Raised as one of only a handful of Asians in my Chicago suburb, I did not want to be part of the Asian culture. It did not seem relevant. Besides, I thought, "Other than skin color, we're all the same, right?"
I remember hearing comments from friends such as "I don't think of you as Asian, but just like the rest of us [white]." These were meant as compliments (and I often took them as such), but they were confusing, since I, no matter how much I might have tried to deny it, was Asian and different. Though self-confident and socially adept on the outside, in my heart I felt ashamed of my parents' culture at times and ashamed of myself for being a part of that culture.
At home my Western ideals of expressing love were not being met by the less physically and verbally expressive ideals of my parents' culture. Feeding me and checking up on my grades seemed to be all that they cared about. I felt as though I didn't belong in my parents' world or in my white friends' world. Where did I belong as an Asian-American?
Face and grace. These are the themes that weave through Tom Lin's journey (recounted above) and the lives of many Asian-American Christians. How do we escape the trap of trying to earn our salvation? How do we handle the expectations of our parents in light of God's calling in our lives? What do we do with the shame that threatens to overtake our self-image?
The inductive Bible studies in this guide explore these questions and much more. You'll find help and hope in Scripture--and you may even find yourself.
Introduction by Dave Gibbons
Welcome to Losing Face and Finding Grace
Part One: Finding Our Identity
1. A Party, for Me? - Luke 15:11-24
2. Expectations - Luke 15:25-32
3. Languages of Love
4. Idolizing the Family - Ephesians 6:1-3 - Matthew 10:34-39
Part Two: Breaking Free
5. Performance Orientation - Luke 10:38-42
6. Beyond the Image - Luke 7:36-50
7. Toxic Shame - John 8:2-11
8. Earning a Trip to Heaven? - Mark 10:17-31
9. Motivated by Love
Part Three: Into the World
10. Becoming Citizens - Ephesians 2:13-22
11. Risk-Taking - Luke 19:11-26
12. Dangerous Head Knowledge - James 1:22-25 - Matthew 7:24-27
Recommended for Further Study