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Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

Photo by Wonderlane

By Ajung Sojwal

It is quite something to think of myself, at this very moment, as the embodiment of several generations: a daughter, a granddaughter, a wife, a mother and hopefully one day, a grandmother. Every single generation that I bear within me has shaped me in ways that are too complex for me to understand. However, one thing has come clear to me as an Asian daughter, mother and wife, which is that at any given moment, I represent not just myself but a whole family, a whole clan and a whole tribe! In the light of such cultural expectations, I read with alarm what Jesus says about discipleship in Matthew 10:37, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Over the years, this demand for exclusive devotion for Jesus has never been more paralleled in human relationships than the relationship between spouses. In the many pre-marital and marital counseling sessions that I have had with couples, the need for healthy detachment from one’s family of origin has been one of the key areas to work through, to make possible a new family, a new generation so to say.

Genesis says that marriage is something good that God thought of as soon as He created the first man. Now, I have wondered why, in the context of a patriarchal society that the Bible was written in, is the emphasis on the man leaving his parents to cling to his wife? I do get a glimpse here of how God affirms the importance of the wife for the man as the new conduit for change and transformation of all relationships, all identities, all values and life (the new generation) itself that he and his wife will initiate.

It is, in many ways, a God-given second chance for the man and the wife to re-imagine an even better, even healthier family than what they had before. I am not saying that our families of origin are to be discarded. However, we are broken people; we come with much baggage from our past. We bear within us the restricted and sometimes oppressive vision of past generations that often prevent us from becoming who God created us to be, which I believe we are told in Scripture is “good” and “bearing the image of God.” Every marriage is, therefore, God’s gift of opportunity to two families, once again, to discover and bring out that goodness, that holy and perfect image of God in us — to foster a new generation in God’s covenant-keeping grace and love.

Marriage, of course, must be rooted in the foundation of grace, as Jesus himself obtained and sustains his bride, the church, by grace alone. So, for me, there is no other relationship on earth that reminds us more profoundly of God’s relentless pursuit and commitment to us, for nothing, no other relationship will test us more than the marriage relationship of all the goodness that we are endowed with and capable of, as well as the surprising darkness that we are capable of harboring. Of all the relationships on earth, this is one that has tremendous capacity, to teach us indelibly, the lessons of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, love and hope.

Many women and men have been destroyed in the pursuit to protect the façade of a “sterling” family name from generation to generation. In Jesus, we have the freedom to live into a new generation founded solely on God’s love and forgiveness, which says, “he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”(2 Cor. 5:15,17). It is this new creation alone who can understand that the exclusive demand of love from Jesus is not a call to rejection of one’s family but a call into Jesus’ redemptive love that forgives, heals and hopes for something more eternal and more glorious than the human image that fails and will fail.

Ajung Sojwal is the Interim Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church, Tariffville,CT. She lives with her husband in Tariffville, CT.

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Tina’s children, Beatrice and Peter, with her maternal grandparents

By Tina Teng-Henson

As I reflected on what the Lord might want me to write about, one word kept coming to mind — this Hebrew word ‘toledot’ — which means “generations.”

I recall learning about this word in a class I took on the Pentateuch years ago with Dr. Gordon Hugenberger (who recently retired as senior minister of historic Park Street Church in Boston).  (more…)

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Photo by Dhinal Chheda

By Liz Chang

One of my favorite things about growing up in a Korean immigrant church was that the church community was my family’s extended family in America. As a kid, this meant that I could count on collecting gifts of money at church on Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Lunar New Year’s Day. At first, I would feel shy and grateful when receiving the gifts. Then, as a teenager, I would feel awkward but secretly happy to receive them. (more…)

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Photo by Alfred Phang

By Debbie Gin

Both my ethnicity (that I am Korean American) and my race (that I am Asian American) affect my faith and its outworking.  I see God in ways that are unique, based on some amalgam of my Confucian, immigrant-family, community-centric, individualistic upbringing and values.  (more…)

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Photo by Sharat Ganapati

By Sharon Lee Song

A few years ago, I was invited to participate in a reconciliation meeting because I am Korean American. Our church had been leading the congregation through a sermon series on reconciliation and had recently shown a video featuring some of the atrocities committed by the Japanese toward Koreans during World War II.   (more…)

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Photo by Dennis Hill

By Ajung Sojwal

It is sad that in 2017, I find myself still waiting for the realization of what Apostle Paul declared in Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” The full force of the issue of ethnicity within a church context took hold of me after I got ordained as a priest. (more…)

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Photo by keico taguchi

By Jerrica KF Ching

If I am to be completely honest with myself, I only became passionately interested in the topic of ethnicity within the past seven years.  Although I am Chinese American, it did not click to me that I was an ethnic minority until I moved from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii where I was surrounded with people who looked very similar to me. In school I was part of the majority ethnic population, and I never questioned anything about being an Asian American. (more…)

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