An Asian American in the Diaspora in an age of Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians

This past weekend was the release of the much awaited movie, Crazy Rich Asians. It has been applauded by many as being the first movie since Joy Luck Club to have a cast composed entirely of individuals of Asian descent. This has not been without some controversy—some have accused its main male actor Henry Golding as not being Asian enough because his father is English, and the cast does not offer proper representation of multicultural Singapore. But the overall sense of the movie, it seems, has been one that can only be described as “redemptive” (see, for example, this tweetstorm). As my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with friends and strangers declaring how healing the movie has been for them, I can’t watch the film since I live in the UK where the film comes out later—September 14. Continue reading “An Asian American in the Diaspora in an age of Crazy Rich Asians”

Orthodoxy and Chinese Public Theology

This was originally posted on the blog Orthodoxy in Dialogue on 14 May 2018.

9780198808695Many have noted the recent “Orthodox Renaissance” in Western studies of Christianity. Helpfully, an increasing number of Orthodox writers have produced theological primers for Western Christians. Furthermore, Western luminaries—from Aquinas to Calvin, from Barth to Torrance—have been “rediscovered” for being closet Orthodox Christians (okay, that may be a stretch) who offer their own versions of theosis. My own work has followed this latter trajectory in many senses, although it has focused on another “Eastern” Christianity—that is, the East Asian Christianity of mainland China. Continue reading “Orthodoxy and Chinese Public Theology”

Summer Intensive at Tyndale Seminary (July 2018)

This summer, I am very much looking forward to being in Toronto this summer to teach a 1-week intensive version of a class I teach in Edinburgh: Theologies in Global Contexts. If you know of somebody studying at Tyndale Seminary or in the Toronto area who may be interested, let them know. Here’s the promo video for the class:

The course description is as follows: Continue reading “Summer Intensive at Tyndale Seminary (July 2018)”

“Nestorianism” in China

Jingjiao SteleThere is no such thing!

I have read many historical studies and essays about the encounter between Christianity and China, including in the last few months, and a great many of them begin by discussing the arrival of Nestorianism into China in the seventh century. While I also held this position for many years—and even used the term in my PhD—it was not until I was preparing my first book for publication that I decided to look into the literature on the matter. After much reading, I was convinced that I was wrong. Hence, the very first footnote in this book on twentieth century Chinese Christianity includes my longest footnote—dedicated to a seventh century topic. A very important seventh century topic.

To save you from looking it up, I cite it here at length:1 Continue reading ““Nestorianism” in China”

The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples

This year, there are many festivities celebrating the legacy of the Protestant Reformation – 500 years after Martin Luther penned his Ninety-five Theses in 1517. However, one of the most important legacies which has been overlooked is the Counter-Reformation – the Catholic revival which responded to the protests of Luther and other reformers. When we consider a country like China – or most other places outside of Europe at the time – it is in fact the Counter-Reformation that had an arguably more important impact (at least initially). Three examples, I believe, are worth highlighting, as they show just how much Protestantism in China is indebted to Catholicism in China and, by extension, the Counter-Reformation. Continue reading “The Legacy of the (Counter) Reformation in China: 3 Examples”