As I Am

As I Am is a unique collaboration of PAAC writers. Together, our writers explore broad themes related to our identities as Progressive Asian American Christians. “Who are we? Where are we going? What do we have to say?”  We give shape to these questions through the act of written creation. All forms of writing are welcome.

Notes on Playing the Asian in Otherwise “Important” Plays

Notes on Playing the Asian in Otherwise “Important” Plays

“Claire.” “Francis.” And so went our pre-show ritual. You know, I really didn’t have much of an affinity to my middle name—Claire—until I heard my scene partner pronounce it with the affect of a certain Kevin Spacey. The comical whiteness of our pre-show exchange...

Narrative Unity

Narrative Unity

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant—” Let me tell you a story. It is 2013. A (white male) casting associate approaches my desk. “Look, I know this is...kinda...racist but do you know anyone in Chinatown or who’s Asian who would like to be in an episode of ----...

My Summer of Asian-American Rom Coms

My Summer of Asian-American Rom Coms

Nothing compares to the thrill of meeting a new crush in an exotic place. For me, it was at a summer Jesus Camp. I didn’t go on many vacations as a kid, so Big Bear, California, was like the south of France. That’s where I met Paul, an older high school boy. I was 14...

Shifting Perspectives: A Note from the Editors

Shifting Perspectives: A Note from the Editors

In April 2018, writers in PAAC embarked on a remarkable and ambitious collaboration. An open call was made. We wanted storytellers and poets, essayists, playwrights, and theologians. We wanted granularity and dimensionality. What does it mean to be a progressive Asian...

On Place and Perspective

On Place and Perspective

I love Union Square Park. I’ve always felt so gloriously alone there; so secure in my anonymity. It welcomed my thoughts, stillness, and uncertainties. When I spent  six months living in Manhattan, the park was a place for me to reflect. I watched streams of New...

Say Something in Chinese

Say Something in Chinese

When I was a kid and my white classmates learned that my first language was Mandarin, they typically had one of three reactions: “Really? Was it hard to learn?” “So how did you learn English?” “What’s my name in Chinese?” Whatever their initial reaction, it was...

Unanswered Prayers

“God, You are sovereign and you know all things. Your love knows no bounds and is lavish. I am grateful for your love and grace in my life. I want to do your will and I want to know Your heart. When words fail me, hear my heart in prayer. Will you give me the gift of...

“Are you there, God?” It’s me, Nancy Emmanuel Hugh.

“Are you there, God?” It’s me, Nancy Emmanuel Hugh.

Dear God - if there is a God: Am I doing this right? Is this thing on? Hello, my name is Nancy. I am six years old. You may know me from being God. Today, I would like to share with you my prayer, which is that I would like to be white - that is - to not have a color...

The Protocol

The Protocol

Trigger Warning: Spiritual and Emotional Abuse; Purity Culture Act 1: Membership Class at Church Scene 1: Membership Class Scene 2: Members' Gossip Scene 3: Rebuke Act 2: Counseling Scheduling Office Scene 1: Making an Appointment Scene 2: Meeting Love Roles: Fidel:...

Finding Hope When I’m Worn Down By Injustice

Finding Hope When I’m Worn Down By Injustice

Content warning: homophobia I realized that I was in need of hope when it confronted me at a gathering of LGBTQ+ Asian Pacific Islanders (API). There, I heard the stories of Filipino Christians advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, LGBTQ+ Southeast Asian refugees combating...

Perfection is a Lie We Tell Ourselves

Perfection is a Lie We Tell Ourselves

I’m turning 40 this year. Today, in fact. And honestly, I think I am going through some kind of mid-life crisis. For the first time ever in my life, I considered walking away from my 4 children and husband. Just open the front door, walk out, and keep walking. This is...

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