Learning Our Names
What's your name?
Asian Americans know the pain of being called names that deny our humanity. We may toggle back and forth between different names as a survival strategy. But it's a challenge to discern what names reflect our true identities as Asian Americans and as Christians. In an era when Asians face ongoing discrimination and marginalization, it can be hard to live into God's calling for our lives.
Asian American Christians need to hear and own our diverse stories beyond the cultural expectations of the model minority or perpetual foreigner. A team from East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian backgrounds explores what it means to learn our names and be seen by God. They encourage us to know our history, telling diverse stories of the Asian diaspora in America who have been shaped and misshaped by migration, culture, and faith. As we live in the multiple tensions of being Asian American Christians, we can discover who we are and what God may have in store for us and our communities.
"Learning Our Names is written by seasoned and talented ministers who address issues facing this generation of young Asian Americans: self-identity, dealing with anti-Asian racialization, family relationships, vocation, and more. I know and respect these writers. They communicate with deep understanding and compassion but don't pull punches on the hard stuff most Asian American Christians face. It's one that deserves a slow, thoughtful read . . . and re-read."
"This book was so encouraging to me as an Asian American continuing to explore how my identity shapes my faith. May we continue to find who we are and how much our unique voices add to the body of Christ. Sabrina, Linson, David, and La share honestly and thoughtfully about what this could look like."
"Many people have both a public and an intimate relationship with their names. This book, through the lens of names, invites us into the particular experiences of a diverse Asian American community. Learning Our Names provides a thoughtful investigation of the intersection of culture and race that mixes careful biblical engagement with vivid stories. It's a timely and expansive exploration for both Asian Americans and those who want to learn by entering into the stories and experiences of Asian Americans."
"Warning: this book will awaken you to better understand a dynamic and growing population of Jesus followers. You may end up longing to participate in the good work that God is doing in the AAPI community. Learning Our Names provides inside stories that evoke both laughter and tears and give insight into the unique identity and social-cultural reality of AAPI Christians. You will need this book for impactful ministry in the twenty-first-century North American context."
"In this racial moment, all groups should consider how God is calling them and using them for his kingdom of grace, justice, and peace. Learning Our Names is a sorely needed reflection of how God is healing and setting apart Asian American followers of Jesus to be instruments of transformative hope. I especially appreciate how the authors integrate Scriptures, their personal narratives, and the collective wisdom of our community to speak truth into our lives. I wish I'd had such a book as a young person, and even as an older person I have been blessed by its insights."
"This is the Asian American discipleship book for the post-Trump, #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, post-Covid, AAPI hate era. With their fingers on the pulse of this generation, Sabrina, Linson, David, and La show us what deep commitment to Christ looks like for young Asian Americans in their great diversity and complexity. In its contextual depth, sophistication, and nuances, this book sets a new benchmark for how Asian American ministry books should be written."
"If you are at a crossroads in life or work with Asians, insights of these Asian American leaders on ethnic identity, interpersonal relations, and vocational calling will provide a clear road map to navigate your journey. How I wish I had read these reflections three decades ago when I was struggling with my transition from a corporate career to Christian ministry!"
"Whether you're Asian American or not, Learning Our Names will helpfully guide you through an insightful and redemptive journey of our names, our histories, our families, our backgrounds, and our gifts in light of God's larger story. It's a great primer that shows how Asian Americans can embrace where we've come from and who we're made to be in faith, life, and love."
"In a world that often leaves us as Asian Americans feeling fragmented and unseen, Learning Our Names is a much-needed invitation for us to bring our whole selves to God. The authors' reflections help create an entry point for each of us to examine our own stories individually and collectively."
"Chan, Daniel, de Leon, and Thao take on the limitations and possibilities of the label 'Asian American' while leading Asian Americans back to ourselves, our communities, and our Creator. The authors pass back and forth a narrative baton that honors those who came before us with grace and honesty, and beautifully offer an invitation for readers to do the same. Learning Our Names skillfully holds the tension of a book that will freeze experiences in time for a people whose stories continue to emerge."
"This is a book that many of us have needed for so long! Writing vulnerably and with great care, the authors share their diverse Asian American stories and welcome us into a series of painfully honest and at times hilarious conversations about who we are. Each chapter adds rich biblical imagery and language to our unique experiences, helping us to see and celebrate ourselves and our communities as wonderfully made, named, and loved."
Introduction, Sabrina S. Chan
Part One: Learning Our Stories
1. Knowing Our Names, E. David de Leon
2. Being Asian American, E. David de Leon
3. Resisting Our Racialization, Sabrina S. Chan
Part Two: Learning Our Relationships
4. Knowing Our Parents, La Thao
5. Growing Our Partnerships, Sabrina S. Chan and Linson Daniel
6. Living Our Singleness, La Thao
7. Embracing Our Religious Diversity, La Thao
Part Three: Learning Our Vocations
8. Finding a Home at Church, Linson Daniel
9. Discovering Our Vocation, Linson Daniel
10. Bringing Our Leadership, Sabrina S. Chan
Questions for Reflection and Discussion