Racial, ethic, and cultural tensions have received plenty of attention in many church circles. Perhaps not enough attention, and maybe the results from it have not been sufficient, but there has been a growing sense that these divisions in the church ought to be repaired.
But there are other divisions, and other kinds of racial, ethnic, and cultural tensions, that are the result of our globalizing world. These tensions can also exist within, as well as between, ethnic groups. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Professor Peter Cha has studied how Asian-American Christian families experience generational tension.
Parents — particularly immigrant parents who had given up a great deal back in their homeland to come here and start anew — often desire that their children have opportunities that they did not have back in Korea or China or Japan. When they’ve come to this country and toiled many hours of hard labor, there is a sense of deferred dreams that they have for their children.
When their children come back from an InterVarsity camp and say, “I know you wanted me to go into medicine, but I sense God’s call to be a missionary or God’s call to go into an under-resourced area as a public school teacher,” you can imagine what that conversation might be like.
I feel that each community has different tensions and conflicts to resolve. For Asian-American Christian communities, probably one of the most contested and conflicted areas of tension is this intergenerational one.