The Table Podcast

Diverse Views on Multicultural Conversations

In this episode Mikel Del Rosario, Elijah Misigaro, Sam Lee, and Nancy Frazier discuss diverse views on multicultural conversations, focusing on creating a culture of inclusion.

Timecodes
1:40
Diverse backgrounds of the participants
4:25
Ethnic diversity in various communities
7:53
Understanding diversity
14:25
Diversity from an African American perspective
18:01
Why basic conversations are necessary with issues of diversity
20:34
How does an honor-shame perspective impact relationships?
24:17
Assimilation and cultural identity
30:20
How interracial marriages helped participants relate to other cultures
40:57
How can we help include others different from us?
46:04
The diversity of the immigrant experience
49:00
How can we help different cultures feel welcome and appreciated?
51:56
What does inclusion mean and how can we get there?
58:49
Unity and diversity in the Church
Transcript
Mikel Del Rosario
Welcome to the table where we discuss issues of God and culture. I’m Mikel Del Rosario, cultural engagement manager at The Hendricks Center, and our topic today is having difficult conversation about race and multiculturalism, and specifically taking a look at diverse perspectives on these conversations.

This podcast is a second part of a conversation that we began with a previous episode where we took a look at perspectives from The Hendricks Center, talking mostly about perspectives from our white brothers and sisters on the topic of race and multiculturalism. I was on the show, too, so I got to be kind of the bridge between that conversation and this one. So, we encourage you to take a look at that conversation as well.

Well, today we have three guests in the studio to talk about diverse perspectives on these difficult conversations. Our first guest in the studio is Elijah Misigaro. He’s actually somebody you see here in front of the camera, but normally he’s behind the camera in the control room helping as the senior video producer here at DTS, and he’s also the co-host of a show called We Talk Different. Thanks for being here.

Elijah Misigaro
Thank you.
Mikel Del Rosario
And the second guest we have here on the show is Sam Lee is a doctoral student in theology. Is that correct?
Sam Lee
Yes.
Mikel Del Rosario
And welcome to the show.
Sam Lee
Thank you.
Mikel Del Rosario
We also have Nancy Frazier who is also a doctoral student at DTS studying theology as well.
Nancy Frazier
That’s right.
Mikel Del Rosario
Welcome to the show.
Nancy Frazier
Thanks.
Mikel Del Rosario
So, we want to just begin to introduce ourselves to the audience, because you guys have been involved in our conversations at The Hendricks Center around these initiatives. But a lot of people haven’t seen you and heard from your – heard you and your stories. So, why don’t you just share a little bit about your background; we’ll start with you, Nancy.
Nancy Frazier
Sure. Well, I was born in Mexico to a Mexican father and a white American mother, and I grew up in Mexico; I lived there. We moved to the United States when I turned seven, but we moved to Laredo, Texas, which is right on the border. And it was at the time the population was about 98 percent Hispanic. And my church experience has been predominantly in a first-generation, Mexican-immigrant context. So, yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
All right. Well, thank you for giving us that background.

Elijah?

Elijah Misigaro
Well, I was born in Tanzania. Both my parents are Tanzanian. Came here to the States around the age of four – four-and-a-half. Grew up a little south of Chicago. And yeah, it was maybe a similar context to Nancy in the sense of it was a very first-generation church, primarily African – East African church. And grew up in a very African-American area of the city. So, it was a lot of different cultures being mixed all at the same time. So, that was my background.
Mikel Del Rosario
Awesome, thanks.

Sam?

Sam Lee
Yeah, so I actually was born here in Dallas. My mom and dad were originally from Taiwan, and they moved here to Texas to do graduate school. So, I have one older sister. Both of us were born here. When we were in elementary school, my dad got his job; he got transferred back to Taiwan. So, I lived there for three years during elementary school, and then we moved back to Texas.

So besides for three years, I’ve actually lived here in the States my whole life. So, I’m actually what people call an ABC, which stands for American-born Chinese. So – but mixed culture. I go to a Chinese church here just north of Dallas in Plano, and first- and second-generation Chinese Christians. So, kind of a mixture. So, that’s kind of the background that I come from, yeah.

Mikel Del Rosario
Interesting. Yeah, I like to call myself one point five gen.
Sam Lee
One point five gen, yeah, that’s kind of how it is, yeah, yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah. So, we hear a lot of these first-generation and second-generation kind of conversations. I was born in Evanston, [Illinois] but I grew up in the Philippines. My mom was doing her Ph.D. in social psychology at Northwestern. So, I was born there in Illinois but grew up in the Philippines and then moved to Southern California as an adult. I spent a couple of years in Maryland when I was a kid, but mostly grew up in the Philippines.

So, I’m hearing these first- and second-generation kinds of elements in our stories and also the whole immigrant kind of thing as well.

So, talk a little bit about what ethnic diversity looks like within your own community, ’cause there’s diversity within our communities, too.

Nancy Frazier
Yeah, so, I think, especially in Texas, in think when people think about Hispanics, they automatically think Mexican, and maybe there’s a degree of fairness to that with being so close to the Mexican border. But I think part of the diversity is really cultural diversity. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah.
Nancy Frazier
So, Hispanics fall under any country that – with a Spanish-speaking country. Right? So, it’s more than just Mexican. And then there’s also racial diversity across Hispanics. So, you’ll have people that have a lot of European background that will look very fair, blonde hair, blue eyes. And then you’ll have people who kind of have the indigenous background – so, like someone like my father who is darker skinned. And then you have people of African descent. And it can just really vary.

So, that – there’s that racial diversity. There’s a cultural diversity that really just – that I think sometimes people aren’t very familiar with on. But yeah.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.

Elijah?

Elijah Misigaro
Yeah. Similar to that, I mean there’s a lot of diversity in the African community and the African-American community. And I think for me, having grown up primarily in the States, I think there’s a lot of shared experiences that I was able to kind of have with some of my African-American friends, as well as growing up in a household where we primarily spoke Swahili, which is the language in Tanzania. And we ate culturally East African food. So, there was this sense of inside of the home, this kind of a holding onto the cultural heritage, while also living in a larger and different culture outside of the home.

So, there were a lot of overlaps and shared experiences. But there’s a lot of diversity in East African culture and African culture as a whole. And I think sometimes there’s this notion that anything Sub-Saharan African is very similar, but there’s a wide variety of differences.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. I think a lot of people who grow up in that kind of home have this struggle where they kind of do more assimilation to the popular culture outside their home, but then in the home don’t want to be perceived as different from their own family. And so, we tend to be bicultural that way just even within your own family for immigrants.

How about you, Sam?

Sam Lee
Yeah, a lot of the same things they talked about. So, being Chinese – you all know China’s the largest country in the world, right? So, it’s just really diverse. For instance, in our church we have people from Mainland China or people like me who are – my family’s from Taiwan. There’s – my wife’s from Indonesia; there’s Indonesian Chinese. Some people are from Hong Kong. They even speak a different language where they speak Cantonese instead of Mandarin.

So, again, just a lot of diversity even though all of us who identify maybe as being Chinese, they’re still a layer underneath that that many times often people don’t know; they just see it as being Chinese.

And then again, the second generation growing up here in the States but being Chinese. Like when I grew up, before I went to school, I only spoke Chinese at home. So, me and all the kids at my church, we had to go to ESL first, even though we grew up in America, because we just didn’t know how to speak English until we started going to school.

So, just little things like that, and just culturally again at home with our parents where everything is in Chinese, and then going out and all your friends are American, and you kinda again – this 1.5 gen, this little pull-and-tug between which culture growing up. Yeah. So, that’s kind of where I came from.

Mikel Del Rosario
That’s right, yeah. I was wondering – you know, you guys have been involved in our conversations on race and diversity, where we have these panels for our cultural engagement chapels. You’ve been involved in some of our focus groups and things and helping us at The Hendricks Center. Throughout your time, where have you – where were you before? Where do you see yourself now, and then what did it take to get there?

Let’s start with you, Elijah.

Elijah Misigaro
I think where I was before is maybe a little naive and optimistic in the sense that this conversation on diversity – and race in particular – could move a lot faster than I anticipated it to move. So, I think there was a little naiveté in that, and I think the journey itself has afforded me kind of the vision to see that this is such a deep problem and a lot deeper than maybe I grasped.

And the work to actually move the needle requires a lot more longevity than I anticipated. And that comes with its own frustration; that comes with its own – yeah, just hurt and pain at the same time, but I think maybe coming in, I was just like, “You know what? I think I have an understanding of the depth of the problem. I want to go in and try to move the needle as fast as possible, as much as possible.”

And realizing that the work to unravel the layers of historical biases, people’s cultural understanding and their own racial identity awareness is not something that can happen overnight or even within my time working with The Hendricks Center.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nancy?

Nancy Frazier
Yeah. I think that growing in a – growing up in a predominantly Hispanic culture, I don’t think I was really aware of kind of the conversation of diversity outside of Hispanic context until I went to college. And then you add to that getting married to a man who is of a completely different ethnicity than me. Right? So, my husband is African-American.

And then just in that kind of understanding that I had, there were places for me to be able to develop and grow and that in that understanding that other people’s experiences, even though there was a shared experience between my husband and myself, that really we are affected by different things differently – because of things like the color of my skin and the color of his skin.

And then also just connecting to second- and third- and fourth-generation Hispanics and understanding that their experience in this country is very different. And so, you end up having conversations within the Hispanic community about what defines you in your, for me, Mexicanness – right? – and that is connected to things like language and how inculturated you are with your ethnic background.

And so, all of those things really become part of the things that for you and that go, “Okay, I actually have to learn from your experience, which is different from mine.” So, I think where I’ve seen the growth is just seeing how understanding how colorism works in the United States, which is present in Mexico, but really different as well in some respects and just learning the sensitivity that goes with having deep relationships.

And I don’t think you get much deeper than a marriage relationship and to share those burdens with someone. That means that I can’t step away from his burdens. And so, that’s really grown me to see where I just – there were areas that I just had blind spots just from my husband’s experience and vice versa that he has to learn from mine.

Mikel Del Rosario
Well, we’re gonna come back to that, the marriage relationship. That’s gonna be a good topic of conversation a little bit later.

But Sam?

Sam Lee
Yeah, I think before I came, I maybe had the sense of pride that I knew what an Asian or Chinese-American experience was. And as I started just talking to more people, meeting people, even though they were Asian like me, I realized just there’s so many different experiences, so many different struggles that other people had that even though I would have maybe identified with them, I didn’t realize.

And just realizing also a lot of in my cultural classes and talking to people just little things I didn’t even know about myself that were part of my culture that I just thought was normal. And like one thing I’ll just share is my wife’s an international student, and I work a lot with the DTS Chinese program, which is mainly international students.

And even though they’re all Chinese, one thing I realized is just how hard it is for them to come here and do their studies in English, which isn’t their first language. Because even though I’m Chinese, I grew up speaking English because I grew up here; so, it wasn’t ever really a challenge for me. But I speak Mandarin, and I just think to myself, “What if I had to write papers and read theology books in Mandarin?” I think I could do it, but it would be so much harder, and it would probably take me ten times longer.

So, it helped me kind of identify, “Oh, my wife is in the same class as me, but what she’s doing is actually way more impressive, or my other Chinese friends are doing this,” and understanding them, just what they’re going through. And just imagine trying to learn Greek in a language that you’re – in English, right? Like you’re not only learning a new language, but using a language you don’t know to learn that language.

And just little things like that help me realize, “Okay, I need to be more sensitive, be more loving as a TA, be able to show more grace in different situations. Just little things like that that really helps you realize, oh, everyone has different struggles; everyone has different experiences because everyone has such a diverse background of where they come from.

And just understanding that and not saying, “Well, we’re Chinese; you’re not. So, therefore, we’re all on this side; you’re all on this side,” but realizing even in this context, there is so much diversity as well.

Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah.
Sam Lee
Yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah. Ever seen that movie Crazy Rich Asians?
Sam Lee
Oh, yeah, we watched that. That was funny, yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
I liked that part where the guy was like, “And she’s Chinese, too.”

And the mom is like, “Chinese-American.” [Laughs]

Sam Lee
Yeah, I think that movie obviously is a comedy, and they exaggerate a lot of stuff, but there’s also a lot of little cultural things that when we watched it, we were like, “Oh, man, we know exactly what that feels like.”
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah, yeah.
Sam Lee
Yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
Well, huge respect to my brothers and sisters who in the classroom I see are reading a Korean Bible, typing on a Korean keyboard, and listening to the prof in English, taking notes in Korean. And I just say, “What are you doing? Wow.” And it’s, you know, working with the Greek text as well.
Sam Lee
Mm-hmm, it’s not easy.
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah. Huge, huge respect for them.

Well, Elijah, let me get a little bit more specific with you in terms of the African-American side of the conversation and your time with us here. What have you seen as kind of the major barriers to moving that needle to the next point, as you say, here on campus so that we’ve done?

Elijah Misigaro
Sure. I mean I guess before I answer that question, I do want to clarify there is an aspect of the African-American experience that I can relate to. But my experience is not “the” African-American experience in a lot of ways. I think that coming from Tanzania and having the heritage of even my last name, something as privileged as knowing the root of my last name, and it’s not linked to any slave owner, I think that in and of itself is a privilege that I get to walk around even – even though I have experienced what life as a black man in America is like.

So – but to answer your question, I think what can help move the needle forward, I think so often in this conversation on diversity and racism, especially in Christian evangelical circles is it is almost a 101 conversation. We are constantly going back to introducing or talking about talking about race. How do we present or talk about diversity?

And at some point, we have to dive in deeper because from a historical aspect, there are so many – whether it is systems of government, systems of politics, systems of the church, systems of education that have been so infiltrated with bias and racism historically in this country, that to just talk about race as if we just love each other, everything’s going to be fixed. To me, I think that that does a disservice and almost shows someone’s understanding of the problem. Because if loving each other is your solution, then I would question what you really think the problem is.

So, I would encourage people to continue to have the conversation, have it often, and be uncomfortable, continue to be challenged, and allow yourself to be moved and changed and lament with others, and then come back to the table and do it all over again.

As somebody who’s married, it would be naive of me to think that I had a conversation with my wife on love. Like I told her I love her, and then that should be sufficient because on the marriage day I said, “I love you.” You know? But it is a constant coming back and showing with my actions the depth and the way in which I love her. And I think that can help us grow deeper, and I would encourage others to do the same, even in this conversation, as a way to move forward.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. I think one of the struggles we have is not only we have student turnover, but we have international students as well. We have people who are – haven’t grown up in the South or haven’t grown up in the context where these conversations have ever taken place, really, or are even aware of the problem.

And so, I know like for me, a lot of the 101 kinds of discussions, while it might be frustrating for people who have been in the conversation for a while, were very helpful for me.

And so, unpack a little bit what you meant when you said, “I’m not so sure you know what the problem is.”

Elijah Misigaro
Sure, yeah. So, I do agree that there is an aspect of 101, and that’s with any sort of educational aspect. I mean we are all seminary grads to some extent, and we’ve all taken Greek. It would be naive to go through Greek – the first Greek and learn some of the basic alphabet and languages and elements of the language and then just be stuck there. Just because you can read John in Greek, all of a sudden now you understand the Greek language.
Mikel Del Rosario
Okay.
Elijah Misigaro
I think so often, in the conversation on race, there is this initial understanding, “I’ve read a book; I’ve listened to a podcast, and now I can take a step back and seem to have this grasp on the conversation of race.”

And I think that there are so many deep elements that, like I said, have infiltrated the Church, I mean the Church’s involvement with – whether it’s slavery, segregation. Even now I think the silence with a lot of high-profile cultural events that are happening still continue to wound African-Americans and people of color in this country. And we have to constantly be asking ourselves, “What can we be doing to begin to dismantle systems of oppression that are continuing to show themselves even today”.

A clear example is education. And I think in the ’50s I think Brown vs. Board of Education was passed and integration was able to happen between people of color and white people. But now you read sociologists and educators, and they’ll still say that now – I mean decades after the bill was passed where people were allowed to go to school together, there is still such a divide – almost as close to if not to the same rate as the ’50s now where there is a segregation in the education system.

So, you start thinking about what we say vs. the reality of the culture that we live in and how do our actions continue to perpetuate a cycle or a system that’s continuing to divide us.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mmm, mmm. Well, thanks for explaining that.

I have a question for you about the honor-shame thing we talked about before the podcast and how that plays into having difficult conversations about race.

Sam Lee
I think – so, Chinese culture – most Asian cultures are very honor-shame based vs. this Western mindset that we may have in America more guilt-innocence. And I think it’s not really like you have to be an honor-shame person in order to have conversations with people that are, but just kind of understanding the differences.

And the main thing for me is understanding why different people value certain things, and whether it’s – it’s whether – why it’s not right or wrong or but just different.

For instance, I’ll give you an example. I just realized this recently, but in our culture today, let’s say you’re gonna have a birthday party or you’re gonna have an anniversary celebration or something; you want to invite a bunch of friends. What do we do now? Usually either you create a Facebook group – right? – and invite all your friends. If it’s a little bit more fancy, you may make a good Evite and send it out. Right?

Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah.
Sam Lee
And you send it out; everyone responds, and then you know you’re list. And this may take you five to ten minutes, and you can get back to your day. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Sam Lee
If you are in a very traditional honor-shame culture, though, what you would do is you would print out or even hand write your invitations, and then you get in the car, and you go drive around the city, and you go to people’s houses, and you hand them the invitation. And, of course, you can’t just hand them an invitation and leave; you have to come in, drink some tea, have a conversation, talk to them. And eventually, after this, this could take two-three days. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Sam Lee
So, what people do is, if you’re on this side, you think, “Well, that’s just so inefficient; it’s such a waste of time.” But then you don’t realize that that side, yeah, you may not be as efficient, but you are building these relationships, and that’s what’s important. Whereas on the other side, they may look at you and say, “Well, yeah, maybe you’re saving time, but you’re just not really loving those people or being in a relationship.”

So, again, my whole thing is it’s not really about right and wrong, but just learning to see how people value different things. Instead of judging them by saying, “Well, this way is the correct way; your way is wrong,” just saying, “Oh, I understand why you do things this way.” Even if I’m not going to do it the same way as you, at least I know why so we can kind of how a conversation. I can – we can start having conversations about that.

And for me, I realize that, too, because I realize I’m very Western minded growing up here. And for instance, I know we’re gonna talk about this later, but my wife is – she grew up in Indonesia. So, again, a lot of different – just little things you realize that again you have to kind of just understand each other, take the time. Sometimes it’s a struggle. It’s not always about, “I don’t want to make mistakes,” but when you make mistakes, being able to have conversations with them.

I really like what Elijah said about diversity isn’t just about, “Okay, I got it, now I’m done.” It’s a process. You keep talking to people. You keep meeting people. You learn from what you’ve done. And if you think you’re there, it shows that you’re really not there, because no matter where you are, you have more and more to learn.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nancy?

Nancy Frazier
Yeah. I think that there’s – and I feel like our cultures somewhat overlap in some of that shared experience. So, even Mexican culture is very honor-shame based. And I remember just having conversations with friends where I had to say, “If you post your kid’s theater performance on Facebook, but you don’t invite me personally, it doesn’t connect with me.”

And it takes time – right? – to say like, “No, the way that my culture works and for me to understand that you actually want me present is to get a personal invitation from you.” And a really good friend will actually stick it out – right? – to actually go through that process.

I think also part of it has to do with just sometimes we – I’ll talk about spectrums of assimilation and cultural identity. Right? And so, I think part of it has to do with understanding that people fall in very different places. Right? So, you can be high identity and high assimilation and low identity and low assimilation, all sorts of things in between. And to understand really takes time, and it takes relationship, and it takes having those conversations over and over and understanding that there is no homogeneous experience. Right? There is not one experience.

Part of what creates more difficulties, I think, especially – at least in Hispanic circles – has to do with where people are gonna fall – the farther you get from the immigrant experience. Right? So, it took me awhile to realize I, in some ways, connect to first-generation Mexican immigrants more than I do sometimes to Hispanics that are second-, third-, fourth-generation. In part that’s because they sometimes will fall in a different place in the spectrum of assimilation and identity. And that also, just within the community, can create differences.

On campus, part of the thing is representation. Right? Hispanics are not highly represented in higher education, much less at the graduate level. And so, sometimes our – kind of our issues are the things that we’re struggling with tend to be overseen or overlooked. And it’s not by bad intentions; it’s just sometimes there’s not enough of us. You know?

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, yeah.
Nancy Frazier
And on this campus, in particular, you do have that spectrum of people who are second-, third-, fourth-generation and people who are international students, and then there’s the biracial aspect for me that I kind of straddle the line. What happens with a lot of Hispanic-Americans is that there is this sense of feeling that we don’t – where do we fit? Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mmm.
Nancy Frazier
My experience is a little different because it is from biracial background. So, I grew up in Mexico, always being just a little too American or too white to be fully Mexican. And then I come to the United States, but I’m not quite white enough. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Nancy Frazier
There’s something ambiguous about me that people go, “Mmm, I don’t – I don’t know what to do with you.” And so, what you get a lot in Hispanic circles is this, “I don’t know where I fit.” And so, especially young kids will struggle with that, and that’s not necessarily biracial kids, but just into that second, third, and fourth generation where language begins to be lost and things like that that can actually complicate the situation. And especially if you’re not aware of the levels. And, yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
What are some of the unique things that biracial people struggle with within that community?
Nancy Frazier
Yeah, I think the big one does have to do with, “Where do I fit?” Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah.
Nancy Frazier
Now, I grew up in a – I grew up in a – because I grew up in predominantly Mexican immigrant context, I think there was, to an extent, a sheltering of that that I didn’t get until I went to college. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Nancy Frazier
So, I went to college, and then the Student Center was almost divided by not just race but by class. And so, you have black Greeks, and then you had non-Greeks, and all of this thing. And that was kind of eye-opening to me because I didn’t realize it.

But that of where do I fit, how do I – when I’m in my family culture, we’re speaking in Spanish, we’re eating tamales, we’re doing all these things, and then I go into a different family culture – for me anyway. Right?

And I remember being a little girl and asking my mother, “What do white people eat?” Right? Because I grew up eating tacos and enchiladas and all of those things because my mother kind of – you know, she bent towards my father’s tastes. And I just remember – like I’m still kind of in awe of casseroles, because it’s just like the most foreign thing to me, and I think they’re exciting, and I get really happy when people make a casserole because it’s just completely – it actually helps me connect to a part of my culture that I’m not super familiar with.

But the reality for me, anyway, is that I – the way I put it is I wear my mother’s privilege on my skin, and the fact that I learned English at such a young age that, for the most part, unless I’m pretty nervous, I can – I don’t have an accent, that those things allow me to navigate the world, and I can actually pick and choose, whereas the further up you go in my family scale – right? – my sister is a little darker than me, and she has an accent, and my brother even more.

And that experience, even though we’re all biracial, we get access to different things, and we are privileged to different things because of the way the world sees us and how much we can “pass,” if you will, or not. So, it’s really complicated, and it becomes a wrestling with identity. Right? So, I had to come to a place where I said, “I get to own my Mexicanness, even if other people don’t see it. And for Hispanics, a lot of that is just connected to the stereotype that there is a Mexican look. Right?

So, I will still go into conversations where I still hear people say, well, I look like a Mexican. And for people who have grown up in Mexico, there’s a cringing that comes behind that that goes, “That seems to betray a lack of understanding even within our own experience.” Because you go to Mexico, and there is not a Mexican look. So, that complicates the conversation, and that’s a struggle that I think every Hispanic-American has to kind of navigate.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Elijah Misigaro
Hmm.
Mikel Del Rosario
Well, that’s interesting. Thanks for sharing that. And my son is biracial as well, and as we talked about and alluded to already, we’re all just incidentally – happen to be married to people of other races, which is kind of interesting. But we’ve learned a lot from those experiences we talked about before.

Share a little bit about what lessons have come out of that relationship with your spouse. I’ll start with Elijah.

Elijah Misigaro
Oh, okay. Man, there’s so many – there’s so many lessons. I think the main lessons that come to mind is, yes, I am in an interracial relationship. My wife is American. She’s white, blonde, blue-eyed, from Houston. So, we are total polar opposites in every sense of the word.

But I think one of the things that is very illuminating is that we can’t – we have to intentionally have conversations similar to what we’re having right now. I think just our proximity and the fact that we’re married doesn’t absolve any sort of racial bias, doesn’t absolve any sort of lack of understanding when it comes to our diverse experiences.

And example I like to use is as a male growing up here – in America, as a male, I have been socialized as a male, and I bring all of that into our marriage. So, any time I mansplain, she lets me know. You know like? And I do that. And I don’t intentionally try to do that, but there is patriarchal elements of my upbringing and my understanding of life that I bring into the marriage that because she lovingly walks with me on it, we begin to kind of tear down some of those sexist ideas or anything like that.

And I said the same thing with race even in our marriage. There are so many elements that she’s never had to wrestle with or perspectives that she’s never had to view. And a way of loving her and us growing together is to have intentional conversations when she steps in it, or when we are not seeing eye-to-eye on a particular issue, or when we are looking at the same thing like a news outlet, and we’re interpreting it and receiving it totally different based off of our experiences.

So, there are friends that I know who are in interracial relationships who never have these conversations. So, I do want to say that just because we’re in an interracial relationship doesn’t meant that somehow we are dismantling systems of oppression or racism or anything. I think it requires consistent work of intentionally having these conversations.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Nancy?

Nancy Frazier
Yeah, and just adding to that point, there’s this idea that like because we’re in this multiracial relationship maybe that you can’t hurt each other in cultural ways. And sometimes it just happens. You are comfortable; there is a freedom and there’s a safety, too, to express things. But there have been times where my husband has said something, and I’ve been like, “That’s not okay,” and vice versa.

I think for me the biggest thing, even just – we’ve only been married about five years, but we had a friend over, one of my good girlfriends, and she’s African-American. My husband is African-American. And we had dinner, and of course, as a Ph.D. student, all roads lead to homework. So, eventually I had to excuse myself and go into another room and do some homework. And they just stayed and visited in the living room.

And I could hear them talking and laughing about TV shows that they grew up watching, where sometimes I have to say, “I grew up watching completely different shows than you.” And it – I think in that moment what really impressed me was the fact that my husband, in choosing to marry outside of his ethnic group, there was sacrifice in that. Right? That there was a shared experience that I’m never going to have with him, and really just appreciating that. And it’s mutual. Right? It’s taking a lot for my husband to learn how to eat the food as spicy as I make it for exampl

And the fact that I can sit down and watch shows with him that he grew up watching, and he can try, but all of the shows I grew up watching are in Spanish, and he doesn’t speak Spanish. And there is this mutual sacrifice that I think you’re right, Elijah; it’s not automatic. I think that part of it for me has come from growing up in a multicultural kind of environment in a biracial environment. But also it’s just taking that commitment further and still having occasions when you just wake up to the reality of how different you are and how much that can cost.

So, I remember the first time I was in the car with my husband, and we were stopped at a traffic light or at a stop sign, and there were police cars, and I was – I was like, “Oh my goodness, they’re looking for someone.” What they were looking for was expired registration stickers, which, of course, ours was expired.

And I thought, “Oh, great, this – what a bother.” And then I turned to look at my husband, who is like 6’3″ and a big football player kind of guy, and he is frozen just from fear. And to realize that there are things that I don’t worry about because I’m fair and I’m white and they’re – I don’t have to worry about them that are a reality for him. And just things like that that I think come with being married to someone and just being aware. But even then, it takes time, and I didn’t see it.

And so, to have the eyes to see and the heart to feel when those things come up I think is just – yeah, it’s a blessing, and it’s also a challenge.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Sam, share with us a little bit about your lessons that you’ve learned.

Sam Lee
Yeah. So, for me and my wife, I’ll share a little bit about the cultural differences, too, in one of our world missions classes here at DTS. You do this – I don’t know if you all did it, it’s called the Lingenfelter cultural quiz, where it’s like a personality inventory, but instead of for personality, it’s like with our culture.

And so, we did that test together, and every single one of the ones that I had but one. I was very Western-minded. And there was one I was very Eastern-minded. For her it was the exact opposite. She was Eastern-minded in every single one, but the one that I was Eastern-minded, she actually was Western-minded.

Mikel Del Rosario
Oh, wow. [Laughs]
Sam Lee
So, we kind of – and then in terms of personality inventory, you guys know the Myers-Briggs.
All
Mm-hmm.
Sam Lee
So, I’m an ISTJ; she’s an ENFP. So, literally, we’re opposites on every one. So, not only do we come from different cultures and have different culture values, personality wise just in general we’re very different.

So, we found communication is so important in our marriage. When we were engaged, especially in the – while we were planning our wedding and doing all this stuff, you have a lot of decisions to make, and it’s the first time you’re really making life choices together. We found there was a lot of conflict at first.

And because we just thought about things differently, we would – like you said, you would see the exact same thing and literally think completely opposite ideas. But one thing I found is as you communicate, as you learn to resolve through conflicts, it really has helped, I think, both of us not only understand and love each other better, but also help in our conversations with other people.

My wife, she was a counseling emphasis in her ThM. She does a lot of counseling at our church, marital and things, and she’s able to share a lot of experiences we’ve been through and help other couples. And things like that we found was just very beneficial.

And like Nancy said, it takes sacrifice. Right? It’s not easy. You have to give something up for yourself, and they have to give something up, too. I realize she gives a lot up for me and vice versa. We speak different languages. Right? When she’s on the phone talking to her family, I don’t understand what she’s saying, but I realize she’s talking to me in English, which is not her natural language.

And different things – one of the things I realize, too, as being married to her is how I take for granted, because I was born in the US, I have a US passport. And there’s just so many little things I never knew because she doesn’t have a US passport, with Visas, even with renewing documents that she had to struggle through that I was just like, “Oh, I just went online and clicked a button and it was done.”

And she always gets mad at me. She’s like, “You don’t understand what we’ve been through.”

But it’s only in this relationship now I realize, “Oh, this is what other people have to go through, too.” And one thing I realize is because we’re married, obviously we’re willing to sacrifice because we love each other, but in the broader context of diversity, I think it’s good for us to realize that no matter what relationship you have with someone, there is a level of sacrifice – maybe not in the extent of a marriage, but like you said, if you want to get to know someone, you can’t just say, “I want to be exactly the way I am and not give up anything, but have an intimate relationship with you.” There’s gonna be this push and pull, and that’s okay and it’s okay to struggle with that, but realizing that, I think, will be big step toward trying to engage in these diversity talks and be able to understand better.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Well, opposites attract, right?
Sam Lee
Yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
Well, that’s what I say.
Sam Lee
So, I guess it’s true, yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
Especially for us.
Sam Lee
Yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
You know, I think, yes, there is an element of sacrifice we have to recognize in any relationship where you’re working with somebody from a different culture, a different race, a different background than you. But the more you love that person, it’s not like it doesn’t become a sacrifice, but the sacrifice is a little easier.
Sam Lee
Yeah.
Elijah Misigaro
Mm-hmm.
Sam Lee
And it’s more worth it, I think.
Mikel Del Rosario
Right. And same in the marriage as well. I’ll tell this quick story. I was in the Philippines as a missionary with my wife, and my wife’s a white woman. And there is a guy in our village who came into the house once and kind of pulled me aside when he saw my wife, and he’s like, “So” – in the Filipino language he says – “it can work then?”

I was like, “What can work?”

And he’s like, “You know, our cultures, we can get married and our cultures can work together.”

I said, “Well, it depends what you like.”

And he said, “What do you mean?”

And I said, “Well, if it’s a super-high value for you to have rice for every meal, it might not work that well.”

He’s like, “Oh, really? Never mind then.”

Sam Lee
Food, too, is a big difference in the cultures.
Nancy Frazier
Yes.
Elijah Misigaro
Yeah.
Mikel Del Rosario
Yeah. But at least in our family, I actually like the culture that we’ve built together because it’s our culture. It’s not like my wife’s family; it’s not like my family growing up, it’s something different. But it’s something that’s unique that we made together.
Elijah Misigaro
Mm-hmm.
Mikel Del Rosario
And I think in every relationship we have that kind of thing, whether it’s a marriage or just a close relationship with a friend, you have this – these two cultures coming together. There’s give and take; there’s a little sacrifice, but there’s that love there that makes that sacrifice worth it for the relationship.

Well, to some extent, we’ve all known what it’s like to be to have some kind of immigrant experience, to be the odd person out. What can we do to help include people who might be on the margins in our churches, in our – even in our seminary and our society? Who wants to go on that one?

Nancy Frazier
So, I think part of it is just being seen as a person on the margins. So, for me, for example, I was at Sam’s returning something the other day, and the lady in front of me it was her turn to come up with the cashier or the service person. And she started looking around because she was like, “I can’t speak English” – right? So, she was looking for someone to help her.

And in that moment, for me, because I speak Spanish, it’s my first language, being able to step in and say, “Hey, I see you; can I help you?” And also asking – right? – “Can I help you,” rather than just assuming and coming in. But I think part of that really just has to do with being seen, to say, “I notice you; I see you there.” And that’s a part of recognizing just our humanity in each other that I think can go a really long way.

And I understand not everybody speaks another language that can just step in and help in that particular way, but even sometimes doing what you can in terms of trying to help be that bridge of communication that kind of brings – especially in a shame-honor context – that you go, “This doesn’t have to be a shameful experience for you,” I think can really communicate a lot of care.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Elijah?

Elijah Misigaro
I think there’s an element of respecting others enough to try to learn as much as you can about them. I know that, in our society, political correctness tends to get a bad rap and people just don’t want to be PC. But I think at the root of political correctness there is a sense to want to respect somebody enough to honor their wishes and their desires or care about what would hurt their feelings.

So, from a core standpoint, I think one thing that we could be doing is (a) learning more about different people’s backgrounds and their histories and their worldview and not kind of prioritizing ours as “the” worldview to have. So, instead of encouraging people to assimilate to our way of thinking or our way of living or a majority culture’s way of viewing the world, maybe taking a step back and trying to understand how other people may view the world very differently from you.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, that’s real important for any difficult conversation to have, whether it’s about multiculturalism or race, or even just talking to someone from a different religion.

Sam, what do you think?

Sam Lee
Yeah, I think one thing is just having conversations, kind of just like what we’re doing. For the Chinese program here at DTS next semester, we’re actually running an all-day seminar, and the topic is bridging gaps between first- and second-generation Chinese-Americans. Because that’s one of the big issues we see in churches here in America, where you have, for instance, the parents may be from Mainland China or first-generation immigrants, which the children are not growing up in an American culture, and there’s just this huge gap.

And a lot of times, we don’t know what to do with it, and then the easy solution is just, “Okay, let’s have one congregation on this side and one congregation on this side.” And even though we’re still one church, we almost operate like two different churches.

So, I don’t have like an easy solution of, “Oh, you do these three steps and suddenly everything is fixed.” I think obviously the fact we’re doing this shows that’s not the case. But just having these conversations, being able to talk about it.

One thing I also want to mention – Nancy brought up a little – but it’s talking about comfort zone. For instance, I’m an Asian-American, right? So, when I’m with first-generation Chinese people, I get along with them, but in the end, I’m still not completely them; I’m not Chinese; I’m more American. Right? But if I’m with just like white people, or normal Americans, I can get along with them culturally, too, but I’m still Chinese. Right?

So, for me, I found I like to hang out – a lot of my friends are just Asian-Americans like me because we understand each other; we’re comfortable. And I think that’s true for everyone, right? I don’t think we should feel guilty for enjoying being with people that understand us. Right?

But the problem is when we only do that and we refuse to try to get to know other people, because there is gonna be a way – a step out of your comfort zone, but just talking through it. No one is saying we have to all just completely not ever – like I’m not saying, “Nancy, you can never talk to any other person from your background; you have to go talk to everyone else.”

No, it’s you have your community, but also be willing to step outside occasionally, be willing to do some things. And as you do that, you’ll realize, oh, there’s a world out there of so many things that you can learn that would be good for you, too.

So, for instance, little seminars like that, conversations like this, just going and talking to someone you see on campus that you may not usually approach, whether you’re sitting next to them in class, these are just small steps, I think, that can help get it along to hopefully more and more, yeah.

Mikel Del Rosario
And my wife and I used to do refugee ministry in Orange County with Vietnamese refugees, and we would help them with things just like reading the mail or filling out the FAFSA, helping their parents figure out how the systems work to get their kids get set up in school and things like that.

And I think there’s a spectrum where you have assimilation on one side, and you have inclusion on the other side. So, inclusion, where you accept people as they are; assimilation where people have to change a little bit of who they are to fit into a popular kind of culture. And on that spectrum, people fall into different places with their level of assimilation, their level of inclusion.

How do you think that we can begin to help include people a little bit more in –

Nancy Frazier
Mikel, can I actually – before we move on from the immigrant conversation – because I really wanted to – I think part of it also is understanding there’s not an immigrant – there’s not one immigrant experience. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
That’s right.
Nancy Frazier
So, there are undocumented immigrants; there are documented immigrants; there are refugees, which is a completely different kind of situation. And I think educating yourself not only culturally with somebody else’s culture, but also just educating yourself on immigration law in the United States and what those realities actually look like. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Nancy Frazier
So, I remember going to a dinner party, and somebody asked me where I was from, and I said I was born in Mexico. And I have never killed conversation so quickly. Because the reality is they have one idea of immigration, especially where we are in our country right now that says, “Okay, but how are you here?”

And I thought, “I’ve never been so suspect at a party ever.” And then I had to explain how I was born an American citizen, and I’m here because my mother was a missionary and all of these things. And that just comes from a lack of understanding that the immigrant experience is just as diverse as everything else. And so, I just kind of wanted to add that, that there are various experiences in being able to connect with people and serve the immigrant community. I think part of that has to understand what does immigration look like? And it’s hard to weed out the facts and fake news and all of this, but to kind of educate yourself on that point. Sorry.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah, well, this is something that the Church has really been wrestling with from the very beginning. Yeah? We think about Galatians 2, you have Peter was eating with these Gentiles. They’re just hanging out eating. And then he withdraws from them when these other Jewish people come ’cause he’s afraid of something. Right?
Elijah Misigaro
Mm-hmm.
Mikel Del Rosario
And I think sometimes we let fear, political correctness, whatever kind of get in the way of, “Oh, no, this might be perceived a different way; I might offend people,” and make us withdraw from those who are different than us. But in the Church I don’t think fear should rob us of the joy of having the body of Christ be obviously made up of different people. You know?
Elijah Misigaro
Mm-hmm.
Mikel Del Rosario
And so, in terms of inclusion, what I was thinking about is in the Church and in individual relationships that we have, how could we keep in mind steering our interaction more towards inclusion from that assimilation point where we help people feel like they can still be themselves and yet include them a little bit more? How do you navigate that in your relationships?
Sam Lee
Yeah, I think – first of all, I think you’re right; it’s not always about saying, “Oh, you’re here in America; you need to be just like us.” But one thing, just a little thing I realized is I’m a US citizen; I’m very proud to be an American citizen, but I realize not everyone – people are proud of their countries they’re from, too. Just because people come here to study doesn’t mean, “Oh, their dream would be to be an American citizen and just be like us.” Some people yeah, but other people not.

So, just realizing, okay, just because we have certain privileges, we’re proud of, other people are proud of their culture, their backgrounds. And it’s okay that we’re proud of our backgrounds, too, but not having this ethnocentrism to think, “Oh, somehow we’re just better because I was somehow born here.”

And I think little things like that can help us just start realizing, “Okay, yeah, there’s things you need to learn about living here in the States, for instance, an international new student coming to live in Dallas that we can help you with. But that doesn’t mean giving up all of the different traditions you have, too. “

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Sam Lee
You mentioned how you helped the refugees in Orange County. So, we have something where our church in Dallas is right next to UT Dallas, which has a lot of international students. So, we’ll invite them over, especially when they first come over, and we’ll do these classes.

And it’s not really even – we’re not really sharing the gospel here, we’re just teaching them, for instance, “Okay, this is Walmart; this is where you get this.” Or, “This is how you open up – get a credit card or open up a bank statement.” Just little things like that to help.

And obviously some of the things they may know; some of the things may be new to them. But just teaching them and letting them kind of pick and choose, “Okay, this is something I need; this is for me.”

And then, as you talk, you realize, “Okay, yeah, they’re gonna learn how to live here, but they’re also gonna hold onto to some of their culture, too, and that’s okay.” So, again, navigating that spectrum, stretch and realizing there’s not one answer; that this is the right point. It’s everyone gets to decide and being open enough to first ask people, “What do you think,” instead of telling them your idea.

I think one thing we always do is we’re really scared to make mistakes. And yeah, we should try to be nice and obviously not offend people, but we also really need to realize when we say things – for instance, if someone says something to me that may be a little offensive, I’m not just gonna be like, “You’re a horrible person; I’m never talking to you again.”

Like most people are nice enough to hopefully tell you, but as long as I know you care about me, and you’re actually interested instead of just trying to be a stereotype, “Oh, I need to be polite to this person.”

So, as you develop those relationships, I think you will just learn naturally and be able, hopefully, to gain some things you may not even be aware of, but just have it as you start meeting people of different backgrounds. Yeah.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Elijah, what do you think?

Elijah Misigaro
I think most people enjoy the word “inclusion,” but inclusion like what we’re talking about, it requires sacrifice. So, my question always ends up being, “Who’s at the table?” No matter what organization or what system you’re at, whether it’s education, whether it’s in the church in the context that we’re talking about, who’s invited to the table to actually be a part of the decision-making and actually pour into the leadership or the people who are influencing others in the church?

Then that comes into the question of not only who, but with assimilation I think sometimes diversity kind of gets this, “We want people who sound, look, talk like us” – I’m sorry – “Who sound like us and maybe say the things we want, but look a little different.” And that, to me, has, at least in my perspective, been the model of diversity.

So, it’s not truly a diverse perspective; it’s just a person of color who’s espousing some of the same ideals or worldview of majority culture. So, I would always challenge people if you truly want inclusion, what does that actually mean?

How do you bring diverse perspectives onto the table, and then how do you actually humble yourself and actually sit and listen to those perspectives so you can make a change that would challenge your church, or your organization, or your nonprofit, or whatever ministry you’re involved?

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.

Nancy?

Nancy Frazier
Yeah, I mean I was gonna say something similar, that when it comes to inclusion, I think we have to nuance that and say, “What are we actually talking about, right? Because there is this push that says diversity looks like people of different colors who look differently, but are getting up there and kind of following the same, which is just another kind of assimilation actually.
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Nancy Frazier
I think the thing about cultural diversity – right? – that has freedom of expression, I think the – it’s hard, right? And it’s – and I think getting to a place like that can be really painful. And sometimes – and I think it takes the people who are in power, who are at the table not only to welcome people in to speak, but to actually be willing to then follow all of that talk with action that says, “What does this look like?”

In the church, I mean that can look like different kind of sermon styles. Right?

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Nancy Frazier
Particularly in cultures that are very story based. Right?
Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm.
Nancy Frazier
We want more than just propositional statements. And also even something like worship style that can come back into it. And we’re not just talking about modern verse vs. you know hymns or anything like that; we’re talking about the actual expression in worship. Right?

Like I think I haven’t clapped in church probably since I came to DTS, and I still find myself going, “Oh, wait, we don’t do that.” And maybe I should. Maybe I need to be the person in church that says, “Actually, part of my worship expression is that I clap when we’re singing, and that doesn’t feel awkward to me.” But when you’re outnumbered – right? – it can be kind of hard.

There’s this kind of statistic – I haven’t quite figured out where it comes from, and I’m still on a search, that says a multicultural church falls into an 80-20 split. Right? Eighty percent – no more than 80 percent of any one culture and then 20 percent other. That is considered multicultural.

What happens is if you fall in the 20 percent, you don’t feel very multicultural. Right? And I think – I think getting to a place where we understand that inclusion is more than a numerical value that does come with expression. And sometimes that’s having – being willing to have the difficult conversations. Right?

So, I can think of conversations at church where I’ve said, “But I’m just acting out of my cultural experience,” and I’ve had to listen to people say, “I didn’t know that.” And then to pick up in that difficult place and go, “Okay, so how do we navigate this if what I want to do is be more than just a number of someone who looks ambiguously not white and yet want to be able to express my worship of God and my experience in the church in a way that connects to my Mexican culture?”

It’s just not easy, and I think having leaders that are willing to step into those difficult situations and to be able to be humble enough to say they’re might be another way of doing it. And yeah, I mean I think that there’s a lot of churches that want to get there and they’re in a different spectrum of how ready they are to make those moves, and I understand when you – when you are trying to press into a minority culture and that upsets the majority culture – and it’s just – it’s difficult.

So, I think it takes courage and it takes vulnerability. And like I said, it takes more than just presence. To be truly inclusive, it takes more than just allowing you to come and do the things that we do, but letting you do your things that we do, but letting you do your thing and lead us in that direction.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
Elijah Misigaro
And just to piggyback off of that, I mean I think what Nancy’s getting at is the how, and that’s kind of what I’ve been thinking is how you also do diversity is very important. And in the educational context I think so often people of color’s voices are not represented. So, you only get one perspective of maybe reading the text or understanding particular Scriptures. And the same thing with preaching and church context.

And I think once you begin to kind of navigate how and what am I reading, who am I studying under, how am I also including their perspective into what I know, I think you can begin to create a foundation in your church so when people of color actually come there, you are more prepared and equipped for people with diverse backgrounds to get there.

And I think so often in the inclusion diversity conversation it’s, “Let’s invite people of color in and then let them teach us how to be more inclusive.” And that can sometimes be met with suspicion or pain because those people are like the guinea pigs. “How much can I drain out of you rather than how much can I truly learn and build into my staff or my leadership?” So that way I’m preparing our church for people of color and to be more inclusive.

Mikel Del Rosario
Mm-hmm. Yeah, there can’t be a kind of paternalism –
Elijah Misigaro
No, no.
Mikel Del Rosario
– that goes, and that has to be a mutual conversation.
Elijah Misigaro
Most definitely.
Mikel Del Rosario
And so, in the body of Christ, we’re talking about in the Church, certainly we have unity under Christ. And going back to Galatians 2, any kind of breaking of that unity isn’t in step with the gospel. And so, I think one thing that’s come out of our conversation is that there is a unity under Christ; there’s a unity that is not characterized by sameness and that all relationships are going to take sacrifice.

But the more that we love each other, the more that we love the Lord, especially in the Church, that we need to be that outpost of the kingdom of God here on Earth so people can look from the outside in and say, “Here’s the difference that Christ makes in the Church,” especially when it comes to difficult conversations like this. So, thank you guys so much for being on the show.

Thank you, Sam.

Sam Lee
Thank you.
Mikel Del Rosario
Thank you, Elijah.
Elijah Misigaro
Thank you.
Mikel Del Rosario
Thank you, Nancy.
Nancy Frazier
Thanks.
Mikel Del Rosario
And thank you for joining us on the table once again. We hope you will join us next week here on the table podcast where we discuss issues of God and culture.
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Elijah Misigaro
Elijah Misigaro is a cohost of a podcast called We Talk Different. He is a 2016 graduate of DTS, and is currently the Senior Video Producer on the Media Production Team. He’s has an active speaking, writing and activism ministry in the city of Dallas.
Mikel Del Rosario
Mikel Del Rosario is a PhD student in New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, Project Manager for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center, and Adjunct Professor of Apologetics and World Religion at William Jessup University. Mikel co-authors The Table Briefing articles in Bibliotheca Sacra with Darrell Bock, manages the Table Podcast, and helps Christians defend the faith with courage and compassion though his apologetics speaking ministry. He holds a Master of Theology (ThM) from DTS and an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.
Nancy Frazier
Nancy P. Reyes Frazier (ThM 2017) is currently pursuing a PhD in Systematic Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Her interests include the intersection of theology and culture, the nature of revelation, and the role of theology in communal ethics and spiritual formation. You can connect with Nancy on Twitter @npfrazier.
Samuel Lee
Samuel Lee received his ThM from DTS in 2018, and is currently pursuing a PhD at DTS in Theological Studies. He works in the DTS Chinese Program as well as the parachurch organization CCF International. Sam has a passion for teaching the Bible and theology as well as in cross-cultural missions, serving in both capacities at his home church Dallas Chinese Fellowship Church. He is happily married to his wife of 3 years, Febrina Rudolf.
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