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Sometime in tall school, God told me I was going to become a pastor. The calling was clear, and the years in theoretical without help crystallized what I knew already in my heart. What was not appropriately clear, however, was the type of pastor I would become.
Clarity came, but not in the exaggeration I anticipated. After my first semester in seminary, I became physically sick. My body weight fell to as low as 110 pounds, and I had developed a heart arrhythmia. The condition over and done with stirring visceral benign, but it certainly did not quality benign. Oftentimes, despite three cardiologists' telling me that I would be fine, I would lie awake at night counting the hundreds of arrhythmia wondering bearing in mind my heart would stop beating altogether. This led to chronic insomnia and a comprehensive host of new health problems. As you can imagine, this is extremely not what I thought my calling would see like. And, at the stop of the day, that is what scared me the most. Dying forward was bad, but not nearly as bad as losing what I believed to be the plan of my existence. Daily and viciously, my thoughts shot encourage and forth amongst infuriate and fear. How could God call me to ministry, and then slay me in the past I even laid my hands on the plow? Had I finished something wrong to disqualify myself from ministry? It is this dwell on that caused me to spiral beside into distress and depression.
To recover, I took a two-year depart of absence. even though that grow old was incredibly difficult, in retrospect, it was a necessity and a blessing. It is during this "desert" times that God revealed to me the type of pastor I would become. Prior to seminary, there was a particular organization of people I struggled to hug - people taking into consideration mental and emotional illnesses. on the outside, I would hug them afterward what seemed later a passionate, caring love, but inside I feared them. They "weirded me out." At best, I loved them at arm's length. But after becoming clinically sad myself, God showed me not only was I no greater than before than them, but that anybody can become damage in this way. Through this experience, I felt God saying, "Kee, now you understand. I want you to spend the rest of your simulation building a ministry that would embrace every broken people, especially those who are struggling rationally and emotionally."
It is as well as during these years that I instructor an unfortunate fact very nearly the Korean church: it is grossly ill-prepared to urge on those who are struggling in the same way as mental and emotional illnesses.
I know of a leader in the Korean church that recently in action suicide. After the funeral, her non-church-going friends revealed that she had been struggling behind bipolar depression for years, but she never told anybody in the church because she felt too ashamed. They said she felt more to your liking sharing her difficulties bearing in mind people external of the church.
How is this possible? How is it that in the one area people struggling taking into consideration mental disorder should character the most safe, they vibes the least? Did not Christ come for every who are broken and all parts of those who are broken?
Having grown taking place in the Korean church, it was determined to me what the difficulty was - the Korean culture. After years of research and my own personal experiences, after years of committed in the church, and after years of compiling anecdotal stories and evidence, I knew in my heart of hearts that the Korean culture had a fundamental flaw that was infecting the churches - shame. get not misunderstand me. I am cold to be Korean. The Korean culture itself is not wrong. However, just considering any extra culture, it has flaws. Korean pastors have often balked at this critique. They usually retort, "How dare you anger our culture? This is our culture, and you have no right to criticize it." But that is a bogus argument, at least from the Christian perspective. Biblically, it is certain that Christ came to redeem human beings. However, if this is true, subsequently Christ must have come to redeem cultures as capably because who makes taking place cultures? Flawed humans.
It is not incorrect to award our elders. It is not incorrect to play up the importance of family. The Bible does both. However, past the double-bind of shame and great compliment (which is rooted in pride) is the hope behind those fine things, they morph into evils that can destroy both person and community. The tragic archives of the Korean people as competently as our Confucian lineage back up us to understand why we as a people now value attainment and progress; however, this does not defense the destructive methods we have employed to propel our people toward these things. What is unfortunate is that Korean churches have blindly adopted Confucian values wholesale. In fact, some churches have championed such values beyond the gospel, which has had catastrophic consequences.
Of course, all cultures wrestle later perverse forms of shame and stigma. These things are not unique to Koreans. However, in general, Koreans strive much more gone these issues, therefore much appropriately that it is statistically significant. Suicide is the nineteenth leading cause of death accompanied by women in general; in the course of Asian American women (including Koreans), it is the second highest cause of death. A recent Ohio own up academic world chemical analysis attempted to locate a correlation with race, religiosity (measured by church attendance), and depression. They found that among whites and blacks, those who went to church more frequently were less sad than whites and blacks who did not attend or attended less frequently. However, in the midst of Asians, they found those who went to church more frequently were more sad than Asians who attended church less frequently. Unfortunately, these studies did not go appropriately far afield as to pinpoint the causal factors. But taking into account I couple these studies in the same way as my experience as a Korean American and once new studies that have found a connection with the tall rate of mental complaint among Koreans and our culture, it is definite to me we have significant problems in the manner of which we as a people must deal. A totally recent examination shows Korea has the highest suicide rates in the midst of developed nations.
Dr. Josephine Kim of Harvard university circles writes, "Contrary to popular opinion, rates of psychopathology in the midst of Korean Americans have been underestimated, and their infrequent use of mental health services is not an indication of a nonattendance of psychological problems. Rather, it is an indication of how the salience of shame and guilt - two core values by which Korean Americans are raised - dictates social behaviors including the usage of counseling services. Culture-bound factors threaten the mental health of Korean Americans, placing them at risk for psychological difficulties."
My current efforts at further Mercy Community Church are an outgrowth of anything I have shared. Our vision is that we would be "A Church for the Broken." Jesus reveals in the gospel accounts that he came for the sick, not for the righteous. His tapering off is that everyone is sick, and he hopes everyone would complete this thus they would arrive to Him for help. This is a central fixed idea in Christianity, one which many Korean churches in their hobby of health and plenty have forgotten.
In an effort to accomplish our vision, we have hired an in-house pastoral counselor and we have set happening a counseling referral network. like we launched this initiative, I gave a couple talks more or less building a church where the people can ration their struggles, the great compulsion for counseling, and how Christ has freed us from the shame of seeking out help. After those talks and after putting society structures in place, congregants (including those not from our church) came into our offices more or less all week for months seeking help. The infatuation is suitably there. Korean pastors understandably obsession to attain the exploit to create it secure for struggling people to come forward. This is a gospel mandate.
My hope is that Koreans would hug the strengths of our culture and deed toward overcoming its weaknesses. And even if it is enthralling for second generation Korean Americans to narrowing their fingers at their parents, I wish we can look that we are guilty of an even more insidious form of hypocrisy. on the outdoor we say we are later and approach to counseling, but inside we would never target it
out ourselves. Why? Because shame is nevertheless entrenched in our lives. "Those 'other' people can use it. I don't craving it." Unfortunately, until the self falls within the set of others, the shame will never be eradicated.