Chinese Cultural Challenges to the Christian Faith

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 14:30:00 -0600 (CST)
From: Gregory Li Jao
Subject: New Immigration/Financial Bill

Hi folks. A friend forwarded this to me. I cannot attest to its
accuracy, but he isn’t prone to inaccuracy.

The following message regarding pending legislation that
>would restrict student aid to anyone who is not ‘born’ in the US,
regardless
>of their resident status (even naturalized US citizens). The
implications
>of this legislation are far reaching, not just for the quality of our
>student pool, but more so as a reflection of a growing xenophobia in
this
>country. Please consider these another implications of this legislation
and
>contact your representatives in the Senator and House.
>
>**************************************************************************
>*
>
>
>RE: No Financial Aid for Non-US born Citizens/Residents
>
> Whether or not you were born in the US, the following is some
>information which important to us all. Spread the word.
>
> I thought the following issue would interest you. It hasn’t received
> much attention yet, because it’s still a bill going through Congress.
> What it all boils down to is this: If HR-4 passes, students who are
> permanent residents, even NATURALIZED U.S. citizens, will no longer be
> eligible for financial aid — Stafford loans, Perkins loans, Pell
> grants, etc., even though these citizens and LEGAL immigrants have been
> paying taxes all along. The qualifying factor for student financial
> aid, according to 4HR-4, is having been BORN in the United States.
> NOTE: This is no longer an attack on illegal “aliens”, but on people
> who have entered the country LEGITIMATELY and who are trying to
> continue their contribution to this society through attainment of
> higher education.
>
> PLEASE help increase awareness of this issue by letting as many people
>as you can know about what Congress is attempting, and contact/write to
the
> senators and representatives of your district to express your position
> on the matter. We need to kill the bill at its early stages.
>
> WARNING: THE US GOVERNMENT WANTS TO TAKE FINANCIAL AID FROM STUDENTS
>
> In addition to a bill recently passed in the Senate to cut Federal
>loans programs by $10 billion, the Senate and the House have both passed
bills
that will effectively curtail student aid benefits to LEGAL immigrants,
> including Pell grants, subsidized Stafford loans, and other federal
> financial aid programs.
>
> These proposed cuts, hidden deep within a welfare reform bill (HR 4),
> are to be achieved through a process known as “Alien Sponsor Deeming”,
>in which the income and assets of an immigrant’s sponsor are added to the
> immigrant’s own resources in determining eligibility for government
> financial aid programs. Since most immigrants must have a sponsor in
> order to immigrate here legally, deeming would disqualify many legal
> immigrants from receiving aid by falsely inflating their income and
> wealth.
>
> WHO WILL BE AFFECTED?
>
> *A new draft report issued this month by the General Accounting Office
> in Washington, D.C. states that 390,000 legal immigrants received Pell
> grants nationwide in 1992-93. The Pell grant program is designed to
> help the neediest students and has a maximum award of $2,340 per year.
>
> *In California, legal immigrants make up 32.6% of Pell grant
>recipients.
>
>An analysis performed by the UC president’s office found that more than
>25% of UC students who receive need-based aid are legal immigrants.
>
> *In New York, legal immigrants make up 26.5% of Pell grant recipients.
> In Florida, the total is nearly 16%.
>
> *The Senate version of this bill (S. 269) would also restrict aid for
> naturalized citizens.
>
> *The bills now under consideration would essentially affect anyone who
> was not born in the United States.
>
> *A total of $21 million in Pell grants and $31 million in subsidized
> loans could be lost among the nine UC campuses alone. These
> restrictions will affect private colleges as well.

> *As Permanent Residents of the United States, legal immigrants have
>been eligible for federal financial aid for many years.
>
> *Permanent Residents pay federal income taxes and are subject to the
> draft.
>
> *The bills now being considered by a Joint Committee of the House and
> Senate would restrict benefits to many legal immigrants by changing
> eligibility requirements.
>
> *Two classes of citizens would be created, and legal immigrants would
> effectively be denied opportunities for higher education.
>
> WHAT CAN YOU DO?
>
> A list of those members of Congress who are on the Joint Committee
> considering these bills will soon be made available. We will try to
> organize letter-writing, faxing, calling, and emailing campaigns. We
> will also try to get in touch with local and national news media.
>Ethnic newspapers definitely need to be targeted.
>
> More specific information on what you can do will be coming in the next
> few days. If you are interested in working on this issue or getting
> more information, contact the ASUC Executive Vice President’s Office
>at:
Phone: (510) 643-9830
Fax: (510) 643-6396
Email: urd@uclink2.berkeley.edu
asucexec@ocf.berkeley.edu

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 02:09:33 -0500
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Follow up on Asian Americans/Affirmative Action

Dear CACers:

F.Y.I. – Tim Tseng

======================

Subj: AAASCommunity: New Report on Asian Americans and Affirmative Action
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 1996 9:39* EDT
From: dtn@ucla.edu (Don T. Nakanishi)
To: aaascommunity@uclink.berkeley.edu (AAASPOST), assnaas-socal@uci.edu (So
Cal AAAS)

For immediate use
October 30, 1996

“MAJOR POLICY REPORT ON ASIAN AMERICANS’ ROLE IN THE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
DEBATE RELEASED: ELECTRONIC AND PRINTED VERSIONS AVAILABLE”

Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) should support affirmative action, whether or
not they are included in such programs, to help society progress towards more
just community that benefits all Americans, says a report released today by
four Asian-American law professors.

The report, titled, “Beyond Self-Interest: Asian Pacific Americans Towards A
Community of Justice,” is the most comprehensive public policy analysis to
date detailing the role APAs play in the affirmative action debate. The
study, authored by Jerry Kang of UCLA School of Law, Frank Wu of Howard
University School of Law, Sumi Cho of DePaul University College of Law and
Gabriel Chin of Western New England College of Law, says that APAs have come
to occupy a unique place in the post-civil rights era.

According to the authors, APAs have become increasingly visible in the
political sphere and perhaps nowhere as prominently as in the debate over
affirmative action. This visibility has involved using APAs to make debating
points, especially by opponents of affirmative action.

“The report fills a long-standing vacuum on the relationship between
affirmative action and Asian Pacific Americans, who play the unique role of
‘model minority’ in today’s complex racial politics,” said Kang, who joined
the UCLA faculty in 1995 and specializes in civil procedure, Asian-American
jurisprudence and cyberlaw. “It presents an articulate defense of affirmative
action and explains why Asian Pacific Americans should support affirmative
action, whether or not they are included in such programs.

“Affirmative action allows for social interaction in an otherwise racially
segregated world, which in turn allows us to break down our misconceptions
and prejudices,” Kang added.

Released just six days before the vote on Proposition 209 (the California
Civil Rights Initiative), the 40-plus-page report details that the “model
minority” stereotype that APAs uniformly do well — or at least better than
their minority counterparts — hurts all minorities by ignoring the ethnic
and socioeconomic heterogeneity among APAs and suggesting that other minority
groups are inferior.

As the most substantial and timely report of its kind, the report contains
valuable information on the history and complexity of affirmative action and
its relationship to APAs. It explores the current affirmative action debate,
the stereotypes associated with APAs and their history of racial
discrimination. It also examines admissions policies, merit and academic
standards in colleges and universities, subjects of particular interest to
the APA community. Moreover, the report provides background history on the
immigration and naturalization struggles of APAs, the internment of Japanese
Americans during World War II and the role Asian Pacific Americans play in
American politics.

“This report will be helpful for educators, politicians, media, community
leaders and citizens, all struggling to do the right thing on an issue
fraught with passion, confusion and uncertainty,” Kang said. “We must all
recognize that racial discrimination continues to exist in America, even
against Asian Pacific Americans. And affirmative action produces many
benefits, such as reducing the harm of racism, promoting equal opportunity
and advancing racial justice.”

Funding for the printing and electronic distribution of “Beyond
Self-Interest: Asian Pacific Americans Towards a Community of Justice” was
made possible through the affiliation of the UCLA Asian American Studies
Center and the Asian Pacific American Public Policy Institute of Leadership
Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP).

Electronic copies of the report can be downloaded for FREE through the UCLA
Asian American Studies Center’s World Wide Web site
(http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc/policy). Gene Moy of NewMedia Development
and the Center’s staff developed the electronic versions of the report.

To obtain printed copies of the report, call (310) 825-2968 or 825-2974, or
e-mail (dmar@ucla.edu). They are available for $5 plus $2 for
shipping/handling from the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, PO Box 951546,
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546.

For more information, contact Diana de Cardenas, Public Information Office,
UCLA, (310) 206-1464 (dianade@support.ucla.edu)

Don Nakanishi
Director
UCLA Asian American Studies Center
3230 Campbell Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
phone: 310.825.2974
fax: 310.206.9844
e-mail: dtn@ucla.edu
web site for Center: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc

================================================================
* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
—————————————————————
* Coordinator:
================================================================

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 02:24:04 -0500
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Asian Americans and affirmative action policy report

Dear CACers:

Thinking back to some discussion about Asian Americans and affirmative
action, I thought the following info would be helpful to you (especially the
Asian American Christians in Cal. who are examining Prop. 209). – Tim Tseng
===================================

Subj: AAASCommunity: Affirmative Action/APAs Policy Report Online
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 1996 5:31* EDT
From: genemoy@ucla.edu (Gene Chung-ngai Moy)
To: aaascommunity@uclink.berkeley.edu

I’m pleased to announce that we’ve released our Asian Americans and
affirmative action policy report online at

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc/policy/

We hope you can publicize it on your site and distribute this much-needed
information to all.

Thanks for your attention!
Gene Moy
NewMedia Development
UCLA Asian American Studies Center
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc/
================================================================
* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
—————————————————————
* Coordinator:
================================================================

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 02:23:58 -0500
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: The John Huang Affair

Dear CACers, Quinton Dixie, and other friends:

I’ve been swamped lately and have been unable to join in the recent
conversations. I’m also hoping to hear other responses to what has been
discussed. Since it’s easier for me at this point to forward stuff to the
members of the Chinese American Christian (or Conversations of Asian American
Christians) discussion list, I’m forwarding this piece by Prof. Ling chi Wang
of Berkeley in response to the John Huang affair. Prof. Wang is a
well-respected Asian Americanist who has contributed an article in the
aforementioned (and very important) text _The Living Tree_ edited by Tu Wei
Ming.

One comment:

Wang calls the John Huangs of the Asian American community “Johnny come
latelys.” I wonder whether Chinese American evangelicals fit into this
category since we are more influenced by the post-1965 immigration
generation than we are by the long legacy of the Chinese American experience
(hence, just as many of us “skipped” the urban experience, we also skipped
the struggles for racial justice in the 1950s-60s and are not as sensitized
to racial and other social justice issues that affect the wider Asian
American community). Just a thought. – Tim Tseng
=============================================
Subj: AAASCommunity: The John Huang Affair
Date: Tue, Oct 29, 1996 6:47* EDT
From: lcwang@uclink2.berkeley.edu (L. Ling-chi Wang)
To: aaascommunity@uclink.berkeley.edu

Not since the anti-Chinese movement of the second half of the 19th century
have the Chinese been the focus of more national political controversy and
attention in the U.S. than in past two weeks. At the center of the
controversy are millions of alleged illegal political contributions made by
foreign Asians to both the Clinton re-election campaign and the Democratic
National Committee (DNC). Among the major contributors are those made by
persons affiliated with the Chinese Indonesian billionaire Mochtar Riady
($450,000), a South Korean company ($250,000), and the Hacienda Heights
Buddhist Temple ($140,000). But the most sensational of all is a reported
promise of $15 million by Taiwan’s ruling party, Kuomintang, in an attempt to
influence the U.S. policy toward Taiwan. According to the Yazhou Zhoukan, a
weekly news magazine published in Hong Kong, powerful Kumintang official Liu
Tai-ying made the offer in a secret meeting with Clinton’s former White House
assistant, businessman, and DNC fundraiser, Mark Middleton, in August last
year in Taiwan. As an assurance to Liu, Middleton bragged, according to an
UPI story, about his influence in the Clinton administration,”I am a window
to the White House.”

At the eye of the election-year poliltical storm is Chinese American John
Huang, former vice chair of the Finance Committee of DNC. According to
reports in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los
Angeles Times and Newsweek, Huang has been active in raising millions from
foreign sources even though his declared intention was to raise money to help
enpower Asian Americans.

Since the disclosure, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole and the
national press have been making repeated allegations of political corruption
against President Clinton and DNC. To contain the political damage, John
Huang has resigned and made himself inaccessible for more than a week and DNC
has been busy quietly returning some of the questionable contributions
without admitting any wrongdoings.

At the same time, several liberal Asian American leaders and organizations
have sounded off on the subject of John Huang. They charged that Huang has
been unfairly singled out for influence peddling by a racist media and a
Republican party. Four press conferences were held on Oct. 21 and 22 in four
different cities by Asian Pacific American leaders “to object to the unfair
portrayal of political contributions form OUR community.” By making such an
accusation, they seem to suggest that John Huang is a victim of racism and
that he should be defended as a symbol of the growing financial clout of
Asian Americans and their efforts to empower themselves.

As an Asian American active in advancing Asian American civil and political
rights in the past 30 years, I am not so sure.

Without doubt, Mr. Huang has raised big bucks; but most of what he raised
appears to have come from questionable foreign sources with intentions quite
contrary to his stated objective of empowering Asian Americans. For example,
Indonesian politicians have publicly praised the Riadys for advancing the
interests of Indonesia with their huge contributions and Taiwan’s sole
interest since 1949 is to cause conflict between the U.S. and China and to
drag the U.S. into the dispute between China and Taiwan.

>From my vantage, not only has Huang’s work in no way benefited Asian
Americans; it has contributed to a new moneyed politics that corrupts
American democracy and rips off Asian American communities, i.e., using Asian
Americans as a shelter for advancing foreign interests. In fact, he has
single-handedly undone Asian American effort since late 1960s to rid
themselves of the stereotype of Asian Americans as “foreigners.”

I am not oblivious to the anti-Asian racist sentiments fueling the feeding
frenzy over the John Huang affair. Huang’s activities are emblematic of what
big fundraisers in both Republican and Democratic parties have long been
doing. Yet the contributions he’s raised are peanuts compared to the funds
amassed by his counterparts working for foreign firms — let alone from our
western allies like Canada, Australia, Mexico, Israel, Britain, Japan, Taiwan
and Korea. (Some of us may remember the machinations of the old pro-Taiwan
“China Lobby” in 1950s and 60s when funds, before the Watergate scandal, were
used openly to prevent the U.S. from normalizing relations with China and to
prevent China from being admitted into the United Nations. We certainly have
not forgotten the Tongsun Park and Sun Myung Moon scandal, the so-called
“gifts of deceit” in 1970s).

What is different this year is that for the first time Chinese and Asian
Americans are getting significantly involved in major league politics. At
the same time, the public class wouldn’t be scapegoating John Huang and the
Indonesian Chinese connection if it thought Asian Americans had the political
juice to defend themselves. Imagine what Jewish Americans would do if
similar questions were leveled about one of the major Jewish fundraisers
lobbying for the U.S. Aid to Israel!

This evident anti-Asian racism should not, however, excuse us Asian Americans
from taking a careful look at what kind of money is being raised and for what
purposes. There is no indication that the big foreign contributors have any
interest whatsoever in the concerns and welfare of Asian Americans. For this
reason alone, we need to draw a sharp line between those who have a genuine
concern for empowering Asian America in contrast to those who just want to
buy infulence in high places.

Unfortunately, it is the latter Johnny-come-latelys whose influences seems to
be growing by leaps and bounds. Yet they have neither knowledge nor interest
in Asian American community concerns. Indonesian businessman Bambang
Trihatmokjo and President Suharto’s second son, said it all in connection
with the Riady contributions in the Strait Times (Singapore) last week: “I
feel that if we look at it from the perspective of its benefit to us, we have
a lobbyist who is close to the No. 1 man in the United States.”

These opportunists look to milk genuine Asian American empowerment movement
for their own political and business mileage, often seducing well-intended
but naive activists into jumping onto their lucrative bandwagons. Some Asian
Americans anxious to gain access to power most likely think there is nothing
wrong with hitching a free ride. Yes, the political corruption in the
mainstream has reached also the budding Asian American movement.

This is why I have not been actively involved in political activities, as
opposed to community activities, in the last eight years. It occurs to me
that the original vision of the Asian American movement — activating
ordinary Asian Americans to identify and promote their immediate community
interests and well beings — has been pushed aside in favor of transnational
moneyed politics in which opportunists buy instant recognition and influence
with cold, hard cash. Worse yet, they did it in the name of Asian Americans,
but for quite different purposes. This is nothing short of adding insult to
injury.

Since money has become the life-line of American democracy and politicians
are always hungry for cash, some Asian Americans go along with these
opprotunists, pretending they are responding to grassroots concerns. But the
opportunists could care less about the community. John Huang himself has
never, to my knowledge, identified himself actively and in a sustained manner
with any community causes, from immigration to welfare, anti-Asian violence
to affirmative action. He is more interested in buying influence for his
clients, both domestic and foreign. The only thing that distinguishes him in
this regard from other influence peddlers in Washington is his race, his
indiscretion or arrogance, and his perceived political vulnerability.

I know John Huang is a victim of racism. But given his involvement in the
corrupt system of moneyed politics, I have no sympathy for him. Nor do I
feel obligated as an Asian American to defend him in the name of our
community. Instead of feeling sorry for John Huang and depicting him as a
victim of Republican and media racism, Asian Americans should be angry with
him and denounce him for using Asian Americans as a cover to channel foreign
money for purposes other than advancing the rights and welfare of Asian
Americans and for contributing to the restoration of Asian Americans as
“foreigners” again.

(A shorter version of the above commentary was distributed last week by the
Pacific New Service of San Francisco to several newspapers across the nation
and a slightly modified Chinese version of the above will appear next week in
the Yazhou Zhoukan, a weekly news magazine published in Hong Kong).

================================================================
* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
—————————————————————
* Coordinator:
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— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 11:44:29 +0000
Subject: concrete illustrations

Mike Seto said: <<< Can we get back to some concrete illustrations
that depicts the discussion points a little more succinctly? Some of
us need to visualize how this works. …… As far as
there being the Chinese way of doing things, it seems to exist but I
think it varies according to the traditions of the families in a
particular church. >>>

Hello Mike. I admit my own struggle at both levels, both
abstract/theoretical and concrete/practical, in trying to bridge
the cultural gap between Chinese (Eastern) and American (Western)
cultures in the context of an Chinese/Asian church. I guess I want
the theoretical answers resolved first before dealing with the
practical, but I’m willing to discuss at both levels.

1 illustration come to mind, as I try to think about some practical
aspects.

(1) when considering ministry strategies, let’s say starting an
English worship service for the 2nd generation, I learned in seminary
that leaders would consider the needs of the audience, and how to
communicate to them effectively, and devise a strategy and plan and
goals on how to accomplish the task. However, when working with 1st
generation Asians, the words I have heard are like this: “whoever has
a burden for this ministry should do it”, “I don’t know how to
minister to them”, “I don’t know how to meet their needs”, “it would
divide the family unit from worshipping together”, “the 2nd
generation needs to learn the mother tongue”, “contemporary music is
disruptive and not worshipful” and different considerations like
that. I feel that questions/issues on both sides have to be answered,
and a solution has to be derived thru open dialogue and teamwork, but
it doesn’t seem to happen smoothly. What happened?

Each generation seem to have their concerns for their generation, but
how does a church come together to show equal concern for both (or
more) generations? Have you found an effective means to establish
communication so all the concerns are addressed enough?

DJ

* * John 2:17 *

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 00:46:12 -0500
From: TSTseng@aol.com
Subject: Asian American Religion at upcoming academic meetings

Please post this announcement about papers about religion in Asian American
communities to be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Religion and
American Historical Society/American Society of Church History Meetings.
Thank you. – Tim Tseng
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting Meeting
Nov. 23-26, 1996 New Orleans

Asian American Religions, Culture, and Society Consultation:
“Religious Identities in Asian America: Political Penalties and Global
Realities”
Monday, November 25, 1996 (1:00 – 3:30 PM)
S-Ellendale

Presider:
Young Mi Angela Pak, Graduate Theological Union

Min Min Lo, UC Berkeley
“The Huie Kin Family: Trans-National Identities in Two Generations of
Christians”

Peter Yuichi-Clark, Emory University
“Images of Faith and Identity in Nisei Christian Self-Narrative”

Raymond Brady Williams, Wabash College
“Indian Christians as a Transnational Community: India, U.K.,Canada, U.S.”

Wonhee Joh, Drew University
“Embracing Ambiguity”

Respondents:

Kwok Pui-lan, Episcopal Divinity School
Timothy Tseng, Adjunct Professor, Iliff School of Theology

==========================
American Historical Association/American Society of Church History
Jan 2-5, 1997 New York City

Joint Session: Protestant Asian Americans and the Politics of Humanization
in the American West
Sat. Jan. 4, 1997 (9:30-11:30 AM)
Hilton, Room 507

Chair: Timothy Tseng, Adjunct Professor, Iliff School of Theology

“Seattle, the Internment, and the Church: Inside and Outside Minidoka
1942-1948”
Madeline Duntley, The College of Wooster

Immigration, Politics, and the Church: San Francisco Bay Area’s Social Reform
Movement, 1905-1914
F.H. Min Min Lo, University of California at Berkeley

“Assimilation, Accommodation, and Ethnic Separatism: Religious Institutions
and the Japanese American Community in the Interior West”
Eric Walz, Arizona State University

Comment: Thomas Tweed, University of North Carolina

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 11:10:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Eng, Milton (201)-408-8259”
Subject: Re: Memorial to Dr. Jung Young Lee

Dear Friends of CAC

Fenggang suggested I send in some thoughts about Prof. Jung Young Lee’s
work to stimulate some discussion on the CAC list. Prof. Lee is not the
type of individual who promotes himself ‘loudly’ in the public arena so
some may not be aware of his contributions. There will be a tribute to
him at the SBL/AAR meetings in New Orleans next month. I must say that I
am speaking about him ‘from a distance’ because I am not in theology and
was never Dr. Lee’s student at Drew. I am in Biblical Studies, Old
Testament.

Dr. Lee’s book I mentioned “Marginality” is by Fortress Press and
I think speaks for itself. Dr. Lee suggests that the
idea of Marginality is key in Asian and Multicultural Theologizing; that
is, being on the margins of society informs our theology. His second work
“Trinity” is interesting because he decrys the western thinking of
understanding the world in terms of “either/or.” He prefers the eastern
way of thinking “both/and” yin and yang. I believe he sort of offers an
Asian interpretation of the doctrine of the Trinity.

Dr. Lee has also edited another book which includes articles by some
significant theologians “An Emerging Theology in World Perspective:
Commentary on Korean Minjung Theology” (twenty-third publications, 1988).
Minjung theology is a kind of Liberation Theology from the Korean
perspective which focuses on the poor and neglected of society.

Dr. Lee obtained his Th.D. from Boston University and taught at the
University of North Dakota from 1978-1988 and at Drew from 1989 till his
recent death on Oct. 11, 1996 after a long illness.

– Submitted by Milton Eng at Drew University

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 11:24:56 +0000
Subject: article: Chinese Cultural Challenges..

[the following is an article written by Philip Gee, for a secular
audience, published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s, Living section
Saturday edition which has a religious orientation]

From: PERICGEE@aol.com

Chinese Cultural Challenges to the Christian Faith
by Philip Eric Gee

At age fourteen I followed my father’s footsteps in leaving the
family grocery business and committed my life to full-time ministry.
My grandfather lamented over my decision, as he did for my father,
for he thought that my smattering of the Chinese language would earn
big money as a driving instructor to those who came from Hong Kong or
Taiwan. In his mind, I had become like those missionaries who came
to China peddling a foreign god and staying poor. Now, some twenty
years later, I find myself as a pastor helping other American-born
Chinese face the same challenges that the Christian faith poses to
the Chinese culture.

Converting to Christianity is often a covert operation because it
violates the unspoken rule of filial piety which states that parents
expect to be consulted and obeyed even on matters of personal faith.
Those fortunate enough to come from Christian families escape with a
stern lecture and warning to not get fanatical ‘until you finish
school and get a good job.’

Those of unbelieving households either must recant their new found
faith or face some form of ostracism. The clever ones encode their
conversion in terms of a schedule revision (i.e. ‘I’m going to a
gathering.’ or ‘I’m busy on Friday nights.’). Oftentimes, a believer
does not get baptized until years later when the family and loved ones
have adjusted to or approve of the decision. After all, Christianity
is perceived as a hypocritical religion that talks about love but
preaches an exclusive form of salvation. In contrast, Buddhism seems
to be more inclusive and benevolent embracing all faiths or ‘paths of
enlightenment’.

As American Christians struggle with Halloween, Chinese Christians
must determine which Chinese cultural practices follow or violate
biblical principles and what to do in light of their inquiry. For
instance, the Mid-Autumn and the Dragon Boat festivals are based upon
folklore and mythology. They are remembered more for the food
associated with them than their actual ancient references. But, on
the other hand, the Ghost festival with its roots in Chinese
traditional religion and superstition are avoided if possible. When
Chinese Christians are faced with a series of difficulties, there is
much pressure to return to the practice of geomancy (fung shui) where
the location of objects can mystically spell fortune or calamity.

Because of the misconception that the American lifestyle is the
embodiment of Judeo-Christian values, another challenge is knowing
what is culturally American and what is actually taught in Scripture.
The variety of denominations and varying levels of personal
liberties between Christian bodies (i.e. drinking, dancing, movies,
etc.) often confuse the curious because they involve regional and
sectarian interpretations of Scripture. Churches and para-church
ministries benefit by appealing to the academic and intellectual side
of the Chinese mind through investigative Bible studies and lectures
to provide many of the answers sought in understanding the Christian
faith.

The recent slaying of a Vietnamese teacher in the Arlington area
prompted a concerned schoolteacher to ask if the Chinese churches
were in contact with the victim’s family. While all Asians seem to
look alike, the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and every other Asia
people group are as distinct and different as can be. As there are
racial barriers in America, there lies much tension between Asian
people groups as a result of ancient battles fought in China and the
recent wars in Indo-China. Seldom would a Chinese church be
associated with a Vietnamese or Laotian church. While the rise of
English-speaking Asian churches has unified American-born Asians,
first generation cultural churches can lead the way in breaking down
the walls of hostility. And hopefully, in some way, as part of the
melting pot experience, the Chinese church will conquer the greatest
challenge of the Christian faith- to demonstrate the full extent of
God’s love.

-eom-

* * John 2:17 *

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996 11:45:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: a symposium

Do we have any subscriber of CAC in LA area? Can anyone go to this
symposium? I wish I can go, but it’s not a short distance 🙂

Fenggang Yang
Washington, DC

—————————————————————-
Subj: Race & Religion in Asian America Today: A Symposium (fwd)

>>a muslim, christian, buddhist, and hindu dialogue
>>october 25, 1996 friday 9:30-3:00 p.m.
>>ucla faculty center/hacienda room
>>Religious traditions, movements and institutions have been a guiding force
>>for many Asian Americans for well over a century. The purpose of the first
>>symposium on religion sponsored by UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center is
>>to bring practioners, scholars, students, and laypersons together from
>>UCLA, and from the broader religious and Asian American communities
>>throughout the Southland to discuss the meaning of religious practice and
>>the study of religion today. Among some of the topics to be discussed:
>>What is the relationship between race, migration, and religion? How does
>>spirituality manifest itself in different religious settings–Hindu,
>>Christian, Buddhist, in L.A.? How does the younger generation address and
>>incorporate religion in their lives? What role do temples, churches, and
>>mosques have in the Southland communities? What are Asian American
>>scholars of religion studying today?
>>
>>PROGRAM
>>(Free to students, faculty, and the public)
>>Registration: 9:30-10:00 AM
>>MORNING 10:00-12:00
>>I. SPIRITED COMMUNITIES
>>Moderator: Prof. DAVID YOO (Claremont McKenna College)
>>Rev. MAS KODANI (Senshin Buddhist Temple)
>>Rev. BILL SONG (Young Nak Presbyterian Church)
>>JANE IWAMURA (P.hd Candidate, UC Berkeley)
>>AFTERNOON 1:00-3:00
>>Moderator: RUSSELL LEONG (Editor, Amerasia Journal)
>>II. PATHWAYS OF RACE AND RELIGION
>>Prof. GEORGE ALEXANDER (Biola University)
>>Prof. STEFFI SAN BUENAVENTURA (U.C. Riverside)
>>Rev. LEROY LENG LIM (Chaplin UC Irvine)
>>ALAN DE SOUZA (writer, photographer, artist)
>>KAUSAR AHMAD (Coalition of Women from Asia & the Middle East)
>>
>>For more information: Russell Leong, UCLA 310 825-2974, or rleong@ucla.edu.
>>(A special AMERASIA journal issue on religion will be available for purchase.)
>
>Parking: $5.00 Lot 2. Please go to kiosk to get a token first.
>
>Russell Leong
>Editor, Amerasia Journal
>rleong@ucla.edu
>fax 310.206.9844
>voice 310.206.2892
>
>
>Don T. Nakanishi, Director
>UCLA Asian American Studies Center
>3230 Campbell Hall
>PO Box 951546
>Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
>phone: (310) 825-2974
>fax: (310) 206-9844
>e-mail: dtn@ucla.edu
>Center’s web site: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/aasc
>
>================================================================
>* AAASCommunity, the Discussion & News list of the
>* Email Network of the Association for Asian American Studies
>—————————————————————
>* Coordinator:
>================================================================

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: CBC4PMSeto@aol.com
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1996 12:29:34 -0400
Subject: Re: Rebroadcast of recent discussion 4

It seems to me that the discussion has gotten a little too cerebral for me.
Can we get back to some concrete illustrations that depicts the discussion
points a little more succinctly? Some of us need to visualize how this
works. I am dealing with these questions from the outside, not being Chinese
– I am sansei, but I have to try to practically apply some of the conclusions
on a daily basis with 4 generations of ABC’s and bilingual OBC’s. I do know
that what is perceived as Chinese culture permeates strongly into the 4th
generation, more so than it seems that Japanese culture permeates into the
multiple generations of Japanese Americans. As far as there being the
Chinese way of doing things, it seems to exist but I think it varies
according to the traditions of the families in a particular church.

Mike Seto

— End —

Advertisements

Posts in Oct 1996 b

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 11:10:29 +0000
Subject: Mac in Chinese!

——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 20:24:41 -0500
From: jyep@nwu.edu (Jeanette S.G. Yep)
Subject: do Mac in Chinese!

>Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 01:25:24 -0400From: MacWay@aol.com
>Subject: PR–Chinese Input from Apple

>Apple Announces World’s First Integrated Chinese Input Solution
>Easy-to-Use Suite Combines Award-Winning Chinese Dictation Kit with
>New Chinese Handwriting Recognition Technology; Extends Apple’s Lead
>in Chinese Computing

>CUPERTINO, Calif.–Oct. 9, 1996–Reinforcing its commitment to
>deliver computing solutions to many languages, Apple Computer, Inc.
>announces the first integrated solution for inputting Chinese text on
>Mac OS-based computers. The Apple Advanced Chinese Input Suite (ACIS)
>represents a major milestone in Apple’s effort to bring innovative
>and easy-to-use solutions to Chinese-language computer users. The
>suite includes Apple’s first Chinese handwriting solution, enabling
>customers to switch effortlessly between microphone, graphic tablet,
>and keyboard to enter simplified and traditional Chinese characters.

>”The Apple Advanced Chinese Input Suite represents the most advanced
>all-in-one Chinese input solution available on a desktop computer,”
>said Dr. Louis Woo, director of the Apple Design Center Singapore.
>”It provides Mac OS users a more natural way to input Chinese
>text–via speech and
handwriting–while complementing keyboard-based input methods.”
According to Apple research conducted in Taiwan*, 91 percent of
Chinese-speaking personal >computer users feel that using speech and
handwriting together provide a fast >and accurate method for inputting
Chinese text.

>What Exactly is the Apple Advanced Chinese Input Suite?
>ACIS consists of three components: the Apple Chinese Dictation Kit
>1.5, the Apple Chinese Handwriting Kit 1.0, and Apple Chinese
>Text-to-Speech 1.0.2. All the ACIS components install from a single
>CD-ROM making it easy to install. ACIS is also easy to learn because
>customers can access instructional QuickTime movies and an online
>manual from the installation CD. In addition to the three main
>components listed above, the suite comes with the Apple Dictation
>Microphone. The Apple Dictation Microphone is a uni-directional
>microphone that reduces surrounding noise when inputting with the
>Chinese Dictation Kit 1.5, ensuring accuracy of word recognition.New
>Advanced Handwriting Recognition As part of ACIS, the Chinese
>Handwriting Kit 1.0–Apple’s first Chinese handwriting solution–is a
>true plug-and-play solution. It requires little training, and it
>recognizes any handwritten Chinese character, as long as it is
>written in the sequence of common strokes used to write the Chinese
>language.

>With the addition of any brand of Mac OS-compatible graphic tablet**,
>users can write any Chinese character or phrase in either simplified
>or traditional form. Chinese Handwriting Kit 1.0 is intelligent
>enough to recognize printed and cursive writing. In addition, it
>recognizes Roman letters and numerals. Customers can choose different
>writing modes–from left to right, right to left, or top to
>bottom–and use an on-screen keyboard for inputting punctuation marks
>and special symbols.

>As an added bonus, the CHK is bundled with Stroke Player–an
>easy-to-use on-screen guide to writing Chinese characters properly.
>It shows users how each stroke should be written and displays these
>strokes in the right sequence.

>Natural Voice Input
>The Chinese Dictation Kit was first launched in October 1995. Like
>the earlier version, CDK 1.5 requires a user to “train” the system to
>recognize his or her voice by reading 25 pages of text, which takes
>about two hours. The system processes the recording to produce a
>voice module that it uses for recognition.

>Version 1.5 now comes with an enlarged dictionary with 20,000 words.
>Since the Chinese Dictation Kit is a phrase-based speech dictation
>system, it can identify more than 350,000 commonly used phrases.
>Users can also separately create their own dictionaries where they
>can store new or special phrases. CDK 1.5 is also AppleScript-savvy.
>Users can now copy and paste text between applications through a
>voice command or a simple mouse click. It recognizes continuous
>number or date dictation and enables dictated text to be read back by
>the computer, based on the new Chinese text-to-speech feature. Since
>introduction, CDK has become a highly acclaimed and internationally
>recognized product. Earlier this month, the Singapore government,
>through the National Science and Technology Board, bestowed the 1996
>National
Technology Award to the development team of CDK. At last year’s COMDEX
Asia, it won the Best Software and Best of the Best awards.

>Voice Playback
>ACIS also comes with Apple’s first Chinese text-to-speech system
>extension which provides a unique way to proof documents or learn the
>correct pronunciation of Chinese characters. Once installed, it reads
>back any selected Chinese text or whole documents. ACIS includes both
>simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese versions of the extension.

>System Requirements
>The Apple Advanced Chinese Input Suite runs on any PowerPC-based Mac
>OS system with System 7.5 or later; Chinese Language Kit 1.1.1 or
>later. ACIS requires 8MB of free RAM; at least 35MB of free hard disk
>space to accommodate the voice file generated during the training
>phase of using the Chinese Dictation Kit; and 16-bit sound input.

>Pricing, Availability, and Distribution
>Apple expects to ship ACIS in many Chinese-speaking markets in Asia
>starting Nov. 1, 1996. In North America, this product is expected to
>be available from Apple’s distributor, AsiaSoft (1-800-882-8856 or
>visit http://www.asiasoft.com) and its resellers in mid-November with an
>estimated retail price of U.S. $165.00 (including the Apple Dictation
>Microphone). Actual reseller prices may vary. *Survey carried out in
>Taipei, August 11-15, 1996 ** A Mac-compatible graphic tablet must be
>purchased separately and is available through PC and Macintosh
>resellers and peripheral distributors. Apple has tested ACIS
>extensively with several well- known, Mac-compatible graphic tablets.
>Other Mac-compatible tablets should work equally well.

>Apple, the Apple logo, AppleScript, Mac, Mac OS and QuickTime are
>registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. PowerPC is a trademark
>of International Business Machines Corporated, used under license
>therefrom. All other brand names mentioned are trademarks or
>registered trademarks of their respective holders and are hereby
>acknowledged.

-eom-

* * John 2:17 *

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 20:40:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU
Subject: Re: Memorial to Dr. Jung Young Lee

> Dr. Lee has made significant contributions in the area of Asian and
> Asian-American Theology particularly with the publication of his two
> recent books, “Marginality: the Key to Multicultural Theology” (1995)
> and “The Trinity in Asian Perspective” (1996, Abingdon Press).

Could you or some one briefly introduce Dr. Lee’s main contributions
in Asian-American theology? I’d appreciate it very much.

Fenggang Yang

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list Cac
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 13:38:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Eng, Milton (201)-408-8259”
Subject: Memorial to Dr. Jung Young Lee

Dear CAC Friends

Some of you may be interested to know that last Friday, Oct. 11, Professor
Jung Young Lee of Drew University passed away.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dr. Lee was Professor of Systematic Theology at Drew since 1989 and author
of more than 15 books and 40 articles. He was born in North Korea and
came to the US in 1955 where he attended Garrett Evangelical Seminary and
Boston University. An ordained United Methodist pastor, Dr. Lee was also
founder and first chair of the Korean Religions group of the AAR. He is
survived by his wife Gy W. Lee and two children Sue and Jonathan Lee.

Memorial services were held last nite and today in Craig Chapel at Drew.

Dr. Lee has made significant contributions in the area of Asian and
Asian-American Theology particularly with the publication of his two
recent books, “Marginality: the Key to Multicultural Theology” (1995)
and “The Trinity in Asian Perspective” (1996, Abingdon Press).

Dr. Lee was founder of the Center of Korean Theological Studies at Drew.
The family requests that any contributions can be made in Dr. Lee’s memory
to CKTS:

The Center of Korean Theological Studies
The Theological School of Drew University
Madison, NJ 07940

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– Submitted by Milton Eng at Drew University

— End —

To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 11:28:46 +0000
Subject: Who’s Who on CAC

Hello CAC’ers! The mailing list for CAC has recently grown to over
100 subscribers, many ministers and active lay people who are
interested in Chinese-American Christian ministry and society issues.
Please feel free to discuss any related issue here in this informal
forum.

I’d like to take this moment of lull in our mailing list discussion
to introduce you to some of the CAC subscribers, and invite you to
introduce yourself to the CAC mailing list. Simply write an email
message addressed to “cac@bccn.org”.

The following are introductions posted by CAC forum members, in no
particular order. These introductions are auto-biographical.

Dr. Timothy Tseng
One of the co-founders of the CAC mailing list. Recent Seminary
professor, taught church history at Denver Seminary from 1994 to
Spring 1996. I am currently trying to write a history of Chinese
Christianity in North America. This project has entailed everything
from looking for scattered documentation to interviewing contemporary
Chinese Christians. I was born in Taiwan and came to the U.S. at the
age of 2. I’m a PK – my dad pastors (he is the senior minister at the
Brooklyn Chinese Christian Church in NYC which he founded and where I
was nurtured). I received Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of
12. By God’s grace (Intervarsity Fellowship staff, Chinese Christian
Fellowship at NYU, Urbana ’81) I received a calling to be a minister
(though I went into the ministry kicking and screaming). I was
ordained through the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. in 1988. My
dissertation [doctoral program in Church History at Union Theological
Seminary] examined the discourse of white Protestants during the turn
of this century regarding Japanese and Chinese immigrants. [this is
the abridged version]

Sze-kar (“SEE-KAH”) Wan Co-founder of CAC
mailing list. Born in China, raised in Hong Kong and (since 15 yrs
of age) Boston. Came to the Lord at 16, right bef college, where I
studied Math and Computer. Have been in theology after a 2-yr stint
as engineer, how- ever, and am teaching NT at Andover Newton
Theological School (since 1990). Not yet ordined but might one day
in the Episcopal Church. Have been involved in non-denominational
Chinese Evangelical churches in Boston until the power that be
became suspicious of me bc of my positions on women leadership (120%
support, incl ordination and the works!), social issues (let’s make
the gospel work), etc. Am involved in an Episcopal congregation in
Boston ministering to recent immigrants from China, Cantonese being
the primary language, Mandarin the secondary.

DJ Chuang CAC Mailing list and web page
manager; currently serving as a youth pastor at Raleigh Chinese
Christian Church, in Raleigh NC, a first-generation type of Chinese
Church. My background is technically ARC (American Raised Chinese),
that is to say that I was born in Taiwan, and came to America when I
was 8 years old. I speak some Mandarin. I grew up in a small town in
Virginia, attended Virginia Tech for undergraduate studies in
electrical engineering; I felt led to ministry after working a few
years in Southern Maryland, and completed seminary studies at Dallas
Theological Seminary in April 1995.

Dr. Samuel Ling General Director, China
Horizon (a ministry to mainland Chinese scholars, and a one-time ABC
youth director, 1976-78, and church planter for ABC’s, 1980-85.
Jeanette Yep Currently serving as divisional director
for InterVarsity in the Chicago area. I was born and raised in
Boston, attending the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC). When
I moved to Chicago, I was a member of the of the Chinese Christian
Union Church (CCUC) for the past 15 years. Now, I’m involved in a
fledgling Asian American church plant, where our pastoral team of 3
includes 2 Korean-Americans and 1 Chinese-American. I’ve been
involved in Asian American ministry to college students in some way
or another since my college days.

Melanie Mar Chow currently serving in the area of
Staff Leadership Development and Training for JEMS’ Asian American
Christian Fellowship (AACF). Born in Seattle, attended Chinese
Baptist and Japanese Presby churches; moved to LA and as a parachurch
person, have been involved in a Japanese American church (3 yrs), a
Chinese American church (8 yrs), and now as a member of Evergreen
Baptist Church (4 yrs). As a minister to Asian American college
students/campus ministers with AACF for 10 years, and while at
Fuller Seminary, working with a small team of Asian American
Christians, I continue to ponder what defines an Asian American
ministry.

Irene F. Eng I grew up in New
York City in a Chinese Chinatown church, went to Brown for college
and have been doing ministry with InterVarsity for most of my years
since graduating, except for a year in China inbetween. Now, I’m not
doing any Chinese specific ministry or go to a Chinese church, but I
work with a likeable multi-ethnic group of students.

Fenggang Yang Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the
Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. I am finishing my
dissertation entitled “Religious Conversion and Identity
Construction: A Study of a Chinese Christian Church in the U.S.” I’ve
done some other related papers. Beginning 1/1/97 I am going to be a
postdoc at University of Houston, continue to study “new immigrant
religions.” I came to the U.S. from PRC in 1989 and was baptized in
1992 in a nondenominational Chinese church.

Gordon Marchant
I have been serving on the pastoral staff of the South Calgary
Chinese Evangelical Free Church for the past five years. In actual
fact, because of the scarcity of Cantonese pastors, I have spend the
majority of my time here as the one and only member of our pastoral
staff. As with many of you, my primary role is to care for the
spiritual needs of the English-speaking congregation, however, as
much as possible, I try to become personally involved in the lives of
all of our families. By God’s grace, it is my desire to manage the
advantages and disadvantages which I possess as a non-Chinese pastor,
in order to help our people be equipped to fulfil the great
commission, here in Calgary, and Canada, and around the world.

-eom-

* * John 2:17 *

— End —

Posts in Oct 1996 a

Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 12:17:42 -0700
From: DJ Chuang
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?

DJ said:
>> So if indeed (or just assuming) Chinese culture has been infused with
>> significant influence from Confusianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, how do these
>> measure up to the framework and mandates of Scriptures? Or to ask it another
>> way, does the Bible mandate certain behaviors, values, and thought patterns?
>> Can the Bible influence culture just as significantly, and what would a
>> Christian influence upon Chinese culture look like?

Fenggang said:
> Let me put this in a sharper comparison: Chinese culture and American
culture,
> which one is closer to biblical principles or teachings? This way of
> raising questions may make some people uncomfortable.

That is an uncomfortable question, but one worth wrestling with.. Let me ask it
this way: if Chinese culture is influenced primarily by Confucianism, Taoism,
and Buddhism, what has influenced American culture?

Fenggang said:
> During my study, some Chinese lay leaders
> expressed that the Chinese way of dealing with church conflicts was
> closer to biblical teachings, whereas a white American pastor said that
> the American way — confrontation and open discussion– is closer to
> biblical teachings.

On what basis does one consider proximity to biblical teachings regarding
conflict resolution? Is Matthew 18 sufficient or significant as a basis for
conflict resolution? The diversity of denominations and cultures seem to show
that we all work with the same data, the Bible, the Word of God, but we each
may prioritize certain passages over others.

DJ

— End —

Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 12:14:33 -0700
From: DJ Chuang
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: re: fwd: reframing

> From: “Peter Szto” , on 10/3/96 4:23 PM:
>
> Dear friends,
> The attempt to capture the essence of any culture, let alone Chinese
> culture, is a worthwhile yet elusive effort. Too many
> variables to consider. “Chinese-ness” is very dynamic.
:
> “Chinese”. Maybe the Chinese culture is a process rather than a
> historical construct?

Yes, the effort to understand culture is elusive because any culture is in a
process of development and change, even Chinese culture [although it can be
said also that Chinese culture is very diverse also, with many ethnicities in
each province, and within each province even].

However, to begin defining the culture in language is to give us a point of
reference, so that we can build understanding and appreciation, not to put into
a box or limit the people statically. Every person is individual and certainly
free to deviate from behavior or values of any culture or cultural label, and
to do that would not mean denying identity with a cultural label.

Yes, some may say that you can’t use any language to define because in that
definition it is inherently limiting and constraining, but the consequence of
this would be a refusal for examination at all; or is there another way to
introduce cultural understanding?

DJ

— End —

Date: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 11:08:34 -0700
From: DJ Chuang
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: fwd: reframing

From: “Peter Szto” , on 10/3/96 4:23 PM:

Dear friends,
The attempt to capture the essence of any culture, let alone Chinese
culture, is a worthwhile yet elusive effort. Too many
variables to consider. “Chinese-ness” is very dynamic. In my
limited experience, it seems that as soon as a descriptive langauge is
constructed
and applied, it makes who we are very static. For example, my trips
to China have recently made me “more Chinese” but not “completely”
Chinese. I keep changing. On the other hand, my wife, who is from
China, is also becoming “more Chinese” even while in America because
of more varieties of Chinese she has met here than in China. In
addition, being in America has made her more self-consciuosly
“Chinese”. Maybe the Chinese culture is a process rather than a
historical construct?

Peter Szto

— End —

Date: Fri, 04 Oct 1996 13:40:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?

Hi, Sam,

I’m still contemplating about the experience dimension of Chineseness.
It is true that those who sojourned overseas often became more conscious
of their Chineseness, and overseas Chinese who suffered discrimination
and anti-Chinese violences (both in the U.S. and in Southeast Asia)
became strong supporters of Chinese revolutions. In this sense immigrant
Chinese become more Chinese. However, put these racial/nationalist
sentiments aside, overseas Chinese very often become less Chinese
in terms of inheriting Chinese culture. Some Chinese cultural values
/rituals they find no more applicable or useful in the new environment,
some cherished values will die out as time and generations passing-by.
They learn some new values of the host society which other Chinese
(say, Chinese in China) would regard as non-Chinese. Some Chinese
descents even marry out. Thus, they became less and less Chinese
in their life and values, even blood ties. Aren’t these true?

> all these [experiences in America in different periods]
> contribute to what a Chinese-American/Asian-American person IS.

Yes these experiences contribute to what individuals or groups are.
But in what sense can we say these experiences Chinese? While I’m writing
this last sentence, I realize that these are Chinese experiences.
Then the question is, what values/rituals have these experiences
produced (crystalized experiences?) ? Can these values/rituals be
defined as Chinese? Will other Chinese accept or share them? Any example?

> In leaving China, the immigrant Chinese becomes MORE Chinese, not
> less. (Fenggang, help me here, which author am I alluding to now?
> Joseph Levenson?)

I’ve read similar ideas here and there, but do not know a well-versed
theoretical statement about this. But this seems very important to
my dissertation themes. Could you dig out the reference? I’d appreciate it.

Fenggang

— End —

Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 14:35:55 -0700
From: DJ Chuang
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?

> From: “Dr Samuel Ling” , on 10/3/96 7:46 AM:
> For DJ, I would say, now is the time to move on from asking pure
> theoretical questions as to what is the ESSENCE of Chinese culture,
> to take some of the lists anthropologists have put together

Dr.Ling,
My intent in driving at the essence of Chinese culture is important, at least
to me, because I want to go behind the “symptoms” of what characterizes Chinese
culture, which would be those lists of behaviors which people have compiled
over time.. the behaviors are modeling a certain type of “root” assumptions and
presuppositions which people hold dear in a culture, or to use another term,
the “core values” of a Chinese culture.

In working toward understanding the formation of these core values, the essence
of a culture, then we can move beyond “behavior management” and toward what I
hope to be a deeper understanding and appreciation that may lead to teamwork
and appropriate transformation.

DJ

— End —

Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 07:46:34 CST6CDT
From: Dr Samuel Ling
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?

Dear Fenggang, DJ and CAC’ers:

I added a “fourth dimension” to “What is Chinese culture”, i.e., the
immigration/assimilation experience. Fenggang, YES, I do have Tu
Wei-ming’s center/periphery and 3 symbolic universese in mind! (The
Living Tree, which is now in book form; originally the Deadelus
Journal, an issue around 1991?)

My point is: which wave of immigration did the Asian immigrant (or
his/her parents) come from Asia? The historical context in both Asia
and in America (in American society as a whole, and within the Asian
American community in America at that time), plus the church context
(church in China, church in America, Chinese-American church), all
these contribute to what a Chinese-American/Asian-American person IS.

In leaving China, the immigrant Chinese becomes MORE Chinese, not
less. (Fenggang, help me here, which author am I alluding to now?
Joseph Levenson?)

For DJ, I would say, now is the time to move on from asking pure
theoretical questions as to what is the ESSENCE of Chinese culture,
to take some of the lists anthropologists have put together (I did a
crude one in my article, “The Chinese Way of Doing Things,” 1984,
which is in A WINNING COMBINATION published by CCM), and go down the
list, compare ABCs with OBCs etc. We can probably do a lot of good
for ministry if we can shed light on these nuances, one
value/behavior/symbol at a time (so to speak).

This discussion is getting better every day!
Sam Ling

— End —

Date: Wed, 02 Oct 1996 09:44:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?

Sam,

you said,
> I would like to add a fourth dimension to what Fenggang has pointed
> out — In addition to language, rituals and values, the fourth
> dimension is the very immigration/assimilation experience of being a
> Chinese on North American soil. The very experience of the immigrant
> or the 2nd/3rd/4th/5th generation Asian-American growing up in
> America qualifies as “Asian culture” or “Chinese culture,” inasmuch
> as this experience includes some conscious or subconscious attempt to
> integrate, sort out, resolve, etc. Chinese and American cultural
> values, symbols and language usage. What do you think?

This is a very interesting idea. Could you elaborate more or give
some examples to illustrate what you mean by immigration/assimilation
experience? Is this what you called “the third culture” in your article?
In what sense these experiences are “Chinese”? Do you think about
this issue with the angle of “center and periphery” and three
universe of cultural China proposed by Tu Weiming?

Fenggang Yang

— End —

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 16:55:47 -0700
From: DJ Chuang
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: News re: Churches in China

CHINESE PASTOR CLOSES HOUSE CHURCH
RATHER THAN REGISTER WITH GOVERNMENT

HONG KONG (EP) — One of China’s best-known
Christian leaders has closed his house church in response to
pressure to register with government authorities. Alan Yuan
informed the 100 members of his Beijing house church on
Aug. 6 that he would no longer continue to hold meetings.

Yuan told Compass Direct news service that he was
“theologically unwilling” to register his church.

Yuan, 82, said, “I have not registered now for the same
reason I did not join the Three Self church in the 1950s —
because politics and religion should not mix.” Yuan said he
had been pressured by the Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB)
to register, and explained, “To register means the RAB and
the Three Self church would have control over us. Since
neither agency has any believers, we cannot yoke with
nonbelievers.”

Yuan added that it was “practically impossible” for his church
to meet the three conditions for registration. A registered
church must have a specific place of worship, but Yuan’s
church meets in various places. There must be an approved
pastor, and Yuan insisted, “I am not the pastor of this church,
we are all pastors.” Finally, all financial transactions within the
church must be reported to the RAB; Yuan said, “We have
no finances in this group. No one receives money from
anywhere, and we pay no one.” He concluded, “We do not
constitute a church that can register under these conditions.”

Yuan was jailed for 22 years for his refusal to join the Three
Self church. In December 1995 the Chinese government
instructed the RAB to ask every religious group that is
meeting without official government sanction to obtain that
sanction by registering. For a Protestant church like Yuan’s,
registering would mean coming under the supervision of the
Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), which is China’s
official Protestant church.

A senior RAB official told Compass Direct, “If they register
and come under a TSPM church with an evangelical pastor,
they are likely to be left alone. But if their local TSPM church
does not have evangelical leadership, they could be seriously
interfered with, even closed down or have their pastor
replaced.”

-eom-

— End —

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 11:15:46 -0700
From: DJ Chuang
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Subject: Re: What is Chinese culture?

> From: 54YANG@CUA.EDU, on 9/26/96 5:26 PM:
> Based on readings of some scholars, I would like to approach the question
> of Chinese cultural identity in three dimensions:
>
> 1. Chinese language. This is the most apparent symbolic marker.
> 2. Chinese cultural symbols and rituals. Some Anthropologists argued that
> the core of Chinese culture is orthopraxy (correct behaviors) more than
> orthodoxy (correct beliefs).
:
> 3. Chinese cultural values. Some humanities scholars argue that the core
> of Chinese is orthodoxy, particularly, Confucianism (Tu, Weiming). In
> other words, to be Chinese is to be a Confucian, or hold Confucian values,
> such as “jen” and filial piety, etc. Other Chinese philosophers also
> argued the centrality of Daoism (Taoism) and the importance of Buddhism
> (Buddhism became an integral part of Chinese culture).

Thank you, Fenggang, for your commentary; that is indeed the question I want to
wrestle with, first to identify the essentials of what comprises Chinese
culture, so that we can get a handle on it, in order to talk about it tangibly
instead of stereotyping. Now Dr. Ling adds a fourth dimension, the assimilation
experience, but for the sake of this topic, I will prioritize #3, cultural
values, as the central focus (as explained below).

>From my brief study in missions, language and culture are very closely related,
and some would even say you can’t separate the two. Right here we have the
challenge of thousands of dialects among the Chinese people, and for many of
them, Chinese people can write to each other, but not talk to each other.

As I read your commentary, I thought to myself.. what would the Chinese people
say? What are the values and behavior in a person that a traditional Chinese
person would embrace as Chinese? If I were to be among Chinese people, what all
would I have to do or say to be accepted as being Chinese for them? I would
need to have biological descent (I do), I would have to speak a Chinese
language, I would have to have certain behaviors, values, and thought patterns.
I would NOT have to grow up or to have lived in China or related countries.

My particular interest is defining and parsing the “behaviors, values, and
thought patterns” so that we can create dialogue, cultural understanding, and
progress in Chinese church life, particularly in America. As a sociologist, I
would think that this aspect of culture would be of an interesting study as
well.

So if indeed (or just assuming) Chinese culture has been infused with
significant influence from Confusianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, how do these
measure up to the framework and mandates of Scriptures? Or to ask it another
way, does the Bible mandate certain behaviors, values, and thought patterns?
Can the Bible influence culture just as significantly, and what would a
Christian influence upon Chinese culture look like?

DJ

— End —