Chuang has bipolar disorder. He has been successfully treated for the condition since 2001. But he attributes his numerous career changes and intellectual restlessness, in part, to manic episodes.
His periods of depression, he said, brought him near suicide. And they convinced him that helping Asian American churches become more culturally inclusive is tantamount to a life-or-death calling.
“It’s very hard for Asians to talk about their weaknesses,” Chuang said, explaining why he waited years before publicly acknowledging his condition and seeking treatment.
Chuang said traditional Asian American churches are especially inhospitable to painful personal problems because many Asian cultures prize a veneer of stoic hard work and moral respectability.
“I want to bring churches into a place to deal more honestly with the real person,” Chuang said.
“I would like to see Asian Americans become more healthy and whole as people.”