shaktinah's blog

Buddhist Identity and the DC Navy Yard Shooter

When the news broke that the shooter who had killed 32 at Virginia Tech was Asian, I thought what many Asian Americans thought across the U.S.  “Please don’t let him be my kind of Asian.” Well, actually I prayed that he not be Chinese, but you get the picture.  This reaction was shared by many Asian Americans regardless of our political views or how we generally felt about race in the U.S. Even when it turned out that the shooter was of not of Chinese descent, that only mitigated my sense of collective shame or guilt-by-association; it didn’t erase it.

Why I am no longer an Evangelical UU

I used to have a blog called ‘Confessions of an Evangelical UU.’  This was back in the early days of my “conversion” to UUism, when I was still enthralled with what I’d found and would talk to anyone about it. At a party on a Saturday night, there I’d be talking about my church.  Obviously, it wasn’t because I thought that people who aren’t UUs “need to be saved.” I was just so excited and happy to have found this faith. 

This moment...

Last GA I was given the great privilege to address folks as part of a panel (of illustrious UUs in whose company I did not belong) about effective social justice work. The gist of my message was this: You are simultaneously the hero of this epic story - the work cannot get done unless *you* act; it’s all up to you - AND you are just a bit-player in this same story - one of many, dependent upon many. Both are simultaneously true.

Singing African American Spirituals in a Multicultural Context

Went to Fellowship Church this morning, which I’ve decided is my home church in San Francisco.  Even though it’s not Unitarian Universalist, it embodies the values of UUism, sometimes better than many UU congregations do.  Case in point, this morning I was late and walked up the stairs to the sanctuary while the first hymn was being sung.  It was “No More Auction Block for Me” (#154).  I had to laugh, remembering the first time I ever saw that song in our UU hymnal. I was visiting the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore along with Omi.

Generation 1.5

Growing up the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the U.S., a core part of my identity was as a “second generation” Chinese American. I was therefore more than surprised one day, while conversing with a fellow daughter of Chinese immigrants, to learn that she saw herself as “first generation” Chinese American. Wha?

It's Spring Festival! Happy New Year!

Every late Jan/early Feb when the New Year of my ancestors comes along I face a mini-dilemma - what to call it?  I agree with folks who argue that calling it “Chinese New Year” is Sinocentric and ignores the millions of Vietnamese and Koreans who also celebrate this day. But calling it “Lunar New Year” presents its own problems as there are other lunar calendars - the Jewish one comes quickly to mind. Plus the Chinese calendar is luni-solar, not purely lunar. (Yes, I am a geek.) Then I think, well it IS Chinese New Year. The reason why it’s celebrated in Vietnam and Korea is because of Chinese imperialism. And then I think, well… maybe we don’t want to remind folks of that.

"I go to church for pie."

That was the title of and the highlighted quote from a recent HuffPost piece talking about new approaches to church that included Unitarian Universalism.

Bibliography: Kat Liu

UU Buddhism Is Foreign to Me (2013) - in Buddhist Voices in Unitarian Universalism, edited by Sam Trumbore and Wayne B. Arnason (Boston: Skinner House)

What Will We Be and For Whom? (2010) - in A People So Bold: Theology and Ministry for Unitarian Universalists, edited by John Gibb Millspaugh (Boston: Skinner House)

Immigration as a Moral Issue Resource Guide (2010) - UUA.org

Bio: Kat Liu

Namaste.  I am the U.S-born daughter of Chinese immigrants, growing up with Chinese Buddhism and folk traditions inside the home and Christianity and civic religion outside, including five years in a conservative Lutheran school.  I began adulthood as a neurobiologist, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at SUNY Stony Brook. It was at Stony Brook where I first stepped foot in a UU congregation, and where I first encountered the field of Religious Studies (altho those two events are not related).  After realizing that I preferred chasing uncertain answers to big questions over certain answers to smaller questions, I moved to DC to pursue Religious Studies at Georgetown. There I discovered All Souls Church, Unitarian and that's when I truly "found religion," becoming a committed UU.

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