Japanese American Minister Struggles to Balance Christianity and Asian Ancestry

February 2, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times

On February 2, 2002, the Los Angeles Times reported on a common "concern in Asian and Asian American churches: In becoming a Christian, does a convert sever ties with his non-Christian loved ones." The article focuses on the story of Dickson Yagi, "born in a Buddhist family in Hawaii... He had been the first member of his Shingon Buddhist family to convert to Christianity... Yagi went on to become a Southern Baptist minister... The third-generation Okinawan American's personal experiences convinced him that the 'good news' of Christianity can become alienating 'bad news" to potential Asian converts... [He developed a teaching] style he calls 'yellow theology': evangelism that is sensitive to the religious and psychosocial history of people of Asian ancestry... It is the task of yellow theology, he said, 'to squeeze the Scriptures and see if any... hope will ooze out to soothe the agony of Asian Christians'... Yagi settled in Los Angeles, where he specializes in Buddhist-Christian relations."