16 May 2017 Let me tell you my story: Part 2
author, Pam Davila
Two years ago I saw a panel of Christian women discuss these three questions. I have not been the same since.
- What is racism?
- What is the role of the church in bridging the racial divide?
- How has race affected your faith?
Before I proceed, here’s some insight to my backstory. I was born in Taiwan and have lived in the greater Seattle area since the age of five. My husband is from Peru and immigrated to the United States as an adult. My children are the most adorable Taiwanese Peruvian American kids you will ever meet! I am biased but I’m pretty sure it’s true. I have experienced and observed the beauty, challenge and pain that come with being an immigrant, racial minority, English language learner, interracial couple and multi-lingual and multi-ethnic family.
It’s also important to note that I became a Christian in high school. Nobody in my immediate family had a relationship with Jesus at that time. Most of my friends, pastors and mentors during those formative years were Caucasian. As I wrestled with questions about race, culture, identify and faith, I didn’t feel like many people around me could relate or provide an answer. For example:
- Am I first or second generation? Chinese American or Taiwanese American?
- Are my parents being overly sensitive or was that truly an act of discrimination?
- How do I follow Jesus without dishonoring my parents?
- Why don’t I see more Asian Americans represented in mainstream culture? Or the church for that matter?
- What does the Bible say about the American Dream and what does that mean for children of immigrants who feel burdened to demonstrate that their parents’ sacrifice was worthwhile?
God graciously provided some answers along the way. However, two years ago, the convergence of this panel discussion with current events in our nation and my continued curiosity and uneasiness stirred me to action. They were simple and ordinary actions like re-watching the panel discussion, learning more from the Be the Bridge Facebook group, praying, noticing more people of color around me and asking my questions out loud.
In fact, late last year I asked Lauren Neal, the Director of Women’s Ministry at Northshore, “Is there a place for women of color at Northshore?” The question led to a gathering of women from different backgrounds around a dinner table. The gathering led to conversations, somewhat awkward but absolutely life-giving conversations about race and faith. Those conversations have led to relationships and additional learning opportunities at local conferences, including the Be the Bridge panel discussion at IF: Gathering 2017.
So what’s my point? My point is you are not the only one wrestling and restless. Jesus cares deeply for racial reconciliation and unity. The Bible informs us about this issue. If you want to learn more and be in relationship with like-minded sisters, come to the Glacier Room (formally the Student Center) at Northshore Community Church on Friday, May 19th at 7pm. The speaker will be Lina Thompson, a pastor and teacher with a vision of reconciliation, hope and justice. Please RSVP by May 17th with an email to Lauren