Archive for the ‘Contemporary Issues’ Category

Culture and Creed

May 10, 2006

This is a copy of the speech that I wrote for a Korean student. I'm not sure if it is good enough to win the contest (to be held on May 19), but I'm somehow confident that the message will accomplish its objective of serving as an an eye-opener to the Koreans who will attend the event. By the way, the word "remnant" means "Christian."

It is not very unusual that we would hear about something similar to the story of a twelve-year old boy who, for no significant reason, suddenly performed a “suplex,” a very dangerous wrestling move, on one of his schoolmates after he jokingly proclaimed himself to be a wrestler. As far as I could recall, that boy referred to himself as “John Cena,” the current World Wrestling Entertainment Champion.

The fact that it was only child’s play is beside the point. What bothered me about this particular incident was how the other boy, who was hurt during that brief “wrestling match,” couldn’t fight back just because he was a year younger than the boy who called himself “John Cena.”

Of course, this kind of situation doesn’t surprise me anymore. I mean, how many times have I been hit by a senior for fun? In addition, how many times have I also whacked someone else for the simple reason that a person smells bad or looks ugly?

Sounds familiar?

We see this kind of stuff happening everyday back in our hometown, and there is no doubt that we are experiencing the same here in the Philippines. But in the end, we manage to laugh about it or forget it because we have been taught that it’s normal. It’s a part of who we are. It is our culture.

Yes, saying that it’s our culture makes it all right. It takes the pain away. No matter how a certain custom seems wrong, we accept it with open arms because society says it’s ok.

Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve learned how to deal with it a long time ago. But thinking about it now makes me remember those times when I used to ask myself everyday, “why?” Why couldn’t I disagree with older people even if I knew I was right? Why couldn’t I defend myself whenever I was hit or offended for no cause at all? Could you imagine how pitiful I felt about myself during those times? If you’re a Korean like me, I’m sure you do.

Behaving in a particular way due to the influence of one’s culture is not always a bad thing. Actually, there are many aspects about our way of life to which without it would have made us a weaker nation. But whether or not our culture has made us a great country is not the issue here. My main concern is not our identity as Koreans, but of who we are as Remnants.

Bearing the title of “remnant” has a big responsibility attached to it. It requires more than just attending worship services and forums. It is definitely greater than our prayers and offerings to God. Becoming a follower of Christ entails each and every part of our being to be in line with His will.

In the Book of John 13:34-35, Jesus said to his disciples, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The dilemma here is quite obvious. As you can see, it is quite difficult to convince another person that we are remnants if our actions speak otherwise. If we truly want to uphold the Word of God, then we must start becoming a role model to other people. That means love, kindness, and respect for all men, regardless of age. In the words of Paul, we must not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Are we willing to do away with a bad tradition in order to follow God’s teachings?

So now, at this very moment, let us all reflect and decide who we really want to be. Are we going to be Koreans? Or are we going to be Remnants? Those are two different things.

For me, I’m going to be both. But I will always make sure that I am a Remnant first and a Korean, second. For when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I understood that I am no longer a citizen of this world, but of heaven. Therefore, my loyalty and allegiance starts and ends with God.