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Showing posts from July, 2013

In Life & In Death, We Belong to God

My grandfather, Satoru Nishita, and my mentor Bert Tom died last week. I sent a text to a Korean American pastor friend of mine saying, “All these old guys are leaving us.”   This, of course, was not meant to be a theological statement. This was a statement that was perfectly me: a bit dramatic. I am struggling with the passing of a generation of Asian Americans who faced racism and the assorted foibles of their professions with dignity. The generation of my grandparents, born in the U.S. but imprisoned by its own government for being of Japanese descent during World War II, is a generation that left a profound imprint on my generation and my mother’s generation, and it is slipping away before we get a chance to hear all the stories. Both of these men were Presbyterian. Bert served as the Associate Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of San Francisco, among many other functions of ministry. My grandfather was a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley. The

Yes, I'm a Minister. No, I Don't Have a Church.

This is the title of my blog because this is a conversation I have on a consistent basis. Any other ordained clergyperson who does not serve in traditional parish ministry probably feels my pain/pride right here. It’s my own fault. People ask what I do, and depending on my mood, I might say I’m a minister. Earlier in my ministry, I could have said things like “program coordinator” or “young adult leadership development” or “alumni relations” or “development” or “chauffeur/event planner/conference facilitator.” Now I could say “public relations for a church publishing house” and get away with it. It’s just that I really am a minister. These people who ask me what I do, innocently enough, usually ask the follow-up question: “Where is your church?” This is a perfectly logical question. In our cultural lexicon, ministry has been primarily associated with the parish. It was my intent to enter parish ministry when I graduated from seminary. Both my parents are in parish ministry

The Business of Interpretation

I started working at Presbyterian Publishing Corporation almost two months ago. PPC houses the imprints of Westminster John Knox, Geneva Press, and The Thoughtful Christian. I thought I would go through my personal bookshelves and pull out every book that is one of these imprints, or an older imprint that pre-dates the creation of WJK. The four pictures above are the result of this little exercise. Are you worried these are all the books I own? Nope. You're missing a nice view of the gajillion other books I have scattered all over the house. It is also true I used to have more books. My household has been through at least five good book purges post-seminary. I love books. I have them in paper format and in e-book format. I love to check out books from the library. I love receiving books as gifts. I love looking through other people's bookshelves. In this blog, I will be posting musings, reflections, rants, and general randomness as a part of my ministry. I am doing c