Much love and thanks to Virstan Choy for inviting me to be part of a series of lunches hosted by the Center for Asian American Ministry at McCormick Theological Semianry. It was quite fun as talking with seminary students always is. With enough Indian food to feed a small army, we settled in for some good discussion. Thanks folks for hanging out a bit and talking about ministry and call.
I was basically asked to reflect on the my calling/experience of being a racial ethic person that has pastored churches that are not traditionally racial ethnic in it’s roots, self-awareness or reality.
Here is a little recap along with some parts that we just never quite got to.
Questions to ponder as you approach the possibilities of pastoring a congregation that is of a different racial ethnic reality:
Who are you? // Claim and be comfortable in your own skin and context: ethnicity, gender, theology, class, etc. AND be able to articulate that reality to those around you in ways that are real.
Who are they? // If not, racial ethnic, know what the homogenizing culture is of the community AND have a nuanced understanding of the positive and negative realities of the common culture.
Who are we? // Understand the complex implications, obstacles and possibilities, that your particular cultural context brings to the community your serve.
Out of those questions, if you can’t do this, well . . .
- Assume the best of people and move away from initial responses of suspicion.
- Make no assumptions about people’s experience with issues of cultural diversity and race.
- Articulate issues of race in ways that are best heard rather than using old-school vernacular and making over arching generalizations about people’s experiences of race.
- While challenging issues of individual and institutional racism be able to humbly understand and have compassion for the experiences of the majority.
- Blog Post: Does Race Matter When Pastoring?
- Blog Post: Characteristics of a Postmodern Pastor
- Book on knowing your past: America Is in the Heart: A Personal History by Carlos Bulosan
- Book on generationsl shifts: Party Crashing: How the Hip-Hop Generation Declared Political Independence by Keli Goff.
- Book on the-post-something: A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McClaren
- Listen to a song that gets the racial debate: Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist from the Broadway Musical Avenue Q.