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This lecture was recorded on April 29, 2023, as part of the 2023 Asian American Theology Conference “Multiple Belongings in Transpacific Christianities: Christian Faith and Asian Migration to the US.” Find out more about the conference here: Introduction by Dr. Easten Law of Princeton Theological Seminary.

Abstract: When the first wave of Korean immigrants came to the United States from 1903 to 1949, they experienced multiple layers of marginality. Many had escaped the tumultuous political landscape in Korea as exiles during Japanese colonial rule. Simultaneously, the US government and American society deemed Asians unassimilable aliens unfit for membership in the US. For these “exiled aliens,” Christianity functioned as a source of liberation, democracy, and belonging. In this talk, we will examine Christianity’s role in the Korean independence movement and how today’s immigrant churches may reclaim their prophetic role in our society and culture. We will explore the story of Moses and how the deconstruction of his identity led to his sense of liberation and belonging, providing a precondition for his ministry. Just as Moses experienced quadruple displacement, Korean immigrant churches navigated liminal spaces as Christians, immigrants, and exiles.

The Center for Asian American Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary is advancing the scholarly study of Asian American Christianity, developing a forward-looking vision for Asian American theology, and equipping and empowering Asian American Christians for faithful gospel ministry and public witness.

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