Korean or American : Cultural Identity and Church Hopping

June 15, 2011

Another summer, another city. I am in DC this summer, and I am looking for a church while I’m here. I was planning to church hop for the entire summer since I’ll only be here for a little while. But church hopping can be so spiritually draining. Having a home church is vital to your spiritual growth because without that accountability, you lose the motivation to follow God everyday.

Growing up, I attended Korean churches with my parents. Youth group and later English speaking ministries were always secondary to the Korean ministries. But ethnically, we were all Koreans. After I moved to California, I had a hard time finding a home church because I never felt comfortable in a non-Korean church. Yes it sounds racist. On the other hand, I did not feel comfortable in a Korean speaking church either. Yes it sounds elitist. In Boston, I thankfully found a home church that had mix of ethnicities, and with a combination of other cultural factors, made me feel like I could relate with the people in the congregation.

But as Christians, what binds us together? Is it our common culture or is it Christ?

If our cultural identity is stronger than our allegiance to and identity in Christ, then it is an idol. If I am searching for a church where I feel more comfortable around people who look like me or are in the same socioeconomic level or whatever else that isn’t Christ, than am I actually looking for something other than church? Should I not look instead for a church that faithfully preaches the gospel and strives to live in a loving community?

Not that culture is bad. In heaven, all the throngs will praise God, each in their own tongues. All tribes and people groups will be there! When we love God, when God loves us, we become more of who we are. All lesser loves become fully lovable when it submits to the ultimate Love.


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