While I am not generally a fan of open letters, I realize there are circumstances in which the format can be useful and necessary, and this is certainly the case with this open letter from Asian Americans to the Evangelical Church. I wanted to share it here because I know and respect many of the people who signed the letter and trust they did so with conviction, wisdom, and prayer, and also because many of us in this online community are evangelicals and can learn from what our brothers and sisters have to say here.
We highly value the concept of family, and it deeply distresses us when our non-Asian brothers and sisters do not seem to recognize or embrace that we are called to be one united body. We are in your churches, your communities, your workplaces. Whenever you marginalize, ostracize, or demean us through carelessness and ignorance in print, video, or any other medium, you are doing more than just ruffling the feathers of a small group of online activists. You are damaging the very cause of Christ, by maintaining and increasing fissures within the church. You are fur- thering the exact opposite of what it means to be the church, which is to reflect Christ and his love through the power of a reconciled body. And you are creating an environment that will not only disillusion current Asian American Christians within the church body, but also repel Asian Americans who do not know Christ and who do not see him represented in the actions of those who call themselves Christian. [Read More]
And here's a little context for the letter via Sarah at RNS.
I would love to hear from Asian American readers, or other people of color, on this. Have you ever experienced racial stereotyping in a church setting? What happened? How did you respond? Where might white evangelicals have blind spots?
Thanks for weighing in!
[Oh, and now would probably be a good time to recommend two great books: But I Don't See You as Asian by Bruce Reyes-Chow and More Than Serving Tea by by Asifa Dean, Christie Heller de Leon, Kathy Khang , Nikki A. Toyama, Tracey Gee, and Jeanette Yep.]
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