Fortress Press

From a Liminal Place: An Asian American Theology

From a Liminal Place

An Asian American Theology

Sang Hyun Lee (Author)


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Drawing on decades of teaching and reflection, Princeton theologian Sang Lee probes what it means for Asian Americans to live as the followers of Christ in the "liminal space" between Asia and America and at the periphery of American society.

As one moves away from the societal center, either intentionally or by virtue of marginalization, one often finds oppression and dehumanization. Yet, Lee argues, one can also sometimes find liminality--a creative and edgy space with openness to the new, the emergence of community, and the ability to take a prophetic stance over against the status quo. For Lee, the liminal is key to the authentic calling and future of Asian Americans, other ethnic-racial groups and minorities, persons with mixed identities, and indeed all Christians.

From this insight, Lee unfolds a systematic theology. Searching the Gospels, one discovers that God became incarnate as a liminal and marginalized Galilean. Jesus the Galilean in his life and ministry widened the meaning of liminal creativity and exercised that creativity in embodying the boundary-breaking love of the Father. On the cross, he entered the ultimate space of liminality in which sinful humanity can experience communion with Christ. United in loving communion with God in Christ, Asian American Christians and all other believers are transformed into a new existence in which they are emboldened to struggle for justice and reconciliation.

Asian American Christians, like the Galilean followers of Jesus, have the particular vocation to exercise the creative potentials of their liminal predicament and thereby to participate in God's own project of repeating in time and space the beauty of God's inter-Trinitarian communion.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800696689
  • eBook ISBN 9781451418156
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 216
  • Publication Date September 1, 2010


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"A creative, exhilarating, inspiring, and hope–filled book for marginalized Asian Americans and other groups! Lee moves from marginality to liminality—a creative space of resistance and solidarity, possibility and openness to the new and to the communitas. Using a number of significant books, he transforms the life of marginality into the beauty of the liminal communitas of Christ. An excellent book for multicultural studies!"
—Andrew Sung Park
Professor of Theology
United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio

"Lee has crafted a theological gem in this text. He has captured for many Asian Americans in his analysis of 'liminality' what W. E. B. DuBois articulated for many African Americans in his notion of 'twoness.' This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in how the traditional resources of Christian thought can be brought into conversation with Asian American experience."
—James H. Evans Jr.
Robert K. Davies Professor of Systematic Theology
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

"Grounded in the heritage of Asian American churches, this book explores the emerging critical theological theme of liminality that is becoming an increasingly common experience among Christians in this globalized world. This book is a timely and ground–breaking contribution to the contemporary theological scene."
—Fumitaka Matsuoka
Robert Gordon Sproul Professor of Theology Emeritus
Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California