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My interview with The Nick and Josh Podcast

Hey folks.

I was recently interviewed by Nick Fiedler and Josh Case for The Nick and Josh Podcast.


I talk about Asian-Amergence. We met at Starbucks and so please pardon the “ambience”. I’d love to hear your thoughts on… my thoughts!


The Nick and Josh Podcast: Dan Ra and AsianAmergence


4 responses to “My interview with The Nick and Josh Podcast

  1. Dan ⋅

    Thanks for the informative interview. I do have some suggestions regarding your assessment of the Korean-American church; namely, that they lack a distinctive ethos. I believe if Korean-Americans turned their attention away from doctrinal content and ministerial programs (which are basically derived from North American Evangelicalism and somewhat problematic as well), there is an underlying ‘way’ of how these things are executed which are importable from the Korean-Immigrant churches to the Korean-American churches. Some English Ministries (EM) have, whether intentionally or not, incorporated some of the following aspects regarding the Immigrant-Korean ethos (this is a distinctive often overlooked).

    For one, Westernized method of executing these things (i.e., catechizing & events planning) are highly organized and systematic. For example, expository preaching and scheduling of activities (usually planned months to years in advance). Korean-Immigrant churches are usually more situational, narratival, metaphorical & ethical in their method of catechizing, and as for scheduling, they are usually provisional and spontaneous. Our Korean Ministry (KM) pastor rarely follows the planned, church schedule. Instead, whenever he comes up with new ideas concerning events and activities, he usually executes them on the spot, requiring immediate trust and response from the leaders and lay; it creates a sense of organicity instead of a mechanistic/architectonic feeling in the way the church “moves.”

    In matters of liturgy, there is the early morning prayer, the “Tong-Song” prayer where everyone prays together out loud, Wednesday evening service, Korean-Cultural festivities (Lunar New Year, Chusok, 6.25, et. al.), and contemporary Korean praise songs (which are practically canonized in Korea). We could perhaps adapt these (i.e., Americanize it). For example, instead of early morning, perhaps evening prayer would be more appropriate; we could celebrate New Year, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc. in a manner that is more Korean (food, bowing, han-bok, etc.); translate some of the contemporary praise songs into English and create a Korean-American Hymnal. Some have already incorporated these elements (whether they do intentionally or not is another matter).

    Perhaps the greatest obstacle for the Korean-American (EM) emergence is a deep-rooted antagonism towards appropriating some elements of the Korean-Immigrant church fueled by the moral failings of KM leaders & parents, recurring intercultural/intergenerational misunderstandings, and a kind of self-hate associated with being a minority; it’s as if many 2nd Gen Asians want to “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Some some things to think about…

    P.S. Hope your reading group flourishes. Look forward to reading up on some of your reflections on various authors coming from minority backgrounds (e.g., Asian-American, African America, Hispanic, et. al.). Keep it up man!

  2. jadanzzy


    Thanks for your insight, brother. From what you describe even of your church is a positive curiosity to me. Although, maybe I just didn’t see it growing up. I spent most of my formative Christian years in Asian-American churches with strong Korean(-American) leadership and you seem to be working in a 1st gen church with an EM.

    David and I got to participate in a conference with 1st gen Koreans recently and we mentioned things like tong-sung kido, minjung theology, and other culturally beautiful aspects of Korean Christianity and I could’ve mentioned those things. However, I felt I needed to address what I thought were more pressing matters of Korean-American Christianity. You touch upon those things with your last paragraph about the greatest obstacle. I would wholeheartedly agree with you there.

    The 2nd generation needs to heal with the 1st for there to be a beautiful and progressive future. If that will happen, I’m not sure.

  3. well done, dan. sorry i couldn’t be there.

    good thoughts in the comments as well. part of process is to make explicit some of the very implicit practices of korean spirituality. and this is where the excavation/experimentation aspects are going to be very helpful.

    i think a recent realization that has helped me let go of my antagonism towards the 1st gen is the fact that they also suffer from this crisis of identity/amnesia that you discussed. so a few generations have been lost in our case. especially with this last conference we were fortunate to be a part of, i think our work has a great deal of promise.

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