in print
60
Here's the Thing
“We don’t succeed or fail because of fortune or luck. We succeed because we understand the way the world works and what we have to do. We fail because others understand this better than we do.” - Viet Thanh Nguyen, “The Sympathizer”
“We don’t succeed or fail because of fortune or luck. We succeed because we understand the way the world works and what we have to do. We fail because others understand this better than we do.” - Viet Thanh Nguyen, “The Sympathizer”
Ten Years Later

Contextual theology is the idea that one’s social location must be taken into account in how one understands God and reads Scripture. When social locations change, the questions change. When questions change, the theology changes.

Hollywood Dreams and Orientalized Imaginations
Reappropriating Our Racialized Status as Outsiders

At the height of the Great Depression, my grandfather left his brothers and moved with his wife and first newborn child from Oakland to Los Angeles. He wanted to be in Hollywood movies.

Bear One Another’s Burdens
Racial Justice Solidarity as a Divine Calling

When my mom and dad were dating, my Filipina mother told my white U.S.-American father that she would be returning to the Philippines to continue her work there after they graduated from seminary in California. She felt a strong calling to serve her people, and it would be up to him if he wanted to follow her there and continue their relationship.

The Struggles of Discussing Race in the Asian American Evangelical Church

In 2011, I found myself having to defend the argument that race still matters while attending one of the most ethnically diverse evangelical seminaries in the nation. Don’t get me wrong: Students and faculty alike openly discussed ethnic and cultural differences. And although all were unanimous that racism was bad and diversity was good, when it came to more explicit discussions of institutionalized racism or white supremacy, there tended to be choirs of crickets.

Oppression We Cannot Share
Communal Vision as a Site of Coalition Building

“I want you all to know that you are now in an arrestable situation ... ” These are the words I and 30 others were told by an NAACP lawyer as we attempted to block an entrance to one of the terminals in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I was there with fellow organizers, activists, and seminarians to protest the airport’s process of detaining specific travelers of color as a result of Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Finding Our Place

For the past few years, I’ve been a pastor in search of a home. As a Filipino American, the idea of home is unclear to me. The Philippines is my ancestral home and I feel close to my roots and relatives there. My theological lineage can also be traced back to specific people, churches, seminaries, and American denominations in the Philippines. But many of my concerns are markedly American, even though I was born in Canada. Despite having lived in the States for most of my life, I get regular reminders of my foreignness, especially here in the Midwest.

Home: Neither Here Nor There

Like most young immigrants, I came to the United States for reasons outside of my control. At 9, my family moved to California from Singapore with every intention of moving back within a few years. In fact, my mother had paid next year’s school fees in advance to reserve my spot, and even purchased some of the textbooks for the next year so I could work through them while overseas (I was an impressively industrious student at the time).

So That All May Flourish
Crossing Social Boundaries and Listening to Marginalized Voices

In February of 2014, I delivered a sermon to my Southern Baptist church, sharing that I had changed my mind on same sex marriage. I no longer believed that Scripture taught that it was wrong to be in a gay or lesbian relationship.

Queer Asian Discipleship

What does it mean to be a queer Asian disciple of Christ? That is, what gifts might openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian Christians bring to the larger Body of Christ? I came out to my Mom some 25 years ago. I still remember that day as if it were yesterday. It was my senior year of college, and my Mom was visiting me in my dorm room.

Life Goes On with a Transgender Child

“Mom, I have something to tell you.” I wonder how many families have been impacted — positively or negatively — by those words and the words that came after. For our family, our lives would forever be changed in ways that we never could have imagined in that moment: when our youngest 16-year-old child came out to us as transgender in October 2015.

Redefining Family

My immigrant story begins a little differently from most Asian Americans: My parents migrated to America from Malaysia in order to start a church. They belonged to a church-planting network that began in Thailand; its leaders felt that America was too depraved and in need of a spiritual revival. And so they sent over the Ngus.

Non-Binary and Not for Your Judgement

Meesh tells me about a conversation they had with a friend, reveling about the solar eclipse. “It is such a beautiful natural event. With technology, we know when it’s happening, why it’s happening, and where it’s going to be. But we wondered, what if we looked at this thing 100 years ago, and didn’t know what it was? Would we still think it’s beautiful? Would we be scared of it? Would we think the world is ending?”

Thoughts and Prayers

I remember hearing about Columbine growing up — not really much, just tidbits here and there. Then in my seventh grade Media Communications class, a few weeks before Christmas, our teacher walked in with a grave face and told us that an elementary school had been, for a lack of better phrase, “shot up”. The following days were a flurry of lockdown drills and teachers telling us what to do in case of an “emergency” — but refusing to address the word “shooting”, as if by not speaking of what had happened, it would disappear. That elementary school was Sandy Hook.

A Gen-Zer’s Hope in an Active and Engaged Church

Christianity and whiteness have become synonymous in America. It is something reinforced and perpetuated in our political landscape today. In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election, largely due to the support of white, evangelical Christian voters. According to the Pew Research Center, as of September 2016, 35 percent of the Republican Party are white evangelicals, with 83 percent of Republicans identifying as “Christian” in the broad sense.

From Me to You

Growing up in the church is a hard thing to do. I should know, because I am the daughter of a pastor. Whether it was joining youth group or participating in Bible study, you name it and I was there. I grew up with and continue to attend Epic, a progressive American Baptist church that is predominantly Asian-American.

We’re People, Not Projects

They actually laughed at me when I finally showed them my Zoloft prescription. “You can’t be depressed if you’re a strong Christian!” Mama exclaimed. “Everyone is depressed. You should be able to get over being ‘sad’ without medication,” Baba mocked.

For My People

In the seventh grade, I saw a video of a Tongan man, Matangi Tai, who was brutally attacked by police in Arizona. He later died due to a suspicious “unknown cause”. The lack of transparency regarding the cause of his death, along with the physical abuse he experienced prior to his arrest, were both alarming factors to my community when considering the history of terror between people of color and police.

Embracing Immigrant Narratives

I am a first generation American. Throughout my lifetime, immigration has been treated as an issue by the media and general public, but it is much more personal to me. My parents are immigrants from Southeast Asia. My father was born the second of 11 siblings in Indonesia, when the country was still recuperating from World War II. My father’s family was relatively poor, but surviving.

Accept or Decline
Me, My Self, and My Social Media Self

Crap. She friended me. “She” is Sofia, from my English class. I like her a lot. She’s funny, talented, intelligent, and I want to be her friend. It’s my second year at Amherst College, a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts, and despite its small population of just under 2,000 students, I’ve found it difficult to forge deep, genuine relationships here — friendships that go beyond remembering birthdays on Facebook, a follow-back on Instagram, and a few pictures on feeds that remind each other that the other still exists.

Contextual theology is the idea that one’s social location must be taken into account in how one understands God and reads Scripture. When social locations change, the questions change. When questions change, the theology changes.

When social locations change, the questions change. When questions change, the theology changes.

While the idea may have existed in different forms, its popularity is mostly credited to a Taiwanese educator by the name of Rev. Shoki Coe. Having experienced life under the Japanese empire, he used the term “contextualization” to describe how some church structures were imported from abroad, and thus did not meet the needs of the local church.

For Coe, the local church (or indigenous population) — not the missionaries — had to wrestle with how it understood God and Scripture in light of its social, political, economic, historic, and artistic circumstances.

The local church (or indigenous population) — not the missionaries — had to wrestle with how it understood God and Scripture in light of its social, political, economic, historic, and artistic circumstances.

For Inheritance, sharing stories about the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience of Christianity has always been one of contextual theology — understanding the relationship between our culture and identity, and our faith.

We live in an ever-changing world. And throughout the last 10 years since we started Inheritance, the world has changed a lot. Today, we’re reliant on smartphones with touchscreens, Jeremy Lin is a household name, and we’re seeing the rise of the so-called “Religious Left”. In the last few months alone, we’ve not only experienced the continual heartbreak of more school shootings, but also witnessed the powerful leadership and voice of a new generation.

As we continue our work of learning and wrestling with our faith and identity, we’re taking the time to identify where we are today in 2018. 

How have current events, political decisions, and social movements affected how we understand justice and what it means to be Asian American and Pacific Islanders? How have churches shifted in their relationship with members of the LGBTQIA community and how inclusive are churches of Asian Americans today? How can we be attuned to the voices of Generation Z (those less than 21 years old) — who are not just our future but also very much our present? 

We invite you to consider these topics, and in view of where these issues were 10 years ago, how they might also shift 10 years from now. Thank you for being a part of our journey this far — we hope to continue dialoging and sharing stories together for years to come.

Thank you for being a part of our journey this far — we hope to continue dialoging and sharing stories together for years to come.
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Hollywood Dreams and Orientalized Imaginations
Reappropriating Our Racialized Status as Outsiders

At the height of the Great Depression, my grandfather left his brothers and moved with his wife and first newborn child from Oakland to Los Angeles. He wanted to be in Hollywood movies.

Bear One Another’s Burdens
Racial Justice Solidarity as a Divine Calling

When my mom and dad were dating, my Filipina mother told my white U.S.-American father that she would be returning to the Philippines to continue her work there after they graduated from seminary in California. She felt a strong calling to serve her people, and it would be up to him if he wanted to follow her there and continue their relationship.

The Struggles of Discussing Race in the Asian American Evangelical Church

In 2011, I found myself having to defend the argument that race still matters while attending one of the most ethnically diverse evangelical seminaries in the nation. Don’t get me wrong: Students and faculty alike openly discussed ethnic and cultural differences. And although all were unanimous that racism was bad and diversity was good, when it came to more explicit discussions of institutionalized racism or white supremacy, there tended to be choirs of crickets.

Oppression We Cannot Share
Communal Vision as a Site of Coalition Building

“I want you all to know that you are now in an arrestable situation ... ” These are the words I and 30 others were told by an NAACP lawyer as we attempted to block an entrance to one of the terminals in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I was there with fellow organizers, activists, and seminarians to protest the airport’s process of detaining specific travelers of color as a result of Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Finding Our Place

For the past few years, I’ve been a pastor in search of a home. As a Filipino American, the idea of home is unclear to me. The Philippines is my ancestral home and I feel close to my roots and relatives there. My theological lineage can also be traced back to specific people, churches, seminaries, and American denominations in the Philippines. But many of my concerns are markedly American, even though I was born in Canada. Despite having lived in the States for most of my life, I get regular reminders of my foreignness, especially here in the Midwest.

Home: Neither Here Nor There

Like most young immigrants, I came to the United States for reasons outside of my control. At 9, my family moved to California from Singapore with every intention of moving back within a few years. In fact, my mother had paid next year’s school fees in advance to reserve my spot, and even purchased some of the textbooks for the next year so I could work through them while overseas (I was an impressively industrious student at the time).

So That All May Flourish
Crossing Social Boundaries and Listening to Marginalized Voices

In February of 2014, I delivered a sermon to my Southern Baptist church, sharing that I had changed my mind on same sex marriage. I no longer believed that Scripture taught that it was wrong to be in a gay or lesbian relationship.

Queer Asian Discipleship

What does it mean to be a queer Asian disciple of Christ? That is, what gifts might openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Asian Christians bring to the larger Body of Christ? I came out to my Mom some 25 years ago. I still remember that day as if it were yesterday. It was my senior year of college, and my Mom was visiting me in my dorm room.

Life Goes On with a Transgender Child

“Mom, I have something to tell you.” I wonder how many families have been impacted — positively or negatively — by those words and the words that came after. For our family, our lives would forever be changed in ways that we never could have imagined in that moment: when our youngest 16-year-old child came out to us as transgender in October 2015.

Redefining Family

My immigrant story begins a little differently from most Asian Americans: My parents migrated to America from Malaysia in order to start a church. They belonged to a church-planting network that began in Thailand; its leaders felt that America was too depraved and in need of a spiritual revival. And so they sent over the Ngus.

Non-Binary and Not for Your Judgement

Meesh tells me about a conversation they had with a friend, reveling about the solar eclipse. “It is such a beautiful natural event. With technology, we know when it’s happening, why it’s happening, and where it’s going to be. But we wondered, what if we looked at this thing 100 years ago, and didn’t know what it was? Would we still think it’s beautiful? Would we be scared of it? Would we think the world is ending?”

Thoughts and Prayers

I remember hearing about Columbine growing up — not really much, just tidbits here and there. Then in my seventh grade Media Communications class, a few weeks before Christmas, our teacher walked in with a grave face and told us that an elementary school had been, for a lack of better phrase, “shot up”. The following days were a flurry of lockdown drills and teachers telling us what to do in case of an “emergency” — but refusing to address the word “shooting”, as if by not speaking of what had happened, it would disappear. That elementary school was Sandy Hook.

A Gen-Zer’s Hope in an Active and Engaged Church

Christianity and whiteness have become synonymous in America. It is something reinforced and perpetuated in our political landscape today. In 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election, largely due to the support of white, evangelical Christian voters. According to the Pew Research Center, as of September 2016, 35 percent of the Republican Party are white evangelicals, with 83 percent of Republicans identifying as “Christian” in the broad sense.

From Me to You

Growing up in the church is a hard thing to do. I should know, because I am the daughter of a pastor. Whether it was joining youth group or participating in Bible study, you name it and I was there. I grew up with and continue to attend Epic, a progressive American Baptist church that is predominantly Asian-American.

We’re People, Not Projects

They actually laughed at me when I finally showed them my Zoloft prescription. “You can’t be depressed if you’re a strong Christian!” Mama exclaimed. “Everyone is depressed. You should be able to get over being ‘sad’ without medication,” Baba mocked.

For My People

In the seventh grade, I saw a video of a Tongan man, Matangi Tai, who was brutally attacked by police in Arizona. He later died due to a suspicious “unknown cause”. The lack of transparency regarding the cause of his death, along with the physical abuse he experienced prior to his arrest, were both alarming factors to my community when considering the history of terror between people of color and police.

Embracing Immigrant Narratives

I am a first generation American. Throughout my lifetime, immigration has been treated as an issue by the media and general public, but it is much more personal to me. My parents are immigrants from Southeast Asia. My father was born the second of 11 siblings in Indonesia, when the country was still recuperating from World War II. My father’s family was relatively poor, but surviving.

Accept or Decline
Me, My Self, and My Social Media Self

Crap. She friended me. “She” is Sofia, from my English class. I like her a lot. She’s funny, talented, intelligent, and I want to be her friend. It’s my second year at Amherst College, a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts, and despite its small population of just under 2,000 students, I’ve found it difficult to forge deep, genuine relationships here — friendships that go beyond remembering birthdays on Facebook, a follow-back on Instagram, and a few pictures on feeds that remind each other that the other still exists.