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Ignite 08: We Are What We Create

It’s been a busy summer, but with guys like Wayne Park and Daniel (@ Random Platypus), Daniel Eng as well as the prolific Eugene Cho out there blogging about all the things I care about, it’s been great to be more of a reader this season. And think through some things.

In Atlanta recently, there was a conference called Ignite, where I had the chance to lead a workshop on something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Here’s the description I wrote up:

Title: we are what we create: exploring the connections between Asian American identity, creativity and the church
The asian american life so far has been predicated on our ability to succeed, produce and consume. we are the highest-educated, largest wage-earning ethnic demographic in america. but while asian americans are writing bestselling novels, producing and acting in movies, dancing on mtv and crooning ballads on american idol, where do asian american christians come in? why is it that our churches worship and preach like white churches? could there be a connection between our theology and our identity, which would then influence our artistry? david park presents a brief history and asks even more questions to explore together about what is at stake when the asian american church only produces and consumes, but does not bother to create.

It was a great workshop with a lot of good conversation and performances by some great local artists, featuring Dan Ra, Stan Sonu and Gyun Hur.

Here’s one of Gyun’s pieces but check out the video of her project “5 Days of Wailing and A Meal of Condolence”. It was sublime and powerful…but you may want to read the background before diving in.

The artists really made the workshop and made my argument for creativity come to life, particularly as it relates to the sustainability of Asian American churches. 

And below is my PowerPoint presentation for the workshop and below is the same thing in PDF form. Enjoy and let me know if you have any feedback~



About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

11 responses to “Ignite 08: We Are What We Create

  1. John Lamb

    Great presentation – both in content and in Jobsian style points! 🙂

    Also, great Suhard quote for me to ponder.

  2. Clearly I am not on the right mailing lists because I missed Ignite again. Not sure if that says something about my connections to the larger Asian American Christian community or the ones running such events, but whatev . . . what’s the 09 info?

  3. don’t worry bruce, it was a local Atlanta thing and was put together rather hastily due to a generous contribution from the local Korean pastors’ coalition. I don’t even know if they have the 09 info yet, but when they do, i’ll try to post the info here on the blog.

  4. I’d be interested in hearing more about Ignite ’09…
    It would be a good chance to connect also w/ the affable elderj (I think he’s in Atlanta?) and yourself as well.

    That ppt presentation was killer, bro. I hope u don’t mind if I plagiarize some of it (but will direct credits to u of course)

  5. daniel so

    David — Thanks for posting this presentation. Your words a breath of fresh air in the life of Asian American churches. I would love to explore further the intersection of creativity and faith in the AA church — not as adornment or pretty embellishment to “real” ministry in the church but, as you say in your presentation, as a reflection of our Creator’s heart.

    We are missing out and so much life and vitality by treating creativity as a means to an end. Perhaps your presentation will be the start of a prophetic call to creativity.

    And, yes, keep us posted on any future Ignite updates. If I were able to make it out to the ATL, I’d love to hear you present some thoughts live.

  6. wayne, the affable elderj is in nashville, but that’s just a hop and a skip away. and of course, feel free to use the ppt however you’d like.

    thanks daniel, as always, you flatter and terrify at once. most every prophetic voice of course has usually suffered immensely and i’m much too comfortable to be that. i’ll keep you posted about ignite for next year, it would be great to meet you in person, maybe even have you lead a workshop!

  7. kristine ng ⋅

    Hello! i recently came across this blog and am so excited that a dialogue about creativity in the AA church has begun. As an AA, Christian, and artist; I have always struggled with feeling like I could be myself at an AA church. It seemed like it was easier to come to terms with my ethnic identity amongst the non-believing AA artist community. I recently cut ties with an AA church, where my artistic gifts were only valued for the practical ways they could serve the church, opting to attend a multicultural church where creativity is valued.

    I look forward to your future thoughts on this topic!

  8. kristine, welcome to the blog and thanks for reading. great insight and hope that one day the aa church will be a place that will showcase, support and commission your work someday.

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  10. randplaty

    Man you hit on a LOT of great issues about Asian American culture. I wish I could have been there for the presentation. Asian Americans are really on the cusp of forging a new more cohesive, more defined culture. Can the church be a big player in Asian American culture? If Christ is to be a big part of Asian American culture, we really are going to need a lot of creativity from the church.

  11. elderj

    David you are seriously getting to be a big dog. Did I tell you I took the interim youth director job? scary man

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