Continuing an Honest Conversation on Race
I want to follow up on yesterday's post which I believe has broken the record for the longest title in history: "Three General Thoughts on Deadly Vipers, Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite, Soong-Chan Rah, Chuck Norris, Joyluck Club, Angry Asian Man, Wanna-Be Ninjas and Everyone Else." Yo, that's how I roll.
I had some good dialogue with Mike Foster yesterday and then a conference call later in the afternoon with Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite (Authors), Chris Heurtz (Director, Word Made Flesh), Soong-Chan Rah (Prof., North Park), Kathy Khang (InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Ministries Director), and Eugene Cho (Pastor, Quest Church). The conversation was facilitated by Nikki Toyama-Szeto (Urbana 09 Program Director). While I had to click out about 40 minutes into the hour conversation, I was encouraged by the honest conversations from everyone involved and the shared conviction that we did not want this to be a one hit (one chat & out) wonder a la Men at Work (remember them?).
As I shared in the post yesterday, I know there's no ill intent and this is often the case but folks just don't know how this kind of stuff indirectly and even directly perpetuates stuff that can be harmful and painful.
I know that what I am about to share is not directly linked to DV but I want to share a glimpse of my heart.
I love my kids dearly (now ages 11, 8, and 6) but when they come home and are occasionally distraught over "stuff" they've heard at their school (elementary school aged kids!) about their 1) chinky eyes, 2) where are you really from 3) why don't you go back home, or 4) stories of being alone or eating alone -- it tears me up in both forms of that word. I went through it but prayed to God that my kids wouldn't have to endure through some of that stuff.
One of the comments yesterday (from one of our Quest congregants) got me choked up because my fear is that for some reason or another, they would grow to be ashamed of who they are:
Thanks, Pastor Eugene, for your accurate, thoughtful and gracious response. There are many others that can much more eloquently voice why this is offensive. All I can say is that when I clicked through the pages and graphics of the book on the publisher's website, I had a strong emotional reaction that made me feel ashamed when I had done nothing wrong to have that feeling put upon me. Yes, please trust us. It's offensive.
This is about all of us and not just demonizing the "White Privilege" of Caucasian men. I am capable of insensitivity, prejudice, and worse. Our church is far from perfect. Our church bumbles and stumbles our way in the ministry of reconciliation but we're committed to engaging in both conversation and actions -- even if we know we'll fall short. But we'll keep trying because we know that the ministry of all things reconciliation is not an option but part of our discipleship. Currently, our church community is in the midst of a 3 week "depth class" with large group teaching and small groups. And on Saturday, Nov. 14 (10am-2:30pm), we'll be hosting what is usually our annual conference on Faith & Race. Here's more info:
This year, we invite our friends, neighbors, and guests from the larger Pacific Northwest and beyond to join us for SKIN DEEP: a conference on faith & race in the church.
We're all aware that our world including our very own cities and neighborhoods are changing around us. And while we all acknowledge and celebrate the biblical portrait of the WHOLE and DIVERSE Church, we often allow the culture to dictate who we are rather than the gospel to inform and transform us so that we serve as agents of Light & Salt to our world.
Whether we like to admit it or not, RACE and its complexities remain a source of tension and division. For that reason, the Church must be a voice of Hope and Reconciliation.
This year, we welcome Dr. Soong Chan Rah, author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity and professor at North Park Seminary, as our keynote speaker.
We'll also have several important voices from the Quest Church community including Dr. Brian Bantum (Seattle Pacific University professor), Rebekah Kim (first female Korean-American public school principal in Washington), and Jason Rust (Community Groups Director at Quest). Lastly, we welcome your voice along with what we hope will be over 200 voices joining us. The agenda for the day includes several breakout discussions with hopes that we can bring people from around the Northwest to engage in both dialogue, friendship, and action.
We don't want any barriers for your participation and per our usual practice, costs are very accessible. Registration is ONLY $10/general and $6/students and this includes lunch. Register here. // Facebook Event
I sincerely hope many of you can join us. I have the privilege of facilitating the conference and I promise you, we'll sing Kum Bay Yah together. Ok