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So I underestimated the reaction of readers to the word “sellout.”  My intent wasn’t to be sensationalist, but to explore an honest question that crossed my mind at Orange.  If any of you had been with me at the conference, we would have thumbed through the conference guide, and I would have leaned over and asked you that exact question to hear your thoughts and start a dialogue.  But that one word has been a huge distraction, and I’d like to retract it.  Completely my lapse in judgment.

Second, I feel worse about my groundless claim that the conference organizers use Chan to diversify their speaker line-up and avoid race tensions.  I apologize for (1) presuming to know their motives and (2) framing those made-up motives in such an accusative fashion.

Thanks to all who commented (nice and not so nice); the feedback helped me understand my own tunnel vision better.

To clarify what I’m saying:
•  I applaud Francis Chan for his faithfulness to GOD’s call on his life.  Clearly, his life and ministry has blessed the church; I hope he continues to speak and minister to all groups of people.

•  I believe race, especially in America, does shape the expression of faith, but evangelicals want to deny or suppress this reality.  The black church, because of their experience and faith, found voice to correct the status quo arguments of the white church during the 1960s (please, please read MLK’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail).  For Asian-Americans, we’ve uncritically adopted white, evangelical theology, and there are signs this is not a good fit.  The most recent evidence:  AA youth who attend church regularly are more likely to be depressed than unchurched AA youth, and this is among a demographic that already suffers higher levels of depression.

•  I hope hearers of Chan do not mistake him as a representative of Asian-American Christianity.  He does not minister in this context, and this part of his identity does not seem to shape his theology in any significant way.  I am not suggesting his words lack power for listeners of all races; just that there are unique and distinct dimensions to being an Asian-American Christian which do not concern Chan.

•  I wish conferences such as Orange would recognize that they represent white evangelicalism and not the whole church.  Either these groups embrace and acknowledge their whiteness, or they find out why their participant demographics are 99% white and their staff 100% white.  Instead, the reality of race (or the lack of it) is simply ignored or unnoticed.

•  Ultimately, I want to see the Asian-American church participate in the reign of GOD in ways only Asian-Americans can.  What does this look like?  Great question, and the answer remains evasive (thus, this blog).  I would hope that we have something to offer the body of Christ, something more than a facsimile of white evangelicalism or the possession of an Asian face.


76 responses to “apologies

  1. Pingback: Is Francis Chan a sell-out? « Next Gener.Asian Church

  2. asian dude ⋅

    thanks for humbleness in the apology. Do you think it might be true also for Asian American Christian servant/leaders as well? If you look at these conferences, worship gatherings they also tend to be skewed asian. wouldn’t it be good to have conferences in which all races/ethnicities are included in the conversation?

  3. dannyyang ⋅

    it would be good, and there are conferences like that, such as CCDA:

    i think the difference for when AA gather in large numbers is that we immediately recognize that this is abnormal. when we live most of our life as a minority, we know when diversity is either missing or skewed.

  4. Chico Woo ⋅

    Dear Danny,

    If we were near a Pinkberry I would buy you a large Pinkberry with 3 toppings – maybe a fourth. I still don’t agree with you about race issues in Evangelicalism but sounds like you are nice guy worth 4 toppings at Pinkberry.

  5. jadanzzy

    i accept your apology regarding your use of the word ‘sellout’. i do not accept any regret you have, however, in writing that post. =)

    i think As-Am xians are terribly afraid of anything besides conservative evangelicalism. it’ll take a long time till they/we can let go.

    people, understand that there’s NOTHING wrong with embracing your cultural expression of faith. if latin, arabic, black-american, indian, and irish christians can do it, SO CAN WE. please don’t be so naive to think there’s such a thing as ethnic-less christianity. all christianity is local, human, grounded in environment and context. christianity does not equal God in the slightest. God equals God. we equal our beautifully fucked up attempts to follow in the way of Jesus Christ.

    dan ra out.

  6. Pingback: Am I a sell-out too? :

  7. Ken Fong

    As someone who’s been invited to be on historically white Christian stages, boards, and the like, it’s not lost on me that we who are AsiAm Christians need to find our unique contributions so that, when we show up, we actually flavor the broth, not just colorize the photo-ops.
    Some of Fuller Seminary’s sharpest AA students have recently formed the Asian American Theological Fellowship and I’ve volunteered to be their adviser. We’re putting together a conference this Oct to explore these things. Historically, AA theologians have focused on being oppressed (which is a fact) or being part of a diaspora (also a fact). But that has typically left most members of AA churches cold or, worse, freaked out. What we want to discover and highlight is the unique aspects of God and the gospel that being from various AA backgrounds brings to light.
    Just this past Sunday, one of my long-standing, ultra-patriotic Mexican Am members applauded me for sharing the story of 8th grade Rwandan students who refused to separate themselves into Hutu and Tutsi. The Hutu guerrillas then made good on their threat and killed several of them. My member said that he never is in favor of saying he is anything but “American,” since when we all put on the uniform, it doesn’t matter what color we are or what culture we come from. Enemies’ guns are merely aimed at the common uniform. He has a point. But that wasn’t the point of my sharing that tragic story.
    As a pastor of an historically Japanese church that is being intentional about becoming increasingly diverse, I find myself tongue-tied at times to describe our church today. We have about a dozen API groups represented, as well as W, B, Hispanic, and multi-racial. About 75% is API, but we are no longer an AA church that’s nice to non-AAs. Even though it’s perplexing (to me too!), I have chosen to straddle the line anyway. I support the needed efforts to find our unique AA contributions and I also challenge AA Christians not to settle for being comfortable.

  8. I wonder about this too (thanks pastor Ken) – in that as much as we are addressing white American homogeneity, Asian-Am’s are guilty of the same. “Straddling the line” is as much about coming to terms with our American identity as much as it is being keenly sensitive to our Asian background. I think the general tone of the past few posts on this topic has been polemical towards the “twinkie” or the “banana” when in reality those of us who are “azianified” are just as disconnected from the larger culture around us.

    And funny thing is, when we try to engage in a “multiethnic” approach to planting a church (and actually succeed) we’re often labeled as “liberal” by the mother culture we’ve left. I’ve seen this happen coast-to-coast.

    Personally, I find myself in a very uncomfortable setting. Small town, more rural than urban, much more white than diverse. The church I minister at is 95% caucasian. I’m trending away from the trendy, and yet convinced I’m supposed to be here. But I know for sure that I’m not “selling out” because I know from whence I’ve come and recognize the need to deconstruct the ethnic church, whether white or asian.

  9. Charles

    thanks for the post. it was humble, provoking and honest.

    some thoughts…

    i recognize the need for an authentic asian-am expression of faith… particularly one that is perhaps at odds with white evangelicalism. personally speaking, i see white evangelicalism as a hegemonic entity. it’s problematic, like all christian thought… but it’s also the one holding most influence and power in american expressions of protestantism. just like race… people are “expected” to conform to such a norm (generally, even vaguely speaking).

    but… given all that… we have to ask ourselves some questions. Is white evangelicalism even that defined? Is it that centralizing as a system of thought? and in terms of asian-am’s… what does it even mean to articulate an asian-am theology? or even deeper… what does it even mean to be asian-american?

    i bring this up because as much as we want to talk about cultural expression, theological particularity, and the like… there is a sore problem of even defining or expressing things on an identity level.

    don’t get me wrong… i see and feel the need for what you’re writing about. and i feel like an honesty about such a pursuit is necessary for the empowerment of the asian-am christian community. but i suppose we also have to be honest about what asian-american even means for us today. even me being korean-american… what does that even mean? and how does that reflect the sort of theological views that i hold and wish to express? all this is to say: it’s not just ethnic expressions of faith that will be different… but individual… which is why i feel the whole thing is extremely confusing, tiring and problematic from the beginning.

    if we are to be about freedom and freeing people to assert their consciousness in relation to God and their cultural identity… what does that even mean for the church?

    sorry… please excuse my ramblings. as you can probably tell… they are on-going questions of my own as i continue to study and reflect. thanks again for providing this wonderful space for the exchange of thoughts.

  10. Danny, as someone that didn’t share your views of Francis Chan in your original post (see my reply here) I must say that I didn’t think you needed to apologize. If you truly don’t have any opinion on what you voiced and wrote it to be controversial then you should apologize. However, I’m guessing that you expressed how you felt at the time and you do have the right to freedom of expression.

    I have been involved in conversations about Asian-American ministry and it’s context within a white America for almost a year. I have no idea what the future holds, but I do know that the present is full of people that are very opinionated.

    Somedays I feel that we as Asian-Americans are only a step away from starting something similar to the Emergent Church conversation from a few years ago. Maybe someone will take the lead and begin to create a forum where people can converse in one place and see where things go. While in Asian-American circles we do have voices that speak within an Asian-American context, we don’t have anyone that really runs in both circles and can lend momentum behind understanding the issue of an Asian-American context to our faith.

    It seems the more I get involved in these discussions the more I see that there really isn’t an answer right now. I am not clear on why we as Asians need to seek something different within the kingdom of heaven rather than just seek the kingdom of heaven. Why must there be some Asian inference here?

    In case you’re interested, the dialog about this is continuing over at my blog and I’d appreciate your thoughts if you can find the time and interest to seeing if we can come to some unified conclusions.

  11. jadanzzy

    You know, I think it all comes down to theology. In my personal conversations with Danny and David, I’ve (and I think they) have come to the conclusion that we need to rethink our theology. For too long, as Russell Jeong put it, we’ve uncritically accepted white Evangelicalism. People here talk about white vs. Asian. That won’t solve all of our problems.

    When can Asian-American Christians force a separation from idolizing white, conservative, evangelical Christianity? When can we embrace our own emerging Asian-American theology? Latin or Black liberation theology? Postmodern/deconstructionist theology (my favorite)? Does the Bible HAVE to be inerrant? Come on… Is it too liberal? are we that afraid? I think so. I think we live by fear. I think As-Am Christians are so afraid of exploring because we are conditioned to believe what is “right”, when ALL theologies are such bullshit in the face of an unfathomable and incomprehensible God.

    Or are we afraid of faith? Because for As-Am xians (who adopt conservative evangelical ideologies), faith means certainty. It means militaristic dogmatism. But faith is supposed to be scary and absurd. It’s supposed to be tense and unnerving. It’s supposed to make you stay up late at night going, “What the.. hell…?” We should be embracing those in our communities who say, “God? are you serious?” But we don’t. And I think it’s because of our theology.

    So maybe Dave Ingland is right. Maybe it’d be great to have emergent-type cohort convos. That’s what we’re trying to do here in Atlanta. Or maybe we need to start telling ourselves that it’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to experiment, go to the fringes and come back. Because white evangelical Christianity doesn’t allow the fringes to exist.

    • Brian Spearman ⋅

      I disagree with your post. I am a white evangelical and I am more than willing to be open minded to Asian Americans and I live and work in a majority populated white area. In fact, I just wrote about the Asian church starts in America by Southern Baptist. I would like to say that the Korean pastors I wrote about and enjoyed interviewing are very open to the Asian American culture. So to your post in Christian love I would like to say that not all white evangelicals keep you as Asian Americans from being anything you do not chose to be. I just ran across your post when I googled Francis Chan and found this debate interesting.
      In Christ, Brian

    • Paul ⋅

      I don’t see why you see the need to curse on a Christian site. Maybe you should read Ephesians 4 and see if what your saying is really edifying.

  12. Steve ⋅

    Has anyone ever considered the possibility that white evangelicals might not feel comfortable in an asymmetrical discussion where white evangelicalism is considered the problem but all others are considered colorful and diverse? Do any of you who are asking for this debate ever think about the intolerance embedded in your own attitudes?

    • danny yang ⋅

      i never said white evangelicalism is a problem; the problem is the failure to recognize the contextual origins of their theology. to use your words, when evangelical theology recognizes that white is also a color, diverse expressions of the gospel can begin to stand on equal ground. please don’t carelessly lob accusations of intolerance. probably every person in this discussion owes our faith in Jesus to white, evangelical missionaries.

  13. I’m sorry you feel that way Steve, but welcome to our table.

    It’s not that it’s intolerance, it’s just that we as minorities have always lived in the shadow of dominant culture. Case in point. Why is the main character of an asian manga cast with a caucasian when the movie version comes out?

    Likewise church and theology.
    It’s largely been a dominant culture convo, while minorities sit on the sides. Don’t feel marginalized brother, consider it as stepping into our shoes.

  14. Steve ⋅


    “Why is the main character of an asian manga cast with a caucasian when the movie version comes out?”

    Ever see those burglar alarm commercials on TV where an heroic ADT or Brinks operator calls on the phone to reassure the frightened homeowner? Ever notice how when they hire the actor to play the guy smashing the window, African-American actors need not apply, no matter how badly they may need work?


    Americans of Scottish Presbyterian, German Lutheran and Italian Catholic heritage vary hugely in their theology. On top of that, many white Americans have left the denominations of their ancestors and chosen other theologies. Why do you feel the need to lump people into a “white evangelical” theology? Do you really think that I, of a Wesleyan background, am not appreciably different than a Baptist, just because we may both be white?

    • dannyyang ⋅

      these blog posts emerged out of my attendance at the orange conference. evangelical events such as orange/catalyst/passion, as well as the most visible evangelical speakers, do not speak out of a denominational context. in fact, they try their best to present a version of christianity that transcends denominational (and racial) differences. i am not lumping when i say white evangelicals, because i am addressing a group that self-identifies as evangelical, not methodist/baptist/presbyterian/catholic/lutheran.

      the lumping you describe actually happens quite frequently. every time you hear, “the decline of the mainline church” — they are talking about the white, denominational church which ignores/erases/merges the distinct christian heritages you listed.

    • Brian Spearman ⋅

      I am a Baptist and I agree with Steve on this one!

  15. of course you’re appreciably different theologically from say, a Baptist, but that’s not the point. The point being that caucasians share in a dominant culture. Privilege is implicit. Now we all have privilege, so don’t misunderstand this as backlash against whites. One can be a minority and still be socially privileged.

    But the point is that out of the starting gate, certain ethnicities get an advantage. Where we’re driving at with this convo is not to lash out at the white man but more so to bring to recognition that the playing field is indeed, not level, that’s all.

  16. Brothers… when you talk about an Asian-American theology, do you mean theology proper or the application of theology?

    In other words do you mean a uniquely Asian-American understanding of who God is, of what sin is, of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross, and of what one must do to be saved, that’s different from what other Christians throughout the centuries have understood (whether English or German or Egyptian or African, etc…)?

    OR, do you mean a uniquely, contextualized Asian-American application of the truths listed above (i.e. who God is, what sin is, etc…)?

    A clear answer would help my understanding of the discussion here greatly… thanks!

  17. Steve ⋅

    Great question, Geoff! It deserves an answer and I will watch with interest.

  18. I’ll take a stab (and perhaps open the gates for others to use as a launching pad)

    You’re talking about theology proper (sin, Christology, soteriology, anthropology, etc) – your basic systematics. I think what’s being alluded to here is yes, as you say, applied theology. For example(s).

    I’m all for Reformed. But isn’t it arguable that Reformed theo has contributed to a strong individualism – going back to the emphases on “conscience” of the Puritans, the personal conversionism of the pietists – hey these things are great – but in the end tend to turn our attention away from more corporate sins? After all, if we’re so busy mortifying our personal sins, why should we even consider the corporate dimensions? It’s arguable in the Reformed (Western) mind that mortification of social sin is not considered as deeply as perhaps Latin theologies or Black theologies which were birthed out of a context of oppression.

    Which leads to another thing. How is “deliverance” perceived in our culture? In the Western mind one might argue that it’s deliverance from… what else? Sin. But in the Black mind, deliverance was framed in one story that stood out among all others. The Exodus. So in one sense blacks do theology from a deeper sense and understanding of “deliverance” (elderJ where are you?)

    Let me add another thing. When we speak of an “Asian American” theology I don’t think this is to dismiss the Patristic creeds, formulations and councils (We’d be seriously adrift if we parted ways from the Athanasian / Trinitarian Creeds, Eastern Orthodox foundations). But to do distinctly asian theology is to consider how these essentials work itself out in our context. The problem is Asian-American Christendom is too enamored with Chris Tomlin praise and John Piper sermons to even once consider that we have a distinct voice and melody of our own.

    • dannyyang ⋅

      good stab. i also hope the sisters feel welcome in this conversation.

      the framing of your question oversimplifies and implies that there is a defined theology proper. i think that’s too optimistic. each of the examples you’ve listed have had different understandings across the centuries and across regional boundaries.

      wayne already talked about how we understand sin and deliverance. i’ll ask about what Christ accomplished for us on the cross: what is theology proper’s answer? satisfaction, moral influence, or Christus victor. depending on where you’re at, one theory of atonement will be better than another. even between the gospels: john and mark do not present the same theology of the cross.

      and steve, given your prior objection, you could’ve piped in and offered a survey of denominational differences in theology. isn’t the suggestion of a theology proper lumping together various religious heritages? i don’t think wesley was too keen on predestination (see his sermon, “free grace”).

      • Geoff Chang ⋅

        Hi Danny… I’m not sure I understand your example. The different theories of atonement you presented are all various facets of the atonement presented in Scripture. They’re not contradictory, nor are they different theories. Rather, they are all part of the picture that the Bible paints for all that Christ accomplished for us on the cross. His death was the propitiation or satisfaction of God’s wrath (Rom 3). His death is to be a great influence in our lives (Phil. 2). And his death does conquer Satan (1 John 3). And of course, penal substitution (Isaiah 52-53). So I don’t think your example quite accomplishes what you’re trying to get at. These aren’t different theologies of the cross, but are all part of the one picture, and Christians have generally agreed on all these.

        Likewise, you are right in pointing out that professing Christians have disagreed on many things throughout the centuries. Some of these differences have been officially declared to be wrong and unbiblical, but I don’t think you’re talking about these sorts of differences. There are many differences among denominations that have remained. But, in spite of that, Christians have also had amazing agreement on the Gospel over the centuries. So if you sat Charles Simeon and John Wesley down, they would’ve agreed on most of their understanding of the basic points of the things I listed above (God, sin, Christ, grace, etc…). So historically, whether Congregationalist, or Baptist, or Methodist, or Presbyterian, or whatever ethnicity, there have been differences, but there has also been an amazing amount of agreement among Protestants, especially on issues concerning the Gospel itself.

        So now, as we enter this discussion of a unique Asian American theology, I’m just trying to understand whether we are advocating here a new Asian-American Gospel, OR if we are discussing how we can better apply the Gospel to Asian-Americans today (which is what I think Wayne was getting at).

      • dannyyang ⋅

        in that sense, there is nothing unique. all Christian theology must tell the story of Jesus Christ, and we’ll use the same vocabulary terms. i was focusing too tightly on how the definitions will inevitably diverge because each group preferences one interpretation. for example, we may recognize all the theories of atonement, but those who want to preserve the political and social status quo will preference satisfaction, and groups who have been oppressed stress Christus victor. and i do think mark and john present different reasons for why Jesus dies; but we tend to conflate the gospel accounts and lose their distinctive voices.

      • Steve ⋅

        Well that was my point all along: that it’s weird for me as a white person to watch people in here talk about “white evangelical theology” as if all whites thought the same.

    • jadanzzy

      wayne said some great things. i’d like to also add that i do think reformed theology (at its most conservative) and asian/confucian ideology create a perfect storm.

      i would like to speak into what wayne said with something i’ve been struggling with a lot lately. the notion of what is orthodox and what is not was created out of a play on power. orthodoxy separated one group from another, allowed one group of people to kill another, and has been very detrimental. i’d like to posit (for a provocative discussion) that orthodoxy needs to be redefined as a symbol of power and possibly oppression. heresy is relative. the mormons are heretics to the protestants. the protestants were heretics to roman catholics. roman catholics were heretics to the eastern orthodox and so on and so forth. heterodoxy doesn’t make sense ESPECIALLY because even the texts within the new testament run opposed to each other. like danny said, the 4 gospels have different views of jesus, salvation, end times, etc. and then there’s paul. who is different from them all again. there is heresy within the text!

      and i’d answer geoff by saying theology proper. i had mentioned earlier that there is no correct theology and there will never be (see above). so how do asian-americans interact with a jewish man and his gospel for us that makes sense for our culture?

      • Steve ⋅

        As an old codger I have to say that it’s funny on one level, (and tragic on another) to see a younger generation of Christians so deconstructive of their own faith that they really have nothing left to believe. Talk about a theology that’s been affected by who you are! I have a hunch there are quite a few Christians on this earth who are too busy just hanging on for dear life to prattle on telling themselves that there’s no real truth.

        Has post-modernism ever had a martyr? A Christian who’s been imprisoned in a Muslim country for trying to persuade Muslims to convert to a Christianity that can never really have an orthodoxy other than that provided by some college-professor-conceived “power structure?”

      • Hang on jadanzzy… I’m with old codger on this one.

        The leap from orthodoxy to power structure is more than my faith can swallow. Dunno about you but I think a distinctly asian theology can only re-interpret the Patristic Creeds, but can’t re-write them. In other words, we’re contextualizing to our culture, not challenging the canon of Scripture (but I guess that also depends on where you stand)

        A post-modern martyr: I wonder about this. If I had to persuade Muslims of something I were unsure of myself I would quit pretty quick. I mean, we’ve got to believe something when looking down the barrell of the AK-47.

      • danny yang ⋅

        do MLK and oscar romero count as martyrs to you?

      • Steve ⋅

        I can see MLK being a martyr but I’ve never thought of him as a post-modernist. I am unfamiliar with Oscar Romero, although Cesar Romero was a decent actor.

      • elderj

        Put me in with the old codgers on this one… and I speak from a background and tradition that didn’t know (or care) what “white evangelicalism” was. There really is only one foundation on which any can build and that is Christ. Of course I know that seems very simplistic, but it was probably one of the earliest attempts by Christians to deal with contextualization of the faith beyond it Palestinian Jewish roots.

        I do take issue from a historical perspective that orthodoxy was essentially a power play. That notion arises from a very distinctive and in many ways scholarly irresponsible reading of history through a lens which presupposes a Marxist dialectic. For such scholars virtually nothing in history can be read or understood except as an effort by elites to retain and justify their own power and to suppress/oppress those who would supplant them. This is a very political way of reading history that imposes on the actors motivations, ideologies and biases that are familiar to us, but would have been unrecognizably foreign to them. It is also rooted firmly in a materialist view of the world that is antithetical to theism in that it supposes the absence of Divine agency in history.

        I agree that charges of heresy were often (and still are) loaded with political freight and were most often leveled for political and not theological reasons. That said, it does not follow that there is no such thing as “the faith once delivered.” Paul himself sets a firm line against heretical teaching and practice after having clarified with the apostles just what were the defining limits of orthodoxy within the emerging Jesus movement. To say that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins does not conflict with saying that he was the second Adam or that he is triumphant over death and the forces of evil. To deny that Jesus was God incarnate however, or to suggest that he was merely a prophet strikes at the foundational commitments of Christianity in all its forms.

      • Brian Spearman ⋅

        I would love to talk to you about the 4 Gospels and the differences. There are some differences in the Synoptic Gospels ( Matthew, Mark, and Luke) but not big enough to take away from the meaning of the text. First, it would help if we were all Jewish when it comes to reading the Bible, because the context are so different than what you and I really know many times. I am not Jewish or Asian American, but I am a Christian and God is God. There is no heresy in scripture. I would take that you do not believe in scripture as truth. If you do then I am very confused. The thing I have taken from the repsonses on this entire blog is that there is a power struggle between several bodies of believers. I just believe Jesus came and died for all. I also believe that scripture is true. regardless of our race, socio-economic status, age, or sex God sent his Son for all. I would be very interested in what you are doing in Atlanta.

    • elderj

      I would agree with you though I would add that reformed (that is to say calvinist) theology is not nearly as common in the Black church as in the White and Asian church. Blacks have tended to follow Wesleyan/Arminian theology and yet remain firmly evangelical in their assertions and theological commitments.

      I would say that the notion of deliverance from sin/evil/oppression are very strong themes running through the Black church, but they are themes present in the text and not imported into it. If Asian Americans are to do theology in the way that Blacks have, it would mean finding their own stories within scripture and then applying the truths of scripture in such a way as to make sense of their corporate experiences. One error people make in dealing with the theology of the Black church is to examine the political implications and expression without realizing that those came later and are really subordinate to Black folks understanding of the gospel. By so doing there tends to be an unwillingness to explore the “nonpolitical” commitments of the Black church arising from its theology.

      And yes, there is far too much Tomlin and Piper love going on in the Asian church, which makes me think that the ultimate goal (though unstated) of Asian American Christianity is to be as close to White as possible, not as close to Jesus as possible.

      • Steve ⋅

        Hmm. I’m getting in on the middle of this, but what is the problem with Chris Tomlin? I can see how John Piper could be a controversial figure, but Chris Tomlin? Fill me in, someone.

      • so well said on the Marxist dialectic bit.

        To read power expressions into all history is a hermeneutical leap – a tenuous one at best. I still do think it’s a necessary and helpful (even prophetic) tool – but like anything taken too far, it can… yeah go too far.

        re: Tomlin – I guess it’s not something wrong w/Tomlin per se, but just a contrasting thing. Not to pick on Tomlin – he just seems to represent so prominently the face of American evangelical music. Wishing we could see some more contextualized music to the different (ethnic) communities represented in evangelicalism.

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  20. jadanzzy

    Who said I didn’t believe in anything? The funny criticism about postmodern thought being a slippery slope is based on fear. I know many people who have discovered postmodern Christian thought and, through that, had their faith in Jesus strengthened. They didn’t have to hold on to man-made certainties any longer. God was bigger than that.

    But here’s an example of the possible absurdity of orthodoxy. You are here in America, and there is someone else in, say, China. You both believe the Scriptures to be divine in their nature. You both affirm the patristic creeds and the orthodoxies of the early church councils. You both open up the Bible and read the same verse. But your interpretations are radically different. Who is right? Could both of you be right? Is that allowed? All humans, by nature, are interpreters, right? We only experience our subjectivity. God is either hyper-immanent or hyper-transcendent for us to fathom. But still, I say there is real truth. That truth is Jesus, and nothing else. Because if all the creeds and the doctrines fade away and make no sense, the truth of the gospel should still be standing. Besides, believing in the right has no positive correlation with living in the right, and history points to that.

    I won’t convert a Muslim because of doctrines or because of something asinine like the four spiritual laws. If I ever “converted” a Muslim, it’s because I hope that Jesus is clearly evident in my actions of love. It’s because his life, death, and resurrection have profoundly affected my relationship with a Muslim who is my friend and sister/brother first before accepting a man-made set of belief propositions. Can a Muslim be a Muslim and still live in the way of Jesus Christ? I’m not sure, but I shouldn’t have to be sure. God will take care of that. The gospels point to way too many incidents where it seems Jesus would’ve been fine with this kind of scenario.

    And looking down the barrel of an AK-47? Really? Are all Muslims gun-wielding barbarians? Is this world full of evil terrorists? Are gays going to destroy marriage too?

    • Steve ⋅

      I do have to say I enjoy reading this kind of stuff, Jadanzzy, when it’s well expressed like what you wrote above. We both apparently consider ourselves Christians, and yet at the moment, I can’t think of a single thought or belief you and I would have in common. It’s like I don’t even know where to start.

  21. A few observations:

    1) There’s seems to be some confusion in the whole conversation about AA theology. It’s not entirely clear what is being discussed, even while there’s much agreement that there needs to be such a thing.

    2) Among those who agree on the need for an AA theology, there seems to be a broad spectrum of understanding of what that actually is. From jadanzzy’s desire to redefine the Gospel on one side, to Wayne’s desire to hold on to the historic Gospel but see how it could be applied in an AA context on the other, to other positions in between (Danny, I think you would fall somewhere in between?)

    3) Historically, the discussion in point 2 above has found its counterparts in “white” evangelicalism also. Its not something that we need to debate from scratch all over again, but we can learn much from the conclusions and lessons that were learned by other professing Christians in church history. It takes some humility to admit that, but I think it would be useful in this discussion.

    4) I think those on Wayne’s side of the spectrum would agree that agreement on the Gospel is far more important than ethnic distinctions when it comes to the local church. And so they would ultimately have more in common and cooperate with people who were not AA’s, but agreed on that understanding of the Gospel, than those who denied the historic Gospel and were AA’s.

    • dannyyang ⋅

      yeah, i agree about the confusion, which is what prompted my last post. i was trying to figure out where our faith comes from. as you acknowledged, there is a felt need for change, but at different degrees (change church practice or change doctrine). in that scheme, i am focused on the theology portion; i want us to read Scripture with a greater awareness of what we’re bringing into the text, and be open to revising our theology if Scripture leads us that way.

      i agree about appreciating the history of our faith in all expressions, but you have to acknowledge that popular evangelicalism is not much about history. there’s this bold assumption that what is gleaned from the text is the real meaning, rather than an interpreted/mediated meaning.

  22. Steve ⋅

    Wayne: OK, the interesting thing about this is that I find praise and worship music downright bland, and I am exactly the white male baby-boomer midwestern evangelical type that is supposed to like it. But I love Sixpence, and nobody would consider them “ethnic.”

  23. Pingback: Low Church and Asian Idolatries « Cogito, Credo, Petam

  24. Dan ⋅

    If I am not mistaken, majority of AsiAm ministry leaders were trained in evangelical seminaries (e.g., Gordon-Conwell, Fuller, Westminster, Dallas, Wheaton, Trinity, Talbot, Southern Baptist, et. al.). Most do not merely affirm early Creeds, but later confessions as well (e.g., Westminster Confession, Baptist Faith & Message, Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy), especially those affiliated with denominations such as PCA and SBC (although their progressive counterparts such as PCUSA, American Baptist are more flexible). I believe this strand of Christianity (heavily influenced by Scottish Realism/Princeton School – Charles Hodge, Warfield, Carl Henry, et. al.) is what is mean by “White Evangelicalism.” Others, such as Calvin Seminary (Dutch Reformed), more “liberal” seminaries such as Duke, Yale, Union, and majority of Methodist denominations are flexible enough to accommodate Asian American theology and other contemporary theories as well (e.g., Radical-Orthodoxy, Liberation Theology, Post-modern Theology, etc.).

    I believe “White Evangelicalism” in this sense is where most of the money is at (most “Mega-Churches” come from this strand), hence must address the issue of power and politics. Plus, this strand is not just based on the bible, but on the philosophy of Thomas Reid/G. E. Moore (e.g., strict correspondence theory of truth, foundationalism, evidentialism, et. al.), none of which I believe is strictly and necessarily the only “biblical” architecture for developing a Christian Worldview. Hence, I would side with jadanzzy (with some reservations) on this issue.

  25. Dan ⋅

    P.S. MLK and Romero were both sympathizers of Liberation theology. When faced with AK47, neither would have died because of some Cartesianistic certainty about various propositions related to Christian, orthodox doctrine. They would have sacrificed their lives because of the compassion they had for the suffering people surrounding them. Therefore, I don’t think the criticism about post-modernistic (i.e., agnostic) attitude towards knowledge of transcendent reality necessarily leads to a lack of conviction for fellow brothers/sisters in Christ or for Christ who is the head of that Body. Plus, much of pre-modern Christianity was apophatic or mystical (especially Desert Fathers and much of Eastern Orthodox) resembling much of what we know today as post-modern theologies.

  26. Betsy ⋅

    Just curious if anyone brought this up directly with the people at Orange? What was the response?

  27. dustin

    Umm I’m really at a loss for words. “I want to see the Asian-American church participate in the reign of GOD in ways only Asian-Americans can” Can you give me an example of how an “asian-american” church can only do something that others can’t? Do you honestly believe that God sees races and not just people, his kids, and others? I mean in the grand scheme of things no race, or denomination has any real standing in God’s mind. The bible is very clear that God isn’t partial to any man, so why should we be?

    As for your original post…if you were to write an apology (this one) then why not remove the old one? I mean the point of a retraction is to RETRACT what was said previously, so that would mean you were taking back what you said by eliminating it. I think what makes me sad is that you seem to be drawing lines between races and pointing the finger at Francis without even reading his books. I have read both his books, and heard the majority of his 400 something podcasts and his race isn’t a factor. He makes comments here and there about being asian, but it isn’t the focus. The focus of his message is about Jesus and how Jesus broke the racial, economic, cultural, and biased mindsets. He loved those when his own people wouldn’t. Jesus isn’t distinguishing who he will and will not love, Thank God for that. But he is whole-heartedly about us loving each other in the same way. No color of skin, religion preference, sexual tendency or anything should get in the way of His love for the world. The joy of loving people in ANY situation is that Jesus can change them…not us. All we are required to do is love our neighbors and love God. I’m reminded of the man who said, “Jesus, who is my neighbor.”

    Sorry, but I’d encourage you not to lose sight of the eternal picture. Asian, non-asian we are all ONE BODY in Christ. Baptist, Evangelical, Charismatic…true believers are ONE BODY.


    • hey dustin, unfortunately, you’re not really “at a loss for words.” you say quite a bit. 🙂

      and apparently you and others have missed the point of the original post, the apology, and the specified “retractions”. it might help if you read a little more closely. you’ll see it’s not an attack on francis chan’s ministry or books, which is why it’s not imperative that we read his books or listen to his 400 podcasts. it’s very obvious that race isn’t a factor. and if i might be so bold, i’m not saying that God is partial to asian americans or that asian americans have some sort of corner on christendom. but when you suggest that God created race with no real “standing” in God’s mind…that sounds funny to me. we talk about a God whose incredibly complex and detailed creations work together in harmonious ways and with an infinite calculus, but then say that race and ethnicity have no significance.

      I mean, i understand what you’re saying, “neither jew nor greek, male nor female…” but you have to admit that passage from gal. 3 is addressing a more “inheritance” issue than discussing how we love our neighbor, right? and in that sense, God is impartial, but God is also very partial, and aware of “skin, religion preference, sexual tendency.” Which is why when the man asks, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds with a story about the good samaritan. do you think that parable dissolves ethnic particularity? or affirms it in a redemptive way? do you think it dismisses history and politics and conflict and theology? or speaks through it, taking all of it into account? is it a simple moral fable? or is it subversive, transformative, and existentially demanding of believers?

      no one here is trying to separate asian americans from the one body, what we are asking of ourselves (and in some, very indirect way, francis chan) is whether we remember these differences and distinctions with a Godly intent to redeem them for the sake of the body, or whether we forfeit these distinctions thoughtlessly for the sake of a unity out of uniformity, not diversity. unity out of diversity is a different animal altogether and much more difficult. but that’s what makes symphonies great. and honestly, that’s what rev. 7 reveals is that the tribes, tongues, and nations are preserved even in heaven. it’s why when pentecost happened, they did not speak in a single tongue, but spoke in many. diversity in unity. that is the true power of the gospel. just because we are trying to encourage asian americans to not “sell out” is not some sort cultural pride thing (although i concede that would be an easy sin to commit), but rather it is the attempt to be faithful to the gift, calling, and burden that God has given us. what we desire is not be separate from the body, but to be fully the part that we are. that’s what you’re missing here…and no apologies for that.

  28. tom ⋅

    Interesting discussion. It seems to have lost its orignal discussion, which is what was appealing to me. As someone who is white, I found it interesting that all of the posters who claimed to be white found it necessary to defend “white evangelicalism.” I cannot see how we can claim that it does not exist. I think that the original poster is correct, that we do think we speak for the whole evangelical church. I think, mostly, it is not done intentionally, at least I hope not. I apologize that it has happened though. In addition, most missionary movements that have originated from the West clearly (and unfortunately) packaged the Gospel in a western, caucasian context when it was taken elsewhere. And it is the same here in America, an ever increasing multi-cultural setting. I think most white, evangelical, conservative, Republican Christian Americans have a great fear of losing what they have been so comfortable in. It is a double edged sword, because we do get blamed for a lot and it is often hard to continue to swallow the all the criticism (even though some of it is well deserved). But, remember, we are not totally bad, we have also brought about a lot of good as well. Like everyone else, most fear the change/loss of what they know (even if what they know is flawed).
    I appreciate Ken’s comments on trying to find the balance between individual cultural expressions and unity within the body of Christ and being inclusive. Part of the power of the Gospel is that it is greater than culture. It can unite us, when nothing else can. I have friends who just got married and are bi-racial. They are looking for a traditional style church that has multi-cultural expression… in Charleston, SC. I fear it does not exist. Not only in Charleston, but most places. It is a shame, but reality. We have to figure out how to be ONE while still giving room for individual, cultural, expression. When we can do that, the power of the Gospel to transform will be unleashed.
    I wonder if at least part of the reason that we cannot get there has a lot to do with the structure of the typical American church. We have become far to institutional. The body does not have the ability to express itself as in the first century. Only the paid clergy and those they choose as musically talented enough for a good performance are allowed to minister corporately. I believe that Francis Chan is beginning to investigate these institutional shortcomings as well. It is even worse in newer “post-modern” settings where the staff do everything and the congregation can simply become consumers enjoying a religious experience.
    I look forward to what your thoughts are on this idea and appreciate the dialouge. I think we can all learn from one another and be agents of change if we are willing to allow each other to step on our toes, even if the stepping is not always completely correct.

  29. Jason Caster ⋅

    How is it that we have manufactured a label for Christianity? What in the world is an “Asian-American Christian”? Or let’s simplify it even more, what is an “American Christian”? It is discussions like these that bring segregation back into the spot-light. We all belong to One Father, who sent His One Son to one earth as a sacrifice to pay for ALL of our sins. Discussions like these, even the original blog post, reminds us of how truly self-focused we are. GET OVER YOURSELVES and focus on your relationship with God.

    • Manufacturing labels? Segregation back into the spotlight? Jason, we’re not creating realities, we’re talking about realities that already exist.

      And we’re not talking about a different father or a different Savior here, so I don’t understand how that pertains to this discussion. That we have “one Lord, one faith and one baptism” is not in question. I know it sounds like we’re focused on ourselves here, but I assure you that it’s not for our own sake, but for the sake of the gospel in places and with people that you might have little access to, but we do. So this has everything to do with our focus on our relationship with God because it has everything to do with God’s subsequent call for our ministry of reconciliation.

  30. Jason Caster ⋅

    But it does seem as if there is an implication that God has different expectations of different races here. Maybe we should question Joni Ericksen-Tada(sp?) on whether she is the “token disabled person” when she is invited to speak at events. Is she selling out to all her handicapped peers by being the only person in a wheel chair that is an invited speaker? I would like to say “no”, but it sounds like the same type of discussion doesn’t it?
    I will agree with many of the above posts in saying that the church universal is a long way from its roots in Acts 2. We have become way too comfortable and complacent in the way we worship and serve the Almighty King. I think I will now bow out of the conversation and agree to disagree.

    • jason, you bring up an excellent point. and this is definitely a huge point for tripping up when it comes to idolizing a particularity, such as ethnicity or in your example, disability (although i would say that socio-historically, the categories aren’t exactly compatible for the sake of argument).

      the point, ideally, of ethnicity and its preservation or perpetuation is not to hold it over and against others, but it is to hold the ground to which we believe reflects the integrity of God’s intent in creating that distinction. quite amorphous yes, but one of the things that this is combatting is the modern ills of colonialism, consumerism and individualism. colonialism is particularly harmful because it causes people to hate themselves or believe themselves to be inferior because they are not white or from the west. thus, instead of polarizing the gospel as a force of uniformity, the gospel should reflect a unity arising from a diversity. and before i get too convoluted, the differences of ethnicity and race matter missionally in order to avoid the notion that colonization and Christianity are synonymous. further, internally speaking, the differences, race and otherwise, allow for correction to a particular dominant theology. for instance, liberation theology is not a systematic theology, but it serves as a corrective, a critique of a society entrenched in only a systematic, but un-self-aware, disembodied theology.

      this is why babel is a good thing, to keep us from making idols of what we are capable of together in uniformity, but rather understanding the diversity and being unified within that diversity is a good thing. which is why in acts 2, the display of the holy spirit was not that diverse peoples were unified in language and created a new colorblind, culture-blind people group, but rather they spoke in different tongues and spread out to take the good news to others.

      the other way in which differences are helpful is to bring awareness of issues that we are culturally/socially blind to, now if the token disabled person did not call the Christian community to action or at least to insight with regards to how we deal with the handicapped, you can imagine how betrayed that community would feel. now, this is not to say that our song of salvation does not transcend the disability, but hopefully you get my point, if that perspective is not brought up ever, at all, in any conference, then it begs the question. a question that you and i might not be sensitive to, as we are probably both able-bodied, but the handicapped person would and should ask of Joni, why do you not speak for us?

  31. ann ⋅

    I am an Asian American female who attended Francis Chan’s church for several years. His messages are passionate, humble, and Christ-centered. From what I have witnessed, he lives his life with integrity and truly “walks the talk.” He organizes and sponsors (through the church) pastor training conferences in Africa to equip these pastors with a Christ-centered message that they may bring to their people. I’m not sure how often, but he travels at least once a year to Uganda for this purpose. In 15 years (or so) his church has grown from a few to a mega-church yet his salary has not changed. He and his wife have committed to living their life within their humble means (they have 4 kids by the way)

    I realize this has nothing to do what what has become quite an extensive discussion on Asian American Christians/white evangelicalism but since his name came up, I wanted to throw these little tidbits out there. I also realize no one is questioning his passion/integrity/message etc….yet, somehow, there are these added expectations on things he could be doing. I guess I just don’t get this discussion. I simply see Francis Chan as a man who is living his life for the Lord…and I think we could use more like him. All this other talk just seems so unimportant in the greater scheme of things.

    Out of curiosity, what have you guys done to further Christ’s kingdom? I know I haven’t done nearly enough….and only wish I could do as much as Francis Chan has already done within my lifetime.

    I don’t have all the big words that you do and I’m just a simple gal, but that’s how I feel.

    • daniel so

      ann – Thanks for sharing from your personal experience. As you pointed out, no one is questioning Francis Chan’s passion or integrity.

      I’m not sure if you meant your question to come across in a hostile way (tone is notoriously difficult to read in blog comments), but asking “What have you guys done to further Christ’s kingdom?” sounds fairly confrontational (even with your personal acknowledgment of needing to more). Perhaps this whole discussion points out the need for all of us to tell our stories more effectively because, clearly, you haven’t gotten a sense of what we’re all about or who we are. We might not have the fame or influence of someone like Francis Chan (who, by all accounts, is a great steward of these things), but the NG.AC team is seeking to live out the same path of faithfulness, integrity and genuine desire to love & serve God and people.

      Race and ethnicity matter. And it’s not only a question of dealing with racism and the brokenness of the world. We believe that we’re all created in the image of God, including our unique ethnic backgrounds. Scripture says that instead of our ethnicity being wiped out when redemption is fully realized, we will each come to worship Jesus — from every nation, tribe, people and language (Revelation 7:9-10 —

    • sheng

      amen sister…i am asian too but i dont see how race becomes an issue in serving and obeying the Lord…we truly are one church, we are all members of Christ’s body so please stop creating divisions among us…we are all brothers and sisters in Christ..God bless us all.

  32. Judy ⋅

    I hope hearers of Chan do not mistake him as a representative of Asian-American Christianity. He does not minister in this context, and this part of his identity does not seem to shape his theology in any significant way. I am not suggesting his words lack power for listeners of all races; just that there are unique and distinct dimensions to being an Asian-American Christian which do not concern Chan.

    Not being Asian American, I’m not sure which dimensions of being and Asian American Christian that you are referring to.

    That being said, we are studying his book Crazy Love right now in my Bible study. I can see at least in some measure how his Chinese upbringing has influenced him. And this book challenges the status quo in the American church in a pretty profound way. And yes, by that I mean largely the White American church, though he does not use that term in the book. I can’t help but think that his experiences growing up as a non-white person influenced his counter cultural view that he expresses in the book.

    • dannyyang ⋅

      some things that come to mind:
      • why does actively participating in church increase the depression rates for asian-americans (see the link in the post)?
      • why is AA worship indistinguishable from white worship?
      • what does it mean to abandon the faith of your ancestors?
      • why do AA gravitate towards conservative evangelicalism?
      • how does the gospel speak uniquely to the AA experience?

      of course, this blog is actively trying to explore these questions (and others). i did read his book, and it’s an interesting idea to suggest subconscious influence. i would argue though, that his book is simply a more mainstream version of macarthur’s “gospel according to jesus” about lordship salvation. in other words, a person of any race could have penned “crazy love.” it’s hard to say the same thing about “letter from a birmingham jail” (also linked in the post).

      again, i believe the influence chan is having in the church is a good thing. my objection is that people use him as an example of diversity and AA christianity, which he is not, nor would he claim to be.

  33. Stuart Godwin ⋅

    I’ll first admit that I haven’t read anywhere near all of the comments on this blog post due to a lack of time, and because there are hundreds it seems. I came across the original blog post in a random google search for Francis Chan, looking for a blog of his or something of the like.

    While I won’t try to deny that the above mentioned conferences are vastly white, the idea that I’ve seen missing from all of these posts is this: Our faith has nothing to do with color, race, place of residence, shoe size, or favorite ice cream flavor. I completely disagree that Francis’ involvement in any of these conferences has anything to do with the color of his skin — in fact, the only time I can see the color of his skin being an issue would be if he were invited to an AA-gathering. He is involved in these conferences because he is on fire for God, and he speaks with a passion and truth that comes from a relationship with God much deeper than mine.

    Am I saying that there isn’t cultural diversity within the church? No. There is cultural diversity within the church, just as there are different ways that people communicate with God. People from the church that I grew up in wouldn’t go anywhere near the bright lights and loud music of these conferences. Does that mean organizers are being closed minded in not trying to include them and find ways to make them come? No, not at all.

    What I’m getting at is that we’re all very different. Even two white people or two AA’s. Every conference isn’t going to provide the same draw from every group. But the important thing is that any minority in any group should feel comfortable in any group, because its not what we look like that matters, it is our faith in Christ that binds us together, and is tied in more deeply than any designation as AA or Caucasian or black or Native American or anything of the like.

  34. Guy Lyons

    I’m quite late to this party and I didn’t read any comments on your orig post, nor your apology so sorry if this repeats…

    First, I was surprised by your first post, as others seemed to be, but was very pleased with your apology. Not because it did or did not fall in line with what I think, but just because you were big enough to give it! It is so much easier to push through and blame others for issues, especially when they are close to our heart.

    I am not Asian but lived as a foreign minority in Northern Thailand for 8 years with my family. I also traveled into many different Asian cultures and for the first time got a taste (very small taste) of what it must be like to be a minority of any kind in the US. God used all that, and our subsequent return to the US culture, to undo our former world view and strip us (begin the process anyway) of any grip on our identity in anything other than Him.

    I have a few questions/comments about somethings you said, or implied.

    You mentioned the special issues American Asians face in this culture. Are those issues or differences any different than what I face as a white person living below the American poverty level compared to a white person who is rich by our standards? Isn’t the point of God’s discipling us to rid us of our flesh and rely on Him and be identified in Him alone? When I found myself beginning to look at the Thai culture and place expectations on them for how Thai people related to me, I became self focused and lost sight of the fact that I was there to serve them, not the other way around.

    Speaking in context of the Body of Christ, when any one group or individual begins to focus on the differences between them and another, they lose sight of the fact that we are to serve each other the way Jesus served us. Jesus didn’t say, “hey, my own Jewish nation and those pagan Romans aren’t representing me…”. He served them, us. Scripture is clear that there is no Jew, nor Greek nor whatever that would include Asian Americans, or white Americans in an Asian culture. You Asian followers of Jesus, as groups or individuals are supposed to serve white people. Period. But, white Russian followers of Jesus are supposed to serve Asian Americans. Just as I am, as white skinned follower if Jesus is called to serve Asian Americans, Asian Asians, and Arab Arabs whether they follow Jesus or not.

    One thing that concerns me in this statement: “I hope hearers of Chan do not mistake him as a representative of Asian-American Christianity. He does not minister in this context, and this part of his identity does not seem to shape his theology in any significant way.” NOBODY’S theology should be shaped by our race, our age, or economics or any other thing. Theology is the study of God and letting Him reveal Himself to us, we receive theology as we purse Him, Who is of no racial origin and in now way does who we are impact His truths. I will concede that a special counseling or ministry approach is necessary to penetrate the barriers for rich white suburbia America as it would be to minister to poor Mississippi Delta folks of any race. So if you mean that Chan doesn’t tailor his teachings towards the special issues for Asian Americans, you may be right, but Biblical theology has nothing to do with race.

    You said this:
    ” I would hope that we have something to offer the body of Christ, something more than a facsimile of white evangelicalism or the possession of an Asian face.”

    I too hope the Body of Christ in America would release the bondage of white evangelism regardless of the face on it. I don’t know about Orange or the other many meetings you gone to or what they teach. It sounds like your getting the white American evangelism jargon because you’re going to the white evangelical meetings. Go to the Asian American ones, or start your own. The sad this is, even followers of Jesus miss it an we are all selfish and blinded by the prison of our own location in the world, wether that be finances or race or whatever. Those white people are missing it for sure but honestly, while it is their responsibility to be all things to all people, it isn’t healthy for you to put those expectations on them if they fail you. The best you can do is sound the alert and if they listen, great, if not, stop going or start your own. Otherwise you’ll get locked into the trap of using your energy identifying and complaining about what they aren’t doing.
    I think if you’ll read and listen to Chan’s messages of late, his message is so radical (maybe simply Biblical?) it really can’t qualify as white, Black, Hispanic or Asian. At most he can be criticized for being too Biblical or radical, but not “too white American”. If the Biblical teachings Chan is teaching now can be found as dominant characteristics of any one ethnic, denominational, or even a significantly sized group anywhere in America, I’d love to know about them so I can visit and see what a modern 1st century Acts 4:32 Body of Christ looks like.

    I hope you can find your peace and be settled without white American evangelicalism being what you want them to be. They’ll fail you, I promise. I’m white and they fail me. Let’s keep being in the world but not of it and push and pull hard to draw whatever body we are a part of to live the life of faith and love not found in the world.

    I look forward to when we will meet on the other side and be able enjoy each other’s company, and our skin and issues of the flesh will not hinder in any way.


  35. stan ⋅

    “Ultimately, I want to see the Asian-American church participate in the reign of GOD in ways only Asian-Americans can. ”

    Do you want white evangelicals to participate in the reign of God in ways only white evangelicals can? Seems like a conflict of thought here. Orange needs to seek to be more asian sensitive in approaching church while asian christians need to participate in ways only they can. What if we all simply allowed the Holy Spirit to direct each of to indivually be used as He sees fit in whatever situation we find ourselves and not worry so much about a culture that will pass for eternity where there is no jew or greek, male or female?

    • Ben

      another late comer to the party…

      did want to add a couple of things to the discussion:

      – One demonstration of Christ’s love is in seeking to first to understand one another before we ourselves are understood, no? I find that hard to do. Even as I clicked on the reply button all I could think about was how best to make myself understood. A challenge for all of us I think.

      – There was a group that used to exist at my college just for white people. The point, however, was not exclusivity. The point was to talk about their whiteness, especially to keep themselves aware that being white (or black, or brown, etc) is not equal to being “normal” or “American”.

      This group was also a forum to explore the different advantages they got from their whiteness. I can’t remember exactly which book/article prompted them to do this, but it had something to do with the idea that everybody carries an invisible bag with them. Each of us get to put certain things in there depending on our upbringing, and, yes, some of those things we get have a large correlation to our race.

      Speaking for myself, I don’t want white people to feel guilty. I just want to know that they know that they’re just as abnormal as I am, it’s just that there’s more of them (at least in this country). I want first and foremost for all of us to look in the mirror and know, “I’m beloved by God and I’m His child through the blood of Jesus Christ.” But second, or third, or at least at some point as they’re looking at the mirror, I hope that the thought crosses everyone of my white brothers’ and sisters’ minds that, in this country at least, the color of their skin has changed their lives, just as my skin color and facial features have changed mine.

  36. Chad ⋅

    Race?! Always race. Jesus Christ, and Him alone, is what being a Christian is about. Is what Francis Chan preaches the truth? That’s it. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And in response to this love we do the good works God has planned for us. Asian, European, African, white American, etc., it does not matter. Bring your own culture, language, etc., to this mission as long as it is done out of a heart that glorifies God and not to glorfy self or a particular race. Soli Deo gloria! In Christ, Chad

  37. Daniel Ruggles ⋅

    wow. impressive discussion. I was blessed to be born again at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley (F.Chan’s former church). Maybe I’m just a “simpleton”, but I thought is was about:
    #1) Love God.
    #2) Love Your Neighbor.
    Everything just falls into place after that. I don’t remember race getting assigned a number. I’d rather be labeled a “(fill-in-the-color or continent) Christian”…. just a Christian.
    Godspeed Everyone!

  38. Ally Lee ⋅

    Is Christ divided? (1 Corinthians 1:13)

    I pray no believer (who might be weaker in faith than you), read this and stumbled in thought… thinking that now race and denomination matters. Because it doesn’t.

    And now, we’re worried about skin color? Are these the thoughts of a believer?
    The early fellowship consisted mainly of Jews and (Greek) Gentiles – I don’t think there were many Asian folk there back then. You ready to think the same things about the first ministries?
    I admire your desire for the an Asian revival, and being an Asian myself, I actually thank you for your sentiments. But, that’s why Christ calls us to disciple others 🙂 In hopes that these racial and language barriers can be broken by the powers of God – not built in the hands of men. And slandering a brother’s name is not the way to start that.

  39. mike ⋅

    This issue of racism is becoming increasingly volatile as time progresses. I do not wish to minimize the struggles of Asian Americans or any other race for that matter. The Bible says we are not Greek nor Jew nor slave nor free man. We are all equal in Gods eyes. This is going to seem a contrast the verse I just quoted, but I feel the need to address this. Danny you made a comment about whites embrassing the whiteness of that particular conference. The problem is that we can’t. I really don’t care for supporting race based initiatives for the simple fact it promotes separation. For a conference to embrace its whiteness would be paramount to making it a racist gathering. If that particular conference or anything cites that it caters predominantly to whites then it is labelled as offensive and racist. Whether this be right in the concept that we need to do away with race based gatherings or whether it be wrong that it shows a discrimination against whites I do not know. The one point I would like for people in general, be they white, asian, Hispanic, black, or any other ethnicity is that if it is wrong for one it is wrong for all. If it is wrong for one race to say or act a certain way then in all fairness why would someone engage in a behavior that they have condemned in someone else. I understand horrible things have happened and that horrible things still happen based on race, however the only way to end racism is to end racism, not proliferate it based on our desire for racial pride and a sense of entitlement based on race. That only excels the problem. I really hope that this was received in the way it was sent. I am not attempting to stir up racial prejudices or animosities, I am seeking to stop them, on all levels. May God go with you and the salvation of Jesus Christ encompass you.

  40. EK ⋅

    I just think that people have different callings. While many Asian American pastors might share the same goals as you, Francis Chan might have completely different goals. Francis Chan, for example, nowadays focuses on teaching Christians how to become disciple makers, instead of passive consumers at church. I think people with different views and goals make Christianity more diverse (although the ultimate goal should be the same), not just different ethnicities. I don’t know how “Asian” Francis Chan is, but I will feel uncomfortable if he pretends to be “Asian” when he is not. He might be very white inside because of his upbringings, and that’s fine. He can’t change who he is. I am sure there are many Asian American pastors who want to relate to Asian American communities and address issues that affect Asian Americans, and that is laudable. However, I think imposing that to everyone might be dangerous.

  41. Cloudyriver ⋅

    The first article was sad, and so is this one.

    If this was a group of Black Christian American’s…….or Hispanic Christian American’s…..or any other race where a person could immediately identify the demographic (if that were their focus)………then apparently you wouldn’t have any trouble?

    Your article is not about anything but reverse-racism and even racism toward another demographic (Asian Americans). What’s the point? Other than to point out that a bunch of Christian’s, who happen to be white, and ‘think white’ are somehow offending your individual sensitivities toward race and naturally occurring (not forced, not sought after because you say so) segregation?

    What we don’t need in this country is one more person who wants to take something that’s good, and make it bad. If you want to make sure that things represent a better blending of the Christian population, then by all means do something about it by organizing your own gathering and ensuring by all means possible that we have the proper percentage of each demographic. But, don’t pick on one or two groups out of billions of American’s (who are trying to do something good here mind you)… further the hate or anger that you clearly express………revised or not.

  42. Dan ⋅

    Not to be a party pooper or anything but the whole “Asian American” thing is old news in racial studies.

    Just like we no longer have European American as a designation (or African American). Every Hispanic, Asian, Arab, Northern Africans, Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, Natives of Alaska and America have been systematically separated and designated an illogical geographical location so that they cannot form one large COLOR group (e.g., Tan Americans or Brown Americans). If they did, it would just expose the “hidden” majority of voters which is neither “White” nor “Black” but “Tan.” This hypothetical group would include parts of southern Europeans (e.g., Greeks, Italians, Spanish), Near East, Arabs, Lebanese, North and East Africans, all the others mentioned above.

    The “Whites” appropriate the light skinned people of these groups as their own in the government Census, why shouldn’t the “Tans” do likewise? Just comes to show the color system is absurd and used to benefit “White” group and marginalize all potential threat (whether consciously or not). Most likely consciously.

    There’s a short article on wikipedia called “Tan Americans” which will probably be taken down due to the controversial nature of proposing another racial color. Check it out while you still can. God bless.

  43. Dan ⋅

    Brazil went through this already. They don’t describe people by geographical/cultural labels, but ONLY pigments. Black, White, Pardo, Yellow, Indigenous. The problem is that when you look into it further, Yellow and Indigenous are still geographical/cultural labels masked as color. East Asia for the former and Natives for the latter. In actuality, there are only three races in the world. Black, White, and Pardo (Grey-Brown).

    There are White Asians (Russia, Georgia, Central Asia), Pardo Asians (East Asia/Southeast Asia), and Black Asians (Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia); there are White Arabs, Pardo Arabs, and Black Arabs; there are White Hispanics, Pardo Hispanics, and Black Hispanics (Caribbean); there are White Africans, Pardo Africans, and Black Africans. There are White Natives, Pardo Natives, and Black Natives. Race is a color, not a geographical/cultural thing!

    We have Africans, Arabs, Asians, Hispanics, and Natives that are Pardo Americans! And they are all of the same race color. Too bad many don’t see this because they have cultural blinders on, thinking they are separate people.

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