Theological Reflection Statement
June 10, 2002
The methodology that was adopted for the January term was up-to-dated one. Since the culture of society is changing rapidly along with technological development, the way to study at seminary, I think, should keep up with that change. In relative terms, I might belong to a group that members do not feel quite comfortable using the computer and Internet for theological discussion and communication, simply because of my unfamiliarity to computer. However, this personal incompetence, I think, should be overcome for the larger purpose.
The actual problem that hinders the active involvement in Internet communication might be found in the unique situation of an individual minister. I think my ministerial setting is a bit different from others. Since I am serving a small Korean church, the role of the pastor is different from the general expectations of this culture. Whenever a new comer or family comes to church from Korea, I am responsible for everything for their settlement in the new country including finding an apartment, buying a car, taking care of utilities, buying furniture, kitchen utensils, obtaining social security number, driver's license, legal status, and so on. If they have children, I have to take care of school enrolment and children's schooling, too. The worst part is, in most cases, they don't speak English well. Therefore it is not just one time event. I, literally, have to be their ears and mouth for a long time. In many cases, a newcomer or family stays at my house for a couple of days, sometimes even up to several months. My house should be opened all the time for the people. I preach on Sunday and also in the morning on Monday through Saturday and teach the bible on Wednesdays and Fridays. However, during weekdays, I work as like a driver, an apartment finder, a legal assistant, or something like that. Since two new families started new businesses a couple of years ago, I had to be involved in business, too. Since they did not speak English at all, I had to translate every single sentence for the contract and transactions. Still I am working as like a manager for those members' businesses. In reality, I could not have enough time to participate in Internet communication.
In my opinion, a pastor just cannot spend enough time for spiritual caring at a certain period of church growth. I know that what I am doing is a part of pasturing. Serving the people of God, I think, has various aspects, depending upon members' culture and particular location in a society. This aspect of variety in Christian ministry is well paraphrased in I Corinthians chapter 12. Verse 5 says, "And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord." And verse 12 says, "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ." Every ministry of Jesus Christ has its own particular setting and location. Each one works differently from the others. Unity in diversity, however, makes us one body in Christ.
Sharing each other's exegetical study and sermon outline, which the newly adopted methodology made it easier than ever, provides more than simple exchanges of the thoughts. Individual pastor inevitably do an exegesis, but not the exegesis. Nobody can claim that only one's approach and interpretation is correct. As soon as someone claims absolute authority over other's interpretations, he or she is losing more important teachings in the scripture, that is, humbleness, respect, and acceptance. Therefore, indirect experiences from the other fellow pastors' spirituality mean more than simple sharing of information. The methodology we adopted in January, I think, provided each of us with a good opportunity to become a more mature minister of God as well as to share intellectual capacity of each other.