ISAAC Newsletter for December 2014
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Bridging the Church and Academy to Transform Our Community

December 2014

“If we narrow our sight too much, we may not see the breadth of opportunities available to us.  With our eyes open to the fullness of Spirit, we can see the infinite possibilities available to us.” 

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God has shown us how immense human possibilities are as long as we dare to step out to the unknown in faith and perseverance. 


Reflection on ISAAC’s Symposium 6:
“A Christian Vision of Belonging: Race and Gender”
[click on image above to view highlight video]


The highlights of ISAAC’s 6th symposium were the excellent keynote speaker, Dr. Willie James Jennings, and the panel of respondents to his theological talks on race and gender. ISAAC’s bilateral Asian and African American symposium was the first of its kind as it demonstrated how we voluntarily segregate ourselves in a diverse city like LA.  

With large ethnic groups in LA, people can easily stay together without having to cross cultural-social/economic boundaries. Divided by geography-based ethnic enclaves, it is convenient to stay in one’s own ethnic circle.  Churches are not exceptions to this and largely remain segregated in this city of more than 180 ethnic groups. Only when racial violence burns down the city do we raise the same old questions we addressed decades earlier. 
 
As the participants tasted the richness of this bilateral gathering of faith leaders, we became aware of our mutual ignorance and how we must learn from each other for mutual empowerment.  ISAAC will provide this theological space for Asian and African American leaders to continue our in-depth discussions about race and gender that began from this prophetic symposium. 
 

To summarize a few written feedback from the participants:
  • “This has helped me to see how I need to allow the Holy Spirit to empower me, encourage me, and lead me to be courageous to walk out what I have learned these two days and to resist!”
  • “This bilateral ‘initiative’ is refreshing, invigorating, and encouraging!  Can there be coaching sessions?”
  • “Excellent choice of speakers and groundbreaking subject and coming together!”
  • “Really enjoyed the symposium speakers, panel discussion, focus group.  Appreciated the transparency and faithfulness of each of the participants.”
  • “The ISAAC conferences provide a unique, safe space for topics that desperately need to be addressed in our faith communities.  I continue to return because these discussion do not happen anywhere else (of which I am aware).  These conferences push me to think critically, reflect christologically, and live incarnationally.  Thank you for this vital, necessary, life-nurturing work.”
Honoring a legendary nonprofit guru, Bill Watanabe, was meaningful.  He is a man of a rare integrity, humility, and creativity and his leadership is both a visionary and implementer.  It is our hope to see such leadership being transmitted into younger generations. Thanks to Rachel Lee at Christianity Daily’s for the symposium coverage of the Legacy Awardee and the bilateral symposium:

Yours Faithfully,
 
Rev. Young Lee Hertig, PhD
Executive Director 
Dec. 2014 Update of ISAAC Events and News
Videos of 6th Symposium
We are pleased to announce that the two plenary addresses ($25.00 each) and the two panel responses (free of charge) are available on vimeo for easy access.  Donations will cover production cost. 

All videos for 6th Symposium

Vimeo On Demand for Plenary Addresses
Followup Events to the Sixth Symposium in 2015:
  • Bilateral/Intergenerational Mentoring (BIM) of NexGen: Sam Koh will administer the details. 
  • Bilateral Focus Group Meeting 1: Church of Redeemer in Irvine will host the bilateral focus group meetings with 15 African American faith leaders and 15 Asian American leaders for an ongoing mutual understanding and mutual empowerment. (January 31, 2015)
  • Women’s Leadership Roundtable (February 2015)
  • Bilateral TEE (Theological Education by Experience) program in collaboration with potential partners-- West Angeles Bible College, Union Church in Little Tokyo, and Korean Cultural Center. The proposed topics: “Remembering Azusa Street Revival, Japanese American Internment, and LA Riots.” (March 2015)
  • Bilateral Focus Group Meeting 2 (April 2015)
  • Bilateral Summit Meeting Plan (May-June 2015)
  • Bilateral summit meeting with 100 faith leaders (August 2015)
  • September-December 2015: Planning for a multilateral symposium in 2016. 

ISAAC East
 held a talk with Asian American evangelical theologian Amos Yong (now at Fuller Seminary) on Sunday, Nov. 9th, at Grace Faith Church in Chinatown, NYC. Prof. Yong shared his life story and some reflections on his new book with IVP Press "The Future of Evangelical Theology: Soundings From the Asian American Diaspora." A few copies are still available at 40% off ($15; List $25); email Milton Eng.  In September, ISAAC East partnered with a new church-planting venture called Disciples NYC to raise up new Asian American congregations in the NY and NJ area.  Milton will serve on the advisory board to provide counsel and other support services for the organization.
ISAAC Northern California recently hosted rapper/artist Jason Chu for a conversation on ministry, media, and millennials. Jason shared about this this generation’s pervasive cynicism, and the opportunity it gives the church—if it can live up to its calling to embody truth and beauty—to wedge a crack into that façade of cynicism.  ISAAC Northern California’s theological book group read and discussed Simon Chan’s Grassroots Asian Theology (IVP Academic, 2014)While many of his themes are not new (e.g., the Trinity as family, salvation as a solution for shame even more than for guilt) we appreciated his extended development of such themes into a theological framework.
ED Activities at a glance (October-November)
  • ISAAC board and staff breakfast meeting in San Diego during AAR/SBL, November 22
  • Luncheon at City Club in SF hosted by First Republic Bank and sponsored by NAAC, November 10
  • Organized ISAAC’s 6th Symposium, “A Christian Vision of Belonging: Race and Gender,” November 3-4
  • West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Wednesday evening worship: Introduction of Symposium, and Willie James Jennings preaching, November 2
  • Attended Nonprofit Organization Conference, sponsored by UCLA, School of Anderson, October 28
  • NexGen pastoral fellowship, YoungNak Celebration Church, Jefferson, October 29
  • Moderated Pre-Symposium interview 2: “Why do we need to talk about gender in 2014?” with Willie James Jennings and Allen Yeh, October 9 (available at isaacweb.org)
  • Moderated Pre-Symposium interview 1: “Why do we need to talk about race in 2014?” with Kay Higuerra Smith, Oscar Owens, and Soong-Chan Rah, September 12 (available at isaacweb.org)
  • Presented paper on “Theological education at the well,” at AANATE (Association of Asian North American Theological Educators) Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary, October 4. 
Grateful to the Faithful: We deeply appreciate our financial partners who made it possible for us to continue ISAAC’s mission.  The keynote speaker of the sixth symposium, Rev Dr. Willie James Jennings suggested that ISAAC’s symposium be endowed.  He has already begun promoting ISAAC at the annual AAR/SBL!  As we dream of taking ISAAC to a long-term sustainable plan, would you pray with us and consider participating in offering your time, talents, and resources?  As a 501©3 organization, we rely on your generosity and offer tax-deductible receipts. 
Donations to ISAAC can be sent via PayPal (paypal@isaacweb.org) or check mailed to ISAAC, 826 Orange Grove Place, South Pasadena, CA 91030
Copyright © 2014 ISAAC: Innovative Space for Asian American Christianity, All rights reserved.


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