Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Quest for Questions

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-R.M.Rilke

By Eun Joo Angela Ryo

It was another typical Friday night at the Korean church where I serve.  I hung out with the youth group and my kids were at their children’s Bible study.  After church, we were headed home when I asked them about their Bible study. 

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ISAAC’s 5th Symposium

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ISAAC’s 5th Symposium revisits the theme of “Healing of Memories.” In addition to psychological wounds, we also address an unspoken voice of the church and seminaries – finances. When we discuss money, heated emotions erupt from wounded memories that block us psychologically and financially. By unmasking them, we can find inner healing by reframing them in the light of God’s abundant love and become better stewards of our body, mind, and finances.

FORMAT: Panel discussions and workshops exploring: 1. The healing of memories and relationships 2. The healing of memories and finances. In addition, we will attend to the creative movement of our bodies, acknowledging the body as a storyteller for unspoken voices.

LEGACY LUNCHEON: We will honor the pioneer Japanese American pastoral theologian, Bishop Roy I. Sano. Bishop Sano has been a bridge between church and academy. His legacy has reached countless Asian American spiritual leaders.

Early Bird Registration is now available. $50 for general admission. $30 for students.

REGISTER FOR SYMPOSIUM V HERE

Pastor Albert Hung Preaches on Faith and Money

The collective financial health of Christians, the Church and American society at large has suffered from a lack of knowledge and accountability. In response, a growing movement of Christian leaders has sought to turn the tide of this problem. Among them is Pastor Albert Hung of Trinity Church of the Nazarene. Recently he preached a sermon series titled “Lifestyles of the Rich and Faithful.”

This four part series includes talks on:

  1. How to Be Rich
  2. Live to Give
  3. Show Me the Money
  4. Why Money Matters 
Pastor Albert running for charity

Pastor Albert running for charity

Generally regarded as a fine teacher with a modest and considerate preaching persona, Pastor Albert discusses financial issues with unusual candor.

Devoting an entire month to the topic, each sermon takes on a different aspect of finances, money and faith.

“How to be Rich” looks at the biblical rational for a non-consumerist lifestyle.

In a show of transparency, Albert shared his family’s 2012 budget (income and expenses) during his “Live to Give” message.

In “Show Me the Money,” Albert shares 6 simple pointers to responsible money management [1] in the context explaining the layered lessons from Matthew 25.

“Why Money Matters” explores the Christian role as stewards of money, instead of owners. In this light, money is seen as an energetic potential to be actualized by Christians in service of higher goals and ideals. Significant commentary is also made regarding the immense portion of wealth that American Christians hold.

Audio files of this series is available at the Trinity Church website: http://www.trinitychurchmp.com/

The upcoming ISAAC Symposium will devote the morning session to “Healing of Finances” (Saturday October 5). Christian leaders in the financial sectors will elaborate on Christian life in and about financial systems. “More than ever,” says ISAAC Director Young Lee Hertig, “we all need to increase our financial knowledge and the toolbox so that we may exercise healthy stewardship within our interdependent relationships of family, church, society and eco-systems that we rely on for our sustainability.”

More Symposium updates coming soon.

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[1] “The six things you must do to make sure you never get lost: 1) Be willing to work; 2) Spend less than you earn; 3) Avoid (consumer) debt; 4) Build an emergency fund; 5) Set long term goals; 6) Plan with eternity in mind.”

Francis Chan and Jeremy Lin to Speak at “Identity Unleashed”

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On September 7th, Linsanity meets Crazy Love at the Cow Palace in Daly City, CA. For one night, Jeremy Lin and Francis Chan will share the stage to lead attendees in an exploration of who we are and what our purpose in life is at Identity Unleashed.

Lin became a global celebrity following his unprecedented 2012 performance as point guard for the New York Knicks. Lin became the first player to record 20+ points and 7+ assists in his first five starts. Chan is a widely recognized pastor, preacher and author. His bestselling Crazy Love has inspired countless believers to live in a more passionate relationship to God.

This event is free, but registration is required.

Register HERE

Blogroll Update

Here’s the latest from the Asian American Christian Blogroll.

Andrew Alojipan. Photo Credit: Kept On Hold

Andrew Alojipan. Photo Credit: Kept On Hold

Andrew Alojipan from the Christian indie band We Are Leo blogs at: http://andrewalojipan.tumblr.com/

Professor Grace Kao of Claremont (CST and CGU) blogs at: http://www.drgracekao.com/blog/ She is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World. Grace is also a regular contributor at: http://feminismandreligion.com/

Baylor University Sociologist, Jerry Z. Park blogs at: http://jerryzpark.com/ Jerry is widely published, including his article, “Assessing the Sociological Study of Asian American Christianity,” in SANACS Journal 1.

Theology Professor Grace Ji-Sun Kim of Moravian Theological Seminary blogs at: http://gracejisunkim.wordpress.com/ Grace has written several books on Asian/ANA Christian Theology, including The Grace of Sophia.

See the whole Blogroll HERE.

Book Review: Russell Yee’s Worship on the Way

Russell Yee’s Worship on the Way takes an intelligent and accessible look at Asian American Christian worship. Yee‘s passion for the Asian American Church  shows in his work, crafting a systematic answer to what he calls “the most basic questions: Does culture really matter? What does being ANA have to with how we worship? Why can’t we all worship the Christian way?”

Russell Yee

Russell Yee

Focusing on Christianity’s unique flexibility, Yee compares the Christian Bible’s myriad translations to the single form of Arabic that Islamic scripture requires. Missionally, he refers to 6th century Bishop Gregory’s instructions to take from each culture “whatever is holy, whatever is awe-inspiring, whatever is right.” In the same vein, Yee quotes Pope Alexander VII, “Do not in any way attempt, and do not on any pretext persuade these people to change their rites, habits and customs, unless they are openly opposed to religion and good morals.”

In the Asian American context, Yee talks about the Asian American experience in terms of history and culture. Part of what he’s doing is using these ingredients  explain the  underdeveloped state of a distinct Asian American Christian worship. To help explain that, he uses the concept of Asian American culture as “Emergent, Delitescent and Latent,” meaning it is new, hard to see, and full of potential. He’s optimistic when he  describes this condition as the “freedom to shape the future instead of perpetuate the past.”

Worship on the Way, ISAAC Symposium 4.

Worship on the Way, ISAAC Symposium 4.

I particularly liked the chapters on “Explorations” and “Expressions”. These sections detail Yee’s practical work and ideas on the practice of Asian American worship. Some simple take-aways for me are:

  • The revision of individualist language in songs to reflect a more collective culture. In other words, changing the I’s and Me’s into We’s and Us’s.
  • A multilingual choral version of “God is So Good.”
  • The compelling nature of spoken word. There’s something in the reciting of poetry that’s a different kind of meditative experience that singing songs or hearing sermons.

Also, a point regarding the audience for this book: Yee’s book is useful as a study on Christian worship in general. He presents a strong case for going beyond allowing culturally specific worship forms, and embracing the value, necessity and unavoidability of it.

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[1] Another version of this review was originally Posted on Amazon.com

[2] Worship on the Way is also reviewed by Paul Junggap Huh in SANACS Journal #4.

Money Matters: Healing of Finances

A MESSAGE FROM ISAAC PRESIDENT, DR. YOUNG LEE HERTIG:

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“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

More than ever the power of money rules every sector of American society and yet discussing money matters remains taboo. Unfortunately, this collective silence is found in our seminary curricular and in our church life, despite Jesus’ connection of money to the gravitas of people’s hearts. Considering that the soil of ministry is the hearts of the people, and pastoral leadership also entails financial stewardship, breaking the eggshell of money matters is crucial, especially in the aftermath of 2008 economic meltdown.

Personally it wasn’t until my fifties that I began to overcome my discomfort about addressing financial matters. Eight years of leadership in a nonprofit organization has shown me how money matters take human relationships to a whole new dimension. For example, relationships take on a whole new dimension when the money issue is raised. Until one deals with money matters with another person, no matter how long the relationship has lasted, we don’t know that person’s heart. To make matters more complicated, our relationship with money is also shaped by culture and family scripts. One culture’s taboo is not another’s. In the early church, it was taboo not to reveal one’s financial assets; in the contemporary Christian scene, it is taboo to do so. Hence, until we deal with money matters with a circle of people, we don’t fully know those people no matter how many years of friendship we have invested. Indeed, as Jesus stated, money reveals where our hearts reside.

Having taught in a classroom where all the behind the scenes matters are taken care of, and having delegated household financial matters conveniently to my spouse, I honestly haven’t paid much attention to financial matters until I joined the world of running a nonprofit organization. Yes, I am a latecomer to this matter and therefore am passionate about one of the most important but silent issues that dictate all spheres of life.

The economic meltdown worsened an enormous income gap between our nation’s top 1% and the remaining 99% of American people. People are revealing their hearts through money matters more sharply than ever. All kinds of break ups—couples, friendships, and churches involve finances! Yet, addressing money matters is a taboo and therefore when it is addressed, we discover the hidden dark sides or generosity in people of which we were not aware of previously.

For these reasons, ISAAC’s 5th Symposium will devote the morning session to “Healing of Finances” (Saturday October 5), drawing the expertise of Christian leaders in the financial sectors. The objective of the morning session is to learn about financial systems and to balance taking and giving as Jesus emphasized numerous times in his teaching. More than ever we all need to increase our financial knowledge and the toolbox so that we may exercise healthy stewardship within our interdependent relationships of family, church, society and eco-systems that we rely on for our sustainability.