Photo by Tim Green

Photo by Tim Green

By Young Lee Hertig

My daughter, Raia, is scheduled to undergo a gallbladder removal surgery at the young age of 24.  My immediate reaction is to wonder whether her doctor has exhausted all other options available.

Seen from an Eastern lens, I tend to be skeptical of the more surgery-prone Western medical approach.  The reductionist lens (epistemology) of the West tends to see one leaf without checking the whole tree or the forest.  By contrast, the non-western epistemology is holistic which sees the forest before checking the leaf.

My grandfather practiced acupuncture and herbal medicine and therefore, I am much more rooted in the Eastern medical wisdom than the Western.   Its interdependent and holistic approach to the human body surely poses challenges to the fragmented Western mindset.  For example, according to Chinese medicine, the gallbladder, besides its function as the deposit of the liver’s bile, is also a channel where Qi flows.

How does one reconcile such different perspectives in interpreting health, humanity, the world, and God?   For instance, churches are also impacted by reductionist epistemology.  Unlike the Triune interdependent God, churches in general reduce Christianity to a half-gendered partiarchal religion.

I am weary of the increasing gender exclusive line-up featured speakers in evangelical conferences in Los Angeles.  It feels weary to have to call it out as it seems to fall on deaf ears or is easily dismissed through negative labeling. When these labels come from former students who are now established senior pastors, it feels even more unusual.

Rev. Dr. Willie James Jennings (at ISAAC’s 6th symposium in November 3-4,) theologically- critiqued patriarchal Christianity as a counterfeit Christianity that runs against the interdependent, Triune God. I wonder how long we are to settle with this counterfeit version of Christianity out of a fear of being labeled or dismissed.

Dear sisters in Christ, gendered patriarchal Christianity — besides producing a counterfeit Christianity — also ensues unintended consequences such as human trafficking, divorce, domestic violence, and other socioeconomic ills.

How long are we to continue various missions of window-dressing without questioning the root cause–patriarchal gender exclusion and oppression?  How can the church become the body of Christ when the majority — women — are excluded from exercising their callings from God?

Dear brothers in Christ, it is for your vested interests that you practice gender-inclusive leadership in the church.   Inviting women to the table when planning conferences will benefit God’s ministry, including your church and the world.

Dear sisters in Christ, fear not when speaking the truth.  When we allow only male and white female role models, we perpetuate the internalized self-inadequacies if not self-hatred.

Becoming the body of Christ involves representation and participation of all parts.  For these ecclesial reasons, and for a gender-inclusive imago dei, we ought to stay alert. Hence, I plead to both men and women to  liberate ourselves from half the gospel toward a more wholesome gospel. I have been grappling with this increasing gender-regressive trend today compared to the ’90s.  And I will continue to voice it.

Some of you may wonder how my daughter’s gallbladder surgery turned into gender inclusion pitch? The Apostle Paul’s metaphor “the body of Christ” is a holistic epistemology that is interrelated, not independent; inclusive, not exclusive; and offers preferential treatment to the weaker parts, such as the gallbladder.

Rev. Dr. Young Lee Hertig is executive director and a founding member of ISAAC (Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity) and AAWOL (Asian American Women On Leadership). She teaches in the Global Studies and Sociology Department at Azusa Pacific University and is an ordained Presbyterian clergy as well as a commissioner of the Presbyterian Church USA to the National Council of Churches Faith and Order.

Singing a New Song

Photo by Dhilung Kirat

Photo by Dhilung Kirat

By Eun Joo Angela Ryo

Last October marked my one year anniversary of completing the work required by my denomination to seek my first call for ordination.  After discernment meeting after another, after interview after interview, after four grueling ordination exams, and after three long years of full-time seminary, I was finally deemed worthy to be ordained in the PCUSA provided that I find a church or organization that would ordain me into ministry.  Continue Reading »

Photo by liz west

Photo by liz west

By Joy Wong

Back in college, I remember participating in an icebreaker activity where everyone had to name a fruit that they wanted to be and say why.  We went around the circle, and when it came to my turn, I said, “a seedless clementine.”  The reason?  “Because they’re easy to peel, easy to eat (because they’re seedless), and sweet.”   Continue Reading »

The Golden Era

Photo by Nikos Koutoulas

Photo by Nikos Koutoulas

By Chloe Sun

When and what is your “Golden Era”? Is this era in the past, present, or future? The phrase suggests someone in the present, looking back to a certain time period in the past, crowning that time period as “the Golden Era.” Perhaps compared with the present, that time period in the past seems the most beautiful, glittering, and unsurpassable. Continue Reading »

Jiro’s Dream

Photo by Kanko*

Photo by Kanko*

By Wendy Choy-Chan

Last night, I watched a documentary about an  85-year-old Japanese sushi chef, Jiro. He has worked non-stop for 75 years, from being an apprentice to running his own sushi restaurant, doing the same routine day in and day out.  What keeps him going?

At the beginning, it was work or nothing. Continue Reading »


Photo by Kenny Loule

Photo by Kenny Loule

By Tina Teng-Henson

Psalm 131 

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

Continue Reading »

Photo by Steve wilson

Photo by Steve wilson

By Liz Chang

Only recently have I become quick to notice the number (read, lack) of people who look like me at conferences and professional events. At the most recent professional conference I attended for work, I spotted no more than three or four Asian Americans out of over 300 people present. Continue Reading »


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