by Dr. Daniel D. Lee
“At an Asian American conference, after presenting a survey of current scholarship on Asian American theology, the speaker asked the attendees, mostly Asian American pastors, Is this helpful? Do we need this? While the speaker phrased the question as one of usefulness, underlying it was the question of the legitimacy and place of Asian American theology. He was not asking a rhetorical question, but truly wondering whether we need an Asian American theology. His question, a common one, exposes the deep and widespread misunderstanding about the nature of the theological task in general, and the task of Asian American theology in particular.
This chapter is a non-apology for the existence of Asian American theologies. I offer no justification or defense for the existence and the importance of Asian American theologies, no answer to the question of whether Asian American theologies should exist or if they deserve attention, because the basic premise of that question is fundamentally flawed. I will, however, lay out the nature of theology, as it relates to questions about contextuality, normativity, and the dynamic tension between particularity and universality. In understanding the nature of theology, we will be able to understand how the task of Asian American theology fits into the broader global and multiethnic landscape.”
Take some time to take in this perspective. What comes up for you? Where are you resonating or feeling tension? As you consider your CCD work, we hope this helps you start to understand the features and nuances of the Asian American identity and context.
Learn more from Dr. Daniel Lee about his book, Doing Asian American Theology. Join us at his author meetup (below) and read the rest of this excerpt of his book once you register!
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