Ethnicity and The New Creation


*My post here was originally published on Aug 27, 2015 in The Gospel Project.

In movies like Memento or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the story is told in reverse—we call this technique the reverse chronology method. As counter-intuitive as this method might seem, movies that start with the end can actually be quite compelling, if not more so, than the traditional method of going from start to finish. This is because you’re placed in the seat of an investigator when the first scene of the movie is the end or the climax. You know something that the actors don’t, and you are trying to piece together the actions that they will take, in order to get to that end.

In the same way, you and I are living in a reverse chronology story. We know what is going to happen in the end—Jesus will return and he will usher in his new creation. His kingdom will fully come and be fully realized here on earth as it is in heaven. However, today, we are living in a moment where the kingdom is here but not fully here. We see evidences of God’s fingerprint and his new creation taking shape, but we can’t fully experience it until Jesus returns. As a result, we are living in a time of tension – we are straddling between the now and the not yet. We know what the end will bear, but today we still need to bear through the trials and struggles of this world. We know that in the end, there will be no more tears, grief, crying, pain, and death (Rev 21:4), but today, we face those harsh realities even more so than ever before. The future vision of this new creation is most clearly outlined in Rev 7:9-10. [Read more…]

Why Every Healthy Church Needs The Second Gen

While I was reading The Next Evangelicalism, which is a must read for every North American church leader, I was deeply impacted with the profound truths that Rah put forth regarding the current state of our churches and the way forward (Click here to read my review of the book)

Like Rah, I am a second-generation Korean immigrant, the only difference is that I am Korean-Canadian, and not American. As a result, for the past 10 years, I have been reflecting on issues of ethnicity and the second generation, but I have never heard someone state the importance of my experience and the potential of my role quite like he has. For example, “in the next evangelicalism, the second generation, with their unique ethos and strength…will be the ones best equipped to face the next stage of the church” (181). [Read more…]

Book Review: The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah

Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. He has experience in church planting, as well as campus ministry experience. He also serves on several boards, such as the Catalyst Leadership Center, and he has involvement across many organizations, such as the Boston Ten-Point Coalition. His upbringing as a Korean American second generation immigrant is deeply reflected in his life work as portrayed in this book.

The thesis of this book is that Christianity, in the United States, needs to be released from the captivity of the white, Western American culture, in order for the gospel to spread effectively into the future. Rah accomplishes this feat by organizing his book into three different sections.

[Read more…]

Integrating Two Sides: Mary vs Martha? Or, Mary and Martha?

I cannot recall the last time I have ever heard anyone teach or preach about being Martha – myself including.

When reading Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters, ed. Young Lee Hertig and Chloe Sun, Beverly Chen went to lengths to show the importance of integrating both Mary and Martha’s characteristics in our lives. Chen explains how Mary’s strength of inward spiritual formation actually flows naturally into Martha’s strength of hospitality and outward ministry.

Personally, I tend to identify more with Martha – not necessarily in the aspect of hospitality, but in the aspect of valuing doing more than being. From both my Korean and Canadian culture, I constantly feel the pull toward producing, succeeding, and accomplishing things. However, one thing that I have learnt is the necessity of coming to Jesus Christ first before even thinking about doing anything else. As a result, in that sense, I am like Mary.

Who are you more like? Mary or Martha? Or both? If both, in what capacity?

The Perception of Contextualization – A Response to MissionShift

I am part of a group of bloggers, who received a free copy of MissionShift: Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium, edited by David Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer, in order to participate in a discussion on Ed Stetzer’s website.

I am responding to Paul Hiebert’s Essay entitled, “The Gospel in Human Contexts: Changing Perceptions of Contextualization.” Here is the summary of his thesis provided in MissionShift.

Thesis: The purpose of this essay is to offer some discussion of the state of “Contextualization” as a critical aspect of missions, and of the changing perceptions of contextualization among missionaries and missions scholars. Any analysis of the current status of the Christian mission in the world must take social, historical, personal, and other contexts into account, and examine the relationships between the different contexts in which the people we serve live. In this sense this essay addresses the PRESENT of what has traditionally been termed “missions.”

I am not monocultural – never was and never have been. I’m multicultural by birth: I am Canadian and I am also Korean – I’m Korean-Canadian. I agree with Hiebert when he suggests that individuals like me “are aware of cultural differences and have learned to negotiate between two worlds in daily living.” However, I disagree with him when he suggests that individuals like me “often do not stop to consciously examine these contexts, how they shape their thinking, or the deep differences between them.” Perhaps I’m different in that I am always constantly wrestling with my Korean and Canadian cultural differences – perhaps this is because I believe that I am a ligament in the Body of Christ.

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