The Social Network, Immigration, and Imago Dei

By Kathy KyoungAh Khang 11-12-2010

I haven't had the energy to sit down in a while to blog. Somewhere between the multiple Google calendars and multiple modes of communication life over-shared with me.

But fortunately, I have had several opportunities to put my foot in my mouth, regret the way I communicated my thoughts and feelings, and ask for and receive forgiveness for a recent misstep, which has made me want to slow down again and write. Writing, it seems, is one of the disciplines I need to keep in my life. Writing compels me to pause, reflect on my day-to-days, and interact with Jesus -- in helpful ways. The optimist in me hopes that it all translates eventually into fewer moments of foot-in-mouth.

A few weeks ago, I convinced a group of friends to entrust my daughter with all of our children so that as adults we could go out and enjoy dinner and a movie without kids menus. We went to see The Social Network -- having gotten wind of all the rave reviews.

I must confess that I was enjoying the movie quite a bit, until I got angry. Every Asian woman in the film was a sidekick or a waitress. And then every woman, with the exception of Rooney Mara's character, was really just a body to drink with, sleep with, get high with, stare at, etc.

The word "misogyny" came to mind. And then versions of the word escaped from my thought bubble into the after-movie conversation. I don't regret bringing up my opinions. I do regret how and when, and even my tone and posture in the delivery of my opinions. Sometimes, it's OK to leave a movie a movie until later. It really is.

Another foot-in-mouth moment happened at a staff meeting when the issue of immigration came up.

Immigration reform is highly politicized and misunderstood by all sides, but it is one that, as a Christian who lives in America and is now finally an American by documentation, I continue to wrestle with. What do I say to a student who wants to go to a conference but can't fly because he is undocumented? What do I tell staff to do when a student confides she is undocumented and can't consider certain job opportunities? What is my role in the conversation as someone who has had access to, and the ability to navigate a rather complex system -- which included paying hundreds of dollars, having my fingerprints entered into a national database before I'd committed any legally punishable crime, and being essentially asked, "Do you speak English?"

And how do you talk about wrestling with the issue of immigration without putting your foot in your mouth? I don't know because my first attempt was this rant during the aforementioned staff meeting, and as soon as I sat down, I had that pit in my stomach which is the result of pedi-indigestion.

Anybody share in my pain? I've been told that I can be indirect. I've also been told that my bluntness can be liberating, but off-putting. I don't reject those observations. I want to learn from them because as someone called to teach and preach and lead and learn for the sake of the gospel, I have to communicate well. It does nothing if it's clear as day in my head but clear as mud coming out of my mouth. Worse if it's mud slung out of my mouth.

So I continue to struggle to develop this "voice" because at the end of the day, I don't want to be the angry, religious, Asian-American woman who can't just enjoy a movie or let something slide until there is a better time. Perhaps the woman doth protest too much, but I really don't take life so seriously all of the time. I have a lot of fun, and I often think I am fun

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