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The Last Korean Hostages freed August 30, 2007

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
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They are all freed…the story will continue…thank you for praying…

here is a link to the story…

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Poor Race August 30, 2007

Posted by peterong in Asian American, New York Ministries, racism, Reflections, Social Justice, Uncategorized.
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“To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardship.”
W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

Taking some time out to think about the panel discussion that I participated at the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York City. It was a panel discussion entitled “Do Faith-Based Mentorship Programs Work?” As I prepared and sat on the panel of such esteemed faith community leaders, I soon came to knowledge that I was the only non African American on the panel. As I heard their concerns for the African American youth (particularly of African American males.) They spoke of recidivism of incarcerated youth and the cycle of crime and the absence of adult male presence. As I sat there, I shared a picture of the immigrant Chinese and challenge them to look beyond the Asian American community as what Tim Tseng once said as “foreigners” or “model minority.” It was a provocative exchange that left me a bit concerned about my limited view on implications of race in the complex workings of justice and mercy.

In my years serving in Chinatown and the Asian American church there has been an underlying ethnocentrism that borders on racism. We love to send missions trips to “East Asia” and where there are “East Asian” presence. But I believe that we are not racist by culture but the issue was one of leadership and vision. I think that as a culture, we tend to live in our circles and worship the culture more than Christ but it is inherent for us to practice tribalism for the sake of comfort. It is too easy to label Asian American churches as “racist” and not going through a deeper evaluation that we all have tendencies to create huddles. But the gospel challenges us to make intentional steps towards one another. In the Ephesians church, there were those who wanted to create huddles but Paul challenges them to engage. Pastor Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church,  expounded once that we are not to only “tolerate” those who are foreign to us (spiritually, racially, economically, etc.) but to enter in and love deeply for what they have to contribute to our understanding of the gospel and the yet to be redeemed world. Rob Bell in his book Sex God, says this:

“The temptation is always to avoid things that are difficult and complex. To go around them rather than through them. ” (Italics mine)

So often in our journey is one sidestep after another. To avoid the unknown out of fear. I am afraid to admit that I have ignored this issue for a great deal of time. As I have been serving the Asian American community, I have sidestepped the issues of race in the larger context. But God has a great way of reversing that…

This past weekend, the members of OneHouse met with New York Faith & Justice and had a profound conversation about injustice on both the international and domestic urban context. Lisa Harper, the Director of NY Faith & Justice, opened up the conversation by saying, “if we do not solve our problems here, we are going to transplant the problems overseas.” We talked about justice and the issues of churches being mostly silent on it and how the Asian American church could be perceived as “racist” because of our lack of relevance to underserved communities outside of Asian communities.

During the conversation, my heart was burning as I saw how God has yearned to bring His Shalom into the realm of the affluence of the Asian American church. Beyond our minor church buildings but to the streets, to reclaim our humanity through engaging with those who are blessed (beatitudes blessed: the poor). As we shared over a meal, we learned that we have so much more on this journey to learn. To learn that there are brothers and sisters in our communities, who share the same subway seats who we have not exchanged a single hint of a prayer for one another. What if there is something to be said of Asian Americans and our role in this conversation…to be at the table to share a meal and our hearts for those who are literally disconnected because of our fear. I confess I have been guilty of this. It has been easy for me to send a check to help a family thousands of miles from me. We said how “paternalistic” our motives are and how we are seeing that we are “helping” but not connecting with the humanity of it. So the question is, what am I praying for here in my zip code? What am I am understanding about the issues concerning the neighbors here. How do I work out the gospel in the city? I have ignored that Chinatown is populated by Latinos, African Americans and now with the new influx of the Caucasian hipsters in the Lower East Side. When we become unconcerned we have unleashed chaos into the gospel pursuit of redemption to those things that are broken.

As I remembered a sermon on Jonah (you can download it here) by Steven Ro, Living Faith Community Church pastor. I walked away with the sense that justice is an act of expressing a merciful God. Pastor Ro said a God whose “…mercies extend to the end of the world…to even to the enemies of God.” When we live out justice, it reflects mercy of God. It shows that we are living in a continued message that God is compassionate. Jonah’s understanding was God was only compassionate to the religious people. But through this story of Jonah, it shows that God is not tribal, filled with judgment, not unconcerned, but rather a God who is inclusive, holy pity, and committed concern through compassion.

We are so distorted in our narrow vision and it is this blind spot that will forever mute our faith to nothing more than a spiritual ethnic club that says neither of God’s broad vision for redemption or His profound intent of moving us towards connecting with our disconnectedness.

12 Korean Hostages Freed! August 30, 2007

Posted by peterong in Events, Korean American.
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There has been a news break yesterday that 12 hostages were released. There are still some remaining so continuing praying.

Here is a link to video coverage and news coverage.

The Return and Homes August 22, 2007

Posted by peterong in Ministry Update, Prayer Update, Uncategorized.
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It has been a wonderful week and there is much to report so without haste…here is a picture I took on my walk on the Williamsburg Bridge on my birthday. Here are my updates:

I now longer serving at Chinese Christian Herald Crusades and had to say good-bye as I am in my new season developing the Asian American Laity Ministry with PaLM and serving at a new church (keep reading)

Jamie is back! After spending 8 weeks in China working on a water project in Nanjing, she came back just in time for our 2 year anniversary. We celebrated by going to Nobu Next Door where our friend and chef extraordinaire gave us some generous dishes to help us remember this special day. We topped of the week by going to the PaLM Yankee game with some ministry folks Hosive (Vision), Pastor John (PaLM), Howard (PaLM) and Donald (Boon Church). The Yankees lost in dramatic fashion (again) and then headed out to the North Hamptons for some reconnection time with Jamie at a Bed and Breakfast. It was nice as we spent time sharing and healing from our seperation.

It is now official, Jamie and I are now attending Living Faith Community Church. I have known Pastor Stephen Ro since 2000 when we met at Concerts of Prayer Greater New York Pastors’ Prayer Summit. I have come on as part-time staff as their Director of Gospel Community (There was a rumor that I would be their DOS: Director of Something). I will assist with their leadership, communications, inreach and outreach. So far it has been a great home for us as we seek to develop a “Gospel Driven” community. I will be facilitating a Sunday School conversation entitled, “Rules of Engagement: Moving Beyond Belief.“Here is the blurb:

“We go to church on Sundays and Fellowship during the week where we have flashbacks about the sermons but we find out that our faith don’t seem to translate into where we spend the majority of our waking lives…at work. God has called us to engage and to live out a gospel narrative but we find our vocabularies seem to confuse more than to clarify. We will wrestle together about how faith and culture should intersect in our lives. We will have also have conversations on the topics of engagement of culture, being missional, postmodernism, culture wars, social justice and the challenge of building authentic communities of faith. Bring a cup of java, your bible and some open minds as we seek to move beyond belief.”

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I had great retreat with Christian Testimony Long Island two weeks ago. I spoke on “Being in the World and Not of It” a theme that I have been developing since speaking on this topic at the Midhudson Chinese Christian Church‘s Revival Meeting last Fall. The CTLI Retreat was a great time and I did a special workshop with first generation parents and their teen children. It was moving to see so many tears and I closed the workshop with the parents praying with their kids. I was moved to see some healing take place that weekend. It was good to reconnect with some of the youth I worked with years ago at Teen Eastern Chinese Bible Conference.

Thanks for your prayers. I will speaking this year at Boston Chinese Evangelical Church at their Career Fellowship and will be doing a series on Jesus Uncensored.

I will also be doing a special one day training workshop at the Reload Conference. I am so excited to be on the same venue with my good friend Jeremy Del Rio. They have some of the best local and national leaders in Youth Ministry represented.

I am prepping for a trip back to the ‘Cuse so Jamie can drop some water samples. I am looking forward to it. I will be finalizing my support letters to go out. I need to raise another $20K for me to go on full time with PaLM starting in January. I am meeting with prospective funders and supporters. I am looking for some exciting and new ways to facilitate some new ministry initiative such as an Asian American Youth Workers Conference in the Spring of 2008, an Asian American Leadership Fellowship and continue with the Monthly Fall 2007 ENGAGE series which will focus on Leadership.

Thanks for your prayers and support, if you would like to learn more about the Asian American Laity Project please contact me at peter [at] palmny [dot] org. See you soon!

Domestic Violence Among Asian Americans August 20, 2007

Posted by peterong in Asian American, Research.
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Here is an article released by ANI today about the growing number of domestic violence among Asian American couples. Here is the article.

Domestic violence more common among Asian-American couples

 

Washington, Aug 16 : A UC Davis study has found the reason why domestic violence is more common among Asian-American couples.

As part of the study Nolan Zane, Manveen Dhindsa and colleagues examined data from the National Latino and Asian American Study, a National Institute of Mental Health-funded survey of 2,554 Latinos and 2,095 Asian Americans conducted between May 2002 and November 2003.

The study, the largest national survey of mental health disorders and use of psychiatric services in these ethnic groups, was led by David Takeuchi, associate dean for research at the University of Washington School of Social Work in Seattle.

It found that apart from marital distress, violence was more likely to occur if the family lacked closeness or if a spouse suffered from an anxiety disorder or stress related to acculturation into American society.

Acculturation is a process in which members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviours of another group.

“These results are quite important as they highlight that factors beyond marital distress can strongly increase chances for abuse,” Zane said.

“Such information can be used to enhance therapy for batterers, as clinicians can go beyond remedying marital distress and focus on other psychological problems found to significantly impact marital abuse,” Zane added.

The findings of the study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Asian American Psychological Association in San Francisco.

Sign Petition for Korean Aid Workers August 1, 2007

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
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The Afghanistan hostage situation involving the South Korean aid workers being held by the Taliban, is spiralling out of control. If any more are killed, it could force aid agencies to pull out of Afghanistan — denying millions of Afghanis the help they need after years of war.

The Taliban are guided by the Afghan Pashtunwali code, a principle that requires “hospitality to all, especially guests and strangers” – and this kidnapping is a clear violation of the code, offending the weary people of Afghanistan on whom they depend. So it’s time for the global community to stand with Afghanis and South Koreans, demand that the Taliban to honour their code and release the rest of the hostages. Sign the petition NOW —

click here to sign the petition

Does anyone know of prayer meetings that are being organized in New York City for the South Korean aid workers? Ashley told me there is on in NJ, can you share more?