Thank you for joining me again in this three-part series on “The Million Dollar Question.” If you missed Part 1, please click here.
Now, let’s continue!
The Christian Korean guy and I went to dinner and talked about lots of Korean customs. The conversation started off really general, then he asked more straight forward questions about my hair, weight and so on. While explaining why being skinny is important in Korea, something happened. What happened? God in His infinite wisdom reminded me of why I was here and sliced through all my distractions. His relentless love never ceases to amaze me. Even when I thoughtlessly wander away from certain assignments, God gently pushes the restart button and gets me back in position. Man I love Him. I digress.
The Korean guy transitioned into seriousness by asking, “So you are protestant, yes?” I looked was puzzled and replied, “No. Why would you assume that?” My American friend said, “Yes she is. Yes you are. In Korea, there’s Buddhist, Catholic, and everything else is Protestant. They don’t have denominations here.” I was completely shocked and readily tried to explain to my new Korean friend why I was confused. But to no avail. To him, Christianity was about loving God (sans denomination). This very devout Christian, still strong in his cultural tradition, gave me a brief history lesson about March 1st being a Korean Christian holiday. Korean Christians (and other Korean leaders) fought Japan to gain their freedom on this day. It is not quite the Korean Independence Day, but the Koreans’ decision to take their fate into their own hands was worth recognizing. The young man then made a gesture, tying his pinky in with my American friends’ pinky finger, pushing to touch her thumb while explaining this means “yak-so”, a promise. “We, in Korea, believe that a promise can never be broken. When we do this gesture after agreeing to do something it is locked in stone, promised, signed, and copied. It is binding and there is no way to get out of it. In some circumstances punishable by law. But mainly, everyone will know that you are a liar, never to be trusted, and no one will want to do business or anything else with you” said the guy. The stern face returned, and my American friend leaned over and said they are very serious about their word here. This is a very selfless culture, not at all individualistic. In fact, the word for promise and appointment is the same word in Korean. A binding word.
At that moment, I felt a moral hole burning through my heart’s cavity, and then came the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: “Did you know in Korea, and other Asian countries, we call America ‘God’s country?’” I replied with a chuckle, “Oh, really.” “Yes. You are free to be a Christian” the Korean guy stated.
Please joint me next week for Part 3.