Daniel Lee is the director of the Asian American Center and assistant professor of theology and Asian American ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. Ordained in the Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad, he has served in pastoral roles in both New Jersey and Southern California. He was previously a chaplain and a field staff member for Servants Ministry in Virginia. Lee is author of the book, “Double Particularity: Karl Barth, Contextuality, and Asian American Theology” as well as several articles. He holds a B.S. from the University of Virginia, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and an M.Th. and a Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary.
In Today’s Conversation, Leith Anderson and Daniel Lee talk about how culture affects faith, differences between predominantly white churches and Asian American churches, how Asian Americans understand racism in the United States, and more.
In this podcast, you’ll also hear Daniel, who trains Asian Americans for church leadership and others for ministry to Asian Americans, explain:
- The challenges Asian American Christian leaders face when serving in non-Asian majority contexts;
- The diversity within Asian American churches;
- The history and growth of Asian immigration to the United States; and
- How Asian American believers are influencing the broader U.S. evangelical movement.
Read a Portion of the Transcript
Leith: Talk to us about why cultural identity is important for all Christians to consider. And how does that relate to how diversity is important? How do these things connect?
Daniel: Cultural, racial, family, religion — all that’s important for us. It’s important, because we want to bring all of ourselves to God — for us to know ourselves and to offer all of ourselves to God. Offer all of ourselves to be reconciled with the gospel, all of ourselves to be transformed by the gospel, and all of who we are to be taken up for kingdom work. For that to happen, we need to know ourselves to be able to do that.
Now if we don’t know who we are, what ends up happening a lot of times is we assume that these things are just normative. They’re not things that impact our faith. One of the things that I’ve learned in missional theology is … that we’re actually in a context. Lesslie Newbigin and other people actually realized all the missiological tools we learned from all the oversees missions applies to America. The fact that we are in a context, and these things can actually enhance or distort our faith. In that way, if we don’t know our context, then we can be totally captive to our context as well.
So just for the sake of understanding what the gospel is and to make sure we’re not being co-opted by cultural context and cultural influences, it’s important to know our cultural identity. In another way, knowing ourselves actually helps us to see our neighbors as well. I think that’s important. In that sense, I think culture identity and knowledge and aptitude is important.
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Today’s Conversation is brought to you by Fuller Theological Seminary.