How is this fun?

I have just returned from spending some hours with folks from my church; not the regular EM crowd with which I hang out, but with the chongyonbu… roughly translated as Korean young adult group. They range in age from around twenty to about thirty four. Since I was unable to participate in our EM ski retreat (why we organize a ski trip is beyond me) and because of an engagement at another church, I missed worship. I decided on a whim really to visit their Bible study. From the Bible study we went on to dinner at a Korean restaurant, and from thence to coffee and hanging out at one of their houses. The conversation was carried on mostly in Korean, which didn’t really bother me.

The truth is that I thoroughly enjoyed myself, despite the language barrier. We managed, somehow, to have conversation about things, about life, to laugh and to joke together. It was surprisingly refreshing, although I was admittedly lost a few times. The few words of Korean I know combined with being an astute observer of body language and gestures took me only so far. Nevertheless it was fun.

What I find more challenging and indeed disturbing is the extent to which such interaction and camaraderie is a rarity in the EM. In just a few hours of very limited conversation, I experienced hospitality on a level that it took months to achieve in the EM congregation. Indeed in one segment of the conversation, I and other member talked about the perception some of the chongyonbu have of the EM as being inhospitable and cliquish. And all this time I thought it was just my experience.

Yeah, I know it’s different and all that, but sometimes I just wish the EM folks would stop whining and grow up.

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3 thoughts on “How is this fun?

  1. Strangely as a 2nd generation Korean American, I can relate to your experience. At times I have felt a strange disconnect among people I should be able to connect with. And having served as a EM pastor I too had some opportunities to hang out with the young adults in the Korean congregation and although I cannot relate to them on many levels (and since my language skills are poor I also am lost in the conversation), I found their friendship genuine and sincere.

  2. Yeah, it seems strange to me that it is so different. At least in our church it is easier to feel isolated in the EM than in the KM which seems to work much harder at making sure people feel connected. Do you have any ideas about why that might be?

  3. I had a Korean friend at the university. I have often wondered what happened to him. What would you suggest for a way of accessing Korean sources of information? His name, Chong Do Hah. I guess that spelling is right.

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