Archive for the 'Philly' Category


Saying No to Casinos in Chinatown Part 2

Here’s some video that I was able to capture last night during one of the more vulnerable and emotional moments at the forum. This has certainly become a very volatile situation. There was no hearing last night, no dialogue. People were just very angry.

Whether these politicians and investors realize it or not building a casino at this location is institutional and environmental racism against the many minority populations in the Chinatown community. We can debate those terms but the point is that this cannot ultimately be good for the community. There may be economic gain but at what cost?

Philadelphia Inquirer Article, Chinatown Residents Fear Lure of Gaming by Jennifer Lin
“Environmental Racism, Chinatown and the Gallery Casino” by Helen Gym picked up the news

I googled around looking for related things and found these links
• Great Asian American Resource page at the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

From an interview with Dr. Timothy Fong (whose name comes up in every search on this subject), Director of UCLA’s Gambling Studies Program. He said this in his findings,

What did the focus groups reveal?
Number one, gambling was a common thing that a lot of community members did. Number two, it was very socially acceptable. And number three, almost everyone knew one or two people that they knew had a gambling problem. It was a very common thread that they also didn’t know what to do about that person; where to send them, what to say to them, what to do about it.

What was also very interesting was that the casinos were very aggressive in marketing toward Asian communities. But they didn’t blame them for that. They didn’t say that that was a bad practice. This is just a reality. We learn about a lot of bus tours that were marketed for Asian communities. Fliers that were marketed toward that community.

Sign the Petition


Saying No to Casinos in Chinatown

Tonight I attended a public forum as a representative of my church regarding a proposal to place casinos courtesy of Foxwoods at The Gallery in Philadelphia which is right at the entrance of Chinatown. This has gotten some press and after tonight’s meeting I’m sure it will get some more. There were some very angry people there. Typically you don’t find many Chinese folks speaking up about things much less political things but they were out in force tonight. In fact I’m very impressed with this gathering because it’s much more diverse than I had anticipated. There were many voices. Among them were educators, students, long time residents, church goers, business owners and community leaders. They weren’t just Chinese either. There were many non-Asians in the crowd.

Our church (CCCNC) officially took a stance of opposition against this proposal a couple of weeks ago and we’re trying to prayerfully handle this with much grace, wisdom and peace. We know we need to be a voice for the many aliens and poor in our community. We know first hand the effects of gambling among the Chinese as we counsel many compulsive gamblers and the families devastated by their habits. This is probably one of the most important things we’ve been involved in for our community.
Please pray for us.

Representatives from Mayor Michael Nutter’s office (Terry Gillen), Councilman DiCicco and State Representative O’Brien were receiving comments and arguments tonight at the Holy Redeemer School. It was not a good night to be in their shoes. If we want to build the next great American city, this is definitely not the way. The cost will be greater than any economic gain. This is institutional racism.

For More Info:
Asian Americans United for facts, petition, links and more.
Casino-Free Philadelphia, dedicated to say no to any casinos in the city of Philadelphia
Foxwoods Casino PA

PlanPhilly – City Set to See Foxwoods Design
PlanPhilly – City Sees Foxwoods Design

Other Resources
Gambling, Addiction and Asian Culture
Casinos Aggressively Market to Asian Americans, But Few Services Help Addicts
California Provides Glimpse Into Asian Gambling Culture
Resources from The Conference on Assessment & Treatment of Compulsive Gambling Among Asian American held on October 26, 2007 via

“There’s this interest in gambling among the Chinese that transcends anything you see in any other socioeconomic or ethnic group” – Gary Loveman, Chief Executive at Harrah’s

Sign the Petition


We Need To Get Out

This is one of those days. It’s clear skies and somewhere in the 70s outside here in Philly. It’s supposed to stay that way at least for a few days. I’ve been plugging away for hours on this Sunday’s message in my office with the lights off [I can’t stand fluorescents]. We’ve started a new series recently called ‘Heaven on Earth‘. I look outside my window and I’m thinking yea…

Sometimes we need a reminder to just unplug and get out.
This little comic [We The Robots] is a perfect reminder…enjoy!

Is it possible that God intends to bring heaven down to earth and that the in-breaking of that reality of hope and peace is to be found increasingly in the everyday lives of his people?
Truly, we need to get out. Love, laugh and learn.

Here’s a promo for the message series, “Heaven on Earth”
Heaven on Earth Promo - CCCNC


The Keller Effect [ii] The Book Tour, Philly Dates

Tim Keller The Reason for God

If you’re in the Philly area…

Tuesday, March 11, 10:10-11:20 a.m. – Westminster Theological Seminary
Catch Keller and the Westminster Theological Seminary Apologetics Department in a conversation on apologetic method.
Van Til Hall – Rust Auditorium. No reservations needed, but seating is limited.
2960 Church Road, Glenside, PA 19038

Tuesday, March 11, 7:30-9:00 p.m. – Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania
Keller will speak about his book The Reason for God and will then answer questions from the audience.
The public is invited, and no reservations or tickets are needed.
Penn Museum, Harrison Auditorium (2nd Floor), 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA
If you’re not in Philly check out these other opportunities on The Reason for God Website

New York City Dates

  • March 2 – Open Forum at Hunter College in New York City
  • March 3 – 6:00PM at NYU, Kimmel Student Center, 60 Washington Square South

White Stone Gallery

The White Stone Gallery (formerly Lime Street Gallery) is a new deal in Manayunk featuring “Biblical Fine Art” or modern art with scriptural meaning according to their website. During January 11 – February 24 the gallery will exhibit a collection from various international artists under “Faith”. ABCPastor favorite, Makoto Fujimura, is among the featured artists. And the work is also available for sale from what I can tell on the site. Not sure if there is an opening reception tomorrow for the artists but I’m very curious about this whole set-up.
So if you’re in Philly…

Last month they had an interesting Nativity Exhibition that included an artist from China utilizing Chinese silk embroidery.

Nativity Exhibit

4219 Main Street [Manayunk]
Philadelphia, PA 19127

or if your idea of Christian Art is more in line with VeggieTales, the new movie, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” also opens in theaters tomorrow.


Philly, The Ugliest City in the U.S.

OK, what is Philly known for?
Cheesesteaks. Water Ice. Pretzels. The Liberty Bell. The Sixers, Flyers, Eagles.
I’ve definitely never met more people loyal to their home state and their sports teams.

But Philly is getting recognized for other things less glamorous. Philadelphia is quickly becoming known as the city of death. This is the city of brother love right? In 2006, there was about 406 murders up 7.7 percent from 2005. Here’s another way of looking at the numbers, Philadelphia had a murder rate of 27.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. What’s troubling is that most of those who commit these crimes are youth. So far this year more than 320 people have been murdered, a little over one person a day. That just doesn’t help attract people to live here.

To add insult to injury, this week Philadelphia was voted the ugliest city in the United States, according to Travel+Leisure magazine. No it has nothing to do with the architecture, trash or even the attitudes of people but their looks!
Out of 25 cities Philly is dead last. Miami ranked no. 1.

Oh well. I guess when you’re competing with South Beach or New York, what can you say?

Philly, you just ugly.


ain’t the way it’s supposed to be – in philly

This issue on the complexities of our increasing diversity has really taken hold of me these past few days.
Can you tell from my surge of posts?

Spending most of my time in Philly’s Chinatown I get to see and hear a lot go down. There are things that I see and hear that keep me on the defensive, ready to pounce at any given moment. My fists stay clenched. Our faith community is only beginning to heal from the senseless shooting of one of our members that I posted about a month ago [ain’t the way it’s supposed to be in Philly one and two]

Recently there was a shooting in Lawncrest (Northeast Philadelphia) that killed a Chinese man, Jiaxing Lu(49), in his family grocery store. Again two young White teens. What disturbed me today was a article that highlighted some of the complexities of race that were mentioned in previous posts.
Sadly, the Lu family has given up on the city of Philadelphia – they’re moving to New York. Is it going to be any better? It doesn’t seem like they enjoyed being in their neighborhood I imagine. They are hurt and upset understandably. I don’t blame them. Would you?
But reading this article can you sense the tensions?

Like some other residents, she expressed some discomfort with Lu Jiaxing, saying she thought he viewed black people with suspicion. Other residents, though, said Lu made a point of knowing his customers so well that he knew what each typically bought at the store.

“About two months ago, when it got dark at about 6 or 7 p.m., he started closing down and selling food through a slot,” Brown said. “I did have a problem with that. But he did seem to be a decent man. Once, I lost my … card in his ATM and he went out of his way to get it back for me the next day.”

Another neighborhood resident, Edward Molizone, 74, touched on the suspicion that often exists between black residents and Asian merchants.

“A lot of blacks don’t go to the Chinese store because they feel the Chinese think they steal from them,” he said. “I don’t have a complex about that.”

But Molizone said that he was disturbed when he heard that Lu’s wife dismantled a makeshift memorial to her husband created by neighborhood residents.

“I was hurt this morning when she took all the teddy bears and put them in the trash,” he said.

Please don’t give up on Philly.

Read the full article here
Read also
The Multiracial Divide Without Easy Answers
Interracial Relationships: UK “Asians” more likely intolerant and racist
The Asian Invasion and other minorities fast becoming the majority


The Asian Invasion and other minorities fast becoming the majority

Minority Population Growth

According to a recent aricle from the NYTimes, minorities now form majority in one-third of most-populous counties. That’s right, a whole lotta Asians.
Asians were the only major racial or ethnic group to record population gains in every county in the New York metropolitan region since 2005, according to recent census figures. Interestingly, the Hispanic population decreased.

From 2005 to 2006, the number of Asians increased by more than 10 percent in three New Jersey counties: Gloucester, Salem and Warren.

The highest growth rates among Asian populations were in metropolitan Napa, Calif., and Ocala, Naples, Cape Coral and Port St. Lucie, Fla. The greatest numerical increases were in New York (309,773), Los Angeles (216,987), Washington (105,390), San Francisco (103,073) and Chicago (93,237).

From July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, metropolitan Chicago edged out Honolulu in Asian population.

Whites are now in the minority in nearly one in 10 U.S. counties. Some of them aren’t too happy with the increasing diversity in our country. What year is this? Minorities have for a long time had large populations in the cities but now they’re spreading into the suburbs and beyond where many Whites moved to get away from the ails of the city. Change happens.

“The new melting pots are not large international gateways,” Professor Frey said, adding, “Rather, many are fast-growing suburbs themselves.

As a person who’s job is to be where the most people are to make the highest impact I used to think I needed to be in the cities exclusively because of population density. Being in New Jersey shown me otherwise. While I think I still need to be in the city for other reasons it would be wise to think strategically about the suburbs.

Some churches seem to be on top of that.
Who woulda thunk that Lansdale, Pa would have a growing Asian population? Just 21 miles north of Philly. Cornerstone Presbyterian is a growing Asian-American family church engaging that growing population. Lansdale? It has a population of 15,913 among which is 8% Asian. Neighbor, Montgomeryville also sports a hearty 8%.

Continue reading ‘The Asian Invasion and other minorities fast becoming the majority’


aint the way it’s supposed to be – in philly [ii]

kwok wai ho
i’m still processing my feelings about this whole event, the senseless act of violence that had taken the life of a member of our community, a friend, a brother, a father. i’ve been thinking about the impact it has on our church community. the latest news is that a suspect has been arraigned. he’s one of ten young boys being identified.

how do we make sense of it all?

was it a hate crime? what makes it a hate crime? what about all the other witnesses? how do you help heal a community? how do you help heal a family? what’s my role in all this?

all in the same breath this week, my 10mo. old nephew was in the ER with a 105 degree fever. my boy hosive requested prayer for his 8yr old nephew who was in a tragic accident that broke his spine in several places. by week’s end, that young soul passed on.

these kids whatever their motivation was probably never suspected that they would be identified as murderers after that night. a fleeting moment would change their lives, our lives from here on out. foolishness.

this morning i attended the funeral for mr. Kwok Wai-Ho. amongst the many family members i saw many friends from childhood. they probably did not recognize me. it’s been almost 15 years. i’ve filled out according to one friend i was able to reconnect with. it was not the most appropriate time or place to play catch up.

i preach tomorrow morning. i had planned on preaching from ecclesiastes weeks before.
who would have known that it would be the most appropriate book for such a time as this? God.
that’s the point i guess.
everything is just – hebel
this is a silent alarm.

here’s some new news links for updated stories: msnbc, foxphilly
read how a community blog forum responds – phillyblog


aint the way it’s supposed to be – in philly [updated]

there are disruptions in life all the time. then there are disruptions that slows your life down to where you question it. as a pastor sometimes you hear news that make your nostrils narrow. notice the physical presence of air going in. out. you swallow hard and become acutely aware of everything around you.
things aint supposed to be like this.

a week ago, a member of our church, Kwok Wai-ho, took a walk outside his home in his neighborhood where he was attacked by a group of young people. his head struck the ground leaving severe hemorrhaging. he’s been in a coma since the attack. an hour ago, i received word that his condition is terminal. i’m angry. sad. frustrated.
please pray for the family and our church community. pray for philadelphia. pray for the peace of the city
link to the nbc report

[update] the investigation now becomes a homicide case

as of today the homicide total in philly is 222

links to articles related to violence in philadelphia

[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.


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