Justice and Peacemaking Discipleship School explores “Doing Life Together”

photo (12)From April 28 to May 27th, participants gathered at Gardena Presbyterian Church twice a week for five weeks to participate in Journey Towards Reconciliation, an intensive justice and peacemaking discipleship school.  We gathered centered on the theme of “Doing Life Together” and explored various topics with a peacemaking and justice lens.

Dr. Suh emphasizes the importance of reading the Bible with a restorative justice lens.

Dr. Suh emphasizes the importance of reading the Bible with a restorative justice lens. (photo by Daniel Lee)

We began the first session with worship acknowledging that we are followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  Our goal is to honor his name through our lives here on earth. The second session was led by Dr. Kyunglan Suh of Fuller Theological Seminary who clearly laid the biblical foundation for restorative justice.  She highlighted the importance of relating to one another with the goal of restoring the victim, and that this is especially important as we do mission work overseas.

On May 5th, Hokwan Seon, who is a missionary in Thailand, expanded on the concept of conflict transformation.  He emphasized the importance of normalizing conflict in communities or in churches, and taking these opportunities to engage in a third way.  Many of the participants enjoyed the interactive exercises through the workshop which emphasized teambuilding and collaboration.

Soekwan Seon led conflict transformation exercises

Pastor Soekwan Seon (second from the right) led lively conflict transformation exercises (photo taken by Daniel Lee)

On May 6th, Pastor Sunghwan Kim, the lead pastor of Gardena Presbyterian Church, began the seminar entitled “Handmade Life” emphasizing the incarnate Jesus who touched, made, and held people and things around him.  Jesus’ spirituality was not an abstract meditation, but one that engaged his surrounding and created and recreated throughout his ministry.   He invited the participants to practice the spirituality of incarnate living.

Pastor Kim displays the many hammers he made during "Handmade Life" seminar.

Pastor Kim displays the many hammers he made during “Handmade Life” seminar. (photo taken by Daniel Lee)

On May 10th, we had the privilege to spend the whole Saturday to hear Steve and Joy Yoon share their powerful testimony of living and thriving in Northeast Asia.  They shared honestly about the challenges of living in North Korea, but also the incredible grace of God they have witnessed in the land.  Steve beautifully shared,  “We engage spiritual warfare in this way: we fight the spirit of idolatry with worship acknowledging His lordship; we fight the spirit of pride with the practice of humility; we fight the spirit of unforgiveness with the spirit of forgiveness; we fight the spirit of division with the spirit of unity.”

Joy read a powerful reconciliation letter she wrote to the NK government

Joy read a powerful reconciliation letter she wrote to the NK government (photo by Daniel Lee)

On May 19-20, Jill Shook, the author of Making Housing Happen,  introduced the concept of housing justice.  If we really believed that God owned the land, how would that change the way we view our use of land? Shook challenged us to look at the theology of housing, land, ownership, and stewardship as the foundation to engage in creating affordable housing in local communities. Her workshop dared us to dream what it would look like for us to live together in creative and dynamic ways.

Jill Shook explains the biblical foundation of housing justice

Jill Shook explains the biblical foundation of housing justice (photo by Daniel Lee)

The final week of JTR was led by the dynamic duo, Ron and Roxanne Claassen from Center for Conflict and Peacemaking Studies at Fresno Pacific University.  How can you discipline so that it can restore?  What are the practical steps to take when conflict escalates in a classroom setting?  In the home?  These questions were addressed and we learned to create a respect agreement to promote a culture that is constructive rather than destructive.

The last group shot of JTR at Gardena Presbyterian Church with Ron and Roxanne Claassen

The last group shot of JTR at Gardena Presbyterian Church with Ron and Roxanne Claassen (photo by Daniel Lee)

The five-full weeks again challenged and transformed the lives of those who attended regularly.  19 participants who attended at least 7 out of 9 sessions were given a certificate of completion, and we celebrated the completion of another justice and peacemaking discipleship school.  We especially recognized Gardena Presbyterian Church who graciously and lavishly welcomed and hosted us for the five weeks with delectable meals and snacks.  Thank you again!

ReconciliAsian in Asia

ReconciliAsian at the Christian Forum for Reconciliation in Northeast Asia

On April 21- 25, 2014, forty-four Christian leaders, practitioners, and educators from seminaries, universities, para-church organizations, peace centers, and churches gathered from Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, and the United States to spend five days at the Pilgrim House in Gapyeong, South Korea.

Group photo taken at the DMZ

Group photo taken at the DMZ

The vision for this forum grew out of a December 2012 consultation at Duke University Center for Reconciliation when leaders from Northeast Asia came together to discern what was needed to nourish a Christian vision of peace and reconciliation in Northeast Asia.

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New friends and mentors were made

The goal of this forum was to build new relationships and worship together to discern what is happening in the Northeast Asian region and how a biblical vision reconciliation can lead and invite us to receive God’s gift of New Creation, God’s gift of lament, his gift of hope, and to form a deep spirituality that can sustain the ministry of reconciliation over the long haul as we deal with the historic and urgent challenges of conflict and pain.

It was a wonderful week connecting with many peacemakers from Northeast Asia, but the day that particularly stood out for me (Sue) was the second day when we wrestled with difficult stories of deep pain in the region. In the morning, one Hong Kong woman shared powerful stories of women while she was living in Afghanistan for seven years. She led us to view lament as a form of a protest- from crying out “how long” to “long enough.”  This was especially fitting because Korea as a nation was mourning the devastating tragedy of Sewol ferry and feeling utterly hopeless as the nation saw the lack of government response to rescue over 300 people, mostly high school students trapped in the ferry.  We also heard from a Japanese woman about the hopelessness she has felt after the tsunami and the nuclear reactor crisis that wiped out her hometown, Fukushima in March 2011.  As these stories were told and we listened to each other with deep compassion, we began to recognize that these were “our” stories, no longer Japanese or Korean stories. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we began to embrace these stories as our stories.

Fellowship continues in the late evening over Korean style fried chicken, walnut cake, and other goodies from Jae Young Lee and Karen Spicher of NARPI

Fellowship continues in the late evening over Korean style fried chicken, walnut cake, and other goodies from Jae Young Lee and Karen Spicher of NARPI

As a Korean American woman, I was unsure what my role would be in the NE Asia dialogue.  However, throughout the week, Chris Rice asked me to facilitate sessions and share my story, and through these unexpected opportunities saw that the gift that I can bring to the forum was to facilitate and create a safe place for dialogue to begin.  I appreciated Chris Rice’s intentional effort to step back as a white male leader in facilitating discussions and recognizing gifts in others who have the language and the leadership skills to lead, and through this process, I discovered my gifts.

Many opportunities to network with leaders from NE Asia were made throughout the week.  It was especially exciting to see that there were three Korean Anabaptists at the forum, and one Catholic woman who attended Eastern Mennonite University. One of the participants said that he had never considered himself as a Northeast Asian, but always Chinese.  To him, this new way of looking at himself has widened his perspective in working for peace.  The ability identify ourselves not only as a person of specific nationality, but to interact as citizens of the kingdom beyond the walls of national identity was very powerful and an important issue that we will continue to deepen through future meetings. The next forum will be in Nagasaki, Japan, and those who attended this forum will be invited to help organize the next gathering.  I look forward to the possibility of being part of this important gathering next year.

Sign up for Journey Towards Reconciliation

 ReconciliAsian Update
Peace & Justice Discipleship School begins April 28th

ReconciliAsian will begin Journey Towards Reconciliation 2 (JTR2) on April 28th.  This is an intensive five-week peace and justice discipleship school (meeting Mondays and Tuesdays) exploring the centrality of the gospel as the gospel of peace and reconciliation. We have a great line up of speakers who will help facilitate delving deeper into the topics such as restorative justice, living together in solidarity with the poor, peace spirituality, restorative humanity, peace in the Korean Peninsula, housing justice, interpersonal conflict transformation, and restorative education.

We are especially excited to be offering the courses in the South Bay area where many Korean Americans reside. Gardena Presbyterian Church has graciously opened its doors to host JTR2. Please pray for the five-week program that many will come and embrace of the gospel with renewed vision and spirit.

Meet Clara

Through the ten-week Journey Towards Reconciliation 1 (JTR1), we have been blessed to form a friendship with Clara.  Through the program, we discovered that Clara has a rich cross-cultural background having moved from Korea to Argentina, then Brazil, England, France, and finally to the U.S.. Through her journey, she has become fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, and Korean.  Having encountered many difficult situations in various countries as an Asian woman, and currently as an educator, she sees the importance of learning conflict transformation skills. For Clara, however, the most difficult conflict to reconcile has been her fear of North Korea, the country where her parents were born. Clara commented that JTR1 has helped her in her journey to reconcile with North Korea.  She realized that her hope and prayer for a unified Korea is real. “I have crossed the line [from fear to reconciliation].  I had never imagined ever visiting North Korea, but I now I think I can take steps to do this.  This is huge for me!”  Her transformation through JTR1 has compelled her to help organize JTR2.  “I’ve decided to commit to ReconciliAsian because I see that what this organization does is very important.  I’m not going to sacrifice my time if I don’t see the value in it.  I see the staff working with a genuine heart to follow the way of Jesus, and I want to be part of this.”

     

Planning and Praying Together

We are so grateful for the wonderful planning team who have committed their time and talent to prepare for the five-week course. We have been meeting regularly to develop JTR2 curriculum and pray, and through these gatherings, we are discovering the rich gifts each person brings to the group that deepens our time together.  Please continue to pray with us:

  • Pray that the vision of peace and reconciliation in the gospel will be clearly communicated through the speakers.
  • Pray for the participants that they would feel welcomed and feel safe to share and reflect deeply through the course.
  • Pray for the energy of the staff and volunteers who will be serving for the five weeks.

Journey Towards ReconciliAsian 2: five-week justice and peacemaking discipleship school program

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ReconciliAsian will begin Journey Towards Reconciliation 2 (JTR2) on April 28th. This is an intensive five-week peace and justice discipleship school (meeting Mondays and Tuesdays) exploring the centrality of the gospel as the gospel of peace and reconciliation. We have a great line up of speakers who will help facilitate delving deeper into the topics such as restorative justice, living together in solidarity with the poor, peace spirituality, restorative humanity, peace in the Korean Peninsula, housing justice, interpersonal conflict transformation, and restorative education. 

Everyone is welcome! The classes are from 6:30-9:30pm EXCEPT on May 10th. May 10th class is on a Saturday morning from 9am to 2pm. Share with those who might be interested!Journey Towards ReconciliAsian 2:  five-week justice and peacemaking discipleship school program

 

비폭력 저항과 평화를 향한 일상의 힘

비폭력 저항(Non-violent resistance)이나 평화의 실천은 일상에서의 훈련을 통해 나오는 창발성이 핵심이다.

월터 윙크도 <사탄의 체제와 예수의 비폭력>에서 산상수훈에 나오는 ‘오른 뺨을 때리면 왼편을 돌려대라’, ‘오리를 가자면 십리를 가라’, ‘겉옷을 달라하면 속옷까지 벗어주라’는 말씀들이 단순히 피동적으로 폭력에 순응하라는 것이 아닌 창의적이고 즉각적인 비폭력 저항을 하라는 뜻이라고 해석했다. 이러한 반응은 일상적으로 준비되지 않은 상태에서는 쉽게 나올 수 없다.

아래 그림은 내가 속한 전통의 하나의 아이콘 같은 것으로 이 전통의 정체성을 만들어 온 더크 빌렘스(Dirk Willems)에 관한 이야기다. 핍박으로 수감되었다가 탈옥하여 얼어붙은 강을 건너 도망하던 중 쫓아오던 간수가 얼음이 깨지면서 물에 빠졌다. 그 순간 더크 빌렘스가 도망을 멈추고 돌아서서 물에 빠진 간수를 건져내는 장면을 그리고 있다. 그는 곧바로 체포되어 재투옥된 후, 결국 화형으로 삶을 마감했다.

▲ 아나뱁티스트 더크 빌렘스는 핍박으로 수감되었다가 탈옥하여 얼어붙은 강을 건너 도망하고 있었다. 빌렘스는 얼음이 깨지면서 자신을 쫓는 간수가 물에 빠지자 그를 건져 낸 뒤 바로 체포, 재투옥되었고 곧 화형당했다. 1569년. (사진 제공 Wikimedia Commons)

이 이야기가 우리의 정체성을 형성해 왔다는 것은 그가 죽어 가는 자를 건져 낸 사실보다도 그의 행위의 즉각성 때문이다. 사람이 얼어붙은 강에 빠질 경우 건져 낼 수 있는 시간이 그리 길지 않은데, 더크 빌렘스가 그런 상황에 빠르게 반응했다는 것은 ‘도망할 것인가, 건져 낼 것인가’를 고민하지 않았다는 뜻이다. 그가 그렇게 할 수 있었던 것은 ‘자신을 핍박하는 자를 사랑해야 한다’는 가치와, 상황이 주어졌을 때 그 가치를 즉시 실행할 수 있도록 만든 일상의 훈련 때문이었다. 우리는 이 점에 주목해 왔다.

일상의 훈련은 어려서부터 교회/공동체를 통해 배우는 (집단적) 창발성과 연결된다. 단번이 아닌 오랜 기간을 닦아야 하는 길은 한 사람의 수고로 완성되지 않는다. 그 길을 받아 이어 갈 사람들이 있기 마련이다. 비폭력 저항과 평화 실천의 길은 공동체와 불가분의 관계에 있다.

그래서 어떤 교회들은 주일 저녁에 교인들이 모두 원으로 둘러앉아 자기 일상에서의 하나님 이야기를 한다. 거기서 학자의 이야기도, 목회자의 이야기도, 농부의 이야기도, 할아버지와 할머니의 이야기도, 아이들의 이야기도 모두가 다 자기의 이야기가 된다. 그 중심에 성서와 더크 빌렘스 같은 선배들의 이야기가 큰 뼈대를 이룬다. 이러한 이야기들이 공통 기반이 되어 공동체의 정체성이 형성되며, 그 정체성과 연결된 미션, 곧 평화 및 비폭력 저항을 창발적으로 함께 살아 낼 수 있게 된다.

나는 내가 지금 속해 있는 전통과 역사의 길 위에서 예수를 따르는 것이 항상 일관된 결정이나 행위로 점철되어 있다고 생각하지 않는다. 많은 순간들을 그러한 일관성에서 일탈해 온 것이 사실이다. 하지만, 내가 내 아이들과 함께 예수를 따르며 일상 속에서 평화와 비폭력 저항이라는 발걸음을 내딛을 때, 우리 아이들 혹은 그 다음 세대에는 보다 더 전통과 역사에 걸맞는, 아니 예수를 따르는 사람들이라는 이름에 합당한 삶을 살게 될 것이라고 믿는다. 그것이 지금 내 삶의 방향이요 작은 목표다.