Lived theology in Asian America conference will focus on social, racial justice

Free two-day conference designed to educate and empower congregational leaders

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Lived Theology in Asian America Conference on race, justice and politics already has over 560 people registered. It is scheduled to take place on April 23-24. Dr. David C. Chao, who directs the Asian American Program at Princeton Theological Seminary, believes this is a timely and important conference.

“We have a fantastic list of speakers, many of whom are leaders in their field,” Chao said. “Many are also activists, committed to social and racial justice, and persons of faith.”

For Chao, given our nation’s racial reckoning, and following the killing of Asian American women in Atlanta a month ago, the church is increasingly an important partner in this movement for justice. When immigrants from Asia arrive in the U.S., they are often looking for a social and spiritual home. In many cases, they land in an Asian American church. So, when Asian Americans face harassment and violence, Chao thinks the church has a responsibility to speak out against anti-Asian hate.

Dr. David Chao

“There are very few spaces where academics, church leaders, and activists can gather together to discuss important issues of faith, politics, justice and race,” he said.

Chao believes that Asian American theology should serve Asian American churches. He says that theology isn’t simply an academic affair but derives its force from the faith that is practiced by ordinary people. At this conference, scholars, seminary students, pastors, lay leaders — along with activists and community organizers — can build relationships with each other on issues confronting Asian American Christians.

But it isn’t your typical academic conference. While new scholarship from the conference will be published in Theology Today, a major goal of the conference is to inspire the pursuit for racial justice.

“One of the goals of this conference is to equip and empower Asian American leaders with knowledge of their own history,” Chao said, “with knowledge and skills to advocate for racial justice from an Asian American perspective.”

You can register for the free conference, which begins at 9:15 am. EDT on Friday and wraps up Saturday at 3:00 p.m. EDT, here. The Presbyterian Mission Agency is among the conference sponsors.

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