In Mandarin Chinese, China is called Zhongguo – the Middle (中, zhong) Kingdom (国, guo). Drawn like a drum tower marking out the center of a military encampment, for over three thousand years these characters have served as a visual reminder of China’s role as the center of influence, wealth, and power.
As a kid growing up in Delaware, I loved a book that my parents bought at a local science museum. Crammed full of facts (the moon is 3.5 million football fields away from the earth!), activities (fold this paper airplane!), and toys (here’s a prism!), it was perfect for long car rides.
On one page, two maps of the world sat side-by-side. On the left, countries were scaled to their populations; on the right, their wealth. The caption below pointed out: how lucky you are to be living in America! I would look back and forth at my country’s tiny population and outsized wealth, thanking God for the good fortune to be born in this self-proclaimed “leader of the free world”.
“centeredness comes at the cost of others”
In their own ways, both China and the USA see themselves as the center of the world, with histories of setting the global direction of culture and capital. But yet, for both nations, this centeredness comes at the cost of others: from the inhumane wickedness of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, to the cultural erasure of Chinese minority groups. Authority in the human realm is a zero-sum game: for someone to gain power, someone else must lose it.
Meanwhile, Christianity proclaims that our lives – all reality, in fact – is centered on Jesus Christ. But our God is greater than the human powers who demand our allegiance. And so, the Kingdom of Heaven is an entirely different thing than earthly kingdoms. When Christ is at the center, we find ourselves drawn in as well. Rather than being displaced by His power, we wind up embraced by His goodness.
“When Christ is at the center, we find ourselves drawn in as well.”
Today, we launch Centered, a new website dedicated to creating and gathering resources to help the Asian American Church.
Specifically, we believe that Christ’s love for us embraces and completes us without erasing or replacing us. And so, Centered will be a place to see God’s goodness, grace, and truth revealed in our Asian American families, wounds, loves, confusion, celebration, and needs. Asian America possesses a richness of experiences, and we are excited to dig deep into all our God-given particularities, from Hmong to Pinay, Khmer to Desi, and beyond.
Every Monday and Wednesday, we’ll be posting new devotional blogs and articles on the Christian life; Thursdays will bring podcasts about Asian American church community and theology; and we’re also beginning to fill out and update the other various resources we’ve found and created.
Beyond content, we’re looking to build community. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, whether commenting on our posts, engaging on Facebook, or contacting us through our email: Centered.Today at gmail dot com
May we remember and discover how God loves and embraces all of who we are;