How will we transcend this cloistered pandemic moment that allowed for intimacies to flourish — intimacies that are usually interrupted by the busyness of the world? How will we respond to being shaped and reshaped by the inbreaking of the “real world”?
Her story is the story of many first-generation Asian mothers. It is neither one of fame nor of accolade, but is one of surviving, assimilating — especially in small towns — living among few Asians. She is one of the mothers who worked out of the spotlight, scraping together meals, saving coins, sacrificing for her loved ones. A mother who lived in one culture with her children, but harbored a sense of homesickness for her own home, her own native comfort food, her relatives, the sounds and sights of her village streets, and the trees and plants of her hometown.
I was challenged with Su not to lapse back into my tendency to be shy or to run away when I feel exposed. The practice was — and remains — to keep showing up. To stay present to the unfolding of a relationship built — from the outset — on the foundation of vulnerability. It is far from easy.
Your daughter loves a woman. You suspected this was the case; you hoped it wasn’t true — the long summer days with this other young woman, her coming home late at night — you prayed it was merely friendship. You were wrong.
Hesitancy to discuss the intersections of sex work with racism in the Atlanta shootings persists. Tenseness fills the air in conversations of taboo subjects with community members and friends, as sexuality is often discussed in private. As such, any movement that does not include and engage Asian American sex workers cannot offer comfort, safety, or hope to us.
If you’ve ever been in the presence of someone who is unafraid of themselves and thus unafraid to truly see you — then you know that it is sacred and holy. The space between you is where the divine shows up fully. There grace abounds.
In this issue, we celebrate women who are “extra” and generous with their abundance; women who are “ordinary” and committed to their everyday sacredness. All extraordinary.
"What a gift it is to be with someone who knows the same stories, the same tastes, the same challenges of belonging and not belonging — as women, as Brown women, as Brown women called to parish ministry, with connections to Hinduism that the church is particularly anxious about and yet has helped us connect to family and also the divine."
Given the long and complicated history of Asian Americans who have been continuously seen as “perpetual foreigners” in this country for far too long, we have felt a selective embrace by dominant culture in how we are deemed “neighbors”. Our “offerings”, particularly food, have been tenuously seen as acceptable currency for neighbor-ship.
Today, we are living in the postcolonial moment when sisters and brothers in the Majority World are rediscovering what it means to be baptized into Christ’s body. The lands of the earth are now crying out to God for healing after centuries of colonialism, and God has given the church a new possibility to garden their lands well and cultivate indigenous cultures in a way that worships God liturgically and eschatologically through tribe and tongue.
Forgiveness is a central tenet of Christianity, but more often than I would like, I’ve seen forgiveness weaponized against the victim, or used by the perpetrator and bystanders to absolve themselves of responsibility and complicity.
Hope cannot be found solely in this world, where cycles of violence repeat themselves, and the idol of a white imperial God-man has brought up killers, not fishers of men. We, as people made in God’s image, are the hope.
This deeply-held belief in the value of individuals, which is not held in a vacuum but rather a value held against the value of institutions and communities, has touched virtually every aspect of our society and indeed, our faith ... As the American church, and as a nation, we overly distrust institutions and overly trust individuals.
I have come to see vaccination as a reverent responsibility and duty to protect myself, my family, and my community. It is a promise to protect the most vulnerable as defined in Scripture — the widow, the orphan, and the poor. Each of these represent a segment of the marginalized in our current world, who might be at greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 and other diseases.
The future doesn’t look great. But it’s also a little utopian: people rally together to create a different way of being community. They grow food, they build shelter, they make family, they establish ritual and connection to the Divine.
"Art and Faith" can be seen as something of a magnum opus, the culmination of many decades of creating paintings and developing his process of “slow art”. Instead of worrying about the completion of a project, slow art values the actual process of making, which Mako does by focusing on each step of the process.
Our genealogies write themselves in traditions and often don’t “write” themselves at all. They are told, they are shared, they are lived. You and I come from peoples who pass and share wisdom, lessons, and riddles as a way to survive, heal, and thrive. You come from ways of life that recognize the balance, respect, and mutuality found in all of creation, and this is completely independent of blood percentages or what “parts” you are of this lineage or that lineage. You are whole. Unified. Integrated.
I wrote this piece to give myself permission to suspend the beliefs I’ve internalized over the years, to freely imagine myself being a mother — something that both terrifies and delights me. What would it look like to raise my child from a place of thriving and abundance compared to the scarcity mindset of my immigrant parents? What would it feel like to tend to my child’s emotional needs as well as their physical needs?
My uncle used to tell me stories about the war. How the guys on the other side when they were captured would always say that they were only farmers and teachers, that they were just following orders. “Are your hands any more clean than mine?”
There is also now a history of over 16 years of Asian American evangelicals writing on the Internet since 2004 about how white evangelicals have orientalized them in Vacation Bible School curriculum, popular books sold at Christian bookstores, social media posts, church-planting training skits, reception to chapel talks, denunciations of “social justice” and “critical race theory”, anti-Asian racism during the pandemic, U.S.-China relations in light of the January 6 Capitol coup, and the current children’s Sunday school material debacle.
The practice of utopia creates a sort of muscle memory for our better angels. We run these thoughts over grooves that deepen, neurons that strengthen. If we don’t use this imaginative power, it is ours to lose.
We kick off our "Utopia" series with two poems from Sagaree Jain.
But why Rebekah? I was asked by a professor when I entered my undergraduate years. Why not Jin? With a simple question, she opened up the possibility that Jin could be just as legitimate of a name as Rebekah; I had never considered it. It was remarkable and sad. I had never considered it, never considered introducing myself by the name I had first been given.
Caught in the crossfire — or is it the light of a fiery cross? — we Asian American Christians find ourselves exploited multiple times over. Our race is weaponized to stoke hatred; our faith is harnessed to launder the reputation of hatemongers; America’s rival power exploits that hypocrisy to fuel its propaganda. Shall we plot our escape, or shall we cower, waiting for a Messiah who has already given us his spirit?
Whether we like to think of it or not, our names are marks of colonization that we carry with us. Filipinos recognize the relationship of the name to the location. In this case, the Filipino diaspora recognizes the distinction of Spanish influence on their names, while others assume its Spanish origin must mean my ancestry is directly from Spain.