25 May 2017

Asian Perspectives: South Korea's Generational Shift and the Life Ethic of China's Underground

This article was interesting if spiritually speaking a little disappointing. Christianity in South Korea is complex as its somewhat brief history. On the one hand it's good to see some questioning the 'conservative' political bent and the corruption inherent within the Mega-Church model and yet like so many reactions in American culture... the response can sometimes be just as bad.

One story that has not been written is the story of South Korean affluence and how this has negatively affected the Church. Usually the narrative if discussed at all, points to an opposite reality and one that is celebrated. Usually we're told that South Korea's 'success' and wealth is due to Christian principles and work ethics being applied to their society. And then in a rather lame fashion this is compared to the backwardness and poverty of North Korea.
There are certainly alternative narratives to explaining the rise of South Korea, and an honest assessment will be a bit less satisfying to pro-Capitalist American Evangelical narratives.
But there's virtually never any questioning of what has happened in South Korea, and where this sudden shift in social values and embrace of capitalism has taken their society. The idea of questioning its evident 'greatness' would seem preposterous to many. And such suggestions are easily discounted and discredited by a quick appeal (if fallacious) to a juxtaposition with their northern neighbour. South Korea's path must be right. Just look at Pyongyang.
As if these two paths are the only alternatives, or that somehow because the Northern path is so blatantly wicked, the Southern path must therefore be virtuous? I think not.
By way of contrast, this podcast was less ambiguous. Uplifting is more like it. I was encouraged and energised listening to this Underground Church pastor and the attitude he put forth with regard to suffering and the Church's attitude to money.
I don't think the Coffee-Shoppe Church model would be of great interest to him. In fact there's a real blessing in the Church being largely removed from the political sphere and its concerns. Yes, they would like the persecution to stop, but isn't it interesting how there's a real sense of danger in the Church living at peace with the world?

I continue to contend that though we're a long way from open or overt persecution, the Church in the United States (if faithful) will nevertheless experience a low heat. We ought to feel a lot more marginalised and alienated from society. Soft Persecution in the form of money, work, school etc. is already a reality for those who refuse to compromise.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Even in South Korea, both of these stories were uplifting for me. The Word conquers even as I live here in this spiritual-wasteland, terrorist nation.