IVCF Hosts Lecture on Christian Activism During Asian Pacific Culture Week

( [email protected] ) Apr 22, 2004 07:25 PM EDT

Among the many activities and events offered during the Asian Pacific Culture Week at University of California, Davis, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Asian American Christian Fellowship hosted a two-hour lecture on Asian Americans Christians acitivism in dealing adresssing issues on multi-ethnicity, race and community organizing.

Russell Jeung, a professor from the department of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, was the key speaker on April 20.

The event's organizer and IVCF member Catherine Chen said she suggested Jeung to speak at the session because she had heard him speak at a church during her Urban Global Missions program to Oakland, California, and she likes what he has to say.

"I don't find that many Christian activists that really have the passion to spread God's word and to really emphasize the importance of ethnicity and diversity and activism," said Chen.

Jeung, who received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, is actively engaged in tenant organizing at the Oak Park Apartments, a ministry of New Hope Covenant Church in Oakland. He also occassionally presents at theological seminaries at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Chen hoped the lecture would be a common ground where the Christian community and the activist community at UC David could meet together.

"If you are in the Christian community at Davis, you are in the christian community. If you are in the activist community, you are in the activist community," stated Chen, describing the student groups on campus.

"I thought there was a big tension between those groups."

Professor Jeung clarified common misconceptions about Christianity that it assimilated people but said that religion is a good thing because it can change lives and bring organization, according to Chen. "There is a lot of social movements through the church," she noted.

Christians have the responsiblity to respond to the needs of society in addition to preaching the Gospel, Chen said.

"It's very important because that's what Jesus said. There are a lot things wrong in this community. If we just stand around and let those things happen, I don't see how that is reflective of God or Jesus," she said."I see a lot of people evangelizing and that's very good, but a lot of people don't have a heart for social justice."

By doing being active in social issues is also an indirect way of showing others the life of the Gospel. For Chen, she wants to show others that Christians don't only live for those inside the Christian community.

The service "reaches out to other people who don't respond to evangelism as well but they see that people do care," she said.

Having a caring heart is what she hopes to keep during her on an IVCF-sponsored Global Urban Mission trip to Manila, Philippines this summer.

"I want to know what His heart is and what He 's doing and I want to be a part of that."