This past weekend, I went to Chicago for the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI) 2010 Conference.
I presented a paper on Asian American young adults in the Episcopal Church--a labor of love that I had feverishly worked on the past month after work and during lunch, interviewing participants, reading scholarly work, thinking and analyzing and stressing. I'm not specifically interested in Asian Americans and religion but the conference gave me a chance to work on something that I had been thinking about and mulling over for the past year.
It was intimidating and stimulating to be around scholars whose work I have admired for several years, some of whom even changed my life with their writings like Rita Nakashima Brock, Asian American feminist theologian, and Rudy Busto, a professor in UCSB's religious studies program. I'm happy to report that they were totally normal people that ate regular food, made goofy remarks, and liked to laugh and chat.
More than anything, this conference was a chance to act out deep desires to pursue scholarly work in religion and see what it really felt like, outside of my idealism and hopes, and into embodied living. It was a crushing, illuminating, risk-taking endeavor that left me spinning with the repercussions of what I had observed and learned.
I'm still thinking through these repercussions and how they shape my next moves. More than anything, I want to be authentic and have the humility to be who I am whatever I do. I'm grateful for the growth that I've experienced to take risks and to explore these topics. Thank you to my blog community and friends for being with me through this time. We'll see what's next.