I just returned from two lovely weeks in Vienna, Austria where my sister is studying abroad and doing some fascinating archaeological digs with some really cool people. I think every good trip to a distant place should have the potential to alter the way you see the world, and that’s definitely been my experience in Europe and beyond. Only if a city really inflects itself in you, you will miss it even when you’re home, and you will begin to feel less home at home, always remembering another somewhere and another set of someones. That’s only happened to me a couple of times, and although lots of folks I encountered in Vienna were bristling cold by my Midwest standards, there was something amazing about being there, and I will carry these memories with me for a long time.
Anyhow, below are some of the tentative summer plans I have this year:
I will be taking a summer class at SCUPE this June called Building Together a Just Economy, taught by Joerg Rieger and Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger. Although I’ve never taken a critical race theory class, a theology class, or a class on gender/sexuality I have tried my best to self-educate in these areas, and I think I’ve been able to do so relatively well. However, I can’t wrap my head always around the economic dynamics of oppressive systems, and I think that this course will really help me appreciate the theological resources that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity can offer when it comes to the project of tackling exploitative capitalism and building a just economic system as people of faith. I hope that I can continue to take classes in more practical pastoral areas as well, but I know that I really need to improve my economic analyses in order to do more intersectional justice work.
I had a great time teaching Adult Christian Formation last month with my congregation, St. Paul and the Redeemer, where I was part of a series of speakers addressing white racism and privilege in the church and society. We explored how to use theological and liturgical resources, as well as story and academia, in order to challenge white supremacy. I am also excited to share that SPR is where I will be fulfilling my seminary’s field placement requirement this next year as a pastoral intern, which means I hope to get to do all sorts of fun things like leading Bible studies, preaching, and working with youth right here in Hyde Park.
At the e-formation conference held at Virginia Theological Seminary from June 5-8, I’ll be presenting an interactive workshop on Doing Theology Online. As you may know from reading my blog or engaging with me on social media, lots of the ways I have been interested about using social media have intersected with concerns and questions about challenging power structures with marginalized theological perspectives. If you’re interested in purchasing Webinar access to the conference ($89), my session and many others may be viewed from home.
However, I hope they make the video of my talk eventually free. If that’s not the case and if the webinar access is too expensive for you, email me (email@example.com) and I’ll send you my notes and slides.
I’m participating in a lot of fun things at Wild Goose this year:
- The day before the Goose, I will be facilitating a daylong pre-festival workshop with several friends and colleagues called the Racial Justice Institute. Check it out here! As an anti-racism educator, I am very excited about this gathering, and I actually think this event will be worth coming to Wild Goose itself. We have a few free tickets to give away for friends, so please let me know if you’re interested.
- I’m going to be on a panel about diaspora and Asian American/bicultural identity with theologian Soong-Chang Rah and filmmaker SueAnn Shiah, which I’m getting psyched about. I have never seen many Asian American and/or Pacific Islander speakers or attendees of the festival, so this should be interesting.
- I’ll be speaking to the youth participants of Wild Goose about claiming our ancestral heritages to fight racism, in a workshop called “All In God’s Image: You Contain Multitudes.” Only young ones allowed, but if you are an interested parent I’m happy to pass along my notes.
- I’m going to be participating in a fishbowl discussion with some fellow LGBTQ+ Christians on how to handle faithful engagement and disagreement in conversations around human sexuality and the church in a session called “Oriented to Love.”
- My friend Austen and I are leading a workshop on liminality in terms of gender and race. Here’s the description: Join transgender theologian Austen Hartke and Japanese American educator Kenji Kuramitsu in sharing stories of social liminality as we inhabit “betwixt and between” spaces. We’ll be considering the middle grounds of race, gender, faith, and sexuality as we highlight relevant characters from scripture and throughout church history. This will be a “mixed-methods” workshop using stories as a point of departure for creating authentic and healing theology, and encouraging participants to explore and voice their own social locations.
- I’m joining worship leader (and my boss!) Gary Rand and other creatives in a Christian worship session on Friday night that will incorporate spoken word, carpentry (really), and sacrament to challenge unjust the social structures that depress and dehumanize us.
- It looks like I’ll be a part of a panel with my friends AnaYelsi Sanchez, Micky Scottbey Jones, and Jim Wallis about racism in America.
The day after Wild Goose, I’m headed to Las Vegas for a week of long board meetings and fraught Robert’s Rules-driven voting sessions. No, it’s not for a church convention – one of the other hats I wear is serving on the National Board of Directors of the Japanese American Citizens League, working to empower young Japanese Americans. We’ll be having what is shaping up to be a very interesting yearly convention as hundreds of Nikkei descend on Las Vegas.
The last week of July I am headed to Provincetown, MA to work as a staff member at COLAGE camp. This is my second year doing this, and the relationships I made last year were simply life-changing. Before I understood myself as almost anything else, I understood myself to be bad because I was queerspawn: the child of a gay parent who felt like this was a terrible secret to hide. I’m doing some teaching there: I will be presenting to high schoolers about how to disrupt white supremacy in their communities and families and co-leading a workshop to LGBTQ parents on race and parenting children of color as a queer person.
In August, I’m saving up for a plane ticket to Hawai’i, where I’ll be living for the month and working with my church’s diocese out there hopefully in a ministerial internship kind of placement. At the end of the month, properly tanned, I will be headed to New York City with my partner to hang out with and visit my friend Jeff.
Please do say hello and let’s make sure to connect if you find yourself in Honolulu, New York City, Boston/Provincetown, Hot Springs, Las Vegas, Chicago, or Alexandria/DC when I am around. If you are feeling particularly generous and want to help supplement the travel experiences I am hoping to have this summer, please do get in touch with me (with many of these opportunities I am hoping to simply break even, and at this stage in my life generosity is always appreciated). I’ll be in Chicago for around 4 scattered weeks this summer, so please get in touch if you are interested in hanging out here!