I’m very pleased to announce that this upcoming weekend (July 14-16, 2012) we will be hosting Professor Peter Cha at Harvest for a weekend of networking, relationship building and denominational coaching. He is the author of several compelling titles such as Following Jesus without Dishonoring Your Parents, Growing Healthy Asian-American Churches, and Korean Americans and Their Religions. His presence with us in Houston will help further discussions in two areas:
1. How can we follow Jesus without Dishonoring our Parents? That title kind of says it all. It speaks of the tensions of living in two worlds, Eastern collective societies and Western differentiated culture. For us to host Prof. Cha is a valuable opportunity to talk about what it means to be an Asian-American Church in America (and particularly, the South) today.
2. What is the best vehicle for the 2nd gen Korean church in America today? I was raised in Holiness roots. In Western-speak that’s somewhere between Full Gospel and Methodist. In Korean church, it doesn’t really matter; most churches are functionally Presbyterian – now that’s a reflection of culture more than anything else, in my assessment. But what is appearing now is that with 2nd-gen Korean-Am church leaders, we are beginning to parse the denominational distinctives and finding that our Presbyterian roots might not match our now-nuanced and developed theological convictions; so that the challenge is discerning what is the best vehicle that will not only maintain but propel the Korean-American church to a position of influence on the American stage. European-born churches have all played important roles in the development of religious life and culture in America. It would be a tremendous shame if, due to lack of a vehicle – i.e., a carrier of tradition – that we lost the ability to do the same.
In the end I am hoping that this will be a Spirit-led, historic meeting for my church, a benchmark for Asian-Americans in the South, and a catalyst for the Korean-American church in seeking to find the best vehicle to carry us forward into the 21st century as major ecumenical players in the US.