November 28, 1996
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 01:56:41 -0500
Subject: Thanks for quality consultation
The Asian American religion consultation at the past AAR meeting went very
well. Special thanks to all who participated for their great papers and for
the lively discussions re: transnationalism in Asian American Christianity
and religious identity. In total 44 persons attended the consultation,
despite scheduling conflicts with 4 other sessions which had similar or
related themes as ours (I would also add that the Religious Educators’
meeting held simultaneously also had a related theme). Jung Ha and I
appreciated the opportunity to co-chair the consultation these past three
years and look forward to supporting future leadership, should we attain
Speaking of which, please keep in mind the following three items:
1. We are in the process of proposing upgrading our consultation to group
status. Unless we become a group, the consultation will dissolve. A draft
of the proposal has already been written by Rita Nakashima Brock and Jane
2. Assuming we receive group status, we must have our 300 word Call for
Papers sent to AAR by Dec. 6. At the business meeting at the AAR, three
sessions were suggested (one of which would be jointly held with other
racial-ethnic groups). Suggested themes: impact of Prop. 209 on
racial-ethnic communities in California [we will invite community leaders and
activists to provide leadership], narrative theology and tribute to the late
Jung Young Lee, and a session on theory. Could someone take the initiative
to write a 300 word call for papers (preferably someone who attended the
3. I will prepare the consultation report. Part of the report includes a
list of steering committee members and co-chairs for next year. Please
submit names of nominees ASAP so that I can send the completed report by Dec.
Finally, one important announcement. At this past AAR/SBL, Prof. N. Samuel
Murrell of University of N. Carolina at Wilmington has agreed to coordinate
the formation of a racial-ethnic group (perhaps a “Caucus”) to help bring
together the concerns and voices of religion scholars of color. If you are
an AAR/SBL member and would like to take part, please contact Prof. Murrell
at: Phone No.: (910) 962-3411
Again, thanks to all for your support of our efforts to open a new area for
research in religion. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
1996 Co-chair of the Asian American Religion Consultation (American Academy
P.S. If you’d like to subscribe the the Asian American Religion Consultation
discussion list, send a message to AARCSPOSTS@violet.berkeley.edu (Jane,
correct me if I’m mistaken).
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 00:29:31 -0500
Subject: Fwd: AAASCommunity: New CD-ROM on the Asian Pacific American Experience
FYI, Tim Tseng
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don T. Nakanishi)
To: email@example.com (AAASPOST), firstname.lastname@example.org (So
Date: 96-11-25 01:24:06 EST
UCLA Asian American Studies Center and Primary Source Media Release New
CD-ROM on the Asian Pacific American Experience– Special Discount Price
Until December 31, 1996
“The Asian American Journey” is the title of a new CD-ROM developed by
Primary Source Media and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. The
project is part of Primary Source’s “American Journey” series that includes
educational CD-ROMs on the Civil War, the African American Experience, and
other topics (see web site:
“The Asian American Journey” examines the past and present experiences of
Asian Pacific Americans from a variety of vantage points, and with the use
of a wide array of original source materials such as government documents,
diaries, letters, memoirs, oral history interviews, musical recordings,
poems, excerpts from short stories and plays, photos, paintings, and
sculptures (see listings below).
Among topics included are: “Early Asian Explorers and Immigrants,” “Gold
Fever, Building the Transcontinental Railroads and Beyond,” Hana Hana:
Sugar Making and the Pacific Migration to Hawaii,” “Looking Homeward: The
Politics of Korean Independence,” “Enemy Aliens: The Japanese American
Internment,” “Organized Resistance ,””Filipinos’ Unique History in
America,” “Raising the Spirits: Religion and Asian Americans,” “Hearts of
Sorrow: Vietnam War and Its Aftermath,” and “Voices Rising: The Arts.”
Essay writers included Yuji Ichioka, Vinal Lal, Anil Lal, Chris Friday,
Gregory Mark, Linda Revilla, Roberta Greenwood, Michael Soohoo, Arleen De
Vera, Teresa Williams, Henry Em, Glen Kitayama, Monique Troung, Glenn
Omatsu, David Kim, Jeffrey Ow, Russell Leong, and Jeff Matsuda.
The project coordinator for the CD-ROM project was Judy Soohoo, a lecturer
and playwright who is on the staff of the UCLA Asian American Studies
Center. She was assisted by Marjorie Lee, Russell Leong, and Enrique dela
Cruz of the Center’s staff.
The CD-ROM, which is intended for high school and college students, is
available at the special discount price of $119 for orders placed before
December 31, 1996. After that date, the CD-ROM sells for $149. Send orders
to the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, 3230 Campbell Hall, Box 951546,
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546; phone (310) 825-2974; e-mail (email@example.com).
California residents should add 7.25% sales tax, Los Angeles County
residents, 8.25%. Make checks payable to “UC Regents.”
The “Asian American Journey” includes the following primary sources:
I. PHOTOS OR IMAGES FROM: Japanese American National Museum, Bishop Musuem
Wing Luke Musuem, Seattle WA (Artwork from early Asian American Artist such
as George Tsutakawa and Lawrence Chinn), Library of Congress, Los Angeles
Public Library (Shades of L.A. Collection), War Relocation Authority
(Dorothea Lange and Russell Lee), art work by Korean American artists,
featured at the Newport Art Museum such as Ik Tae Rhee, Kyongho Shin Ko,
art work by Hmong artist See Lee, featured at the Pacific Asia Museum, art
work from the “View from Within” exhibition on Japanese American internment
paintings, and, Vietnamese American artists such as David Pham.
II. ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEWS with: Phuoc X Cao, Vietnamese Refugee, Ellie
Lee, Animator/film maker, Nikki Hu, Choreographer/dancer, Kiyo Morimoto,
Soldier from the 442nd Regimental Unit, anGish Jen, Author.
III. POETRY from: Lawson Fusao Inada, Janice Mirikitani, Al Robles, Chitra
Divakaruni, Jeff Tagami, Nick Carbo, Russell Leong, Li-Young Lee, and Cathy
IV.SHORT STORIES OR EXCERPTS FROM NOVELS BY: ,Wakako Yamauchi, Hisaye
Yamamoto, John Okada, Bienvendio N. Santos, Julie Shigekuni, Louis Chu ,
Andrew Lam, AND Hoang Khoi Phong.
V. ESSAYS OR AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS: Garrett Hongo, Monica Sone, Philip
Vera Cruz, Meena Alexander, Akemi Kikumura, Elaine Kim, Peter Hyun, Carlos
Bulosan, Yuri Kochiyama, and Sara Suleri.
VI. EXCERPTS FROM THE PLAYS OR SCREENPLAYS OF: Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Yankee
Dawg You Die,” Wayne Wang’s “Chan is Missing,” and Velina Hasu Houston’s
VII. THE FULL TEXT OF LEGISLATIVE BILLS that affected Asian Americans:
Chinese Exclusion Act, 1882, Immigration Act of 1917, 1924 Immigration Act,
Executive Order 9066, DeWitt’s Final Recomendation, War Bride Act of 1945,
1965 Immigration Act, and The Civil Liberties Act, 1988
VIII. ORAL HISTORIES OF: Vietnamese refugees, Hmong Refugees from “Hmong
means Free,” Korean Immigrants from “East to America,” and Asian Indian
IX. MUSIC FROM: Glenn Horiuchi, Internment (from Poston Sonata); Rodgers &
Hammerstein, Grant Ave. (from Flower Drum Song); Rodgers & Hammerstein,
Chop Suey (from Flower Drum Song); Hiroshima, Another Place (from Best of
Hiroshima); Key Kool, Reconcentrated (from Kozmonautz); World Kulintang
Institute, Sinulog A Kangungudan; World Kulintang Institute, Binalig II;
Badal Roy, Always Backwards; and Masaoka Miya, Ainu Welcome Song
Director and Professor
UCLA Asian American Studies Center
3230 Campbell Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1546
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
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 00:29:28 -0500
Subject: Han-Ron reply
Han-Ron responds to Tim Tseng:
A few weeks ago, you asked me:
Tim Tseng wrote on 11-5-96…
> Could you share a little more about your perceptions of ethnic/racial
> fellowships/churches. These are issues that many of us on this list
I think that there is a lot that could be said. It’d be difficult to
summarize all of my thoughts… but let me begin with a couple of things.
I think that there is definitely a place for ethnic ministries. I wasn’t
convinced of that at one time… afterall, we are all brothers and sisters
in Christ in one family. Why should artificial boundaries be set up
between members? I think that a legitimate reason for ethnic ministries
is ethnic outreach… especially for people who just immigrated to the
States. There is a genuine need to understand their lanaguage and customs
and culture to be able to communicate with them. So this then is perhaps
a model of a 1st generation ethnic church, and a model of ministries on
campus to outreach to international students. Now if we extend this same
argument to 2, 3, …, nth generation asian americans, we could say that
they have a specific culture, but I tend to think that this link is not as
I have not had the chance to attend neither a very representative
multi-racial church (well, I visited Rock Church in Chicago, which has
both white people and black people but I didn’t see any asians) nor an
asian american church who’s ministry is to say 3 or 4th generation asian
americans. This second part might be due in part to living on the East
Coast, where most of my peers are 1.5’s or 2nd generation and only a few
are 3rd. Consequently, I’ve not had enough experience to really say much
about them. I do think that a multi-racial church is a more accurate
picture of what heaven will be like. Even if the body of Christ is made
of different parts, the different parts are differentiated from each other
more by function than anything else. I am also not sure whether many
people who are in ethnic specific ministries are in them because they want
to minister ethnic-specific needs of people there or if its just because
its comfortable there and its what they’re used to. Maybe I am
pessimistic. I don’t know if its true that Sunday mornings are when
America is most segregated… but I acknowledge the point that Christians
should be working on being able to establish relationships and friendships
with people from different cultures and races.
Let me describe a scenario here at school. At IV, many of the asians tend
to sit together, obviously somewhat ‘segregated’ by their own choice. Why
is that? The answer seems clear — they sit with their close friends, or
at least people they know better. It’s only ‘natural’. Likewise, there
are many white people who would say the same thing. It’s not that either
group of people purposely avoid people of the other race, but that they
sit with the people they’ve developed close relationships with.
Additionally, many of the asians have only started coming to iv recently,
though they had already developed relationships with each other before
then. This is kind of hard to explain, but the point is that the
resulting segregation is explained as ‘natural’. I guess it is natural,
but its not necessarily right. The barrier here is apathy and
complacancy… it takes effort to get to know the other people.. and
there’s not a strong motivation since people are happy with the existing
relationships they have. After all, you can’t be best friends with
Some people have said to me that bringing up this issue of race has been
more of a problem than a solution. I almost agree… its a lot of
headache, with no clear solution in sight. However, this is the only way
to get to a point where race is not a vital criteria for forming
relationships or a factor in how comfortable you feel around a person.
Race and culture should not be reasons for a person to be seperated from
or to feel that he/she can not be understood by their peers. Is education
the answer? I’m not sure that any mass initiative towards a certain
people group or between people groups will solve things. Relationships
are formed between people not groups. So once again, we come back to how
people needing to take personal intiative and the barriers of apathy and
What I have said so far is mostly formed from my experience with Chinese
Americans and European-American Christians. Unity among asians is another
topic that I’ve only recently begun to think about. There are definitely
ethnocentric versions of Christianity. However, I am not sure what
exactly that means and all of its the implications… but my gut reaction
is one of wariness.
Well it seems that this message has gone on for quite a bit longer than I
had meant to. Thanks for reading this far. 🙂
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 10:59:56 +0000
Subject: faith journey
The following is a testimony of a faith journey through the turbulent college
years. (Greg Jao is a subscriber on the CAC list.)
From: Gregory Li Jao
Most students do not lose their faith while in the College. They
I, on the other hand, found faith as a first year. It proved
neither so effervescent that it evaporated, nor so illusive that it
escaped reasonably determined pursuit.
Not that I found faith easy. Like Flannery O’Connor, I found it
“harder to believe that not to.” But the challenges posed to faith by my
undergraduate education did not arise from “godless professors”, “atheistic
authors”, or “pagan classmates” (the traditional bogeymen of my conservative
church background). In fact, the Common Core saved my faith.
Like many students in the College, I found it tempting to
privatize my faith, to reduce the truth-claims of my religion to the
value-claims of my personal preferences. It felt much more free, much
more tolerant, much more sophisticated to treat the Ten Commandments as
the Ten Suggestions and the Golden Rule as the Good Recommendation. A
“close reading” of the text, however, disabused me of that tendency. The
texts did not leave that option before me.
In this way, the humanities requirement saved my faith.
Ideas have both theoretical and practical implications. Just as
the implications of Orestes’ actions refused to be discussed only in the
context of ancient Greece, the Christ described in Scripture refused to be
restrained in the room I regarded as “religious.” Honest interaction with the
text — with Scripture — prevented me from dichotomizing my life into
academic and religious compartments.
The freedom I sought by privatizing my faith had failed me, and I
recognized the truth of a student’s comment at a recent Harvard
graduation: “The freedom of our day is the freedom to devote ourselves to any
values we please, on the mere condition that we do not believe them to be
true.” It was a freedom I did not need.
Intellectual integrity demanded that I consider the implications
of the actions of Orestes in both ancient and modern contexts, and
faith-integrity demanded that I understand my beliefs in both its ancient and
my modern contexts.
Slowly and painfully, my classes began not only to reinforce but
also to reinvigorate my faith, and my faith began to revitalize my
studies. Faith provided a center from which to examine, evaluate, and
integrate the ideas, methods, and issues raised in my Core classes. And
the issues raised by the Core provoked me to deepen my understanding of
faith. Over time, my understanding of the flannelboard Jesus surrounded
by clouds of cotton-ball sheep which dominated my childhood grew
three-dimensional and complex, matching my intellectual growth
In addition to privatization, intellectual hubris nearly derailed
my faith. Like others chastened by their failure to enter the Ivys, I
took refuge in a classic U of C myth: “I am a better thinker than
others.” My classmates and instructors assumed people of faith were
second-rate thinkers, and I did not want to further confirm that I was
second rate. Evangelical Christianity,with its roots in antiquity, the
Reformation, and 20th Century American Fundamentalism, seemed especially
easy to dismiss as outdated.
Hubris also raised barriers to my appreciation of secondary source
materials, whether in the guise of contemporary Christian authors or the
Christian community on campus. Guided by a mistaken vision of liberal
education, I almost became convinced that interaction with the primary
texts in isolation and independence could prove whether faith was
sustainable. Through the sheer power of my autonomous mind, I would
apprehend the truth.
In this context, Calculus 150 saved my faith.
Calculus 150 proved I needed a community within which to
interpret and apply the ideas I found difficult to comprehend. I had to
acknowledge my need for secondary sources — other students struggling
with derivatives and other scholars making clear what I thought the
instructor had not. In fellow first years like Chiquita Flowers, I found
helpful answers to my deepest Calculus questions. And in members of my
Christian community (the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) I found
intellectually credible help for my deepest faith questions. I learned why a
liberal education values and why a meaningful faith requires membership in a
community. Neither great ideas nor vibrant faith grows in isolation.
Intellectual humility, I learned, was a primary prerequisite to a liberal
education and to a viable faith.
A little intellectual honesty also revealed that I was not
truthfully searching for ideas which were better — just newer, or at very
least, not what my parents believed. Ideas which suggested sophistication or
cynicism seemed superior. Such sloppy thinking nearly capsized my faith.
And here, the social science requirement saved my faith. My
experience in Soc. 120s and my compatriots in InterVarsity challenged me
to examine the presuppositions underlying the words of my instructors and the
ideas of our authors. I learned to listen for their answers to the basic
worldview questions: What does it mean to be human? What is the nature of
reality? How can we know anything? What is the basis for morality and social
interaction in their system?
What seemed so new and sophisticated became profoundly
unpalatable. It led inevitably to Bertrand Russell’s assertion that “all the
labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday
brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the
solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably
be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.”
If beliefs had implications, these beliefs suggested suicide.
Intellectual integrity and the Common Core demanded that I
reexamine the historic, theoretical, and theological underpinnings of my
evangelical faith tradition, and, as a result, I believed. In fact, the
objects of my evangelical faith emerged from the flannelgraph caricatures of
my childhood Sunday school classes into realties which validated the historic
creeds and confessions and my experiences in prayer, bible study, and worship.
The Common Core had saved my faith.
* * John 2:17 *
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 14:33:11 -0500
Subject: New Evangelical Community Organizing Project!
I want to pass on to you exciting news about a new evangelial organization
which will encourage congregation-based community organizing as a ministry
for addressing social justice concerns and with great potential for truly
– Tim Tseng
The NO NAME Project (303) 860-7747 ext. 134
359 Fox Street; Denver, CO 80223 FAX: (303) 860-1914
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Marilyn Stranske: (303) 860-7744, ext. 134
Others: Dr. Vernon Grounds: (303) 758-5568
Dr. Alice Mathews: (215) 641-4801
Dr. Robert Linthicum: (909) 982-3676
Bishop George McKinney: (619) 262-2671
Dr. Timothy Tseng: (303) 762-8163
Dr. Eldin Villafane: (617) 367-9391
NEW EFFORT TO BE LAUNCHED IN JANUARY, 1997.
GROUP FORMING TO SUPPORT CONGREGATION-BASED COMMUNITY ORGANIZING.
RESPECTED CHRISTIAN LEADERS TO FORM NATIONAL ORGANIZATION.
After three years of careful ground work, a new national organization
will be formed in January, 1997, for the purpose of supporting
“congregation-based community organizing.” To advance its vision for
community organizing, the organization will tap into the rich, though little
known, heritage of 19th century evangelical activism which helped dismantle
slavery, created the spirit of voluntarism, and broadened democracy in
America. Among the new organization’s founders are Dr. Vernon Grounds, Dr.
Robert Linthicum, Dr. Alice Mathews, Bishop George McKinney, Dr. Timothy
Tseng and Dr. Eldin Villafane. Working as full-time organizer for the
Denver-based “No Name Project” is Marilyn Stranske, a highly regarded
evangelical with over twenty years of inner-city work experience in minority
communities. For eight years she and her husband, Raymond, served as
co-directors of HOPE Communities in the predominantly African-American Denver
neighborhood of “Five Points.” HOPE develops affordable non-profit housing,
provides an adult GED program, tutorials and other children’s programs and
serves as a community center. In 1990, Mrs. Stranske began her study of and
involvement in community organizing. She left her position at HOPE in 1993
so she could devote herself to this effort.
Congregation-based community organizing is a strategy and philosophy in
which local churches and allied groups partner together to form strong local
organizations that address many of the ills facing America’s families,
neighborhoods, cities and suburbs. Equally important, the people who
themselves face the problems are involved in developing solutions and finding
ways to implement them. Engaging people in local churches at points of their
deepest concerns, and taking action motivated by spiritual commitment
strengthens the sense of community in local congregations and deepens their
faith. Among the issues faced by many local church-based community
organizing efforts are affordable housing, crime, drugs, toxic waste dumps,
insurance and bank red-lining of inner-city neighborhoods, suburban sprawl,
quality education in public schools, public transportation services,
abandoned housing, tax inequities and others.
There are now some 200 congregation-based community organizing efforts
across the country, and they are present in every major metropolitan area of
the United States. Most of them are connected to one of four national
networks. “However,” Marilyn Stranske says, “our churches are rarely
present. Occasionally, there are Assemblies of God, Baptists, Church of
Christ, Church of God in Christ, Four Square Gospel and Mennonite churches
that participate, but they are the exceptions. For the most part, these
organizations are comprised of Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Jewish
and, occasionally, other faith traditions.”
While the United States Catholic Conference and mainline Protestant
bodies support community organizing with national policies, teaching
materials and financial aid, there are no equivalents among Evangelicals and
Pentecostals. “I think our faith perspectives have a definite contribution
to make to the community organizing movement, including our numbers, talents
and our generosity in support of causes in which we believe, ” Mrs. Stranske
said. “But most important is the depth of our belief that Jesus Christ is
alive and active in the church and the world today, accompanied by the depth
of our appreciation of Scripture. We reflect and pray about what we do; and
reflection and prayer are essential if we are to get at the spiritual crisis
that underlies many of our contemporary problems. What impresses me most
about congregation-based community organizing is its integrated approach. It
is action to hold government and other institutions accountable. It is
community building in the local church. It is faith at work. It is
leadership training and development. It is evangelism. I’m particularly
impressed by the way the organizing projects I’ve come to know involve tens
of thousands of people who never imagined that they could sit down and
negotiate face-to-face with a mayor, a police chief or a bank president. Yet
this is what is going on all over the country. We need to be part of it.”
After two years of intensive academic and fieldwork study of
congregation-based community organizing, Mrs. Stranske decided to initiate a
process to explore the possibilities of engaging evangelical churches with
this model. “I’ve visited 315 Christian leaders of Apostolic, Anabaptist,
Baptist, Evangelical, Holiness, Pentecostal, Reform and Wesleyan faith
perspectives,” Mrs. Stranske said, “to determine what they cared most deeply
about and to see if they would be interested in congregation-based community
organizing as a vehicle for community-building and mission. When I began
this exploration three years ago, I had no idea what I would find.” (See
accompanying “Summary List of Concerns Heard From Christian Leaders.”) In
her visits with Christian leaders in denominational offices, local churches,
seminaries and para-church ministries Stranske found a “widespread sense of
unease about where we are as the church. People felt strongly that issues of
justice were not being brought under the Lordship of Christ while other
issues were being discussed in such a polarized way that it was impossible to
have a dialog with people who didn’t share your point of view. More
important, many of the people with whom I spoke were deeply concerned about
the life of local churches, and why they weren’t engaged in many of the
issues that were undermining family and neighborhood life.
Congregation-based community organizing can assist the local church to
become a stronger vehicle for constructive action.”
Mrs. Stranske also noted a sense of despondence among some leaders she
visited. “Many of these people felt isolated, and there was a great deal of
fear about the rise of intolerance–often being practiced by our churches.
There was a widespread sense that the country is still far from practicing
the equality of opportunity that is the promise of America. Others despaired
over how their own denominational bodies treat people of color and women.
Others worried about what is happening to the American working- and
middle-class. Many named churches in which people who thought they were
economically secure are now out of work or are working at jobs that pay half
what they were earning only a few short years ago.”
Stranske’s visits are coming to fruition. The “No Name” Project’s
Founding Meeting next January reflects deeply felt, but rarely articulated,
concerns of many Christian leaders who want their churches to be in touch
with these concerns. The main thrust of the new organization will be to
encourage Evangelical and Pentecostal churches to join local church-based
One of those giving early blessings to the Project is the world-renowned
Dr. Vernon Grounds, Chancellor and President Emeritus of Denver Seminary.
Grounds and a broadly representative group of other Christian leaders now
comprise the membership of the Project. Each member has taken part in at
least one of four intensive four-day community organizing workshops held over
the past two years at various retreat sites around the country. Eighty
people attended these workshops. At the end of each workshop, participants
were invited to join the effort to bring the project’s vision to fruition.
These concerned leaders have formed a temporary national committee which
will function until the project is formally launched at the Founding Meeting,
to be held in Los Angeles, January 16-19, 1997.
An interim Steering Committee is now planning the Founding Meeting.
Among the Steering Committee members, half are experienced with
congregation-based community organizing and the others were introduced to it
by the Project.
Steering Committee member, Dr. Eldin Villafane, is the founding
Director of the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), and currently
the Executive Director of the Contextualized Urban Theological Education
Enablement Program (CUTEEP). Both are entities of Gordon-Conwell Theological
Seminary in Massachusetts where Dr. Villafane is also Professor of Christian
Social Ethics. Villafane also is a member of the board of directors of a
Boston area group that supports congregation-based community organizing.
Villafane calls congregation-based community organizing “a powerful
instrument for the church’s involvement in nonpartisan politics–“politics”
defined as the struggle for the shalom of the community.” Villafane
continued, “As we approach the twenty-first century, congregation-based
community organizing is a God-given opportunity for Evangelicals,
Pentecostals and other faith perspectives to seriously get involved in
community or societal transformation. It is a key tool for effective and
faithful urban ministry.”
At the other end of the country, George McKinney, Pastor of St.
Stephen’s Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and Bishop of his denomination’s
Second Jurisdiction, serves on the board of directors of a national community
organizing training center and is a leader in his local San Diego community
organization, the San Diego Organizing Project. “I support church-based
community organization because it is an effective vehicle for creating hope
and opportunity for our families and individuals who are frequently not
touched by the life of the church. In my experience, church-based community
organizing has been an effective tool of evangelism, because the church and
its message are being seen as relevant to the needs and suffering of the
people. Further, church-based community organizing is being successful in
bringing together people of good will to address the urgent problems of
justice and equal opportunity. St. Stephen’s Church of God in Christ
Ministries is actively involved and believes in CBCO.”
Dr. Robert Linthicum, recently co-director of the Office of Urban
Advance of World Vision International, now Executive Director of Partners in
Urban Transformation and author of two books that deal with community
organizing (Empowering The Poor and City of God, City of Satan), has been
deeply involved in congregation-based community organizing for thirty-one
years in local organizing projects in the United States, Africa, Asia and
Latin America. “When I began in urban ministry forty-two years ago, I found
I had been ill-prepared by my Evangelical tradition to deal with the
political and economic exploitation of my poor parishioners. As an
Evangelical, I had to go outside my tradition to find the means for seeking
the transformation of my city’s injustices as well as the salvation of its
people’s souls. That means was community organizing. I am thrilled to now
see many Evangelicals embracing community organizing as a most effective way
for seeking the shalom of the city. Now we can really make a difference!”
Dr. Tim Tseng, an evangelical church historian, didn’t know about
congregation-based community organizing until he took part in one of the
four-day workshops. “Being raised in a Chinese evangelical church in an
urban setting has always made me sensitive to concerns for social justice,”
says Tseng. “As a seminarian and doctoral student at Eastern Baptist and
Union (NY) seminaries, my exposure to Christians who combined their passions
for evangelism and social justice cemented my commitment to encourage the
Church to speak up and act on its historic obligation on behalf of the poor
and oppressed. But until I became acquainted with church based community
organizing, I was unable to break through social service and public policy
activism as approaches for justice ministries. While these approaches enable
Christians to work on behalf of the disempowered, organizing requires us to
work in solidarity with them and work towards genuine empowerment.”
Dr. Alice Mathews, Philadelphia Center Director of Seminary of the East,
is also new to organizing. After attending the first four-day workshop, she
continued reading and thinking about community organizing. She says, “As a
middle-class American who is a follower of Jesus Christ, I was often
frustrated: Scripture instructed me to be concerned for ‘the widow, the
orphan, and the stranger in the land,’ but neither my neighborhood nor my
church provided a way to live out that concern. Then I heard about
congregation-based community organizing. As I’ve visited and talked with
people engaged in this kind of life-changing ministry, I realized that here
is a vehicle for addressing grinding problems in neighborhoods and
communities. As evangelicals become involved in CBCO, together we can
minister in Christ’s name in obedience to His Word.”
In addition to the interim Steering Committee, much of the current work of
the No Name Project is conducted by local groupings, called “Clusters,” in
the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago, San
Francisco, Los Angeles and Denver, with likely additions in San Diego,
Portland (OR) and Seattle. After the Founding Meeting, these Clusters will
play a prominent role in the organization. “The job of the Clusters,” Mrs.
Stranske said, “will be to interest local churches in engaging in this
exploration. We’re not trying to build a big organization in our project.
We’re a leadership group who wants to engage our churches in the existing
local congregation-based community organizations around the country.”
The agenda of the Founding Meeting will include adopting a Constitution
and by-laws, electing a national leadership team, determining a permanent
name for the group, deciding its program for the next year and approving a
budget and fundraising plan. Initial support for the effort came from
foundations, denominations and other groups which have been long-time
supporters of community organizing. “We had to go to them,” Mrs. Stranske
said, “because so few official bodies of our faith perspectives had even
heard of organizing. Or, if they had, they thought it was a bad word.
Things are now beginning to change,” Mrs. Stranske noted. “We have support
from foundations which include family members who are evangelicals.
Individuals within our Project are also now beginning to contribute. We
have a very small budget–under $200,000. We hope to raise most of it from
individuals and organizations of our faith perspectives. At least that’s
what we will propose in the budget submitted to the Founding Meeting.”
Reflecting on his more than 60 adult years as an evangelical leader, Dr.
Grounds said, “The root of Biblical faith ought to bear the fruit of love for
God and love for neighbor. As the apostle Paul succinctly puts this basic
evange4lical tenet in Galatians 5:6, ‘The only thing that counts is faith
working through love.’ But love of neighbor surely includes more than
evangelistic concern for our neighbors, the people among whom we live. It
includes as well concrete concern for the needs and problems of our immediate
communities. I recall what one-time president of Inter-Varsity Christian
Fellowship, Dr. John Alexander, told me about his conversations with college
and university students whose social passion he admired and endorsed, but who
in their idealism would talk of great structural changes in society. Without
debunking, yet attempting to help them be realistic, he would ask, ‘What have
you done in the past year to improve conditions within a mile radius of where
you live?’ Community organizing focuses on enabling Christian churches to
make needed changes in their neighborhoods by prayerfully utilizing
people-power. In so doing, it nullifies Jesus’ rebuke in Matthew 23:23 of
religious profession without the practice of a neighbor love that actively
implements ‘justice, mercy and faith’.”
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 10:52:05 +0000
Subject: Re: article on Chinese missionary
——- Forwarded Message Follows ——-
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 09:07:48 +0800 (EAT)
After reading the article on the ABC going to Macau, I had a couple
* What is “culture” and what is “religion”? In other words, what
separates the two? This might seem easy to separate at first (e.g. dim
sum is culture, prayer is religion), but I’m thinking about stuff like
baptism, communion, worship–or at least the way we do these things. A
clear example, I think, of the problematic nature of the term “culture”
comes up in Paul’s writings. We often talk about his passages regarding
women’s role in church as “meant for that cultural context” (e.g. head
coverings). But then what prevents other passages of Scripture (like
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount) from being interpreted in such a way, too?
* Does anyone have difficulties with the terminology of “American-born
Chinese” or “Asian American” or “Chinese American”? I think all of these terms
display a certain assumption about ethnicity. For example, ABC assumes that
one is “Chinese” by culture and family (dare we say genetics, too?) and yet is
geographically outside the Chinese motherland. In the Chinese worldview, we
are one “minzu,” or one people. (Of course, this overlooks the massive
diversity of that “one people.”) Do we as Christians buy into this view? (I’m
still debating this)
Muchun (Mooch) Yin | Tunghai University | Box 373
| Taichung, Taiwan | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org |
* * John 2:17 *
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 14:40:24 +0000
Subject: article on longevity of pastoral staff
TOPIC: “Should ministers move to a new city every few years? More and
more church today are asking their pastors to put down deeper roots.”
>From the Sep/Oct 1996 issue of “Ministries Today”
The First Baptist Church of Dallas. The Church on the Way in Van
Nuys, California. Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington,
What do these large, successful churches have in common? They belong
to different denominations, are located in different states and have
different ministry focuses. But they have one key similarity: They
have pastoral staffs that have worked together for a long time.
The longevity of the pastoral staff is no coincidence. According to
the Barna Research Group, statistics show that the larger the church
body, the more likely the pastor is to stay.
Increasingly, churches that want to grow are shunning the revolving
door approach and are seeking to develop long-lasting ministry
Recently, Ministries Today visited two congregations–one on the East
Coast, one on the West–where the church staffs have been together
for 10 years or more. We asked: What are the benefits of long-term
staffing? What are the challenges? Why is it working for you? The
answers to those questions reveal wisdom every church can use.
The Key: The Senior Pastor
The senior pastor is perhaps the primary key to successful long-term
staffing. Both of the staffs we talked to gave much of the credit for
their longevity to the personality and character of their senior or
Bob Stone has been senior pastor of Hillcrest Chapel in Bellingham,
Washington, for more than 18 years. No less than 11 other staff
members have also served Hillcrest for 10 years or more. Bob
Yarbrough, long-time senior pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in
Manassas, Virginia, has also recruited a group of people who have
served with him long-term–five of them for more than 10 years. Both
men say they made a conscious decision to develop stable staffs.
Not surprisingly, Stone and Yarbrough have some similar traits:
1. They have been to the cross.
A pastor who has a mature sense of identity and purpose is
essential for the maintenance of long-term staffs. When the
pastor is overbearing and controlling, staff members feel
humiliated and demeaned, and leave as soon as the next position
presents itself. On the other hand, pastors who are weak and
indecisive often create frustrated staff members who lose
respect for the pastor and his authority.
Both churches we visited had senior pastors who had “gone to the
cross.” These pastors felt comfortable sharing responsibility
and were committed to working by consensus rather than by
dictatorship. Yet they were strong enough to exert proper
“Bob [Stone] is not threatened by people who have gifts that are
different and/or greater than his,” says Paul Petersen, who is
in his 11th year as Hillcrest’s senior associate pastor. In
fact, Stone likes to “staff his weaknesses”–that is, he looks
for people who have strengths different from his and supplements
his own weaknesses accordingly, Petersen explains.
New Covenant pastor Jeff Ling notes Bob Yarbrough’s willingness,
as well, to defer to others and let them minister. “Pastor
Yarbrough releases us,” another associate, Robin Bayles, added.
Yarbrough says he looks to Jack Hayford, senior pastor of The
Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, as his model in this
regard. “Hayford has talked about working to a place where his
flock doesn’t need him, but because of their relationship they
would want him,” he said.
2. They practice transparency.
The resistance to being “transparent” may be one of the biggest
hurdles senior pastors must overcome to facilitate long-term
staffing. Unless the senior pastor is willing to let others get
to know him–and his weaknesses–he is not likely to stay in one
place very long. He will move on as soon as his glittering image
starts to fade.
Hillcrest Chapel faced what may have been its ultimate challenge
10 years ago, when Bob Stone experienced a nervous breakdown
that forced him to leave the ministry for several months.
Ironically, his staff points to this experience as a milestone
in the growth of the church.
“During Bob’s medical leave, we pulled together. This was the
true test of whether it had all been the Bob Stone show,”
Petersen says. “None of the leaders were grabbing for power.
Nobody said, ‘I think Bob has lost the anointing.’ Instead, we
all gathered around him and asked, ‘How can we help?'”
Though Stone resumed his position after several months, healing
took several years. Yet the staff didn’t fall apart.
“Bob allowed us to ask him the hard questions,” Petersen says.
Stone’s transparency turned a difficult situation into an avenue for
growth, rather than a cause for dissension.
Yarbrough and the New Covenant staff also stress the need for
transparency. “These guys know all my weaknesses,” Yarbrough
says, “but they still love me.”
Many pastors leave before they have to risk vulnerability, he
notes. As soon as the congregation or leadership really get to
know the man, he feels threatened and begins seeking other
opportunities. This keeps the pastor–and his congregation–from
ever maturing in their weak areas.
3. They preach expositionally.
Stone points out that expository preaching–systematically
teaching straight through a book of the Bible–can enable a
pastor to stay in one church. Topical preaching, with its demand
for coming up with a new subject every week, would have worn him
out, he admits.
“I’m not continually trying to discern what God is trying to say
to the body each week,” he explains. Expository preaching helps
keep the pastor sharp, he notes, because it forces him to stay
in the Scriptures.
Bob Yarbrough also largely follows this method of expository
preaching. Occasionally, the pastoral staff will also preach on
topics in order to address specific situations and particular
areas of need.
No more power struggles
Both congregations pointed to church government as another key
to longevity. According to associate Bob Patton, the leadership
at Hillcrest believes churches invite power struggles when the
person in the pew is the ultimate authority.
“When the pastor is an underling, he’s forced to constantly play
the political game,” agrees New Covenant’s Robin Bayles. But
when authority rests in the church staff, the leadership is able
to say to the people, “This is what God is calling us do.”
At Hillcrest, Bob Stone is definitely the senior pastor_and that
means senior in authority. Church elders are almost exclusively
the associate pastors.
But decision-making is done by consensus. The elders and deacons
(nominated by the leadership and elected by the congregation)
work together in making decisions. At an impasse, the person who
is holding up the process must justify his position. If he is
unable to do that, the majority rules.
New Covenant’s government by consensus can be seen in the way
they chose to lease a new building. After the pastors agreed on
the idea, the staff approached the elders, who gave the plan
their blessing. Next, the leadership made a presentation to the
small-group leaders, who were given a week or two to pray about
it. After they approved it, the plan was presented to the
entire church–but by then, a strong base of unity had already
A roadblock occurred when the building’s owner required New
Covenant to come up with $200,000 in one week. But because the
entire congregation had taken ownership of the plan, the church
had no trouble raising the money.
“People want their pastors to lead, but not be dictators,” Yarbrough
“Instead of a strong senior pastor model with underlings, we
have worked for a collegiality with shared responsibility. We’re
hoping to see a true sense of the Lord as the leader of the
Taking Care of Staff
Peter Drucker, an expert on nonprofit organizations, advises
that the best time to fire a person is when you’re doing the
hiring. In other words, days spent on prayerful recruitment will
save months lost to poor decisions.
Most of Hillcrest’s staff were hired from within the church.
These men and women were church members from various
backgrounds- -a university professor, a plumber, a paint
salesman, a waiter– who brought a wealth of experience to their
church calling. Hillcrest invested in their theological
education by letting them take classes at a nearby seminary.
Most of New Covenant’s staff came from within the church, too.
Robin Bayles started the church with Yarbrough; associate Carlos
Dorsey was a member for four years before joining the staff.
Jeff Ling transferred from a different church to become New
Covenant’s youth pastor, but Yarbrough and the leadership made a
special effort to offer Ling almost unheard of stability in that
traditionally mobile role.
To counter the tendency for most youth pastors to be gone within
18 months, Ling’s benefit package included financial incentives
for him to stay with the church for at least five years. He’s
now been there twice that long. The longevity of the Hillcrest
and New Covenant staffs also can be credited to several other
1. Flexible responsibilities
For associates to remain at the same church long term, they need
the flexibility to grow into new areas of influence.
Jim Murphy of Hillcrest notes that few of the pastors at his church
have kept the same pastoral responsibilities for more than two years.
As the church evolves, he explains, roles change. Jeff Ling came
to New Covenant as a youth worker, but when he was called out of
youth work into worship, teaching and counseling, he was able to
stay on staff at New Covenant rather than seek a different
church. Leaders recognized the shift in his call and created
“If you don’t care who gets the credit, it’s amazing what can be
accomplished,” Yarbrough points out.
2. A focus on relationships
At both churches, staff members exhibited a strong sense of
loyalty to one another. Murphy says there is an “unspoken”
commitment among the staff at Hillcrest never to speak
negatively about each other to a church member. And they try to
adhere strictly to the biblical pattern of conflict resolution
found in Matthew 18.
Loyalty is based in relationship, and both staffs spend a good
deal of time developing this area. At New Covenant, in addition
to weekly meetings, the pastors and their wives gather at least
once a month for dinner. They also occasionally play golf
together to build friendships apart from their jobs.
3. Good salary and benefit packages
Churches that want pastors to make a long-term commitment to
them must be willing to make a long-term commitment to their
pastors. This means the church must provide for the basic needs
of both the pastor and his family in a way that encourages them
Both of the staffs we interviewed expressed their appreciation
for reasonable salaries and pensions and adequate vacation
allowances. Careful attention to these practical matters has
gone a long way toward creating a sense of loyalty.
4. Intangible benefits
Both staffs were enthusiastic about the less tangible benefits
that come from being part of a long-term staffing arrangement.
High on the list is the opportunity to have their children grow
up in the same stable community.
Jim Murphy of Hillcrest points out that longevity increases
productivity because it often takes two years to become familiar
with the new church.
Spiritual growth is another intangible benefit. “Jumping around
doesn’t require you to grow,” explains New Covenant’s Bayles.
“If you remain at a church long term, you are forced to deal
with real-life issues.”
In a changing society, it’s crucial for Christians to attend a
church that is committed to long-term stability. Rather than
fleeing from problems, these church staffs have exhibited a
commitment to pass through the fires of life together.
The result: stronger churches. “We have dealt with moral
failure, marital dysfunction, Bob’s breakdown, wayward children,
depression,” says Petersen of Hillcrest Chapel. “We made it
through each time. As a staff, we hung together–and doing so
has developed a tremendous strength.”
About the Author: Gary Thomas is director of the Center for
Evangelical Spirituality and author of Seeking the Face of God and the
recently released Sacred Pathways. He lives in Manassas, Virginia.
E-mail us: email@example.com
c1996 Strang Communications
* * John 2:17 *
— End —
To: Multiple recipients of list cac
From: “DJ Chuang”
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 10:58:49 +0000
Subject: article on Chinese missionary
Chinese heritage helps new missionary
By Martha Skelton
MACAO (BP)–Marilyn Hing knows the ABCs of missions.
Recently appointed a Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board
missionary to Macao, Hing returns to the Chinese enclave as an ABC —
American-born Chinese — after two years as a volunteer pharmacist
there at Hope Medical Clinic, a ministry of Southern Baptist
missionaries in this Portuguese colony on a tip of the Chinese
Her ministry in Macao helped her understand her own heritage — and
gave her a burden to see the Chinese of Macao come to Christ. Hing
grew up in Superior, Ariz., in a second-generation Chinese-American
family. Her grandfather left southern China decades before she was
born to make a better life for himself and the family.
Her pilgrimage to missions began when a friend at the University of
Arizona in Tucson invited her to go to a Chinese church. She knew
about Jesus, but had never committed herself to him. This invitation
intrigued her. “What is a Chinese church?” she wondered. She and her
sister went to meet other Chinese students, but Hing confronted the
gospel and committed her life to Christ. She graduated in 1985 with a
degree in pharmacy.
Even as a young Christian, Hing felt a spiritual tug toward overseas
missions. While working in a Tucson clinic, she made three volunteer
medical trips to Venezuela and the Philippines. Her sense of God’s
leading drew her to the International Service Corps (ISC). She was
assigned for two years to work in Hope clinic.
In one way, Macao represented Hing’s roots, but it also represented a
lesser known side of herself. She faced a cultural identity crisis.
“Being an ABC, I wasn’t sure if I was going to clash with the
culture,” she says.
Language was a definite dividing line. She had been exposed to
Cantonese, but in Macao, people would come up to her and start
talking in Cantonese. They couldn’t understand how someone could be
Chinese and not understand them.
She also found some parts of life in Macao very familiar.
“To do things or be with the family is still of the utmost importance
(in Macao). I can relate to that,” she says. A lot of foods her mother
cooked are traditional Chinese dishes. She knew her mother made a
certain sticky rice just once a year. When she moved to Macao she
found the rice is associated with a festival time.
Issues of culture and language were not just personal for her. They
affected how she could get to know the Macanese and share her faith
with them. She soon learned that many Macanese are either traditional
ancestor worshipers or very secularized seekers of materialistic
success. To them, “Christianity is a Western thought and it is not
Chinese. That’s a struggle for many of the local Chinese Christians —
to show that Christianity is a part of their culture,” she observes.
When she was able to talk about her faith with local people, she
often found a stumbling block. “I have learned from the Chinese
people that it is really hard for them to accept grace, the
undeserved gift. They have always felt that you earn a gift by how
deserving you are, by how much you work for it. They appease the gods
with their offerings, certain rituals. Unconditional love is totally
foreign to them,” she says.
By the end of her two years in Macao (1993-95), Hing felt assured God
was leading her to seek career missionary appointment to return to the
clinic. After attending Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, she
was appointed by the Foreign Mission Board.
Hing will be returning to Macao at a very pivotal time. The city is
scheduled to revert to Chinese governance in 1999. “There is a strong
spiritual battle going on. I think Satan is putting in overtime,” she
says. “To be there beyond 1999 is my vision.”
— End —