Being cool is (usually) not cool

One thing I realized was that in my last entry I might have suggested a sort of elevating the white church above the Korean church. I did not mean to do that. I was just sharing the contrast I’ve experienced between both settings. Maybe many will agree with me that white people tend to be more welcoming…but I know that it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because they truly know the gospel. Maybe many are like that only because that’s how they were raised by their parents and not because they really know the gospel. I know there are probably many people in Crusade that show up only because their friends are there. But some of the most solid people I know are white, and one of the characteristics I see in common in all of them is a genuine warmth and hospitality toward all people, rather than just those in their inner circle.

I share about my experiences outside of the typical Korean church subculture because they have given me a perspective I wouldn’t have gotten if I had just surrounded myself with all Korean people in college. Some may ask, then, why are you still serving at a Korean church? Why do you live with all Korean roommates? Some may try to see in it a cowardly motive, but I hope it’s evident that rather than bail on the Korean church and resort to soapbox blogging, I want to edify the community while the opportunity is before me. And I am trying to do this both through sharing my thoughts in writing as well as living them out in person. Though my voice may be small, I hope that the perspectives I bring will continue to challenge us and push us toward a richer understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Of course, it’s not like these perspectives won’t benefit anyone but Korean Americans. I hope the few non-Asian readers of this blog can benefit as well.

I realized also that in the anguish of writing the previous entry I hadn’t included any Bible verses. Here are a few that I’ve been meditating on with regard to this issue.

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” — Hebrews 13:1-2

This verse says to continue to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. But it also says to show hospitality and be welcoming to strangers. I think of Abraham’s encounter with the angels disguised as men in Genesis. Also, I think of Jesus’ words about the final judgment and the sheep and the goats: as you did it to the least of these, you did it also to me. How often does the Korean church neglect hospitality toward strangers, visitors, and newcomers, whether intentionally or unintentionally?

“Therefore, welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” — Romans 15:7

I love this verse because in one sentence it tells us what to do and also tells us WHY. Here is the gospel, that Christ welcomed his enemies, welcomed strangers into the household of God. Christ was so thoroughly UN-self-centered that how can we not also be welcoming to strangers and especially strangers in the faith? The characteristic of being warm and welcoming is one of those characteristics that, when I see it in someone, I think, man, that person knows the gospel. Really and truly understands the gospel. These are the “cool” ones. I want to be one of those people. The Lord knows I fail just like everyone else, but the grace of the Spirit keeps me mindful of the call to Christ-likeness. Take care lest I forget…

A brother of mine has been writing on this issue as well (here and here). I hope we are not the only ones that think about this! Please join the conversation.


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