10 Thoughts from Korea

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Culture and Gospel intersect at the school I am studying abroad at, that’s for sure. Yonsei was founded by American Christian missionaries in 1885.

1. Culture and the Gospel: Where do they intersect? More importantly, where do they both manifest without compromising one another? It’s a question that believers have tried to answer for generations. And it’s a question that hits me smack dab as I immerse myself in my native culture after a 15 year hiatus.

2. Living in a city is my preference. I’ve always enjoyed the hustle and bustle that the constant stimulation 10 million other neighbors provide. But after spending three months crevassed between the Rocky Mountains, I will admit I took the clean air for granted.

3. The Gospel is marvelously consistent. These truths penetrate regardless of native tribe or tongue. Creation beckons of its Creator (Romans 8:19-23). Man is fallen (Romans 3:9-18). Jesus’ blood provides the only remedy (Romans 6:23). Don’t take my word for it. Witness it for yourself, wherever in the world you are.

4. There is a close correlation between how much you care for a brother and how fervently you pray for him.

5. Korean food is so good. I know that’s a subjective claim, but it is hard to find food that is tasty and much as it is healthy.

6. Growing your hair out apparently makes you look younger.

7. How you spend the first two hours of your day determines the attitude that will permeate the next 12-15 hours. I’m trying to stay off social media and my phone during that time. I just get too easily distracted, and I don’t want to spend an entire day distracted. Remember, technology is not the problem, our lack of self-control is.

8. Efficient studying is more like a 100m dash than a 5K. You can’t afford to get distracted. Studying with my phone close at hand or my Tweetdeck open subtly trains my mind to be distracted when test day comes. We underestimate the capability of our minds and how precious a gift our education is in fostering our intellect to its full God-given potential. Let’s not waste our minds.

9. One of the insights I gained during my summer with Compassion International was how intentional we have to be in fighting poverty. Because poverty is always, as its root, a spiritual issue. Providing food for the hungry and setting the captives free is a great start, but the real problem is infinitely deeper.

South Korea is a quintessential example of this concept. No country has risen from the ashes of war, poverty, and dictatorship as quickly as South Korea. It’s a marvelous tribute to the perseverance and hard work ideals that are deeply embedded within the culture.

But culture and morality can only suppress the true condition of man for so long. Now that those hardships of war are becoming a distant memory, I fear the consequences that will reap from the increase presence of materialism, and ultimately, superficiality. Remember point 3? The Gospel is consistent, this is what I mean.

Prosperity knits a man’s heart to the world. He thinks he is finding its place in it, when really it is finding its place in him. -C.S. Lewis

10. Parents are precious gifts. They aren’t perfect. But let’s not forget we aren’t either. The more I progress through my 20s the more I feel indebted to them for all they have done for me.

The first family picture in our home country following our diaspora that has taken us to three continents.
The first family picture in our home country following our diaspora that has taken us to three continents.

Author: Derek Kunhee Kim (김건희/金健熙)

Pilgrim in Process. Univ. of San Diego Law. Retired Compassion Intern + Michigan State Tracklete. Novi HS Alumnus. Author of Four Years, Two Roads. Aspirant Polyglot.

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