Understanding Shame and Its Effects on Asian Americans

(The following was originally posted on The Good Book Blog in two parts by Dr. Benjamin Shin. It is presented here in its entirety with minor edits for flow.) Understanding An Older Concept In Today’s World Many years ago, Fats Domino (and later Cheap Trick on Live at Budokon) sang these lyrics in the song entitled, “Ain’t That a Shame”: You made me cry, when you said goodbye
 Ain’t that a shame
 My tears fell like rain 
Ain’t that a shame
 You’re the one to blame You broke my heart, when you said we’re apart
 Ain’t that a shame 
My tears fell like rain
 Ain’t that a shame
 You’re the one to blame Although these lyrics reflect the sorrows of a jilted lover, they also capture an important older concept that has relevance for today. It embraces the dynamic of shame, which is one of the greatest cultural dynamics of the New Testament. This paradigm is key in understanding other concepts and various texts accurately especially as it relates to topics such as approval, reputation, glory, and status. While these practices were prevalent in the 1st century of the Mediterranean, they also have current bearing to different segments of society today, specifically Asian-Americans in the 21st century. This blog will be the first in a series of blogs that will demonstrate the correlation of Paul’s use of shame in light of the framework of Roman cultural practices as well as how it relates to modern 21st century Asian-American spiritual tendencies. The spread and growth of Christianity among Asian-Americans throughout the United States have been exponential. This has been witnessed...

Educating the Asian American Future: Interview with Ben Shin

Dr. Benjamin C. Shin was interviewed by Inheritance Magazine (March 2013) about the Talbot School of Theology’s Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Asian American Ministry Track. INH: How did you get involved with the inception of this program? BENJAMIN: It started with the realization that maybe Western seminaries, as good as they are, might not be helping students in their own cultural context. So the idea for this program had been around for about a year, when the director of the D.Min. program came to me and asked if this was something I’d be interested in. It was a no-brainer for me, as I’m very passionate about this. I’m at a point in my career where I’m trying to be more strategic. I’m training people who will be pastors in the M.Div. program, and I’m training pastors who are coming back for more education in the D.Min. program. I see myself as a shepherd or pastor to those pastors, and this program with Talbot will be a tremendous opportunity to do that. We are trying to retool, renew, and reform Asian American pastors and churches. As we retool them, we want to renew them with encouragement, with the hopes of reforming the Asian American church so they will be better and healthier for the future. And it all starts with the leaders. We want to help pastors understand what Asian American ministry is and how to succeed, flourish, and endure. INH: Can you give us a sneak peak of what the program will be like? BENJAMIN: We’ve set up classes for a three-year cohort, and we’ve hired what we think...