong theological suspicion he has on Christianity Daily’s founder and where Dr. Wang sent a warning to other church leaders. Our decision was also based on the findings of the Independent Enquiry Committee of Hong Kong and the fact that the Heretical Inquiry Consultation Committee members of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK) are currently conducting their own investigation in the matter.

2. Northern California Korean Churches Association (8 Associations) hereby affirms that we will proceed with our comprehensive research to protect the evangelical faith of all the member Associations, member churches and individual members within our organization; and to assist them in maintaining the righteous and sensible Christian life.

3. In addition, we would like to ask each church and members to accept those brothers and sisters with warmth if they truly repent and return to us from any suspicious organizations, and to assist those brethren to settle well within our established churches.

August 20, 2008

San Francisco Peninsula Korean Church Federation
San Jose Korean Church Association
Solano Korean Church Association
Association of Churches in Contra Costa County
Sacramento Korean Church Association
East Bay Korean Church Association
North Bay Korean Church Association
Monterey Korean Church Association

President: Rev. SHIN, TAE HWAN

Original source: Korean CBS News

N.B. Christianity Daily is a David Jang's media, together with Christianpost, Christiantoday, and The Gospel Herald.
CCCOWE Senior Conference to Convene in Thailand | Christian News Online
CCCOWE Senior Conference to Convene in Thailand
Joshua Cheung
Gospel Herald Reporter
Thu, Sep, 04 2008 10:00 AM PT

With little or no improvements to Thailand’s political situation and the state of emergency in Bangkok continuing into the third day, Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism declared that the World Chinese Senior Ministry’s Conference will proceed to begin in Thailand on Sept. 9.

According to the news release from CCCOWE on Sept. 4, the preparation staffs of the World Chinese Senior Ministry’s Conference were deeply concerned about Thailand’s situation. After much prayer and waiting, and inquiries to local pastors and ministers in Thailand, the chairman of the conference and his wife insisted to scout the situation in Bangkok. After arriving on Sept. 3 in Bangkok airport, they’ve choose the same route that the participants will take to arrive at the conference center and were able to arrive safely at the Pattaya Hotel.

Upon arrival at the meeting place, the chairman and his wife immediately contacted the responsible coworkers and church pastors for a preparation meeting to understand about the local situation. The local coworkers expressed that the anti-government demonstrators are not terrorists and do not carry any weapons, and the setting where the demonstrations and protest are taking place is a long-distance away from the conference site. Also, the city is calm as usual. After much consideration and prayers, they've announced to continue the original plan in holding the conference.

On one hand, the preparation committee stated that even though they have received inquiries from the participants about procedures of withdrawing from the conference; on the other hand, they have also received numerous registration forms from senior servants of God, insisting to participate in the conference. Their support of the conference deeply touched the preparation committee staffs.

The conference chairman and the volunteer executive director issued a joint public letter to the participants of the World Chinese Senior’s Ministry Conference, announcing that the conference will be held as scheduled, urging them to pray to God in search of His will, checking to see if they have the peace from God, and holding on to this opportunity to receive blessing at the conference.

Racial imbalances persist in many public schools, however, as a result of residential patterns and the concentration of minorities in urban areas. An ongoing study by Harvard University has found that racial segregation has increased in a number of states with high minority populations, affecting many poorer Hispanic students as well as African Americans. By contrast, Asian Americans are the minority group most likely to attend racially mixed schools.

God vs. Country

When Chinese scholars arrive at Cal, Christian ministers help them get settled. But church involvement may set the visitors up for trouble back home.

By Lygia Navarro

Printer-friendly version | Send a letter | E-mail story
June 27, 2007

On a clear spring evening in Berkeley, Ying, a former atheist, goes to church. Inside the building's fluorescent-lit dining room, she sets out folding chairs for a dinner that will precede the evening's Bible study. Not quite five feet tall and carrying herself with a mixture of nervous reserve and childlike joy, she pauses from chatting with friends in Mandarin to whisper conspiratorially: This friend is a new believer, too, Ying says in her soft, self-conscious English; that girl doesn't believe at all, but she comes to learn about the Bible anyway.

"Christianity provides a lot of comfort when there's very rapid and confusing changes going on."
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Eight months ago when Ying stepped off the plane — the shy 37-year-old professor's first time outside of China — Pastor Wilson Wong of Berkeley's nondenominational Chinese for Christ Church was waiting, eyes peeled for the face he'd seen in Ying's e-mailed photo. The middle-aged pastor and his wife, Susan, took her home with them for three days, fed her, and helped her find housing in between outings to church. Now, every Friday after work at UC Berkeley, Ying attends a fellowship for students and scholars from China, most of whom were brought up as atheists, too.

As the fellowship members trickle in, Susan gives out mother-hen hugs, occasionally chiding a student for missing several weeks. Wong makes the rounds like a busy politician, the scholars and students demure and respectful in his presence. Ying was won over, she says, by the Christians' Jesuslike generosity: the airport pickup, the housing help, the rides to the grocery store, weekend trips, and loans of furniture. She says she doesn't know how she would have adjusted to life in America without them. Yet at the beginning, following the ingrained Chinese code of social conduct, Ying went to church only out of obligation.

"Relationships between [Chinese] people are sometimes very complicated," she says, her spectacled face framed by shoulder-length black hair. "I just think that if they want me to do anything, I should do it. They didn't ask us to do anything difficult — just go to church."

Actually, with her husband and daughter remaining in China during her year-long research stint, Ying's free time is packed with religious activities: Christian lessons and church service on Sundays, occasional special events with another group of Christian academics on Saturday nights, and Bible study on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday evenings.

She's excited to talk about her newfound passion, but also cautious. After our first interview, Ying sent a worried e-mail. She'd spoken to her family and best friend in China, she wrote, and they all said the same thing: She shouldn't allow her real name to be printed. The truly pious are few at the fellowship, and potential dangers await new Christians at the hands of the Chinese government, which sponsors most of the visiting scholars.

<a href='' target='_blank'><img src=';what=zone%3A74' border='0' alt=''></a>

The church missionary leaders are aware of the dangers. They also know they are up against decades of Communist Party propaganda. Watching the recruits pile paper plates high with second helpings of home-cooked dishes — stir-fried noodles, meatballs, sautéed bok choy — it's clear that the free buffet and chance to socialize are as much a pull as the Bible study, if not more. The church knows it, too. In fact, it's part of the plan.

This friendly indoctrination has become increasingly prevalent on university campuses across the nation, as Chinese-speaking missionaries seek converts among the 66,500 graduate students and scholars visiting from China each year. The missionaries, often from Taiwan or Hong Kong, are armed with the cultural know-how to tailor messages to people like Ying. Even English-speaking missionary groups maintain Web sites with tips on how to approach Chinese intellectuals without scaring them off.

Working with scholars has a huge payoff if they submit to conversion, says Benjamin Yi, who ministers to Chinese students and visiting scholars at Pastor Wong's church. "The potential is mind-boggling!" exclaims China Outreach Ministries, a Pennsylvania-based outfit targeting Chinese intellectuals, in a statement on its Web site. "Key Chinese thinkers are coming to faith and impacting the largest nation in the world for Christ! And they are returning to China and making a difference!"

Historically, missionaries wanting to export Christianity to China have focused on Chinese graduate students, but most postgrads now prefer to stay in the United States rather than return to China, as was common in the 1990s. At the same time, a rising number of academics such as Ying are arriving for temporary research stays: During the 2005-06 school year, Chinese universities, localities, and the central government sent more than nineteen thousand visiting scholars to the United States, a 27 percent increase from two years earlier. "They can take the gospel to China," says Zhang Ping, leader of an Albany fellowship similar to that of Chinese for Christ. "They become the seeds to spread the gospel."

Recognizing the shift, the missionaries are updating their tactics. Zhang is eager to take advantage of the opening he sensed during a recent visit to China, where Christian leaders and the international press report that church attendance is up and government interference down. He is part of an organization of more than one hundred North American campus missionaries that meet annually to strategize how to convert visiting scholars. He recently moved into an apartment adjacent to UC Berkeley's student-family housing to be closer to his target audience, whom he's convinced crave spiritual teaching. "Since they grew up in an atheist country, they feel very open and excited when they hear the Gospel," Zhang says.

Yet, as scholars from across the spectrum of Berkeley's research departments detailed in interviews, the battle to save Chinese scholars' souls is not so easily won. And not everyone wants to be saved.

Following dinner and a round of gospel pop ballads, it's time for Bible study at Chinese for Christ. The "believers," baptized grad students who've been in the United States for years, go to another room for discussion in Mandarin with Pastor Wong, and the "seekers" stay behind. Tonight, just four seekers gather for a lesson on the Ten Commandments.

Leading them is James, an American Christian working with the group in preparation for missionary service in mainland China. He asked that his surname not be printed, given Beijing's disapproval of Christianity. "I don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot before we even get there," he says. (Indeed, none of the Chinese students or scholars interviewed would allow their real names to be printed for fear of persecution. Their fields also were withheld to protect their identities.)

Susan, the pastor's wife, passes out used Bibles, but Ying has brought her own: a brand-new bilingual version encased in a blue-and-white-plaid zippered cover, with tidy notes in the margins in red pen. "So we're in the second book of the Bible, Exodus, chapter 20," James calls out in English. The room fills with the sound of rustling paper as students flip the pages. It takes a while: The students are confused between the Old and New Testaments, and have to translate the chapter names from Chinese to English as they search. Once they all locate the verse, each reads a line aloud.

At Ying's turn, her voice is hesitant. "You shall not make for yourself an idol," she reads haltingly. "Okay," James says, the scratch of a black dry-erase pen filling the silence as he writes on a board. "Have no other gods. Any thoughts or questions on that?" Ying sits next to her friend Xuan, another newly devoted visiting scholar. Heads down, the two reread the verse to themselves in Chinese, their lips moving noiselessly.

James' flock is timid, but clearly intrigued, and the discussion putters into gear. Given their almost complete lack of religious knowledge, the atmosphere is part ESL class, part children's Sunday school session. Working with people from mainland China is vastly different than other groups, James says: "It does feel more like I'm starting from scratch."

There's a subtle cultural exchange at play here, a mutual advantage-taking by the church and the scholars. James works to ensure that students fully understand the Bible's lessons, using Susan for Mandarin backup when he hits a snag. The idea is that this will prepare them to soak up the Christian morals James presents, in language carefully worded to be understandable to every Chinese: Obey, honor, and love God as you would your parents.

But here's the other half of the equation: Many scholars see the Bible as a guidebook of sorts, a way to feel that they've truly experienced American life. "Learning Bible is also learning Western culture," Ying says, "because Western culture has much to do with Bible." At Christian meetings across Berkeley, Chinese scholars confided — often with wry smiles — that it was the cultural lessons that drew them, and that they would never become Christians themselves.

Not Ying. She's a true believer, she stresses. Yet given the exhaustive training in analytical thinking common among intellectuals in some censorious regimes, she still has theological doubts. She suspects church leaders don't know what to do with her questions. Earlier in the day, sitting in the sun on the Berkeley campus, she recounted her main philosophical gripes: How can some people be poor while others are rich? Is there really a heaven, and why does hell exist? Usually the Christian leaders don't fully address her concerns, Ying complains. They urge her to believe and promise that clarification will come later.

Tonight's Bible study is no different. "What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments?" James asks after reviewing murder, blasphemy, and adultery. "To be good," Ying says softly, "to have peace in heart." James challenges that it isn't that easy: Could any one of them, he asks, go a week without breaking a single commandment? A long silence follows. "We have sin," Ying says when James asks what lesson is to be learned from this. Ying's friend Xuan murmurs in agreement. "What's that supposed to teach us?" James presses. "That we're failures?"

"We cannot reach God's requirements," volleys back Xuan, who is a near-believer, but not entirely convinced. "I think even if we ask God help, we cannot meet the requirements of the Ten Commandments. Nobody can." James subtly dismisses her idea — once they have Jesus in their life, they will have help, he says, then adds: "That's something for another Bible study."

Ying has doubts. "I feel people are just always selfish, even in heaven," she says, laughing uncomfortably at her own boldness. "I think the Communist Party is just a target, a goal," she says, echoing a common complaint about the difficulty of advancement in Chinese society. "I just think heaven is like that — can't be reached."

Mention of the Party catches James off guard. Pastor Wong will later tell me the church tries to avoid political criticism, and that Chinese government spies have infiltrated fellowships such as his. Moving along, the American picks up on another student's question of whether people can remember their earlier lives when they are reincarnated. For that James has no easy answer. "Stay tuned," he jokes.

The struggle over Christianity in China began in AD 635, with the arrival of Middle Eastern Nestorian missionaries. Successive waves of Franciscan, Jesuit, Orthodox, and Protestant missionaries came in the following centuries, and were chased off now and again by leaders suspicious of incursions on Chinese sovereignty. After 1949, when the Communists took over, the Party quickly cracked down on Christians, says Carsten Vala, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in political science who researches Chinese Protestants: "The Communist Party organized state associations for Protestants, a separate one for Catholics, and herded the people into these state associations so that they could eventually destroy any sort of religious practice."

The Communists, according to Vala, have always viewed religion as competition. "What the Communist Party fears is people who are very dedicated and believe very strongly in something," he says. "The combination of organization and an ideology can be very explosive. They believe in something so strongly that life and death is not going to be a decision that stops them — because they have a sense that even if they die, there are rewards beyond this life. The Party is very aware that in Chinese history, it's often been spiritual sects that have risen up to overthrow the dynasty or the government in power."

By the 1980s, when Ying was a child, religion had been largely erased from Chinese society. In her rural grade school, teachers taught her to trust only in the certainty of science. At home, however, Ying was confronted with an alternate belief: In the dark of night, her maternal grandmother set out offerings of fruit, fresh-baked buns, candles, and incense, and prayed to Buddha, her ancestors, and an assortment of traditional Chinese spirits.

During the prayers, Ying watched quietly. But in the daylight, Ying teased her grandmother that superstition — a derogatory term in China at the time — made her backward. As Ying grew, her interest in science solidified her distrust of spiritual affairs; she believed in what could be seen and proven.

In Berkeley, missionaries work to massage the scholars' dogged allegiances to science. "In science it's hard to prove something does not exist," says Wong, a trained engineer who tries to convince scholars that it is easier to prove the existence of God than to disprove it. Wong's scholars minister Benjamin Yi, an engineer himself, engages the academics on the topics of physics and scientific precision. "When I talk to them," he says, "I say the universe is unbelievable."

Yi's wife, Meirong Pai, who has studied in seminary, laughs while recounting the initial skepticism of the intellectuals. "In the beginning, they don't believe in Jesus," she says, motioning with her hands as if shutting a Bible. "They think we are so foolish, we worship The Little Red Book."

With grandmothers praying at homemade altars and Christians meeting clandestinely, Beijing never truly succeeded in eliminating religion. By the 1970s, at the end of the Cultural Revolution — Mao Zedong's attempt to crush opposition through forced labor and public humiliation — state authority had largely disintegrated, Vala says.

In a strategic play during the 1980s, the Party liberalized its treatment of Christians, expanding state Christian associations and allowing house churches so long as they registered with the government. The move, Vala says, came from "a desire to bring people into the state-organized realm and out of the shadows, where they can be much more easily monitored, easily surveyed, and pose much less of a threat to the state."

The transition also allowed China to show a more moderate face to the world, he says. Since then, Christianity has grown explosively, although estimates vary widely: Chinese Christians were thought to number between 700,000 and 4 million in 1949. Researchers at East China Normal University estimate there are now forty million Chinese Protestants — Vala says it may be as high as sixty million — while the international Catholic Church puts the number of Chinese Catholics at between twelve million and fifteen million.

All of the missionaries interviewed for this story claim the Chinese are hungry for religion after decades of state-imposed atheism. Some of them, including Zhang and Yi, plan to move to the mainland to preach. "We feel people are very open-minded," Zhang said after his China trip. "We think you have to wait for the correct season to fish. It is fishing season now, and we want to seize this opportunity."

Part of that opportunity, as they see it, has to do with moral decay in the rapidly developing country. "Every person wants to make more money," Ying says. "They lie, they cheat. So some older people want to go back to the 1950s. They were educated to be unselfish, very unselfish."

In her opinion, the Party's attempts at combating corruption and materialism are not enough: "Everyone want to be comfortable," she says. "It's just like the Bible says about that: Everyone has sin, everyone is selfish. They [the Party] think that if people want to be in the Communist Party, they will be unselfish, they will devote themselves to the country. They don't analyze the reason for selfish[ness]. They just give some slogan to call for people to be good."

Political scientist Vala concurs that Chinese upheaval has given the missionaries an opening. "Christianity provides a lot of comfort in a time where there's very rapid and confusing, and sometimes very disruptive, changes going on," he says. "People who look around them, they see a society that's very focused on making money. They see a society that's very focused on advancement and career opportunities. And they also see a government that is rife with corruption. There's the sense that the communist ideology is really bankrupt, and that if you are to look for a way to save China, or a way to have hope for the future of China, then that hope is not going to be found in communist ideology."

Pastor Wong views his role as that of a provocateur to change China's future one soul at a time. "Christianity gives the answer of how to be a more valuable person," he says. "Communism tries to answer that question, but unfortunately it fails badly. China also wants people to have virtues in life, to not have so much corruption. So actually, we are doing something very good for the Chinese government."

Over time, Ying, like her government, has become less suspicious of spirituality. Sitting in a campus cafeteria one afternoon, she details her transformation from atheist to believer. In college back in China in the early 1990s, a friend invited her to the home of his American English teacher, who led students in hymns and Bible study from copied booklets — despite the country's ban on proselytizing by foreigners.

Ying didn't get hooked, but her friend did. He moved to the United States, and during their phone calls tried to get her interested. For years she listened politely — Ying giggles, remembering her annoyance — until she heard of a faith-healing miracle in China that convinced her of a higher power. She began asking her Christian friend about theology. By the time she was invited to UC Berkeley months later, she wanted to know more.

Ying's initial contact with Christians, like that of many Chinese scholars, came via the campus Berkeley Chinese Students and Scholars Association: She e-mailed the association about housing, and was put in touch with Pastor Wong. Church leaders then came on full-force, offering Ying rides to church and calling her if she skipped.

From her first church visit, Ying says she felt moved. She continued attending regularly, although her belief waxed and waned. At one point about six weeks into her stay, disturbing dreams disrupted her belief. "I can't feel there is a God," she says, her voice low despite the empty cafeteria. "I feel people who go to church are nonsense, a waste of time. I want to ask, 'Why do they go to church? Why do they believe?'"

The crisis made Ying stop attending church. One afternoon, Wan Ruolian, Yi's predecessor as minister to visiting scholars at Chinese for Christ, asked Ying to pray with her. Ying says she wanted to say no, "but I think that I should be polite to her. She helps us a lot in our life. If we don't want to go to church, she might invite, invite."

When Wan arrived at Ying's rented Berkeley room, they sat on a mattress. Ying's crisis was caused by her landlords' Buddhist beliefs, she recalls Wan telling her. "She asked God to help me to have a belief, asked God to be with me, stop other spirits to bother me." Within a few days, Ying says, her faith was restored.

Ying defends the fellowship's insistent tactics. At first, church bored her, she says. She wouldn't have gone had the leaders not cajoled her. Now she feels grateful for the pressure because she believes the church truly wanted to help her. Simply telling people about religion isn't wrong, she says — scholars can make up their own minds, and she was never pressured to convert. "It's my personal thing," Ying declares forcefully, pointing to her chest. "If they push, it's bad for us. Some of my friends say if [church leaders] don't push, they like to go. But if they push, they don't want to go."

Not all of her fellow scholars are so open to proselytizing. Ying has friends who attended church just once or twice, and decided to show their gratitude to the Christians by buying them gifts instead. Other scholars say that when they get e-mails from Christians about events, they invent excuses — unless it's an out-of-town day trip — but end up attending church occasionally out of guilt for lying to the Christians, who have been kind.

Others bristle at the hounding. (Again, few wanted their names printed. "A Chinese idiom says, 'Your mouth is shorter if you accept people's food,'" one student wrote in an e-mail. "It means you become silent when you receive help from someone.") Some students and scholars without housing find themselves trapped at the homes of Christians bent on converting them. Others are delivered directly from the airport to religious activities. One student, who asked that only his surname, Zhou, be printed, says missionaries called him for months on end, even after he'd made it clear he wasn't interested.

While the attention may be merely a nuisance for some, others worry about repercussions for being affiliated with Christians should word spread back home — particularly if the scholars are Party members. Despite recent changes, Vala says, China still is not entirely hospitable to religion, especially when the churchgoers have ties overseas. "People could be arrested, held for ransom," he says. "If there is knowledge of an international connection, then local authorities may see this as a moneymaking opportunity. You may have torture."

It's not an entirely abstract threat. Over the last year, the Chinese and foreign press have reported that Chinese authorities beat townspeople attempting to build a church near Hangzhou, raided underground churches, sent house church leaders to reeducation labor camps, arrested Christians for walking too close to the 2008 Beijing Olympic complex — missionary groups have publicized their plans to infiltrate the games — and executed leaders of a Christian sect that the authorities deemed a cult.

Back at Chinese for Christ, Benjamin Yi thinks ahead to the summer, when the next crop of scholars will arrive. A graduate of an all-Chinese seminary in Concord, the Taiwanese minister is new to his scholars-and-students post, which has become higher-profile with the influx of scholars. With short salt-and-pepper hair, Yi, dressed carefully in khakis, striped dress shirt, and a blue windbreaker, is warm and soft-spoken. He and his wife, Meirong, sit for an interview on folding chairs in the church vestibule, where the door's stained glass tints the morning light orange.

Yi gets his list of new scholars' names from Berkeley's Chinese Students and Scholars Association — Wong was cagey when asked about his church's connection with the campus association, as was its president, Peng Li, who refused to discuss anything related to religion.

In any case, Yi says some of the newcomers will be housed with church members until they find apartments. Once they get settled, Yi and others will show them around town, and teach them how to take public transport, open a bank account, and get driver's licenses. "When a new student comes here," he says, referring to the church, "they've been hosted by some family. It's hard for them to say no."

The statement sounds brash, and his wife laughs uncomfortably as he continues: "Some of them will keep coming. Friday night fellowship is a good way to attract them — the friends, the food. Gradually they make friends, and when they have friends, they come."

In the beginning, the couple says, they take care not to be preachy. While helping scholars with day-to-day tasks, they try not to come on too strong or talk about the Bible. "We have to build a relationship," Yi notes. "We have to be trustworthy, and then they come to church. Very few of them keep coming because they're aware of the consequences. They visit one time, two times — that won't cause problems."

But the faithful are indeed under surveillance, according to the minister. "There are spies in every church, and they report back to China," Yi says matter-of-factly. "The spy will tell, 'These are the scholars that constantly attend the church.' So our church is very conscious. You don't know who the spies are." He tells of a friend who came from a house church in China to study at the Concord seminary. Shortly thereafter, the man received a phone call from a Chinese government agent, asking whether he needed help. The purpose of the call was clear, Yi says: "They're watching everything."

The ostracism scholars may face upon return to China isn't lost on Yi: "We know this probably will affect their promotion — the promotion is controlled by the government. So definitely if they are Christian, they will have trouble." However, Yi says self-protection is ultimately the scholars' responsibility. "They understand," he stresses. "They know the Party, they know it well."

He also sees adversity as part of the grand plan. "Don't you think that's God's work?" the minister asks, smiling. "They know that this would jeopardize their career. They are smart guys; they know the consequences. So why can they conquer their fear and really believe? It's not the food that attracts them. It's God's calling they cannot resist. If they don't go to church [in China], we don't blame them. We understand. In the Bible, the Christians were underground."

The same morning, Pastor Wong sits down for an interview in a College Avenue cafe near the church. With an assortment of pens and highlighters in his breast pocket, the erudite minister tells the brief version of his story — he grew up in Hong Kong, and was an engineer and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley before becoming a full-time pastor two years ago. Chinese for Christ started out as a small student fellowship in the 1960s, and has always been geared toward Chinese intellectuals.

Wong is evasive, however, when it comes to the church's mission of preaching to visiting Chinese intellectuals. "Is it part of our motivation? Yes and no. It's of value. This is something that motivates us, but it's not the only motivation."

Trained by years in business, Wong stays pointedly on-message. He does not mention that he's on the board of Partners International, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit mission that has been working to train Chinese Christians on the mainland since 1943. When I ask if he will agree to a photograph for this article, Wong declines. "You never know what is the trigger point in China and when they start watching you," he says. He also tries to avoid political commentary. "They don't take it as a joke. They take things out of context. These things are highly sensitive."

In addition to being worried about himself, Wong says, he is concerned for the two dozen scholars — out of Cal's 263 Chinese visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows — who attend his church. "We try very hard to protect them," he says. But, in an echo of Yi's logic of nonresponsibility, he adds that only they "understand how much they can expose themselves."

Wong says he doesn't push scholars toward the Bible, or force them to talk about their beliefs until he knows them better. But if they weren't interested at all, they wouldn't come to fellowship, he says.

When asked how he approaches those he believes are open to Christianity, Wong turns the tables. "I want to show you how the conversation develops," he says. He asks what it would take for me, a nonbeliever, to believe in God. "If you have any criteria there may be a God, you can get your intellectual mind satisfied to give it a try."

A few minutes later he returns to the subject: "You're too nice of a girl not to be a Christian." For the remainder of the interview, Wong answers questions, but increasingly probes for any religious tendency I may be hiding. After an hour, we walk back to the church, and as Wong fiddles with his keys to the front door, he pauses and grins, saying, "That's called marketing."

In the small bedroom she rents from a Chinese family, Ying pulls out boxes of CDs of Mandarin sermons and shows off her bookshelf, which is stuffed with titles like Hymns for God's People and Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die. With two months left in Berkeley, Ying often thinks about how she'll adjust to life back home as a new believer.

Every day she sits down to a laptop on a dark-green card table loaned to her by church friends, and exchanges instant messages with her husband. "At first he said, 'Don't waste your time. Why do you go? It's nonsense,'" Ying says. "He doesn't say anything now. Or he says, 'I can't do anything to stop you because you are abroad.'" She assures him that going to church helps her and that, with few friends here, she'd be bored otherwise.

But Ying doesn't plan to reveal her religion to anyone in China other than family and close friends. "I don't want other people to know I am a Christian or know I believe in God," she says. "People might look at me differently. They might talk a lot to each other about me." Ying says she isn't too concerned about the government, but worries that her co-workers, if they knew, might think she had psychological problems, which could affect her career: "Some people might think I am a failure."

The decision that will likely prove most difficult for Ying is whether to try and attend church in China. The closest Protestant church she knows of is two hours away from her home, and given that she'll be keeping her faith secret, it'll be hard to learn of others.

Ying would like to find a church, she says with a dejected tone as she looks out her open window. Reading the Bible by herself is boring. If she found a fellowship, she'd have a social network to turn to for help and encouragement. But there is another pressing reason to find a church, Ying adds with a new tinge of hopefulness. She wants her young daughter to grow up believing in something beyond just science.

Your mail: I see diversity | | The Town Talk

In his response to my letter questioning whether or not race relations had improved in the past 40 years in Alexandria, Larry Bringol made several assumptions and comparisons that leave me wondering if in fact his thinking is locked in a time warp back in the 1960s.


First Bringol says that "race is the omnipresent topic of conversation among whites with whom" he comes in contact with. If that is so then perhaps he needs to find a different circle of contacts. I don't find that condition to exist in the circle of friends and acquaintances I come into contact with throughout Cenla.

I look at my church's congregation and I see white, Hispanic, African-American and Asian members all worshiping together under the same Christian roof. My volunteer work with the Boy Scouts shows the same mix of ethnic and racial groups working in harmony.

Just recently the Council Executive of the local Boy Scout Council was promoted and left for a new position. He served this area for over five years. He is African-American and had to interview for his position here. He was selected based on his qualifications by an overwhelmingly white Council Executive Board. How could that happen in the good old boy, racist, deep South?

Next Bringol states that it was white conservatives that "burned black churches and committed numerous acts of mayhem and murder" to prevent African-Americans from voting and it took the 1964 Civil Rights Act to change that condition. First those weren't conservatives in the classic since of the word. They were largely registered Democrats, since the Republican Party barely existed in the South back in the 1960s. They were more appropriately classified as reactionaries. As to the 1964 Civil Rights Act ending voting discrimination, I suggest that was the purpose of the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed a year later. Each of these laws would not have passed the Democrat controlled Congress had it not been for the overwhelming support in both the House and the Senate by those dastardly, mean conservative Republicans.

As to referring to an elected office as a mere "job," I suspect that Myron Lawson, Clarence Fields, Roosevelt Johnson, and a myriad of other elected officials in Cenla might take umbrage. All three of the listed officials are elected by the full populations of their cities, not just those in a single district. I believe Mayor Fields ran without opposition in the last election. Mr. Bringol, if racism is still as bad in Cenla then where was the good old boy white, conservative, Christian, racist candidate opposing Fields when that election was held?

Finally, Bringol, with all certainty, declares that I am a "typical white, Christian conservative." Let's see, white? Yes. Christian? Yes. Conservative? Yes. Typical? Not based on the definition inferred by his letter. Let me dispel the typical label in this way. I have three adult children. Among them they have given me seven grandchildren, four boys and three girls.

My oldest grandson and my youngest granddaughter are by definition, African-American. I do not hide that fact. I am not ashamed of them and treat them the same as my five white grandchildren.

My experience with inter-racial relationships is definitely not typical and certainly gives me a different insight than Bringol.

Perhaps Bringol needs to avoid the typically broad and sweeping generalizations he used in his letter to attempt to characterize others.

Robert B. Ferguson


Then, in November 2006, some faculty at the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University, where I teach, brought up the idea of a service-learning trip for students to help the large Vietnamese population of hurricane-devastated southern Louisiana and Mississippi. I eagerly jumped on board. In June 2007, I accompanied seven graduate and undergraduate students, three of whom were Vietnamese - like myself - and four who were Asian or part Asian, to New Orleans and Biloxi for one unbelievable week.

Driving through the streets of New Orleans, we noticed a lot of rebuilding in some districts. Other areas looked like ghost towns, deserted areas that had apparently been bustling neighborhoods. Many houses looked decent on the exterior, but boarded or broken windows hinted at the lasting damage of Katrina’s destruction.

In the neighborhood where we stayed, near Vermillion Street, we were amazed that many houses were still boarded up and had not been rehabilitated since the hurricane. The scene was desolate and uninviting. At our destination, I had to double check the address. The front yard was waist-deep with unusable appliances and old furniture. One of the students asked what we were all probably thinking: “Are we really going to stay here?”

We met Father Ba, the community’s pastor at Mary Queen Catholic Church and owner of the house, who had been living there since Hurricane Katrina and was still in the process of single-handedly rehabilitating it. Inside, we were greeted with a sea of used furniture and rusted household appliances. Some had been donated by parishioners, community members and other priests, and much of it was being stored for others who, having lost their homes to Katrina, had no other place to put their possessions. Father Ba had offered it as free storage for community members in need.

The National Alliance for Vietnamese American Service Agencies, a Vietnamese community-based organization, helped identify the most beneficial activities for us to work on while we were there. In Biloxi, Miss., we met a caseworker for Boat People SOS, a non-profit committed to serving Vietnamese refugees since 1980 that today coordinates many activities to assist the 30,000 Vietnamese in the Gulf Coast region who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The caseworker arranged for us to meet with religious leaders from Biloxi’s Vietnamese church and temple, where we heard local Vietnamese recount their Hurricane Katrina experiences.

Many compared the experience of Hurricane Katrina to their escape from Vietnam. It was humbling to listen to their stories of survival and endurance. I was reminded of my own flight as a child refugee from my home in Vietnam. Many of the Vietnamese residents in Biloxi had been displaced from their homes in 1954, when the Geneva Agreement split Vietnam into two parts. They had been forced to flee again in 1975, when the Republic of South Vietnam fell. Having settled in New Orleans and Biloxi, they may have been safe from communism, but Hurricane Katrina displaced them yet again.

Over the rest of the trip, we conducted surveys with businesses in the Chef Highway area, which is predominately Vietnamese American. In Biloxi, we also conducted a business survey focusing on properties along the Oak Street corridor, which has many Vietnamese-owned properties, in addition to taking property inventory. This information will be used by the National Alliance of Vietnamese American Service Agencies (NAVASA) to better address the needs of the local Vietnamese business owners.

After six days of difficult but invigorating work, we returned home with a sense of the magnitude of this catastrophe that no newspaper story or TV show could adequately portray - and a new-found appreciation of the tremendous human capacity for endurance and resilience.

Asian visitors learn about religion in U.S.

Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tina Soong

Under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program, many visitors from Asia have come to the New Orleans area this summer.

Li Feng, a sociology professor at East China University of Political Science and Law, visited Aug. 13 through 16. His local program was coordinated by Rose Marie Fowler, senior program officer, New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council.

The focus of Li's program was to examine the nature of religion in the United States and its role within society.

On Aug. 13, Li visited Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church and met with the Rev. Vien Nguyen. The post-Katrina restoration of the Vietnamese American community was discussed. He also visited Baptist Crossroads Foundation and met with Andrew Crosby, director, and Jared Pryer, volunteer coordinator. They discussed the post-Katrina rebuilding of the upper 9th Ward by volunteers, coordinated by the foundation.

On Aug.15, Li visited Trinity Episcopal Church and met with Matt Holt. The church's Loaves and Fishes program was discussed. He also visited St. Mary's Dominican Catholic High School and met with Mary Burckell, teacher and service hour coordinator. He was informed about the community service program of the school.

Li also visited Tulane University Center for Public Service and met with Agnieszka Nance and Amanda Buberger, assistant directors. He was briefed about community service programs of the center. He also met Willie Zhou, a professor at the University of New Orleans.

Li left the city after he attended a service at the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church on Aug. 17.

A group of "Women as Political and Social Leaders" visited New Orleans from June 18 through 22. Their local program also was coordinated by Fowler.

The participants were Tarana Halim, Sapna Karim, Sharada Silwal Khatri, Sancharrika Samuha, Sulochana Sigdel, Thalatha Atukorale, Rubina Sulchri Noor, Nighat Yasmin Orakzai, Ghulam Sughra, Rana Kashif Noor and Suraya Rahim Sobrang.

On June 19, the delegates attended a meeting with the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corp., a nonprofit organization providing free legal assistance to poor income citizens in New Orleans. They visited Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University. They discussed how the center preserves, documents, produces and disseminates knowledge about women.

The delegates also visited the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children.

On June 20, the delegation visited with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and met with Marlene Jaffe, who discussed her leadership role in local nonprofit organizations. The delegates also took a tour of the city and enjoyed a Creole Queen dinner and jazz cruise.

And on June 21, the delegates attended a home hospitality reception given by Fowler, who invited many local women community and business leaders to meet them.

New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council is a nonprofit organization that arranges professional appointments and cultural activities for international leaders during their official visits to the New Orleans area. The council also works to enhance international personal exchanges, as well as promotes New Orleans and Louisiana as important business and cultural centers.

For more information on the council, call 504.529.1509.

. . . . . . .

Members of the Asian/Pacific-American communities in the New Orleans area are invited to e-mail news items to Tina Soong at

AsianWeek » Faith Perspective: Learning to Draw Pictures of God

Faith Perspective: Learning to Draw Pictures of God

By: David Park, Aug 14, 2008
Tags: Beyond Borders, Opinion |

At the 2006 TED Conference, Sir Ken Robinson recounted this story: “A little girl was in a drawing lesson, she was six [years old], and she was in the back drawing. The teacher said that this little girl hardly ever paid attention, but at this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and went over to her and she said, ‘What are you drawing?’ The girl said, ‘I’m drawing a picture of God.’ The teacher said, ‘But nobody knows what God looks like.’ The girl said, ‘They will in a minute.’”

Children are bold, especially when it comes to topics like art and God. But Robinson’s larger point was that children are largely educated out of creativity because the educational system stigmatizes mistakes and eschews imagination for certitude. By the time we become adults, we rarely think of ourselves as creative at all. And if Robinson is correct, then Asian Americans could arguably be the most educated and least imaginative of all.

Per Robinson, the current state of education may begin holistically but progressively focuses “on the head, and then just to one side.” For Asians, we’re good with that one side of our heads. Our sensibilities are pragmatic and calculating. We like certitude. Many of us have careers that depend on our ability to perform and minimize risk. We made good on our education.

Does this correlate to a lack of imagination and creativity in Asian Americans? Maybe. Perhaps we don’t care as long as we have the economic security that comes with education. After all, the modern system of education was geared for the needs of industrialism. And with globalization making the world a smaller place, the gears of economics and technology seem to demand quality labor inputs like us - we who may not be able to imagine the world any differently.

This may be where drawing pictures of God might be helpful. Because what seems like an impractical and unprofitable act reveals boldness that we as Asian Americans generally lack. Nothing new comes from the fear of making mistakes. And if that is the way we have been educated, perhaps we should question the system as well as our adherence to it.

Education should begin and end with a sense of wonder, if it should end at all. We should be more concerned with possibilities than probabilities because creativity isn’t merely a marketing tool or survival mechanism. Rather, it touches the profound, mysterious space between divinity and humanity. Along with mathematics, we should have classes on dance, cooking and theology, so that all of our resources - physical, mental, spiritual - can acknowledge the things in life we can control as well as the other things that we have no idea about, such as why we are here, how we love and what dreams may come. In essence, we should all try to draw God, not because we’ll get it right, but because not drawing at all is terribly wrong.

AsianWeek » Faith Perspective: Asian Americans and the Necessity of Faith

Faith Perspective: Asian Americans and the Necessity of Faith

By: David Park, Jul 17, 2008
Tags: Beyond Borders, Opinion |

Impractical, Not Profitable, But Not Bad

I think the president should be an atheist,” my sixteen-year-old cousin said plainly over the breakfast table. She is my cousin from my wife’s side of the family, who is Indian American — Hindu Brahmins — steeped in politics and well aware of problems at the intersection of church and state, or at least mosque, temple and state.

She was responding to my question of what would make a great president. It surprised me that she viewed atheism as the foremost and presumably a desirable requirement for political leadership, particularly as her devout Hindu father sat at the table across from me, a Korean American Christian.

Yet, I think I understand what she’s getting at. Religion and spirituality are personally good things, but in politics and real life, they seem to be what economists call inefficiencies. And we’re too pragmatic to tolerate these persistent inefficiencies, aren’t we? We value stoicism and precision. Religion, while perhaps not the opiate that Marx considered, can simply be dismissed as impractical for many of us. We were raised on criticism and discipline (arguably, a religion of a different sort), which leads to the question: What place does something so impractical as faith have in Asian American life?

Pragmatism has a cost as well, which is also to say faith and spirituality are not all bad. Life and love cannot only exist on spreadsheets. It’s possible the richness of our spirituality, while not always efficient, could deepen the ways in which we Asian Americans express ourselves. Asian spirituality tends to emphasize the individual meditative and self-control aspects (it’s little wonder the individualistic American consumerist culture latches onto piecemeal religious practices), but do Asian Americans enrich the greater community compelled by our faith? Asian Americans have always been viewed as wonderful technicians, professionals and creatives, but when do we inspire the nation by our acts of compassion and justice?

I wonder if Asian America could produce someone who exudes confident and competent leadership in the spiritual sense. Does our penchant for the practical and profitable lend itself to the formation of an Asian American version of a Martin Luther King Jr., or a Mother Teresa, or a Mahatma Gandhi? A Bono or an Albert Schweitzer? Asian Americans are spiritual in the privatized, mind-your-own-business sense, but have we the conviction and strength of character to alter the public landscape because of our beliefs?

I’ve found faith and spirituality a compelling dimension of Asian American culture and life requiring further exploration, not because atheists or theists need to be convinced otherwise, but because faith has yet a meaningful role in private and in public. The answer is not simply to toss our faith aside, but to understand where we can integrate spirituality in our own lives and in the lives of others in inefficient, yet significant ways.

David Park is a blogger, new father, and seminary student in Atlanta, Ga.

Christian Education of Asian-Americans. « Step By Step: Daniel K. Eng

One of the distinct issues that exists when ministering to Asian-Americans is the concept of grace. Most of us grow up with hard-working parents, who push us to try to earn everything in life.  We do not want anything for free, we just want a fair shake. Because of this, Asian-Americans have a strong sense of earning anything good out of life. For example, if we want to have successful lives and good reputations, it comes from hard work, in school and on the job. Often it seems like we try hard to be the model minority, never making waves and speaking out politically or asking for help from others, even in the face of racism or injustice. It is this value that clashes with the gospel of grace–we get what we don’t deserve. One has to
truly cater any kind of Christian Education among Asian-Americans with a strong emphasis on the undeserved, unmerited favor of God.

Aside from grace, Asian-Americans must also learn about God’s kingdom in a corporate environment. It is the American value of individualism that is at odds with the concept of community and a corporate body of
Christ. Teaching about one’s place in the kingdom and in the big picture can help free Asian-Americans from a me-first mentality. As we already identify with other Asian-Americans because of the shared minority experience, it would be prudent to teach through this lens, showing how they are also a member of a more eternal group–the body of Christ.

In regards to discipleship, it would be very important to instill in Asian-American Christian parents the value of mentoring their children. This happens not just word, but by leading through modeling. Often Asian-American Christians who have grown up in Christian homes have a difficult time talking with their parents about faith, because they find it awkward. It is up to the parents to initiate this dimension of their relationship, and to do it during formative stages. Furthermore, Asian-American young people need to see godly lives lived out by their parents, as they follow their example. This makes faith a family affair, especially if their churches have divided their congregations across language and age group lines.

The Myth of Diversity. « Step By Step: Daniel K. Eng

Many well-meaning Christians, in sincere efforts to live lives more pleasing to God, seek to create so-called “multi-cultural” churches and ministries by seeking to make them multi-racial.

This is a valiant effort, to say the least. God has a desire see all the nations worship Him, that every nation, tribe, tongue, and people bring glory to Him alone.

But is a multi-racial church truly diverse? I would venture to say no, especially in America. In a country where people are mobile and have freedom of where to go, they decide to attend such a church. Thus it creates an environment where people want to be with others of different cultures. A single culture emerges: people who want to be with others of different races.

A voluntary grouping will always have a prevailing culture. It will always contain people who are similar in at least one way. The whole concept of groupings relies on that. People come together for a common purpose. It’s not truly diverse.

A basket full of apples, oranges, pears, grapes, and peaches is still a basket full of fruit.

Many of the multi-ethnic churches I see are very multi-ethnic. Often enough, they are made up of mostly young singles–college students and recent grads. Or mostly educated, white-collar individuals. Somehow their groups are “diverse” while mine isn’t. I have no qualms about these homogeneous groupings. Yet many of them have belittled my homogeneous grouping.

It’s easy to spot a church that is predominantly one ethnicity because of the way they look. In America we’ve conditioned ourselves to spot racial differences. But what about differences in age, socioeconomic status, political leanings?

I believe that there is a very prominent place for homogeneous groupings in God’s kingdom. In fact, the universal church is a heterogeneous group made up of many homogenous groups for one homogeneous purpose: to glorify God.

Ethnic diversity has become an ends for many because it’s politically correct. America has been the place of civil rights movements and affirmative action. This thinking is what makes many look down upon ethnic-specific ministries. Yet the same people would have no problem with age-specific or gender-specific groups. Men’s groups glorify God. Churches made up of primarily college students glorify God. Ethnic-specific ministries glorify God.

“Your church is not biblical.” –Why Ethnic-Specific Ministries Exist in America, part 2. « Step By

“Your church is not biblical.”

I grew up as an English-speaking worshipper in a Chinese-American church. When I went away to college, I started attending Boston Chinese Evangelical Church. I also started going to different Christian campus groups. The group I most identified with, was the Asian-American fellowship. More on this group in another post.

During my freshman year, I also attended (when I could) a predominantly white campus fellowship. I also befriended some other Christian students who attended another campus fellowship which was predominantly white. For some of them, I was the Asian-American Christian that they knew the best.

Upon talking about race and ethnicity in God’s kingdom, I started to learn about some of my white friends’ view of ethnic-specific ministries. “Your church is not biblical. Your (Asian) fellowship goes against what God desires.” I remember them appealing to the diverse and uncountable multitude in Revelation 7, telling me that God desires that races worship together. I heard the term “voluntary segregation”—referring to people of minority groups purposely spending time together. They communicated to me that their groups and churches were more biblical, and more pleasing to God. “Come to my church! Come and experience diversity.”

Imagine how I felt when my family, the people I cared about the most, the place where I experienced most of my spiritual growth, was accused of being displeasing to God. I felt like it was more than a little self-righteous.

It offended me greatly. In telling me to leave my church and join theirs, I felt like they were just telling me to be white. I felt belittled. I saw their mostly-white fellowships and asked myself what made them think that their groups were more biblical than my mostly-Asian-American groups. Perhaps it was because the groups I attended contained the word “Chinese” or “Asian” in their names. Even so, it’s not as if we would’ve discouraged non-Asians to come. We would’ve welcomed them—or at least I would’ve.

I would venture to suggest that everyone has experienced being a minority at some point in their life—some situation where they were not like most of the people. With it comes feelings of discomfort and self-consciousness. The truth is, as an Asian-American, I experience this everyday. Everyday I am bombarded with reminders that I am different. People treat me differently because of the way I look. I speak the same language, I wear the same clothes, eat the same food—yet because of my skin tone, hair color, and facial features, I am treated differently.

It can be tiring. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be white in America. I know it would be easier. Sometimes I felt shame about who I was—why couldn’t I just look like everyone else? I’m thankful that God has taken me on a journey to embrace myself and the way He’s made me.

But I am still different, and I am reminded every day as I interact with society. You want diversity? I experience it everyday. I’d like my white brothers and sisters to try being an minority for an extended amount of time, and feel what ethnic minorities feel all the time in America, before condemning our ethnic-specific ministries.

It’s a lot easier for a white person to be a minority for a short amount of time. Come to my church, experience being a minority for three hours in a week. It might be a novel thing for a white person to do. But that would speak much louder than telling Asian-Americans to go to white churches.

I realize that I appreciated the times I was with others who are like me, to fit in and just be myself. It’s in the environments where I am not distracted my minority appearance that I have encountered God and been able to worship Him freely. There are others who attended my church and fellowship who would’ve been completely uncomfortable opening up to others if the group was predominantly white.

When a racial/cultural barrier is gone, it creates an environment where people could more readily experience and grow in Christ. Missionaries understand this.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that groups that are ethnically diverse are not providing this environment. What I am saying is that I have had the majority of my spiritual growth happen in ethnic-specific ministries. I should not be condemned for that.

I believe that there should be and is diversity in the body of Christ. This goes beyond race—it’s culture, language, socioeconomic status. But the body of Christ is the entire church. We should be aiming for diversity and unity among THE body, not necessarily each INDIVIDUAL body.

Are people living God-pleasing lives? Are they loving God and loving others? Are they fulfilling the Great Commission? These are the questions we should be asking. There is already enough division within the Church. Condemning homogeneous groupings, no matter how well-meaning, adds to the division.

If you would like to worship with people of different races and others want to worship with you, that’s great! I am very pleased by that. There is definitely a prominent place for that in God’s kingdom. However, there is also a prominent place for people to worship with others like them.

Why Ethnic-Specific Ministries Exist in America, part 1. « Step By Step: Daniel K. Eng

This month, I’m taking a three-week intensive version of Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Most of the participants in the class are undergraduate students, part of a group that is giving students an understanding of what God is doing around the world. Taking Perspectives is part of their program. Virtually all the students in this group are white.

Mind you, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that. However, what it has created is a dynamic that I’m not accustomed to in racially diverse Southern California. I am finding myself very self-conscious being Asian-American. It’s not a very diverse room.

And as I was daydreaming in class, it made me think about why ethnic-specific churches exist in America. Let me preface this: In this post am not promoting nor condemning their existence, I am simply exploring the reasons for their existence.

First, ethnic-specific churches exist because of languages. As waves of people have come from overseas to this country, they group together in order to speak their mother tongue and worship in a familiar fashion. Whether this worship is in Korean, Spanish, Mandarin, or Hindi, it is a wish to worship in common language that brings people to such churches. Language is the prevailing means of expression–it is the key identification for a culture and/or ethnicity. The language factor will always exist as long as immigration exists in America.

Second, ethnic-specific churches exist because of culture. Every person sees the world, especially God, through the lens of culture. Culture draws people together–it is our accustomed way of speaking, celebrating, discussing, and approaching life. Every group or geographical region has a culture. Even within Americans, we see culture differs in different parts of the country. Culture affects the way we see God. Culture also helps us worship. For many of us who are involved in ethnic-specific ministries, the comfort level we experience being with others who share our culture helps us to be free to worship God. We can experience and share our worship with others who see through the same lenses. Ethnic-specific churches, or culture-specific churches such as Evergreen SGV exist because people are finding a place to belong, many of them encountering Christ for the first time.

More on this topic later. The next post may prove to be more controversial.

1 post tagged “pastor gideon” - Eric Chen’s Blog on Vox
Relationships. I've been harping about them all summer long, but how can I not when God has made it so clear to me that these are the things that last. These are the legacies we leave behind. Pastor Gideon mentioned once that he noticed all joyful people seem to share two things: purpose and community. How greatly I've seen these two things play out in my life this summer (thank God!). I know for many of you, you're approaching or entering a crossroads in your life, so I encourage you to cherish the time you have and remember that YOU can be the shining light in someone else's life.
This utterance of the General Synod, while made with the best intentions, fell with exceedingly painful echo on the ears of the missionaries at Amoy. Was the flock they had gathered with so much prayer and effort, and reared with such sedulous care, to be thus summarily divided and perhaps in consequence scattered? The missionaries felt persuaded that their brethren in the United States could not fully appreciate the situation or there would be no such action.
Mr. Talmage again took up his pen in behalf of his Chinese flock. If it had been dipped in his own blood his utterances could not have been more forceful-could not have palpitated with a heartier affection for his Chinese brethren's sake.
On Dec. 23, 1857, he wrote to Dr. Isaac Ferris, who, since the separation from the A.B.C.F.M. at the last Synod, had become the Corresponding Secretary for the Board of Foreign Missions of tile Reformed Church.
"So far as we can judge from the report of the proceedings of General Synod as given in the Christian Intelligencer, one of the most important considerations, perhaps altogether the most important mentioned, why the church gathered by us here should not be an integral part of the Church in America, was entirely overlooked. That consideration relates to the unity of Christ's Church. Will our Church require of us, will she desire that those here who are altogether one,-one in doctrine, one in their views of church order, and one in mutual love,-be violently separated into two denominations? We cannot believe it. Suppose the case of two churches originally distinct, by coming into contact and becoming better acquainted with each other, they find that they hold to the same doctrinal standards, and they explain them in the same manner; they have the same form of church government and their officers are chosen and set apart in the same way; they have the same order of worship and of administering the sacraments; all their customs, civil, social, and religious, are precisely alike, and they love each other dearly; should not such churches unite and form but one denomination? Yet such a supposition does not and cannot represent the circumstances of the churches gathered by us and by our Scotch brethren of the English Presbyterian Church. Our churches originally were one, and still are one, and the question is not whether those churches shall be united, but shall they be separated? Possibly the question will be asked, why were these churches allowed originally to become one? We answer, God made them so, and that without any plan or forethought on our part, and now we thank Him for His blessing that He has made them one, and that He has blessed them because they are one.
"Our position is a somewhat painful one. We desire to give offense to no one, and we do not wish to appear before the Church as disputants. We have no controversy with any one. We have neither the time nor inclination for controversy. We are 'doing a great work,' and cannot 'come down.' Yet our duty to these churches here and to the Church at home and to our Master demands of us imperatively that we state fully and frankly our views. We have the utmost confidence in our church. We have proved this by endeavoring to get our views fully known."
The subject did not come up again for discussion before the General Synod until 1863.
Meanwhile the churches grew and multiplied. The Amoy church, which in 1856 had been organized by "the setting apart of elders and deacons," was separated into two organizations in 1860, "preparatory to the calling of pastors."
Two men were chosen by the churches in 1861. In 1862 an organization was formed called the "Tai-hoey," or "Great Elders' Meeting," consisting of the missionaries of both the English Presbyterian and Reformed Churches and the delegated elders from all the organized congregations under their united oversight. The two men chosen as pastors were examined, ordained, and installed by this body.
During that year Mr. Talmage was called to stand by the "first gash life had cut in the churchyard turf" for him. His beloved wife, Mrs. Abby Woodruff Talmage, was called to her reward, leaving Mr. Talmage with four motherless little ones. He was compelled to go to the United States to secure proper care for his children. He came in time to attend the General Synod of 1863. There he advocated most earnestly the course which the brethren at Amoy had taken.
Dr. Isaac Ferris brought the subject before the Synod in these words:
"In 1857 the Synod met at Ithaca, and a most remarkable Synod it was. According to the testimony of all who were present the Spirit of God unusually manifested His gracious presence. A venerable minister on his return remarked, 'It was like heaven upon earth.' That Synod, under this extraordinary sense of the Divine presence and unction, judged that the time had arrived for the Church to take the responsibility of supporting its foreign missionary work upon itself, and, accordingly, in very proper resolutions, asked of the American Board to have the compact which had been in operation since 1832 revoked, and the Mission transferred to our Foreign Board.
"It was at that meeting that a memorial of our brethren at Amoy on the subject of organization, very ably drawn, and presenting fully their views and reasonings, was read and deliberated on. Their work had been wonderfully blessed, and the whole Church was called to thanksgiving, and the time seemed at hand to realize the expectations of years. The brethren asked advice, and the Synod adopted the carefully-drawn report of a committee of which the President was chairman, advising the organization of a Classis at as early a day as was practicable. Our brethren at Amoy were not satisfied with this advice, and considered the subject as not having had a sufficient hearing.
"In the progress of their work they have deemed it proper to form a different organization from what the Synod advised, and which was in harmony with the constant aim of our Church on the subject. The Board of Foreign Missions, when the matter came before them, could only kindly protest and urge upon the brethren the action of the Synod of 1857. Not having ecclesiastical power, they could only argue and advise. They would have it remembered that all has been done in the kindest spirit. They have differed in judgment from the Mission, but not a ripple of unkind feeling has arisen.
"The question now before the Synod is, whether this body will recede from the whole policy of the Church and its action in 1857 or reaffirm the same. This Synod, in its action on this case, will decide for all its missions, and in all time, on what principles their missionaries shall act, and hence this becomes probably the most important question of this session. It is in the highest degree desirable that the Synod should give the subject the fullest the most patient and impartial examination, and that our brother, who represents the Amoy Mission, be fully heard."
Mr. Talmage next addressed the Synod and offered the following resolution:
"Resolved, That the Synod hear with gratitude to God of the great progress of the work of the Lord at Amoy, and in the region around, so that already we hear of six organized churches with their Consistories, and others growing up not yet organized, two native pastors who were to have been ordained on the 29th of March last, and the whole under the care of a Classis composed of the missionaries of our Church and of the English Presbyterian Church, the native pastors, and representative elders of the several churches. It calls for our hearty gratitude to the great Head of the Church that the missionaries of different Churches and different countries have been enabled, through Divine grace, to work together in such harmony. It is also gratifying to us that these churches and this Classis have been organized according to the polity of our Church, inasmuch as the Synod of the English Presbyterian Church has approved of the course of their missionaries in uniting for the organizing of a church after our order; therefore, this Synod would direct its Board of Foreign Missions to allow our missionaries to continue their present relations with the missionaries of the English Presbyterian Church, so long as the present harmony shall continue, and no departure shall be made from the doctrines and essential policy of our Church, or until the Synod shall otherwise direct."
There were speeches for and against, by distinguished men in the Church. Dr. T. W. Chambers, President of the Synod, made the concluding address, as follows:
"If there be any one here who has a deep and tender sympathy with our brother Talmage and his senior missionary colleague , I claim to be the man.
"Mr. Doty was my first room-mate at college thirty-one years ago, and ever since we have been fast friends. As to the other, his parents-themselves among the most eminent and devoted Christians ever known-were long members of the church in New Jersey, of which I was formerly in charge. For several years I was his pastor. I signed the testimonials of character required by the American Board before they commissioned him. I pronounced the farewell address when he left this country in 1850. I have watched with intense interest his entire career since, and no one welcomed him more warmly when he returned last year, bearing in his face and form the scars which time and toil had wrought upon his constitution. It is needless to say, then, that I love him dearly for his own sake, for his parents' sake, for his numerous friends' sake, but, more than all, for that Master's sake whom he has so successfully served. Nor is there anything within reason which I would not have the Church do for him. He shall have our money, our sympathy, our prayers, our confidence-the largest liberty in shaping the operations of the Mission he belongs to.
"But when we come to the matter now at issue, I pause. Much as I love our brother, I love Christ more. Nor can I surrender, out of deference to our missionaries, the constitution, the policy, the interests of our Church,--all of which are involved in this matter. Nay, even their own welfare, and that of the mission they are so tenderly attached to, demand that we should deny their request. What is this request? That we should allow our brethren at Amoy, together with the English Presbyterian missionaries there, to form with the native pastors and the delegates from the native churches, an independent Classis or Presbytery, over whose proceedings this body should have no control whatever, by way of appeal, or review, or in any other form. Now, the first objection to this is, that it is flatly in the face of our constitution and order. A 'self-regulating Classis' is a thing which has never been heard of in the Dutch Church since that Church had a beginning. It is against every law, principle, canon, example, and precedent in our books. Perhaps the most marked feature of our polity is the subordination of all parts of our body, large or small, to the review and control of the whole as expressed in the decisions of its highest ecclesiastical assembly. I submit that this Synod has no right to form or to authorize any such self regulating ecclesiastical body, or to consent that any ministers of our Church should hold seats in such a body. If we do it, we transcend the most liberal construction which has ever been known to be given to the powers of General Synod. How, then, can we do this thing? Whatever our sympathies, how can we violate our own order, our fundamental principles, the polity to which we are bound by our profession, by our subscription, by every tie which can bind religious and honorable men?
"Moreover, the thing we are asked to do contravenes our missionary policy from the beginning. As far back as 1832, when we made a compact with the American Board, one essential feature of the plan was that we should have 'an ecclesiastical organization' of our own. Without this feature that plan would never have been adopted; and the apprehension that there might be some interference with this cherished principle was at least one of the reasons why the plan, after working successfully for a quarter of a century, was at length abrogated. And so when, in 1857, we instituted a missionary board of our own, this view was distinctly announced.
"It was my privilege to draw up the report on the subject which has been so often referred to. That report did not express merely my view, or that of the committee, but the view of the entire Synod. Nor from that day to this has there been heard anywhere within our bounds even a whisper of objection from minister, elder, or layman in regard to the positions then taken. It is our settled, irreversible policy. Deep down in the heart of the Church lies the conviction that our missionaries, who carry to the heathen the doctrine of Christ as we have received it, must also carry the order of Christ as we have received it. Certain unessential peculiarities may, from the force of circumstances, be left in abeyance for a time, or even permanently, but the dominant features must be retained. It is not enough to have genuine Consistories, we must have genuine Classes. And, under whatever modifications, the substantive elements of our polity must be reproduced in the mission churches established by the blessing of God upon the men and means furnished by our Zion.
"Further, Mr. President, it is to be remembered that we are acting for all time. It is not this one case that is before us. We are settling a precedent which is to last for generations. Relax your constitutions and laws for this irregularity and you open a gap through which a coach and four may be driven. Every other mission, under the least pretext, will come and claim the same or a similar modification in their case, and you cannot consistently deny them. The result will be an ecclesiastical chaos throughout our entire missionary field. Let us begin as we mean to hold out. Let us settle this question now and settle it aright. We direct our missionaries what Gospel to preach, what sacraments to administer, what internal organization to give to single churches. Let us, in the same manner and for the same reasons, say what sort of bonds shall unite these churches to each other and govern their mutual relations and common interests.
"I know we are told that the hybrid organization which now exists is every way sufficient and satisfactory; that it is the fruit of Christian love, and that to disturb it would be rending the body of Christ. Here one might ask how it came to exist at all, seeing that this Synod spoke so plainly and unambiguously in 1857. And I for one cordially concur in the remark of the Elder Schieffelin, that the brethren there 'deserve censure.' We do not censure them, nor do we propose to do so, but that they deserve it is undeniable. But the point is, how can our disapproval of the mongrel Classis mar the peace of the Amoy brethren? There is already a division among their churches. Some are supported by our funds, others by the funds of the English Presbyterians. Would it alter matters much to say, and to make it a fact, that some of those churches belong to a Classis and others to a Presbytery? Some have an American connection and others an English. But this would break Christian unity! Would it, indeed? You observed, Mr. President, the affectionate confidence, blended with reverence, with which I addressed from the chair the venerable Dr. Skinner. The reason was that we both belong to an association of ministers in New York which meets weekly for mutual fellowship, enjoyment, and edification in all things bearing on ministerial character and duties. Ecclesiastically we have no connection whatever. I never saw his Presbytery in session, and I doubt if he ever saw our Classis; yet our brotherly, Christian, and even ministerial communion is as tender, and sacred, and profitable as if we had been copresbyters for twenty years. Now, who dare say that this shall not exist at Amoy? Our brethren there can maintain precisely the same love, and confidence, and co-operation as they do now, in all respects save the one of regular, formal, ecclesiastical organization.
"But I will not detain the Synod longer. I would not have left the chair to speak, but for the overwhelming importance of the subject. It is painful to deny the eager and earnest wishes of our missionary brethren, but I believe we are doing them a real kindness by this course. Union churches here have always in the end worked disunion, confusion, and every evil work. There is no reason to believe that the result would be at all different abroad. A division would necessarily come at some period, and the longer it was delayed, the more trying and sorrowful it would be. I am opposed, therefore, to the substitute offered by Brother Chapman, and also to that of Brother Talmage, and trust that the original resolutions, with the report, will be adopted. That report contains not a single harsh or unpleasant word. It treats the whole case with the greatest delicacy as well as thoroughness, but it reaffirms the action of 1857 in a way not to be mistaken. And that is the ground on which the Church will take its stand. Whatever time, indulgence, or forbearance can be allowed to our brethren, will cheerfully be granted. Only let them set their faces in the direction of a distinct organization, classical as well as consistorial, and we shall be satisfied. Only let them recognize the principle and the details shall be left to themselves, under the leadings of God's gracious providence."
The report of the Committee on Foreign Missions, E. S. Porter, D.D., chairman, was adopted. Part of it reads as follows:
"The missionaries there have endeared their names to the whole Christian world, and especially to that household of faith of which they are loved and honored members."
.... "No words at our command can tell what fond and flaming sympathies have overleaped broad oceans, and bound them and us together.
"'Words, like nature, half reveal, And half conceal the soul within.'
.... "Your committee are unable to see how it will be possible to carry the sympathies and the liberalities of the Church with an increasing tide of love and sacrifice in support of our missionary work, if it once be admitted as a precedent, or established as a rule, that our missionaries may be allowed to form abroad whatever combinations they may choose, and aid in creating ecclesiastical authorities, which supersede the authorities which commissioned them and now sustain them."
"The committee are not prepared to recommend that any violent and coercive resolutions should be adopted for the purpose of constraining our brethren in Amoy to a course of procedure which would rudely sunder the brotherly ties that unite them with the missionaries of the English Presbyterian Church. But a Christian discretion will enable them, on the receipt of the decision of the present Synod, in this matter now under consideration, to take such initial steps as are necessary to the speedy formation of a Classis.
"Much must be left to their discretion, prudence and judgment. But of the wish and expectation of this Synod to have their action conform as soon as may be to the resolutions of 1857, your committee think the brethren at Amoy should be distinctly informed. They therefore offer the following:
"'I. Resolved, That the General Synod, having adopted and tested its plan of conducting foreign missions, can see no reason for abolishing it; but, on the contrary, believe it to be adapted to the promotion of the best interests of foreign missionary churches, and of the denomination supporting them.
"'II. That the Board of Foreign Missions be, and hereby is, instructed to send to our missionaries at Amoy a copy or copies of this report, as containing the well-considered deliverance of the Synod respecting their present relations and future duty.
"'III. That the Secretary of the Foreign Board be, and hereby is, directed to send to the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of London, Convener of the Presbyterian Committee, a copy of this report, with a copy of the action of 1857, and that he inform him by letter of the wishes and expectations of the Synod respecting the ecclesiastical relations which this body desires its churches in Amoy to sustain to it.'"
In the report of the Foreign Committee of the English Presbyterian Church for 1863, the following language is used in reference to the Union Chinese Church of Amoy:
"We are hopeful, however, that on further consideration our brethren in America may allow their missionaries in China to continue the present arrangement, at least until such time as it is found that actual difficulties arise in the way of carrying it out. 'Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unify,' and there are few brethren towards whom we feel closer affinity than the members of that Church, which was represented of old by Gomarus and Witsius, by Voet and Marck, and Bernard de Moore, and whose Synod of Dort preceded in time and pioneered in doctrine our own Westminster Assembly. Like them, we love that Presbyterianism and that Calvinism which we hold in common, and we wish to carry them wherever we go; but we fear that it would not be doing justice to either, and that it might compromise that name which is above every other, if, on the shores of China, we were to unfurl a separate standard. We would, therefore, not only respectfully recommend to the Synod to allow its missionaries to unite presbyterially as well as practically with the brethren of the Reformed Dutch Church; but we would express the earnest hope that the Synod of the sister Church in America may find itself at liberty to extend to its missionaries a similar freedom."
These sentiments were unanimously adopted by the Synod of the English Presbyterian Church.
The cause which Mr. Talmage was advocating was too near his heart, and his convictions were too strong to permit silence. He prepared a pamphlet, setting forth more clearly the position of the Mission at Amoy, as well as answering objections made to it. A few quotations read:
"In reference to it, i.e., the report of the Committee on Foreign Missions, we would make three remarks: It seems rather a cavalier answer to the fraternal wish of the Synod of the English Presbyterian Church, as expressed in their action. The action of Synod is made to rest on the fact that Synod had 'tested' this 'plan of conducting foreign missions.' If this be so, and the plan had been found by experiment unobjectionable, the argument is not without force. But how and where has this test been applied and found so satisfactory? Our Church has three Missions among the heathen-one in India, one in China, and one in Japan. Has it been tested in Japan? No. They have not yet a single native church. Has it been tested in China? If so, the missionaries were not aware of it. The test applied there has been of an opposite character and has been wonderfully successful. The test has only been applied in India, and has only begun to be applied even there. There, as yet, there is but one native pastor. Their Classis is more American than Indian. We must wait until they have a native Classis before the test can be pronounced at all satisfactory. No consideration is had for the feelings, wishes or opinions of the native churches. The inalienable rights of the native churches, their relation to each other, their absolute unity-things of the utmost consequence-are not at all regarded, are entirely ignored."
In reply to the advantages claimed to flow from the plan advocated by General Synod, Mr. Talmage says:
"1. The most important advantage is, or is supposed to be, that there will thus be higher courts of jurisdiction to which appeals may be made, and by which orthodoxy and good order may be the better secured to the Church at Amoy.
"Such advantages, if they can be thus secured, we would by no means underrate. There sometimes are cases of appeal for which we need the highest court practicable-the collective wisdom of the Church, so far as it can be obtained; and the preservation of orthodoxy and good order is of the first importance. Now, let us see whether the plan proposed will secure these advantages. Let us suppose that one of the brethren feels himself aggrieved by the decision of the Classis of Amoy and appeals to the Particular Synod of Albany, and thence to General Synod. He will not be denied the right to such appeal. But, in order that the appeal may be properly prosecuted and disposed of, the appellant and the representative of Classis should be present in these higher courts. Can this be secured? Is the waste of time, of a year or more, nothing? And where shall the thousands of dollars of necessary expense come from? Now, suppose this appellant to be a Chinese brother. He, also, has rights; but how, on this plan, can he possibly obtain them? Suppose that the money be raised for him and he is permitted to stand on the floor of Synod. He cannot speak, read, or write a word of English. Not a member of Synod can speak, read, or write a word of his language, except it be the brother prosecuting him. I ask, is it possible for him thus to obtain justice? But, waiving all these disadvantages, the only point on which there is the least probability that an appeal of a Chinese brother would come up before the higher courts, are points on which these higher courts would not be qualified to decide. They would doubtless grow out of the peculiar customs and laws of the Chinese, points on which the missionary, after he has been on the ground a dozen years, often feels unwilling to decide, and takes the opinion of the native elders in preference to his own. Is it right to impose a yoke like this on that little Church which God is gathering, by your instrumentality, in that far-off land of China? But it is said that these cases of appeal will very rarely or never happen. Be it so; then this supposed advantage will seldom or never occur, and, if it should occur, it would prove a disadvantage."
In regard to keeping the Church pure in doctrine:
"Sure I am that the Church in China cannot be kept pure by legislation on this, the opposite side of the globe. But we expect Christ to reign over and the Holy Spirit to be given to the Churches, and the proper ecclesiastical bodies formed of them in China, as well as in this land. Why not? Such are the promises of God. The way to secure these things is by prayer and the preaching of the pure Gospel, not by legislation. Let the Church be careful in her selection of missionaries. Send only such as she has confidence in-men of God, sound in faith, apt to teach-and then trust them, or recall them. Don't attempt to control them contrary to their judgment. Strange if this, which is so much insisted on as the policy of our Church, be right, that she cannot get a single man, of all she sends out to China, to think so. Can it be that the missionary work is so subversive of right reason, or of correct judgment, or of conscientiousness, that all become perverted by engaging in it?
"2. Another supposed advantage is the effect it will have in enlisting the sympathies of the Church in behalf of the Mission at Amoy. Our people do not first ask whether it be building ourselves up, before they sympathize with a benevolent object. We believe the contrary is the exact truth. It requires a liberal policy to call forth liberal views and actions. As regards the enlisting of men, look at the facts. Every man who has gone out from among you to engage in this missionary work begs of you not to adopt a narrow policy. So in regard to obtaining of funds. Usually the men who are most liberal in giving are most liberal in feeling.
.... "However powerful the motive addressed to the desire to build up our own Church, there are motives infinitely more powerful. Such are the motives to be depended upon in endeavoring to elevate the standard of liberality among our people. If our people have not yet learned, they should be taught to engage in the work of evangelizing the world, not for the sake of our Church in America, but for the sake of Christ and His Church, and when the Church thus built up is like our own they should be fully satisfied. We believe they will be satisfied with this.
"Now let us consider the real or supposed evils of carrying out the decision of Synod.
"1. It will not be for the credit of our Church. She now has a name, with other Churches, for putting forth efforts to evangelize the world. Shall she mar this good name and acquire one for sectarianism, by putting forth efforts to extend herself, not her doctrines and order-they are not sectarian, and her missionaries esteem them as highly as do their brethren at home-but herself, even at the cost of dividing churches which the grace of God has made one? The decision of the last Synod may not be the result of sectarianism among the people of our Church. We do not think it is. But it will be difficult to convince our Presbyterian brethren and others that it is not so. By way of illustration I will suppose a case. A. is engaged in a very excellent work. B. comes to him, and the following dialogue ensues:
"B. 'Friend A., I am glad to see you engaged in so excellent a work. I also have concluded to engage in it. I should be glad to work with you. You know the proverbs, 'Union is strength,' and 'Two are better than one.'
"A. 'Yes, yes, friend B., I know these proverbs and believe them as thoroughly as you do. But I have a few peculiarities about my way of working. They are not many, and they are not essential, but I think they are very useful, and wish to work according to them. Therefore, I prefer working alone.'
"B. 'Yes, friend A., we all have our peculiarities, and, if they be not carried too far, they may all be made useful. I have been making inquiries about yours, and I am glad to find they are not nearly so many, or so different from mine, as you suppose, and as I once supposed. The fact is, I rather like some of them, and though I may not esteem them all as highly as you do, still I am willing to conform to them; for I am fully persuaded that, in work of this kind, two working together can do vastly more than two working separately, and the work will be much better done. Besides this, the social intercourse will be delightful.'
"A. 'I appreciate, friend B., your politeness, and am well aware that all you say about the greater efficiency and excellence of united work and the delights of social intercourse is perfectly true. But--but--well, I prefer to work alone.'
"2. It will injure the efficiency of the Church at Amoy. Besides the objection furnished by the increase of denominations, which the heathen will thus, as readily as the irreligious in this country, be able to urge against Christianity, it will deprive the churches of the benefit of the united wisdom and strength of the whole of them for self-cultivation and for Christian enterprise, and will introduce a spirit of jealous rivalry among them. We know it is said that there need be no such result, and that the native churches may remain just as united in spirit after the organization of two denominations as before. Such a sentiment takes for granted, either that ecclesiastical organization has in fact no efficiency, or that the Chinese churches have arrived at a far higher state of sanctification than the churches have attained to in this land. Do not different denominations exhibit jealous rivalry in this land? Is Chinese human nature different from American?
"In consequence of such division the native Churches will not be so able to support the Gospel among themselves. Look at the condition of our Western towns in this respect. Why strive to entail like evils on our missionary churches? ....
"But may not the Church change or improve her decisions? Here is one of the good things we hope to see come out of this mistake of the Church. Jesus rules, and He is ordering all things for the welfare of His Church and the advancement of His cause. Sometimes, the better to accomplish this end, He permits the Church to make mistakes. When we failed in former days to get our views made public, it gave us no anxiety, for we believed the doctrine that Jesus reigns. So we now feel, notwithstanding this mistake. The Master will overrule it for good. We do not certainly know how, but we can imagine one way. By means of this mistake the matter may be brought before our Church, and before other Churches, more clearly than it would otherwise have been for many years to come, and in consequence of this we expect, in due time, that our Church, instead of coming up merely to the standard of liberality for which we have been contending, will rise far above anything we have asked for or even imagined, and other Churches will also raise their standard higher. Hereafter we expect to contend for still higher principles. This is the doctrine. Let all the branches of the great Presbyterian family in the same region in any heathen country, which are sound in the faith, organize themselves, if convenient, into one organic whole, allowing liberty to the different parts in things non-essential. Let those who adopt Dutch customs, as at Amoy, continue, if they see fit, their peculiarities, and those who adopt other Presbyterian customs, as at Ningpo and other places, continue their peculiarities, and yet all unite as one Church. This subject does not relate simply to the interests of the Church at Amoy. It relates to the interests of all the missionary work of all the churches of the Presbyterian order in all parts of the world. Oh, that our Church might take the lead in this catholicity of spirit, instead of falling back in the opposite direction-that no one may take her crown! But if she do not, then we trust some other of the sacramental hosts will take the lead and receive, too, the honor, for it is for the glory of the great Captain of our salvation and for the interests of His kingdom. We need the united strength of all these branches of Zion for the great work which the Master has set before us in calling on us to evangelize the world. In expecting to obtain this union, will it be said that we are looking for a chimera? It ought to be so, ought it not? Then it is no chimera. It may take time for the Churches to come up to this standard, but within a few years we have seen tendencies to union among different branches of the Presbyterian family in Australia. In Canada, in our own country, and in England and Scotland. In many places these tendencies are stronger now than they have ever before been since the days of the Reformation.
"True, human nature is still compassed with infirmities even in the Church of Christ. But the day of the world's regeneration is approaching, and as it approaches nearer to us, doubtless the different branches of the Presbyterian family will approach still nearer to each other. God hasten the time, and keep us also from doing anything to retard, but everything to help it forward, and to His name be the praise forever. Amen."
So strong was the feeling of the entire Amoy Mission, that in September, 1863, the following communication was sent to the Board of Foreign Missions:
"Dear Brethren: We received from you on the 22d ultimo the action taken by the General Synod at its recent session at Newburgh with regard to the proposed organization of a Classis at Amoy. Did we view this step in the light in which Synod appears to have regarded it, we should need in this communication to do no more than signify our intention to carry out promptly the requirements of Synod; but we regret to say that such is not the case, and that Synod, in requiring this of us, has asked us to do that which we cannot perform. We feel that Synod must have mistaken our position on this question. It is not that we regard the proposed action as merely inexpedient and unwise; if this were all, we would gladly carry out the commands of Synod, transferring to it the responsibility which it offers to assume. But the light in which we regard it admits of no transfer of responsibility. It is not a matter of judgment only, but also of conscience.
"We conscientiously feel that in confirming such an organization we should be doing a positive injury and wrong to the churches of Christ established at Amoy, and that our duty to the Master and His people here forbids this. Therefore, our answer to the action of General Synod must be and is that we cannot be made the instruments of carrying out the wishes of Synod in this report; and further, if Synod is determined that such an organization must be effected, we can see no other way than to recall us and send hither men who see clearly their way to do that which to us seems wrong.
"We regret the reasons which have led us to this conclusion. We have thought it best that each member of the Mission should forward to you his individual views on this subject, rather than embody them in the present communication.
"We accordingly refer you to these separate statements which will be sent to you as soon as prepared.
"Commending you, dear brethren, to our common Lord, whose servants we all are, and praying that He will guide us into all truth, we are as ever,
"Your brethren in Christ
"AMOY, Sept. 16, 1863."
The last action taken by the General Synod was in June, 1864, and reads as follows:
"Resolved, That while the General Synod does not deem it necessary or proper to change the missionary policy defined and adopted in 1857, yet, in consideration of the peculiar circumstances of the Mission of Amoy, the brethren there are allowed to defer the formation of a Classis of Amoy until, in their judgment, such a measure is required by the wants and desires of the Churches gathered by them from among the heathen."
At the Centenary Conference on the Protestant Missions of the World, held in Exeter Hall, London, 1888, Rev. W. J. K. Taylor, D.D., for many years a most efficient member of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America, read a paper on "Union and Cooperation in Foreign Missions," in which he said:
"Actual union has been happily maintained at Amoy, China, for more than a quarter of a century between the missionaries of the Reformed Church in America and those of the Presbyterian Church of England. Having labored together in the faith of the Gospel, gathering converts into the fold of Christ, and founding native churches, these brethren could not and would not spoil the unity of those infant churches by making two denominations out of one company of believers nor would they sow in that virgin soil the seeds of sectarian divisions which have long sundered the Protestant Churches in Europe and America. The result was the organization of the Tai-Hoey, or Great Council of Elders, which is neither an English
Guest of Honor at Her Own 'Funeral' | sedaqah's Xanga Site - Weblog

Monday, July 28, 2008

  • Guest of Honor at Her Own 'Funeral'

    If you've been following some of my recent blogs here you know already that I and my family have been dealing with my mother's being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  That dreadful diagnosis forced us to face Mom's mortality.  And to a lesser extent, it forced each of us, from the oldest to the youngest, to confront our own impending deaths.

    When I first jetted up to Sactown in June, I spent a lot of time with Mom, catching up emotionally and relationally after being in SoCal for 30 years.  I recommended that she read Mitch Album's "Tuesdays with Morrie," since Album's former professor (slowing dying from Lou Gehrig's disease) discovered some important aspects of how then to live when you can't deny you're dying.  "Mom, one of the things that Morrie asked Mitch to do was to organize his funeral before he died.  I'd like to plan something like that for you, while you're still here, so you can attend.  What do you think?"

    "Ken, I've never heard of such a thing.  Attending your own funeral?  I'm sorry.  I'm really not comfortable with doing that."

    Being my usual persuasive self, I got her to change her mind the next day, and this past Saturday, my family and I drove up to celebrate my mom's life at the little Chinese Baptist Church that she has been attending again.  One of my aunts flew up from Arizona the day before so she could be there for Mom.  After dinner, I was driving the two of them and a van full of Mom's grandkids to get mochi yogurt and we were all laughing and having a great time.  That's when Mom remarked to my aunt, "Isn't this great, Mary?  It's like a nonstop party with people I love!"  I was hoping that what I'd planned for Saturday was going to meet her growing expectations.

    Nearly 100 people had rsvp'd to the invitation that one of my nieces had designed with Adobe.  That number would just fit in the church's tiny social hall but it required us to move the program to the sanctuary.  Once I realized we were going to be in the sanctuary, I asked if it would be cool to move the old wooden pews so that they were in a V-formation and to put the pastor's loveseat on the stage for Mom.  The pastor and church members loved the result so much that they decided to leave the pews in that array for Sunday!  The pastor's wife told me after Sunday's service, "Ken, any time you have good ideas to help us improve things here that don't cost any money, please let us know!"

    Once lunch was done, it didn't take long to get everyone re-situated in the sanctuary.  It was a curious assortment of family, old familiar faces and people completely unknown to me.  There was a sense of awkwardness in the air, because no one else but me had ever been to something like this before.  And I'd only done it once before, several years ago, for EBCLA member Michael Lai who was dying of cancer.

    I thought the best way to handle everyone's uncertainty was to hit it head on.  "In my profession, I've performed countless funerals and have finally come to the conclusion that we do it backwards.  We wait until the person we love is dead to say the things they would have loved to hear.  We don't know how many days God has planned for Mom on this earth, but her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer has made doing something like this more urgent and more poignant.  Each of you potentially will play a big part in the program today.  In about 6 minutes, following the slideshow of Emilie's life, I'm going to put up some memory-prompters on the screen, to jog your memories with stories and examples of how Emilie was, say, generous or proud of her family or a person of remarkable faith in God.  This is your opportunity to let Mom know that her time on this earth has made a real difference.  I hope many of you will bless Emilie today by saying something meaningful."

    After that, I asked Mom to sit on the loveseat on the stage.  One of my brothers whispered in my direction, "Psst!  Don't leave Mom up there by herself.  Put Dad next to her."  Something inside me told me to ignore that prompt, but I went ahead and put our 86 yoa father on that little sofa with Mom.  Bad idea.  REALLY bad idea.  Because out of the entire 80 minutes of sharing poignant stories, honest tears, and belly laughs together, Dad probably slept through at least 75% of it.  Hey, he's old and on all kinds of medications, so he typically sleeps through 75% of most days, whether it's in church or at home in front of the TV.  But because I succumbed to the pressure of my brother's audible, Dad took his nap up on the stage, next to Mom, in full view of everyone else.  The first time he fell asleep, his chin was resting on his chest when Mom finally poked him.  "Jim, you're embarrassing me.  Why can't you stay awake?"  "I wasn't sleeping," Dad protested.  "My eyes are weeping and I had to close them." 

    Ok, some of us there gave dear old Dad the benefit of the doubt.  But the second time, it just wasn't possible to believe he wasn't in full-out REM sleep.  His head was cocked backwards so far that I was afraid he'd broken his neck.  His mouth was wide open and facing the church's ceiling.  He could have swallowed a sword!  Mom was horrified once she turned and noticed what everyone else could see.  My brother said, "What do you expect?  Dad had to listen to TWO pastors today."  [Note to self: Always remember that, when it comes to stuff like this, I'm the professional, not my brother.  Mom would have been fine up there without Dad.  Don't listen to Rob.]

    In spite of Dad's serving as a major distraction, I'd say maybe 35% of the people shared how grateful they were for Mom's presence in their lives.  One retired lawyer shared how thrilled Mom was when he passed the bar 40 years ago.  Others relived episodes of serving alongside Mom, of being inspired by her leadership and faith, of even coming back to Christ because of Mom's reaching out to new neighbors on our street.  It was especially touching to hear from most of her grandkids, soaked through with lots of tears.  Each of her three daughters-in-law shared how thoroughly embraced they each felt after marrying one of her three sons.  And then it was our turn to thank our mother for giving us such a strong belief in ourselves so that we've been able to take risks and learn from mistakes and failures.  I finally lost it when I turned towards her and said, "Mom, I've been gone for 32 years and yet there hasn't been a single time that I can recall when you've made me feel guilty for being a pastor in LA.  That's because you believe in me, in my call, and in my ministry.  That's been an amazing gift to me, to our church, and so many others.  I've been away too long.  Your having cancer means that it's time for me to come home, to make sure you know that I love you and am so grateful for your role in my life."

    I found out the next day that several of my Christian friends who live in Sacramento and were there thought I was announcing that I was leaving EBCLA and LA and coming back to pastor somewhere in Sacto.  But they soon figured out that they'd misinterpreted my words due to wishful thinking.

    Just as I was calling up Mom's pastor to pray for her, Rob audibilized again.  "Pssst.  Give Dad a chance to share about Mom!"  My instincts told me to ignore his suggestion, but instead I turned to the slouching figure on the couch (who looked awake now) and asked, "Umm, Dad, would you like to say something to Mom on her special day?"  To which he curtly replied, "No."  And the room couldn't contain their laughter. 

    So God enabled us to honor my mother in a special way, something that she'll probably cherish for however long she has left here.  And my brother got me to embarrass my father publicly twice in the span of 90 minutes. 

    That's my family.  And I'm sticking to it.

Great! Now I'm Really Stuck | sedaqah's Xanga Site - Weblog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

  • Great! Now I'm Really Stuck

    On one of my recent trips up to Sactown to spend time with my extended family, especially Mom (who'd just be pre-diagnosed with pancreatic cancer), my brother Rob and I began a conversation around this issue of the Christian Church and those with same-sex attraction (SSA).  Rob grew up in the same Chinese American Baptist church as me, but he and his family attend a Presbyterian church downtown, directly across the street from the state capital.  My brother is a city councilman and it doesn't surprise me that he and his wife love and respect their pastor for preaching about current events and controversial issues.  Even before the May ruling on same sex marriage by the California Supreme Court, Rob's church has been welcoming and affirming same-sex couples for years.  So you can well imagine the tenor of our conversation when I shared with him what our church hosted on May 10th (see earlier posts).

    I'm older by five years but Rob's probably 100 IQ points smarter than me (and I'm not stupid).  He doesn't miss a trick.  If you've got any holes in your arguments, he'll spot 'em long before you do and drive a truck through them.  As we got deeper and deeper into the conversation around the Christian Church and homosexuals, I began bracing myself early for his expert cross examination (when he was arguing cases in the courtroom, he went 10 years without ever losing a verdict!  His very first legal victory was defending Renault against an anti-lemon lawsuit!).

    The clock on the desk in the guestroom read "1:22 AM" when he exposed the flaw in my publicly pronounced position.

    "So let me get this straight, Ken.  You're saying that homosexuality is just one outcome of all of human sexuality's being broken, right?  But since the church is supposed to be a place of God's healing and hope for all broken sinners, people at EvergreenLA now are open to receiving those struggling with same-sex attraction, with the operative phrase being 'struggling with.'  However, if someone with same-sex attraction was NOT struggling with this, was NOT convinced that this orientation was contrary to God's Word and God's specific will for him/her, then you would have to draw the line there.  Did I hear you say that?  That's what I thought.

    "Okay, look, you're the theologian, not me.  I'm a lawyer and this is about religious convictions, not the law of the land.  But even though I'm not a theologian, I'm troubled by the flagrant inconsistencies of your publicly stated position on this important issue.  Again, I'm not a theologian like you, but do you mean to tell me that there is no one--not a single person--coming to your church today, even serving as a lay leader or on your ministry staff--who is actively sinning AND not struggling with that sin?  You said that you're trying hard not to single out homosexual behavior as the worst sin, that instead you're trying to treat this 'sin' in the same way that you treat any and all sins, right? (At this point, I became familiar with feelings of entering a battle of wits unarmed).

    "So let's start with you, Ken.  Are you a sinner?  Okay, but are there any sins that you in fact AREN'T struggling with?  You know, they don't bother you, you don't spend any time fretting over them, and you and the church certainly don't believe that whatever these might be don't disqualify from being a pastor, let alone just coming to church.  Let me get really concrete for a moment: Is being too materialistic a sin?  Definitely listed as such in the Bible.  Do you have a problem with being too materialistic?  (I was about to plead the 5th but that would have been fruitless.)  But let's say that you know that being materialistic was a sin but you aren't struggling one bit with being too materialistic.  Or let's say it was the sin of gluttony.  Any obvious gluttens going to your church, Ken?  Any in leadership positions?  Or let's say it was the sin of an unforgiving heart.  Do you think there might be a good number of folk at EvergreenLA who harbor long-standing grudges without ever really struggling with their refusal to forgive? 

    "So if sinners who AREN'T struggling with certain sins are welcomed and allowed to serve throughout the church, why are you changing the standards just because this time it's about people with SSA?"

    As the big hand was just minutes away from making it clear that we were approaching 2 AM, all I could tell Rob was that those were great points and that God had just used him to kick my behind.

    I'm really starting to believe that the crux of this crucial issue before us all comes down to these questions: 1) Is someone born with SSA or is it a choice?, and 2) Regardless of whether scholars and scientists will ever solve the mystery of sexual attraction, how will you respond when the person with the SSA is your own flesh and blood or your best friend since first grade?

    Can you get me unstuck from my apparent inconsistent application of Scripture towards LGBT community members?

    I tell you one thing: The next time someone begins by saying, "Well, I'm not a theologian like you..." you'd better either brace yourself for a bumpy ride or it's time to strap in and TAKE OFF!

The Gift of Cancer | sedaqah's Xanga Site - Weblog

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

  • The Gift of Cancer

    As far as headlines go, this one is by far the most oxymoronic I've ever come up with.  Cancer, a gift?  Clearly only someone with a delusional mind and a cancer-free body could suggest that this archenemy of all of us is something that could be celebrated and appreciated.

    I am no stranger to cancer even though it has yet to invade my body.  My brother-in-law Emery died of liver cancer at 32, leaving my sister with a 2-year old and a 7-month old and without the love of her life.  Melinda later was diagnosed with breast cancer, which ultimately invaded her bones and finally her brain before it finished her off.  My 85-year old dad is still alive, even though lung cancer robbed him of 1/3 of his right lung and Non-Hodgkins lymphoma has reduced this once-strapping fellow to a shadow of his former self.  And not yet two weeks ago my 82-year old mother was told she has pancreatic cancer.  So while I have not had cancer, my family has been tormented by this scourge of death.  I don't know what it's like to have cancer but I do know what it's like to love someone who's been given this most-dreaded of all diagnoses.

    My mom's cancer diagnosis hit me particularly hard because we're the most alike in my family.  Our being so close was one of the obstacles I faced 30 years ago when I felt God was calling me to uproot from NoCal and move south for seminary and who knows what else.  As much as it pained her to see me go, Mom gave me her unconditional blessing when I left, not knowing when I'd ever be back.  That was 1978 and it took this horrific diagnosis of pancreatic cancer to make me realize that I've been gone three decades!  Over the course of those years, I didn't always make it back to Sacramento every year.  I started thinking that I'd probably been with Mom then less than 30 times since 1978.  Maybe more like 20 times?  Twenty times in thirty years is more like the profile of two people who aren't very close versus two people who are extremely close.  Yet that's what happened.  I would just get too wrapped up in ministry and life and she would never dare drive six hours to LA and she was too thrifty to take Southwest.

    Her being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, however, brought all of this to my attention.  What other mother would never ONCE in thirty years make any effort to make me feel guilty or bad for never coming back home?  In fact, it's been her unbridled love and enthusiasm for me, my calling as a pastor, my ministry here at EBCLA that has been the most amazing source of personal strength and focus all these years.  As much as she misses me, as much as I've been missing from her life and she's been missing from mine, I can't remember a single time that she's ever overtly or even covertly let me know that I've been gone too long.  What she has made a point of repeating is that she's glad I've been down in LA because she doesn't believe that I would have grown as much if I'd either have stayed in NoCal or had come back to serve in a church. 

    Thirty years.  You know what I just figured out?  Mom was the age I am now (53) when I headed south for seminary.  Whoa!  That just hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.  Back then, I thought she was sort of old already, but now I KNOW she wasn't old!  But she became an old woman while I've been away.

    So that's why, after hearing of the initial diagnosis, I found substitutes or replacements for all of my weekend responsibilities and was headed up to Sactown the next night.  As soon as I walked in her front door, she put her cancer-thinned arms around me and started sobbing.  "I'm so glad you came home, Ken.  I'm so glad you came home."

    Other then the fact that she'd lost 20 pounds the last couple of months, Mom looked and definitely acted like her typical self.  But the reports from her doctors made it impossible to ignore that cancer had established an immovable foothold on the head of her pancreas--the worst possible place for it to be. 

    It's one thing to go back home to the house where you grew up and to re-enter the flow of your original family.  It's another thing altogether to go back when there's a death sentence hanging over a family member's head.  Mind you, I'd made that kind of trip three times before, but this time I was awash with indecipherable thoughts and feelings because it was Mom.

    The next morning, as we were walking back to the house, I remarked that the sun was so much stronger ever since the city cut down the giant elm tree in front.  I said to her, "Looks like some of your neighbors have replanted new trees after their elms were cut down."  Mom casually responded, "I wouldn't live long enough to see it provide shade for our house. (pause) I'll let the next owner make that decision."  A simple statement, but one that was interlaced with her profound new sense of mortality.  Something told me that her impending sense of the end of her life had begun some time before the dreaded pronouncement.

    Later that afternoon, we were sitting in the dining room, the one with the threadbare carpet that she refused to replace ("What's the point?") and the wooden chair whose undercarriage had come unglued. 

    "Mom, if you think about it, we're all terminal.  It's just that you can no longer deny it.  I read once that it's only after you learn how to die that you can really know how to live.  What do you think about that?"

    "I believe that.  Now more than ever.  I'm grateful to God that He's let me live this long.  How can I be bitter when Emery only lived to 32 and I've lived more than 30 years longer than Melinda did?"

    "Sort of makes you wake up and realize that every day is a gift from God that deserves to be opened, doesn't it?  If God gives us one more day than others get, how can we waste it being bitter, angry or ungrateful?"

    "Ken, as much as I don't want this cancer inside me, I'm so grateful for the time God's given me, time to reconnect with my siblings, time to stop holding grudges and appreciate people more."

    "Mom, only God knows how many days you have, right?  Let's not waste a single one."

    Then, for the umpteenth time, we hugged and cried and laughed.  And, although we didn't say it, we sort of thanked God for cancer.

Great Pursuit: World Mission through Mission to America
"The 21st Century World Mission through Mission to America"
2008 KWMC, Wheaton, IL
Rev. I. Henry Koh
(Translated by Grace Song)
July 29, 2008
When the first KWMC was held at Wheaton in1988, the number of Korean missionaries was no more than a several hundred. However, twenty years later today, Korea became a nation that sends out almost 20,000 (18,650) missionaries to 168 countries throughout the world. It has been already several years since Korea ranked the second in world mission. Furthermore, an article that Korea will rank the top in world mission was featured as the cover story in March 2006 issue of Christianity Today. Would Korea, a small country in the east, be able to surpass America, the world’s most powerful nation and take the first place in world mission? However, whether Korea becomes the first or second in world mission is not an important issue that requires our attention. I believe the subject matter to which we must pay attention is the mission strategy God is mapping out through the Korean people.
Christianity in Korea has a relatively short history – no more than 120 years. God has disciplined the Korean people and Korean church through the 35 years of Japanese oppression, the pains and turmoil of the division of the Korean peninsula and Communist oppression of church since World War II, and through the 3-year Korean War which sacrificed over 2 million lives. God used these hardships to train and use the Korean church for world mission in the 21st century. At the time Korea was in ruins and was the poorest nation in the world with the annual per capita income of less than $100. However, God uplifted such country and made it into a leading nation in world mission.
Toward the end of the 20th century, God began to send Koreans to America, the most powerful nation in the world, in order to carry on world mission through the Korean people in the 21st century. God sent 2 million Koreans to America in relatively short 35 years and enabled them to plant as many as 4,000 churches in America during the last 30-40 years, thus making Korea into a 2
nation that planted the largest number of churches per population in American immigration history. Then what is God’s will in doing so? Did God plant Korean churches in America so that Koreans may build large churches, worship in Korean language, and indulge in nostalgic thoughts of homeland with fellow Koreans? No. God planted such a large number of Korean Churches in America with a much more far-reaching and grand dream, that is, as part of His strategy for world mission.
From the beginning, God has been sending Koreans to America with a vision and strategy for world mission, because America is the key nation in God’s strategy for world mission. What is important is not whether Korea ranks first or second in the number of missionaries it sends out. Rather, what is important is to know God’s strategy for the world mission and being used in His plan in Great Commission. Then why would God want to map the 21st century strategy for world mission through America? We must look for answers from the Bible to see how God used nations and people to carry out the mission.
America is the 21st century Rome. History reveals the centrality of Rome in the 1st century strategy for world mission drawn by God. God had prepared Rome before the foundation of the world and mapped out strategies for world mission in which Rome was to place a central role. In the 1st century strategy for the world mission Rome was the key nation. That is why God evangelized Rome by sending the two giants of faith in the 1st century – Paul and Peter -- to Rome and through their martyrdom. Why Rome then? Rome was the most powerful nation in the 1st century, and therefore the Christianization of Rome would open up the evangelistic road to extensive civilizations under Roman rule and influence much more readily and quickly. In fact, when the Roman Emperor Constantine professed Christ in 313 AD, the evangelization of countries in Europe and Northern Africa under Roman influence strode on Roman roads. Historians have said "Every road leads to Rome." In fact, the gospel spread to the world, traveling on Roman roads. 21st century America is like 1st century Rome. Every road leads to and passes through America.
21st century America is the most powerful nation in the history of the world. Every road in the 21st century indeed passes through America. Every air route in the world passes through America. Every airline in the world is present at JFK International Airport in New York. Why is that? It evidences the fact that America holds the central power in the world. In other words, the present day 3
America is the center of politics, military, economy, science, industry and commerce, scholarship and culture of the world in the 21st century. The United Nations Headquarters is in the United States. The vast majority of headquarters of the world’s international bodies are in America. Not only every air route in the world leads to America, but every vessel of commerce leads to and leaves from America.
The present era is referred to as the era of globalization. However, economic circles often say, Americanization is Globalization. America is the nation that fed and sustained the world that fell into ruins post World War II. It is hard to name a nation that did not receive American aid. America helped postwar Europe lying in ruins by launching Marshall Plan, and assisted Germany and Japan – the two defeated nations – to become nations with the 2nd and 3rd economic power in the world. Korea too was able to rise to economic power due to enormous amounts of American aid. Even China is experiencing such phenomenal economic growth today through its trade with America.
Furthermore, the whole world acknowledges America as the best country to live in the world. America has become the object of envy and many in the world want to come and live in America. In fact, it is said that even Muslims who are antagonistic toward America want to live in America. Thus there are 180 ethnic groups with their own language currently living in America. It was likewise in 1st century Rome. Rome was the nation of multiethnic society in the 1st century. 21st century America is the most multiethnic nation that has ever existed in the history of the world. Thus, to evangelize America is to evangelize the world. If we proclaim the gospel to the 180 language groups residing in America, they will eventually share the gospel with their relatives and friends living in their home country as they travel back and forth. Thus the gospel spreads to the world in and through America. That is what had happened in the 1st century when Rome was evangelized.
Moreover, there are more than1 million foreign students from all over the world studying in American colleges and universities. America is the only "mission field" where one does not have to go overseas to engage in world mission. In American colleges and universities, there are students from countries and regions unreachable with the Gospel by us. When those students finish their studies and return to their own countries, they will become influential leaders in their respective countries. Proclaiming the gospel to such students studying in America is God’s strategy for world mission. Rather 4
than spending tens of thousands of dollars for proclaiming the gospel message to various people groups by going to remote countries and towns scattered throughout the world, sharing the gospel with each foreign student from the four corners of the world studying in America would be much more efficient and effective way to use our resources and multiply results a hundredfold and a thousand-fold more. When such foreign students believe in the Lord Jesus and return to their own country, they may even be able to change their national law that prohibits Christianity.
The collapse of the New York World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2002 at the hands of Muslim terrorists opened a new era in world history. The problem of the world in the 20th century had been the seemingly endless cold war with Communism. But communism finally collapsed with the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Now historians say that world war in the 21st century will be the cultural war between Christianity and Islam. Can Christianity win? Many scholars have a pessimistic outlook. Thus, the chief challenge of world mission in the 21st century confronting us is that of sharing the gospel with Muslims. Missionary endeavor is illegal in most Islamic nations, and missionaries are prohibited from those nations. Thus missionaries who had entered secretly are either deported or put to death when found out.
However, we are free to share the gospel with over 6 million Muslims in America who either emigrated from Islamic nations or are here to study. America is a nation that guarantees freedom of speech.
Therefore, America is the world’s most important "mission field". To evangelize America is to evangelize the world. We must penetrate into American colleges and universities and proclaim the gospel. There, students from all parts of the world are being trained and educated to become world leaders. We must share the gospel with Muslims residing in America. And we must proclaim the gospel to 180 ethnic groups in America. Here is an example. There are about 40,000 Chinese immigrants living in South Philadelphia. Every summer 2nd generation Korean-Americans go there, rent a church building and hold the gospel-based summer school for 5 weeks and share the gospel with the children of Chinese immigrants. Among them are children from Indonesia and Vietnam. When the gospel is shared with the children, even the parents come to faith in Christ. Such ministry is referred to as "Urban Mission." 5
In West Philadelphia 2nd generation Korean-Americans from Emmanuel Church planted a multicultural church with over 500 members in the vicinity of the University of Pennsylvania. Not only that, they have been sharing the gospel with black children in the area for the last ten years or so through the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project. The hope of the world is found in sharing the gospel with children – for sooner or later, it is those children who will be leading and carrying on the world. And it is for such work as these that God has been persistently sending Koreans to America during the last 30-40 years and enabling them to plant 4000 churches.
At first, perhaps because Paul had not realized the importance of evangelizing Rome, he had poured out his evangelistic passion to Asia and Bithynia. However, Paul’s epistle written to the church in Rome reveals vast missiological interest Paul had for Rome. At first, Paul appears as if he is not interested in mission to Rome. Why should he proclaim the gospel to an enemy country? And we can understand Paul’s heart from a human perspective. Paul seems to have tried very hard to go east. However, it is written in the Bible that God did not allow it. It is written in Acts 16:6-7, "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to."
Had Paul gone east with the gospel, Korea may have been evangelized before Rome. But such was not God’s strategy for world mission. God’s strategy for world mission was for Rome to receive the gospel first. Europe was next and Korea was to receive the gospel toward the end of the 19th century.
God stopped Paul from going east and showed him a vision of going west. It is written Acts 16:8-10, "So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." In God’s strategy and order of world mission, Asia did not come first but Europe. 6
From then on, the gospel moved on westward through Paul from Philippi to Thessalonica, then to Berea to Athens, and to Corinth. God led Paul westward with the gospel because Rome was in West and God’s strategy for mission required Rome to be evangelized. Eventually Paul’s eyes were opened to God’s strategy for mission and His purpose for Rome. Paul wrote the epistle to Romans from Corinth and made clear his intention to visit Rome in15:23-24. The Bible records that although Paul made efforts to visit Rome several times, the road had been blocked. When Governor Festus asked Paul during his imprisonment in Caesarea, whether he is willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand there for a trial, Paul answered, "I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried." (Acts 25:9-10) Apostle Paul preferred to go to Rome because he wanted to open a door for the gospel by proclaiming the gospel to the household of Caesar. Thus God sent Paul albeit as a prisoner to Rome.
God sent Koreans to America, that is, to the 21st century Rome. We Koreans say that we came to America to seek a better life and to give our children a better education. However, in reality, it is God who has brought Koreans to America from 35 years ago so that they may be used for proclaiming the gospel to the 180 multiethnic groups currently living in America and engage in world mission in and through America.
Now the issue before us is how 1st generation Koreans who planted Korean-American churches will evangelize America. It is hard to even conceive the idea that a small nation like Korea will evangelize a large powerful nation like America. Until now we have thought that mission involves rich countries with civilized culture proclaiming the gospel to poor countries with uncivilized culture. And that is how mission has been thought of and done during the past 200 years. However, that is not biblical mission. From the book of Acts, we see Paul from a small and weak colony Judea evangelizing Rome, the world’s most powerful nation at the time. That was God’s strategy for mission. If God sent people from a small country like Korea to America in order to evangelize America, the world’s most powerful nation as Rome was in the 1st century with purpose of evangelization of the world, then what we need to do is to understand God’s strategy and obey God’s mission strategy as Paul did. It is not 7
us but God who carries on world mission. All we have to do is simply obey with the readiness and spirit of martyrdom as Paul did.
Then how can 1st generation Koreans enter American college campuses and share the gospel with180 ethnic groups? Isn’t it impossible because of language barriers? Mission involves overcoming language and cultural barriers in order to share the gospel with people who are different from us. Surely there are some 1st generation Koreans who speak fluent English, and therefore can share the gospel by overcoming language and cultural barriers. However, we can expect much greater works for world mission from 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans who grew up in America and therefore are both linguistically and culturally fluent. I believe God’s will in sending 2 million Koreans to America during the past 35 years and enabling them to plant 4000 churches in this land was to bring up 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans who can engage in world mission by evangelizing America. It can be compared to how God had led Paul to Rome for world mission in the 1st century. Most of 1st generation Koreans were able to plant only Korean churches and share the gospel with only Koreans, but 1.5 and 2nd generation Korean-Americans with no language or cultural barriers have access to much wider audience.
English has become the world language today. Greek was the world language in the 1st century. US citizenship is like the 1st century Roman citizenship. Paul, Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy -- all of whom God used mightily in world mission were Roman citizens and spoke fluent Greek. God used such people in mighty ways in the 1st century. God’s purpose in sending Koreans to America in the 21st century and enabling them to plant 4000 churches was to bring up 2nd generation Korean-Americans who hold US citizenship and are fluent in English, and therefore can evangelize America and the world. 2nd generations Korean-Americans are US citizens from their birth. Paul said that he is a Roman citizen by birth. 2nd generation Koreans are unconstrained in their use of English language. Paul was also uninhibited in his use of Greek language and thus wrote all his New Testament epistles in Greek. 2nd generation Korean-Americans can share the gospel with both American students and foreign students from all parts of the world studying in American colleges. 2nd generation Korean-Americans can share the gospel with both blacks and Caucasians as well as with people from 180 ethnic groups.
Whichever of the world’s international city we may be in, we can get by speaking English for we can find English speakers everywhere these days. 8
Thus 2nd generation Korean-Americans are not limited to America. They can share the gospel wherever they are in the world. Presently there are 2nd generation Korean-American pastors proclaiming the gospel to hundreds and thousands of people in multicultural settings and serving at large multicultural city churches. Among them are Chae An, David Gibbons, Min Chung, and Stephen Um. There are countless examples of 2nd generation Korean-American pastors who planted multicultural churches, whether large or small, and are faithfully proclaiming the gospel. Furthermore, there are 2nd generation pastors who have penetrated into American college campuses and planted multiethnic churches for college students. Min Chung is the most representative of them. Now over 1,000 people worship at the multiethnic church (which constitutes about 40% 2nd generation Korean-Americans and 60% other ethnic groups) Min Chung planted in Urbana, IL where the University of Illinois is located. This year, the church is commissioning one of its pastoral staffs, Paul Chi, to plant a new multiethnic church in Madison, WI where the University of Wisconsin is located. In addition, there are Paul Kim, Steve Kim, Young C. Kim, and Robert Kim in Philadelphia who have successfully planted multiethnic churches either in college campuses or in the city; Victor Kim and Brian Lee in New York; John Cha in Washington, Matthew Ro in Atlanta; Joshua Kang, Seesun Yoo, Peter Kim, Steve Kang in Chicago; and Sam Park, Sam Yoo, Owen Lee, Iron Kim, Paul Kim, Harold Kim, and James Han in Southern California. And God continues to plant myriads of multiethnic churches in America’s largest cities and college campuses through 2nd generation Korean-American pastors. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 2nd generation Korean-Americans can plant English-speaking multiethnic churches not only in America, but also in any other international cities in the world whether it be London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila, and Jakarta. Nowadays, young people fluent in English are swarming into the world’s international cities, including Seoul.
The life of Korean-American churches lies in nurturing and raising up 2nd generation Korean-Americans. Why did God all of a sudden plant 4000 Korean Diaspora churches in America toward the end of the 20th century? The reason was to bring up 2nd generation Korean-Americans who can evangelize America and thereby engage in world mission. Unless Korean-American churches realize this fact, Korean-American churches will forfeit the purpose and reason for their existence. The task of bringing up 2nd generation Korean-Americans precedes overseas mission for Korean-American churches. The most important and prior task of mission for Korean-American churches is 9
raising up 2nd generation Korean-Americans. The demise of 2nd generation Korean-Americans will be the demise of Korean-American churches. No matter how much Korean-American churches grow numerically, build great buildings, and help countless missionaries, churches that fail to bring up 2nd generation Korean-Americans will die away with 1st generation Koreans. In other words, large church buildings, great mission enterprises will not outlive 1st generation Koreans but will perish with them. 19th century England had ranked the top in world mission, but it failed to raise the next generation to take over its mission endeavor. Thus, England’s mission enterprise has attenuated to the point of obliteration today and its church buildings are being sold to Muslims and turning into mosques. Raising up 2nd generation Korean-Americans is Korean-American churches’ first and foremost task of mission. It will not be an exaggeration to say that if Korean-American churches gain 2nd generation Korean-Americans, they will gain everything. However, on the other hand, if they lose their 2nd generation Korean-Americans, they will lose everything.
I am afraid that Korean-American churches are forgetting the purpose and reason for their existence and are thinking only of 1st generation ministries. If we immigrated to America for our children, then the purpose of Korean-American churches ought to be to bring up our children well and commit them to God’s will. If we believe that 2nd generation can engage in mission more effectively than 1st generation, then 1st generation should prioritize and commit themselves to the work of brining up 2nd generation.
We must nurture 2nd generation to perceive and engage with the world more broadly. We must pray God will raise up not only pastors who will transform America but also evangelists like Billy Graham out of 2nd generation Korean-Americans. And outstanding theology professors who wield vast influence in theological mainstreams should be produced from 2nd generation Korean-Americans. Already there are worldly renowned Bible scholars from 1st generation Koreans like Dr. Se Yoon Kim who teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary. Yet even more distinguished figures should come forth from 2nd generation Korean-Americans. Great missionaries like Hudson Taylor and William Carey should also come forth from 2nd generation Korean-Americans. However, evangelism is not the only way to carry on mission. Christian literary figures such as C.S. Lewis must be produced to engage in cultural mission. Prominent Christian writers, playwrights, and musicians should come forth and engage in cultural mission to Christianize not only the culture of America but 10
the cultures of the world as well. Furthermore, there should be 2nd generation Korean-Americans who penetrate into the political and legal world of America like Dr. Harold Koh who served as Assistant Secretary of State during the Clinton years. In such ways godly Christian men and women who can exert Christ’s influence in every area of life throughout America and the world should come forth.
Then what must Korean-American churches specifically do? Without a question, they must bring up 2nd generation Korean-Americans. That is our mission. Then how are we to bring up our 2nd generation?
1. 2nd generation Korean-Americans are our children growing up in America, and we are to bring up our children and dedicate them to Christ. Therefore, bringing up 2nd generation Korean-Americans begins at home and at our Sunday schools. After they have grown up it is already too late. We must begin with little children. When our Sunday schools are fortified, the faith of our children can take firm root, and they can find their identity in Christ and their calling in world mission as 2nd generation Korean-Americans. Then their faith and sense of identity in Christ, and the awareness of their calling will continue to grow well into youth group to college group, and on. Young men and women who have been called by God should be generated. Great lay men and women, pastors and missionaries should come out of them. When I attended Westminster Theological Seminary’s 2007 Graduation Ceremony in Philadelphia, I was shocked that there were only two 2nd generation Korean-Americans in the graduating class. I can’t help but point out that this is a grave problem. Where did the problem begin? Unless we seriously investigate the matter and make necessary rectifications, the hope of Korean-American churches will be severed.

2. One reason that the number of 2nd generation Korean-American seminary students is decreasing is that they have no places to go after they graduate from seminaries and thus feel forlorn. Although 1st-generation pastors need and look for 2nd generation pastors for their ministries, they have neither effective measures nor visions to raise up 2nd generation pastors. 1st generation pastors are busy hiring 2nd generation Korean-American pastors to take charge of Sunday schools, youth groups, and etc., but have no vision of nurturing 2nd generation Korean-American pastors beyond that. 1st generation pastors must engage in conversation
with 2nd generation pastors, listen to them, and be able to mentor and coach them.
3. Korean-American churches ought to provide financial support to 2nd generation Korean-American pastors when they plant churches or go overseas as missionaries. Many Korean-American churches are giving financial support to missionaries sent out by churches in Korea. But Korean churches in Korea can easily support their missionaries and do not need financial assistance from Korean-American churches. However, 2nd generation Korean-American pastors and missionaries need the support of 1st generation Korean-American churches. There are many 2nd generation pastors who want to plant churches or go overseas as missionaries and yet are despairing due to lack of funds.
4. Churches planted by 2nd generation pastors soon become multiethnic churches. Most 2nd generation multiethnic churches I visited were composed of less than 40% 2nd generation Korean-Americans and of 60% or higher other ethnic groups. That is indeed world mission in the land of America. However, these multiethnic churches need financial support for the first 3 years, and unless 1st generation Korean-American churches provide them financial assistance; the hope of multiethnic churches will perish. In 2007, Sarang Community Church in Southern California decided to set aside $50,000 in their annual budget for 2nd generation Korean-American multiethnic church planters and give each multiethnic church planter $500 per month for 3 years. I pray that Korean-American churches will follow the example of Sarang Community Church and give financial assistance to 2nd generation Korean-American pastors to plant multiethnic churches.
If this is indeed the mission God has given to Korean-American churches, we must humbly prostrate ourselves and begin by praying the prayer of obedience to God’s will. May God bless our churches that we may continuously pray for and obey the noble privilege and task given to us. Amen.
The Korean Experience in North America
Hello, my name is Henry Koh, and I would like to welcome you to the Korean Ministries home page. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is committed to reaching all people groups in the US and Canada for Jesus Christ, and Koreans are key among these groups. Since the 1970s, about two million Koreans have immigrated to the US. Because of the strong presence of Presbyterian and other evangelical churches in Korea, a great number of those immigrants are Christians. As a result, over the past three decades, about 4,000 Korean language churches have been planted across the US by these first generation Koreans. There are 190 Korean PCA churches and more than 400 Korean PCA pastors in the US.

Most first generation Koreans living in North America prefer a Korean language church. Second generation Koreans (born in North America), however, are often comfortable with English language churches. And when Korean Americans are called to ministry, they have the capabilities in terms of language and culture to serve more broadly and provide leadership on varied ethnic fronts. MNA Korean Ministries, led by Henry Koh, seeks to work in cooperation with Korean language and other PCA churches to identify and develop second generation church planters. In addition, first generation Korean churches will be assisted in addressing the changes and adjustments in ministry often required as a result of language and cultural transition.

The vision of MNA Korean Ministries is to reach Korean Americans and other people groups of North America with the Gospel of Christ through the planting of multiethnic PCA churches

  • Train second generation Korean Americans for leadership in the PCA and encourage them to plant multiethnic churches.
  • Challenge PCA churches to participate in the training and development of second generation Korean American church planters who will serve in a variety of church and community settings, not only Korean or Asian.
  • Encourage PCA churches to employ second generation Korean leaders as interns and assistant pastors and also to give financial support to their church planting efforts.
  • Urge first generation Koreans to grasp the potential for evangelistic mission of second generation Koreans and to support multiethnic church planting.
Emerging Culture & Chinese Born Canadian Christians « Emerging from the Chinese Church

So my boss asked me to share in staff chapel where most of the pastors, at my unusually large chinese megachurch, just share some spiritual insight.  I decided to just say what was on my heart via a PRESENTATION on Emerging Culture & CBC Christians.  I wanted the pastors at the church to see what was affecting the CBC Christians and why there was such a large disconnect between them and the local chinese church.

I asked a few people to pray for me and I presented many things.  I largely borrowed a lot of emerging culture info from Dan Kimball from “They Like Jesus but Not the Church” and Tim Keller’s article on Post-Everythings, but I also shared my own insight towards why the emerging culture just simply did not connect to the traditional model church.

Surpringly…  MANY of the pastors thanked me afterwards.  I don’t know if it was because they were just expecting the regular “sharing” but got a boatload of info about emerging culture instead, but ya, there was certainly a different “glint” in their eyes!  Now, there are even email chains going around about continuing the discussion and presenting it to higher levels of leadership.

You know what?…  Maybe I’ve just become a really big pessimist but I don’t think much will come out of this.  

I think it’s been so long since I’ve heard anybody making strides in this area…  I just feel like I’m just going to get my hopes up just to get shot down or that this is just going to be forgotten soon…

Y’know, on the flip side, I’ve encouraged some people in my own ministry (worship ministry) to seek church membership at our church…  and surprise, surprise… the membership class made them feel even WORSE about the direction of the church.

I just feel like it’s such a losing cause…  but at the same time, I don’t want to split the generations up just so we can have it “our way”.  I just don’t know what to go for…

…ok maybe I do know what I WANT, but what does GOD want…  For now, I just want to follow Jesus with others who want to go on that journey with Him too…  is that too much to ask?  I’m all for being missional…  I just want to start being missional with brothers and sisters as well, not just those who call themselves “Christians” but those who FOLLOW CHRIST.

Dear Asian women, | eCsuPA's Xanga Site - Weblog
  • Dear Asian women,

    This post is for you.

    I hate it when you (Asian girls) complain about PAMs. You've heard it before. Passive Asian Males. Yes, there is an acronym of this particular kind of Asian-American men. You've probably had your run in with them. Usually PAMs are characterized by low self-esteem, a lack of social competence with girls and a lack of confidence. When one thinks about what a PAM is one might think of a nerd/study bug, a hardcore MMORPG gamer or an anime freak. You then hear about how Asian males don't have the balls to ask a girl out. Or even worse, you've heard how PAMs, in a relationship, don't "take the lead" in the relationship. Or perhaps you've heard they aren't expressive in what they want or what they need. There is often a mischaracterization of Asian men. Maybe this is why so many Asian girls prefer white guys or black guys over Asian guys?

    I used to argue that Asian men are not passive. But I think I've changed my mind, because I met a lot more Asian guys. I will readily admit, PAMs do exist and there are many of them out there. However, what I have a problem is with the negative connotation of a PAM--that being passive is a bad thing. What the heck is wrong with being passive? Why is it preferred for Asian women to passive and for Asian men not? Notions of gender need to be deconstructed in order for us to understand masculinity in an Asian-American context. There is the notion that men have to be strong and aggressive--pursuers of the woman of interest. And if you are a passive male, you're a wuss or sissy who can't "man up" to your role as a man. Where does this come from? Masculinity can be wrongly measured. For example, why are sports a good avenue of masculine activity and MMORPGs/gaming not? Girls will complain that Asian guys play too many video games. This is put in contrast with white guys playing a ton of sports. Yes, sports benefit physically, while the other one doesn't. But really they serve the same purpose: to provide an avenue of control and masculinity in an affirming environment of competition and power. These are both equally masculine, just expressed different. Asian men can't help it if they get cut from the high school football team because they're too scrawny and the coach is racist.

    But did you ever consider that PAMs are more faithful, more committed in their relationships? That their strong notions of family and loyalty will lead them to never abandon their loved ones? Or that they are taught to respect and venerate their wives (or women in general)? Maybe they don't ask out any girl they meet because they value the relationships in general and feel that dating inadvertently is illogical. Maybe Asian guys don't step up in church leadership because they need to respond practically to the pressures of providing for their family through studying bio-chem or computer science (perpetuated by the immigrant experience)? Or perhaps did you ever stop to think that Asian men are often emasculated in the media, emasculated in their middle schools and high schools and even emasculated in their churches--and that they need to preserve the little sense of manliness that they have left through World of Warcraft or getting straight A's? Consider this: Asian men are so freaking masculine... in their own ways.

    I want to say that I would not identify myself as a passive Asian. Though I have been wrongly categorized as passive and stereotyped as a PAM. There's nothing wrong with being one and sometimes I wish I was one. Also, there are many Asian males aren't passive and don't fit that stereotype. I just have observed many PAMs and have known how genuine and great they are. And for myself, I've been through the stage in my life where I felt I needed to be something I wasn't--a white guy. I'm not white. Stop trying to make me white. Speaking for all the Asian men out there, I'm sick of taking all the crap about PAMs and how lame they are. You're lame. ...hahaha. JK, not really.

    In conclusion: Asian men aren't all that bad. Give them a chance. Stop dissing on them. Get to know them. Recognize how masculine they are, though it may not be that visible at first. And if you hear your fellow Asian girlfriend complain how passive her boyfriend is, tell her that being passive isn't always a bad thing. Tell all your Asian guy friends how you love how they're into first-person shooters, MMORPGs, anime and that you'd love to join them. In fact, go out and buy yourself a PS3 and start practicing. Haha.

Forging a Civilization

Tuesday, 22 July 2008 · No Comments

吾非賣國賊,亦愛國者也。 If you know me at all, you must know that however many criticisms I have for the Chinese people, I remain willingly attached to that people, that people with all its sicknesses, those sicknesses that destroy soul and flesh.

The sham of modernity

Alas, the “Westernization” that China has undergone! We have seen in a century that adoption of such things has made the people no less cruel in wrath, no less corrupt in officialdom, no less inflamed by the passions of man. There are two Wests, and only one has been planted into China, the one of two puckering ulcers, modernism and postmodernism.

Like cavernous holes the two gape at me out of the country’s consciousness, roughly gouged out of the nation’s history of both greatness and sorrow. Millennia of memory, gone, out of sight. And now, these veneers of an essence that is no longer there except weak, neglected, punished by those who rejected it.

Preservation of the pure

If anything, I am not a Westernizing crusader for “change”. At root I am so conservative, you might say, that only Eden is enough, while I consider that all the other schemes are doomed to failure. I am so conservative that I bemoan the destruction that modern industry has wrought on the mountains, the waters, the trees, remaking the land into a barren wasteland, because it reflects the destruction inflicted on the human soul.

Ever since I have known good and evil and seen evil I have never had the melancholic temperament leave me, and it will stay with me until I live in the world that runs to the design of the Lord Almighty. I see the pursuit of the “good life”. No one believes that he wants the bad life, no one, not at the underlying level. What do people – and the people I know are the Chinese and the Americans – think the good life is? Physical prosperity: leave aside liberty, contemplation, anything outside of the material realm.

Consider, then, this report on China’s “angry youth”. They are so very different from me, and I from them. Why? Don’t give me the easy default answer, that the American culture that surrounds me is it, because I know it isn’t: I have been misfit, a hopeless romantic, an archaeoconservative for so long that you could never tell me I was a product of any kind of mass culture.

Grappling with Christianity and Asia

Maybe the difference is Christianity. Not at all that Christianity is Western or that the West is actually Christian, but look at Wikipedia’s list of so-called Asian values:

  1. predisposition towards strong and stable leadership rather than political pluralism;
  2. respect for social harmony and an inclination towards consensus as opposed to a tendency towards dissent or confrontation;
  3. acceptance of broad and penetrating state and bureaucratic intervention in social and economic affairs;
  4. concern with socio-economic well-being instead of civil liberties and human rights; and
  5. preference for the welfare and collective well-being of the community over individual rights.

The first is a desire for more than just pluralism: I have no problem with that, because I do not believe in democracy being a worthy value in itself, as long as political leadership has ears that connect to deliberation and not to the censorship sector. The second is what I would wish for, but it is morally tenable only if people are both principled and willing to be persuaded by a compelling case. The third is frankly not classically articulated in early Chinese philosophy outside of Legalism. The fourth and fifth taken together are utilitarianism, and I think no one wants to argue for that being an Asian distinctive.

Necessary changes in my view

Some of these, then, are not Asian values at all, and some clearly conflict with a Christian worldview.

What are some of what I do regard as a better set of values vis-à-vis this one? As an addition to point one, respect for authority (as opposed to power) and opposition to French-Revolution radical egalitarianism; as an addition to point two, refusal to recant principle in the face of force even at the cost of life; as amendment to point five, rejection of unrestrained individual autonomy and abuse of rights in preference for collective well-being.

Creating culture

For centuries Christians tried to build a Western civilization formed by what they knew from the truths of the gospel. What will it take to build and not tear down Chinese civilization to that same truth? What will it take to learn how to marry and parent and work and live in an Asian context in a way that honours the same God worshipped by Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Augustine of Hippo?

Letter from China: Angry Youth: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

Angry Youth

The new generation’s neocon nationalists.

by Evan Osnos July 28, 2008

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Tang Jie (center) believes that American attempts to contain China may spark “a new Cold War.” Photograph by Ian Teh.

Tang Jie (center) believes that American attempts to contain China may spark “a new Cold War.” Photograph by Ian Teh.

On the morning of April 15th, a short video entitled “2008 China Stand Up!” appeared on Sina, a Chinese Web site. The video’s origin was a mystery: unlike the usual YouTube-style clips, it had no host, no narrator, and no signature except the initials “CTGZ.”

It was a homespun documentary, and it opened with a Technicolor portrait of Chairman Mao, sunbeams radiating from his head. Out of silence came an orchestral piece, thundering with drums, as a black screen flashed, in both Chinese and English, one of Mao’s mantras: “Imperialism will never abandon its intention to destroy us.” Then a cut to present-day photographs and news footage, and a fevered sprint through conspiracies and betrayals—the “farces, schemes, and disasters” confronting China today. The sinking Chinese stock market (the work of foreign speculators who “wildly manipulated” Chinese stock prices and lured rookie investors to lose their fortunes). Shoppers beset by inflation, a butcher counter where “even pork has become a luxury.” And a warning: this is the dawn of a global “currency war,” and the West intends to “make Chinese people foot the bill” for America’s financial woes.

A cut, then, to another front: rioters looting stores and brawling in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. The music crescendos as words flash across the scenes: “So-called peaceful protest!” A montage of foreign press clippings critical of China—nothing but “rumors, all speaking with one distorted voice.” The screen fills with the logos of CNN, the BBC, and other news organizations, which give way to a portrait of Joseph Goebbels. The orchestra and the rhetoric climb toward a final sequence: “Obviously, there is a scheme behind the scenes to encircle China. A new Cold War!” The music turns triumphant with images of China’s Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang standing in Tiananmen Square, raising the Olympic torch, “a symbol of Peace and Friendship!” But, first, one final act of treachery: in Paris, protesters attempt to wrest the Olympic torch from its official carrier, forcing guards to fend them off—a “long march” for a new era. The film ends with the image of a Chinese flag, aglow in the sunlight, and a solemn promise: “We will stand up and hold together always as one family in harmony!”

The video, which was just over six minutes long and is now on YouTube, captured the mood of nationalism that surged through China after the Tibetan uprising, in March, sparked foreign criticism of China’s hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Citizens were greeting the criticism with rare fury. Thousands demonstrated in front of Chinese outlets of Carrefour, a French supermarket chain, in retaliation for what they considered France’s sympathy for pro-Tibetan activists. Charles Zhang, who holds a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and is the founder and C.E.O. of Sohu, a leading Chinese Web portal along the lines of Yahoo, called online for a boycott of French products “to make the thoroughly biased French media and public feel losses and pain.” When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi denounced China’s handling of Tibet, Xinhua, China’s official news service, called her “disgusting.” State-run media revived language from another age: the magazine Outlook Weekly warned that “domestic and foreign hostile forces have made the Beijing Olympics a focus for infiltration and sabotage.” In the anonymity of the Web, decorum deteriorated. “People who fart through the mouth will get shit stuffed down their throats by me!” one commentator wrote, in a forum hosted by a semi-official newspaper. “Someone give me a gun! Don’t show mercy to the enemy!” wrote another. The comments were an embarrassment to many Chinese, but they were difficult to ignore among foreign journalists who had begun receiving threats. (An anonymous letter to my fax machine in Beijing warned, “Clarify the facts on China . . . or you and your loved ones will wish you were dead.”)

In its first week and a half, the video by CTGZ drew more than a million hits and tens of thousands of favorable comments. It rose to the site’s fourth-most-popular rating. (A television blooper clip of a yawning news anchor was No. 1.) On average, the film attracted nearly two clicks per second. It became a manifesto for a self-styled vanguard in defense of China’s honor, a patriotic swath of society that the Chinese call the fen qing, the angry youth.

Nineteen years after the crackdown on student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, China’s young élite rose again this spring—not in pursuit of liberal democracy but in defense of sovereignty and prosperity. Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of M.I.T.’s Media Laboratory and one of the early ideologists of the Internet, once predicted that the global reach of the Web would transform the way we think about ourselves as countries. The state, he predicted, will evaporate “like a mothball, which goes from solid to gas directly,” and “there will be no more room for nationalism than there is for smallpox.” In China, things have gone differently.

A young Chinese friend of mine, who spends most of his time online, traced the screen name CTGZ to an e-mail address. It belonged to a twenty-eight-year-old graduate student in Shanghai named Tang Jie, and it was his first video. A couple of weeks later, I met Tang Jie at the gate of Fudan University, a top Chinese school, situated on a modern campus that radiates from a pair of thirty-story steel-and-glass towers that could pass for a corporate headquarters. He wore a crisp powder-blue oxford shirt, khakis, and black dress shoes. He had bright hazel eyes and rounded features—a baby face, everyone tells him—and a dusting of goatee and mustache on his chin and upper lip. He bounded over to welcome me as I stepped out of a cab, and he tried to pay my fare.

Tang spends most of his time working on his dissertation, which is on Western philosophy. He specializes in phenomenology; specifically, in the concept of “intersubjectivity,” as theorized by Edmund Husserl, the German philosopher who influenced Sartre, among others. In addition to Chinese, Tang reads English and German easily, but he speaks them infrequently, so at times he swerves, apologetically, among languages. He is working on his Latin and Ancient Greek. He is so self-effacing and soft-spoken that his voice may drop to a whisper. He laughs sparingly, as if he were conserving energy. For fun, he listens to classical Chinese music, though he also enjoys screwball comedies by the Hong Kong star Stephen Chow. He is proudly unhip. The screen name CTGZ is an adaptation of two obscure terms from classical poetry: changting and gongzi, which together translate as “the noble son of the pavilion.” Unlike some élite Chinese students, Tang has never joined the Communist Party, for fear that it would impugn his objectivity as a scholar.

Tang had invited some friends to join us for lunch, at Fat Brothers Sichuan Restaurant, and afterward we all climbed the stairs to his room. He lives alone in a sixth-floor walkup, a studio of less than seventy-five square feet, which could be mistaken for a library storage room occupied by a fastidious squatter. Books cover every surface, and great mounds list from the shelves above his desk. His collections encompass, more or less, the span of human thought: Plato leans against Lao-tzu, Wittgenstein, Bacon, Fustel de Coulanges, Heidegger, the Koran. When Tang wanted to widen his bed by a few inches, he laid plywood across the frame and propped up the edges with piles of books. Eventually, volumes overflowed the room, and they now stand outside his front door in a wall of cardboard boxes.

Tang slumped into his desk chair. We talked for a while, and I asked if he had any idea that his video would be so popular. He smiled. “It appears I have expressed a common feeling, a shared view,” he said.

Next to him sat Liu Chengguang, a cheerful, broad-faced Ph.D. student in political science who recently translated into Chinese a lecture on the subject of “Manliness” by the conservative Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield. Sprawled on the bed, wearing a gray sweatshirt, was Xiong Wenchi, who earned a Ph.D. in political science before taking a teaching job last year. And to Tang