Henry S. Kuo is assistant professor of theology and ethics at Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic and philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California; an M.Div. with a focus on Christian ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary; and an M.A. in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on questions in ecclesiology, applied ethics (particularly business and legal ethics) and has published articles on the matter in Reformed World, Religions, the Journal of Religion and Business Ethics, and Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology.
How I understand Tran’s story is that the script for Asian American Christian resistances to racial capitalism needs to be formed by the dangerous memory of Jesus Christ’s witness. Otherwise, Asian American theologies end up resisting identarian essentializations of Asian America that do not always speak to concrete challenges and dynamics that Asian Americans experience.
Even though Asian America is irreducibly diverse, the vast majority of Asian American theological voices are East Asian theological voices, with voices and concerns from Southeast Asian, Filipinx, Pacific Islander, South Asian, and Middle Eastern Christians being barely heard or simply dismissed. This raises questions about how helpful “Asian American” is as an identitarian category.
In our times when critical thought is suspect and even scientific facts have become articles of faith in need of defense, to play the double bind between the ethical and the political is the constant task Christians and others must continually engage in. This play contains serious risks, no doubt. What gives grace its generosity and generative capaciousness also makes it liable to be the locus of opportunism and oppression.
The Gospel of Mark’s beguiling beginning bids us to consider the dangers of beginnings. John the Baptist’s heralding of Jesus’s coming was not the finality of salvation, but merely a herald to its coming. In this light should we consider our works of bringing God’s salvation and liberation to the world. The work of justice and liberation is long and hard, and many of us will be called to herald it, to lay the groundwork for its eventual manifestation.