Reformed Asian American Evangelicals and their Responses to COVID-19
The majority of this project focuses on Asian American evangelical organizations that have created content related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A smaller portion of this project focuses on Korean American churches and congregations and their responses. Though there are cultural, theological, and political differences between Asian American evangelicals and White evangelicals, the Asian American evangelical community is often looped in with the larger White American evangelical sphere.
This has had both positive and negative effects upon the Asian American evangelical community. On one hand, a handful of Asian American evangelical men have been able to assume positions of leadership over large, well-known evangelical organizations (Tom Lin of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA (IVCF), Julius Kim of The Gospel Coalition (TGC), Joel Kim of Westminster Seminary California, Walter Kim of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), and more).
On the other hand, Asian American Christians have been encouraged to assimilate into White evangelical communities in ways that may cause Asian American Christians to reject their ethnic identities and cultural practices to varying degrees in order to fully practice supposedly not-culturally biased Christianity. Asian Americans do not naturally follow the classic assimilation model (made popular by Park 1950; Warner and Stole 1945), nor is the symbolic ethnicity theory (which seems to work for Caucasian Americans) true for Asian Americans (Rebecca Y. Kim 2006).
In a country where race is often seen within a Black-White dualistic lens, Asian Americans, Latinx, and other groups may be overlooked in discussions of race. Asian Americans have been historically labelled the “model minority” by White leaders as a tactic to perpetuate stereotypes of an expected behavior from all non-White groups. The model minority myth has created tensions for Asian Americans in reconciling their personal identities with societal expectations.
Many Asian American Christians did not have to come to terms with their racial identities in the church before COVID-19. Congregating at church seemed far removed from the sociopolitical landscape. Preachers often encouraged their congregants to look beyond race and place more value in their Christian identities.
However, when news outlets reported that the coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China was quickly making its way across the world, anti-Asian sentiments reemerged overtly, confirming for many Asian Americans that the subtle microaggressions they experienced in their daily lives were telltale signs of further ingrained prejudices.
Religious Organizations of Focus
"The Asian American Christian Collaborative (AACC) seeks to encourage, equip, and empower Asian American Christians and friends of our community to follow Christ holistically. We are committed to amplifying the voices, issues, and histories of Asian Americans in the church and society at large."
"While the Asian American community is extremely diverse and we cannot speak for every individual and perspective, we aim to spotlight and celebrate the Asian American Christian community as inclusively as possible."
"SOLA Network exists to influence the emerging generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It serves as a digital platform for evangelical leaders, writers, speakers, and bloggers who share the same values of faith to provide Gospel-centered resources."
"The Meeting Place (TMP) is a prayer and training center that aims to catalyze a move of God in Southern California by raising up God’s mighty army who make God’s name known where they are."
"Our heart’s desire is to provide a space for the hungry and broken to come and meet with God through prayer, praise and the proclamation of God’s Word. We also desire to be a launching pad where people will be trained and equipped to further God’s Kingdom wherever God has placed them."