Pausa Kaio (PK) Thompson is a Samoan American clergy, activist and theologian. He is an alum of the Kanana Fou Theological Seminary in American Samoa, Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York, Boston University School of Theology, and is a Ph.D. student at Claremont School of Theology. His scholarly work accentuates the theological discourse, indigenous culture and wisdom, and social justice issues of Samoa, and Samoans in diaspora. His ministry encourages people to be change agents in the world by invoking a more socially conscious ethic of Christian practice.
When asked by a reporter in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre: “Do you see, today, white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?” Donald Trump responded: “I don’t, really."
I believe in ghosts. As a young boy, I visited my father’s village of Ofu, Manu’a in American Samoa, which is known throughout the Samoan islands for its ‘aitu (spirits). One day, after an eventful afternoon of shooting pigeons (faga-lupe) with my cousins, we lost track of time and began our walk — more like a hike — back home later than expected.
Across the ocean on a small island; on the shelf of a small seminary library, I came across the book "Black Theology & Black Power" (I still believe the ghosts of my ancestors guided my path that day). I read the preface with the intent of just skimming and going on to the next, more common theological literature used in the Pacific, such as Barth, Tillich or Process theologians like John Cobb. In contrast, I had almost finished reading the entire book when the librarian turned the lights out to close. I rushed downstairs and begged her to let me check it out to finish reading it later that evening.
New York City is one of those places where you never know what you’re going to find. During my time as a graduate student, browsing through old antique shops became a hobby of mine. I often felt like a child on a treasure hunt searching for hidden gems on bookshelves.
“We have a new student,” my teacher announced. “His name is ... Key-O ... Thompson from California.” It was my first day at Rankin Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, and it was a rare moment I was glad to be the only Samoan in the whole school. The way she pronounced my name, Kaio, actually changed it into a derogatory word in the Samoan language.