DEAR LITTLE RYAN, You will always remember the day your mom sat you and your sisters down on the fraying living room couch, black and brown fibers teasing through anxious fingertips. You can replay the entire scene in your mind.
IT HAPPENED at the end of recess, after the bell had rung and all the other junior high kids had gone inside. My beefy, mop-topped classmate hurled basketballs at my chest while his friend held my arms back so that I couldn't protect my body. "Chink!" Neil yelled angrily.
“DADDY, I HAVE A VAGINA and you have a penis, because I'm a girl and you are a boy." I was resting on the sofa, just minding my own business, when my daughter comes up and says this whole bit about the vagina and penis.
THE FIRST TIME I was catcalled, I was 11. A young man in a pickup truck saw me and he perked up. He flashed a grin, and let out a whoop. "Wooooo!" As far as street harassment goes, this was fairly mild.
CASTRO STREET IN FRONT of the Twin Peaks bar was full of people standing shoulder to shoulder, but this was no typical Sunday afternoon beer bust. The Rockies and Gibraltar and the entire world made of clay had fallen and crumbled.
THERE MUST BE such a thing as a unicorn — that mythical creature God made for progressive Christians to date. Someone who is thoughtful, lives for social justice, and wants to creatively build God's kingdom.
IT'S REALLY HARD to have a good conversation about our sexuality.
We tend to be on our guard, warily anticipating how something shared may challenge our own perspectives. At times, it can seem like a constant comparing of what we're hearing with what we have experienced. We fear what is different and shun those who threaten our beliefs.
And then there are trigger words — specific terms that make us feel uneasy, whether they be masturbation, homosexuality, or vagina. We fidget. Squirm. Itch.
Sometimes, it seems like it's easier for Christians to just remain silent. We're afraid of ruffling feathers. We're unsure of what to say. And yet, we're all looking for answers.
So why bother having this conversation? Because we have to. Because we must.
As Asian Americans who believe that God loves us and accepts us in our entirety — that our genders and our ethnicities are not by chance or by mistake — we must also look at our sexuality. That as fully embodied beings, made in the image of God, our sexuality somehow matters in how we understand the rest of the larger Body.
As Asian Americans who believe that God loves us and accepts us in our entirety — that our genders and our ethnicities are not by chance or by mistake — we must also look at our sexuality.
Our sexuality is both intimately personal, and yet it is inevitably interpersonal. How we see ourselves affects how we see others. How we expect those around us to be changes how we interact with them.
We must face this issue head-on, not because there is a loss if we don't, but because there is so much to gain if we do. And that begins with hearing people's stories, asking questions, and being open to relearn things we once thought were so certain.
For myself, I've had to come to terms with my own prejudices toward the queer community — namely, thinking that the homosexual lifestyle was too sexually deviant to ever be considered "Christian". And while this may be true for some individuals, I have also seen deeply committed homosexual relationships — some more deeply committed to each other than my heterosexual Christian friends.
I'm still wrestling and coming to terms with things I've been told, versus what I've experienced.
Truth be told, there may be more than one story in this issue where you won't agree with a certain perspective. We certainly had a hard time finding people who were willing to share their stories and experiences.
Truth be told, there may be more than one story in this issue where you won't agree with a certain perspective.
And that's OK. The Christian community's strength is not that we all agree with one another all the time; it is an acknowledgement that though we appreciate and emphasize different aspects of God, we know that it is God's faithfulness to us that is more important, not just our understanding of God.
So read these stories with an open heart — not to know, but to understand. It's a beginning to a conversation, not a definitive guide. But hopefully, we can deconstruct some assumptions and arrive at a place where our sexuality is more of a gift than a burden.