The Reverend Laura Mariko Cheifetz is an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has served in theological education, religious publishing, and social justice advocacy, and provided leadership in the national and international church. She is also the co-author and editor of “Church on Purpose” and contributor to “Race in a Post Obama America, Leading Wisdom, and Streams Run Uphill”. She is a contributing editor to Inheritance magazine. She lives in Decatur, GA with her partner and their two Shih Tzus.
Being Asian American is complicated. It’s not just about our appearance, language, culture, mannerisms, or values. People who were adopted from Asia and raised in white families are Asian American. People who have been in the U.S. for less than a generation are Asian American. We do not share a common migration story.
When I announced I was leaving my last job for a new one, one of my colleagues asked, “What is your favorite Bible verse?” I thought about it, as I don’t do single verses, having long been resistant to anything that smacks of eisegesis. “I don’t really have one. But I love the book of Ecclesiastes.”
I have power and privilege as a queer hapa yonsei pastor. This is not a sentence I would have imagined speaking just a few years ago.
Being Asian American is awesome. We are distinct for our diversity within one racialized group, our traditions, languages, religions, and stories of how we got here a wild tumble of beauty and difference, complicated by war and colonialism.