Syngman Rhee and the Costly Bridge of Mercy and Justice

Syngman Rhee & Chris Rice

By Chris Rice, January 14, 2016

“To pursue reconciliation is to become a bridge.  This means we must be willing to be walked on from both sides”  Syngman Rhee

The remarkable life of one of the world’s most faithful witnesses for peace between the divided Korean people ended suddenly a year ago.  Syngman Rhee became a close friend and colleague, and two things he said in particular continually stick with me.

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Northeast Asian Christian Leaders Gather for Peace

Photo of Richard praying over Katsuki
Duke Divinity professor Richard praying over Katsuki

Duke Divinity School web site, August 6, 2014

“Peacemaking and nonviolent reconciliation are not optional political preferences; they stand at the heart of the gospel and anchor the identity of the church,” said Richard Hays, former dean of Duke Divinity School and George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament.

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Victims Can Also Become Attackers

KyongJung Kim
KyongJung Kim, Regional Representative for Northeast Asia, Mennonite World Conference

By KyongJung Kim, Korea Anabaptist Center, June 3, 2015

At the Nagasaki Forum, we received an apology from Japan for its colonization of Korea. Although we Koreans were the victims in Japan’s rule, we also admitted the uncomfortable truth that we have also been an attacker and acknowledged the many people Korea killed during the Vietnam War. The truth that may shock everyone is that nations who are victims in a situation, can also be an attacker in another. However the question is church. Christ’s church can never be a victim who also becomes the attacking side and robs people of their lives, because self-indulgent work with national violence is contrary to Christ and blocks the work aligned with him

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강우일주교:나가사키 화해포럼에서

Korean Catholic Press, May 19, 2015

2015 4 20일부터 25일까지 5 6일간, 일본 나가사키에서 열린 <동북아시아 크리스챤 화해 포럼>에 참가할 기회를 얻었습니다. <크리스챤 화해 포럼>은 오래 전부터 세계 평화 공동체 구축에 매진해 온 메노나이트 (Mennonites – 재세례파)가 주축이 되어, 역사적 분쟁지역이었던 아프리카와 동북아시아에서 신앙인들이 모여 평화와 화해 활동을 모색하는 자리입니다.

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Imagining a New “We” in Northeast Asia

(Mennonite photo op: Sue Park-Hur, Jennifer Deibert, Myrrl Byler, Joe Manickam, Kyungjung Kim, Hongtao Yin)
Mennonite participants gather at Nagasaki Forum: Sue Park-Hur, Jennifer Deibert, Myrrl Byler, Joe Manickam, Kyungjung Kim, Hongtao Yin.

By Sue Park-Hur, ReconciliAsian, May 8, 2015

How can we move towards a “new we” when there is so much brokenness and hurt in our history? Can we truly see each other as brothers and sisters when we also carry the trauma and the pain of our parents and grandparents?  Through our week together, worshiping, studying, eating, biking, bathing (public bath!), and walking together, I was able to see glimmer of hope towards a “new we”

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Where Do We See Christ in This Journey?

I constantly ask this question three years into this journey of seeking to build a new community between strangers amidst the conflicts in Northeast Asia.  Reflecting back on the 2015 Nagasaki Forum, what answer do I provide?

I heard a Chinese peace practitioner say she has been involved in trauma healing for many years.  But until the Forum she had never learned the biblical gift and language of lament.   Here I see Christ, the one who also lamented, who cried out “My God, why has Thou forsaken me?”

Continue reading “Where Do We See Christ in This Journey?”