Individualism characterizes the American culture. It’s an environment that says “Be yourself”, “Do what’s best for you”, and “Look out for number one.” Heart-warming children’s books and films emphasize how special or how unique each child is. Ad campaigns stress the idea of “expressing yourself” and “You owe it to yourself.”
I look at the websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and <gasp> blogs like this one, and I realize how much they are used as channels of self-absorption. “Everyone, look at me!” “Want to know what my interests are?” “Look at photos of me!” “I’m sure everyone is dying to know all of my thoughts!”
It’s in this environment that Asian-Americans are raised, torn between two cultures. One culture, characterized by the aforementioned individualism. The other culture, characterized by a group and family identity.
In this clash, the church (not just the Asian-American church, by the way) must strive to reach these people. Asian-Americans, torn between two cultures, realize their need for meaning and significance, yet hesitate at expressing their need.