Shared by Maria Liu Wong
God has always pushed me to cross boundaries and go beyond my comfort zone. Prior to my doctoral program, I found that many of my circles were too limiting; I had too many Christians in my circles, and I began to feel convicted that I needed to have more hard conversations with non-Christians. But how can you be a witness and testimony if all the people around you are Christians?
I began to make intentional steps to maintain my non-Christian friendships, going to the park with my neighbors, etc. More recently, I just completed a research project with my classmates, a group of six very diverse women. At first, I was very hesitant to speak about faith, even though spirituality was part of our inquiry process. But I’m learning to be much more bold about my faith. Even in the “PC” academic environment where to have an absolute faith is seen as being totally exclusive, it doesn’t have to stop you from being able to having conversations and dialogue with others.
It turned out to be a really powerful breakdown of stereotypes when I spoke up in my group about my faith without condemning their own expressions of spirituality. I’m beginning to feel more and more that it’s important that I keep going at this, being bold and grounded in my faith in different environments; to say “this is what I think and this is how I see things” and not be afraid to speak up in those “PC” environments, where spirituality is reduced by relativism.
This recent lesson (and life lesson, really) is how to find my own voice and to really understand and express how that flows out of my relationship with God. It’s clear to me now how my faith deeply impacts and influences all my decisions, my relationships, and my communities, Christian or non-Christian.
Maria Liu Wong is the dean of City Seminary of New York, as well as a doctoral candidate of Teachers College at Columbia University. Her focus of study is Asian American, West Indian, African, and Asian women leaders in theological education. Maria is a mom of two kids with one on the way, and married to a great husband who supports her in all her endeavors.
Interviewed by Joy Wong