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God's New Whiz Kids?

Korean American Evangelicals on Campus

Rebecca Kim

Publication Year: 2006

In the past twenty years, many traditionally white campus religious groups have become Asian American. Today there are more than fifty evangelical Christian groups at UC Berkeley and UCLA alone, and 80% of their members are Asian American. At Harvard, Asian Americans constitute 70% of the Harvard Radcliffe Christian Fellowship, while at Yale, Campus Crusade for Christ is now 90% Asian. Stanford's Intervarsity Christian Fellowship has become almost entirely Asian.

There has been little research, or even acknowledgment, of this striking development.

God’s New Whiz Kids? focuses on second-generation Korean Americans, who make up the majority of Asian American evangelicals, and explores the factors that lead college-bound Korean American evangelicals—from integrated, mixed race neighborhoods—to create racially segregated religious communities on campus. Kim illuminates an emergent “made in the U.S.A.” ethnicity to help explain this trend, and to shed light on a group that may be changing the face of American evangelicalism.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

There are many people to thank. I am grateful to the various unnamed students, pastors, staff, and administrators who welcomed me into their fellowships and made my research possible. I thank my mentors Min Zhou, Roger Waldinger, and John Evans, as well as various...

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pp. 1-18

Whether studying the Bible at Berkeley, engaging in feverish prayer at Harvard, or singing “praise” at Yale, Asian American Christian fellowships have become a familiar sight at many of the top colleges and universities across the country. Today, there are more than...

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1. Changing the Face of Campus Evangelicalism: Asian American Evangelicals

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pp. 19-34

More than 95 percent of Americans claim to believe in God, a universal spirit, or life force; nearly 80 percent believe in heaven, and about 70 percent are members of a church or synagogue (Gallup and Lindsay 1999; Kristof 2003). Religion is very much alive in America...

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2. Second-Generation Korean American Evangelicals and the Immigrant Church

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pp. 35-48

It is hard to find a Korean immigrant who is not involved in a church. At least 70 percent of over a million Koreans in the United States identify themselves as Christians and regularly attend the 3,500 or so Korean churches every Sunday...

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3. Korean American Campus Ministries in the Marketplace

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pp. 49-70

As early as 7 a.m., students from numerous campus ministries sign up for the best spot on the popular walkway on campus to set up their tables and disseminate information on their organization. They pass out bright flyers and give out free food and school supplies...

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4. Emergent Ethnic Group Formation

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pp. 71-88

If SGKA campus ministries look so much like other Evangelical campus ministries, why are SGKAs flocking to separate ethnic ministries? The answer is simple: they want to be with other SGKAs. The substance of what binds SGKAs together and leads them to forge...

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5. A Closer Look at the Ties That Bind

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pp. 89-109

It is “just more comfortable” was the most common response that SGKAs gave to why they were in separate ethnic ministries. Indeed, having “comfort” is nice. It implies that one is free from sources of pain, stress, and anxiety. It suggests peace of mind, warmth, security...

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6. White Flight and Crossing Boundaries

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pp. 110-125

A student in the IVCF at WU talks about a white family friend, Bob, and his experience searching for a campus ministry at UC Berkeley: “Bob’s parents wanted him to get hooked up with a campus ministry and were concerned that he had not yet done so. When...

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7. “Why Can’t Christians All Just Get Along?”

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pp. 126-141

Evangelical scholars and leaders are becoming convinced that multiracial churches are “biblical” and that monoracial churches fall short of the mark as “true Christian churches.” In their recent study on multiracial congregations, Curtiss DeYoung and his colleagues...

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pp. 142-150

The incorporation of today’s “successful” children of immigrants into U.S. society is captured by neither assimilation nor ethnic retention. Socioeconomic mobility, along with entrance into the clubs and institutions of host society at the primary group level, is not leading to the...

Appendix A: Interview Questions

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pp. 151-158

Appendix B: Letters to Interview/Research Subjects

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pp. 159-161

Appendix C: Interview/Research Consent Forms

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pp. 162-166


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pp. 167-177


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pp. 179-188


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pp. 189-193

About the Author

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pp. 195

E-ISBN-13: 9780814749319
E-ISBN-10: 0814749313
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814747902
Print-ISBN-10: 0814747906

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2006