Monday, September 22, 2008

Culture, Culture, Culture

 Culture, Culture, culture surrounds me and my mind has been running like crazy. I wrote this post on Sunday, but it didn't get posted, so pretend that the date says September and not already October:)

Last weekend I enjoyed some fun times with many new friends. Friday night we took a trip to Jazz Night at the High Art Museum. It took me a while to become acclimatized to the very modern jazz accompanying the classic 18-19th century art. What an overload to the senses! The next day we visited the Puppet museum in downtown Atlanta. They have a lot of Jim Henson's puppets, including this amazingly detailed puppet(should I still use such a passive word?) used in Dark Crystal. I thought it was scary in the movie, but close up he looks even more real. Plus he had a really cool sword.

This weekend seemed a little more low key, since we all stayed in on Friday to watch the debate. Last night, though, I went out with some of my new Korean friends to a Chinese restaurant, and wow, we ate such amazing food. My other non-Korean friend and I didn't really know what we were ordering, so our friend Teddy took control. I'll tell you, he can order for me any day! The soup we had was spicy in just the right way, mild at first and warmer throughout the dish, always enhancing the food and not inhibiting the taste. Afterwards we followed with a Korean tradition of going for the "Round 2," meaning that you go for dessert or coffee in some other place. We ended up going for some wine and had nice discussions about our lives and theology.

We have quite a few Korean-American students; some of them immigrated at a young age and others were born here, identifying with both cultures. I enjoy talking with them about their culture, meaning Korean history as well as the history of Korean Christians. Most of my Korean classmates work part-time(almost like full time) as youth pastors in one of the many Korean Presbyterian Churches in Atlanta. From what I understand their worship services can be pretty intense, and their contemporary services tend to be cutting edge. For the Christian Korean Community church takes a dominant place in their lives. Every morning, they take a special time of prayer. The Asian Student Organization on campus even started a morning prayer service in light of this spiritual discipline. I've been going on a regular basis, and we meet every weekday morning from 6:30-7:40 or so, having a Psalm reading, some singing, someone shares a short devotional, and then intercessory prayer. My friend Daniel describes the prayer time as a "symphony of prayer," because everyone is praying at once, some outloud and some silently, with meditative music in the background.
The first week found me exhausted from praying so intensely and so repeatedly, but now I find myself praying and praying continuously, and I even feel more comfortable praying aloud in groups. One of my favorite things about the morning prayer time is the routine and continuous practice of putting God and others first in my day. Many different people feel called to come and pray; although the idea comes from the Korean tradition, these meetings are all inclusive and people from all walks of life come to pray for our campus, our community, and the world. Again it's the wonderful way of how sharing your own culture or experiencing another's can change your own way of life and challenge you.

If you have any prayers you would like us to pray about, email me, and we'll pray for you. Maybe you feel strange with me making this offer or with the idea of strange people you don't know praying for you. Either way, you don't have to accept the offer, I just felt called to lay it out there.

So, I hope you have a great day and that maybe you too will have the chance to experience the habits of someone around you and be challenged to see the world through their eyes.

1 comment:

Dale Chapin said...

It sounds like you are absorbing all kinds of new ideas and experiences and cultural learnings as you start the journey at Columbia. It will be a fantastic, but much to quick a three years.

The Wed noon group is praying for you regularly and I can't wait to get a copy of that worship paper to share with our CPC Worship Commission.