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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

성서에 던지는 물음표 (Question Mark to the Bible)

성서에 던지는 물음표

성서에 던지는 물음표
문화 비평적 성서 해석과 오늘 (동연, 2014) 김영석 지음
보도자료(PDF)
연합뉴스 기사 링크


드디어 위의 한국어로 된 책이 출간 되었다는 소식을 들었다. 만감이 교차한다. 91년 한국을 떠날 때는 LG전자의 싱그러운 해외주재원으로 중남미 지역 특히, 파나마와 중미, 카리브해 그리고 미국 마이애미 등지에서 해외시장 개척의 선봉이 되어 동분서주 하던 어느 날 문득 드는 생각, “나의 의미는 무엇인가?” 그러다 전전반측, 씨름을 하다가 가보지 않은 길, 신학을 하기로 마음먹고 회사를 사직했다. 어린 자녀들을 데리고 마이애미를 떠나 시카고까지 2박3일 운전하여 이사를 갔다. 무모한 도전이었다. 그러나 많은 이들의 지원으로 공부를 마치고 미국의 대학교에서 가르친 지 벌써 10년이다. 세월유수이다. 돌아보니 아련한 추억은 수줍은 듯 아지랑이처럼 피어 오르고 기억하고 싶지 않은 일은 어둔 밤의 거대한 벽처럼 나를 막아 선다. 다 지난 일이다. 삶은 선물이다. 오늘을 마지막으로 살되 내일이 없는 것처럼 살고 싶지도 않다.

그러던 여정 가운데 이번에 한국에서 나의 작은 책이 나오게 되니 기쁘기도 하고 여러 감정이 북받쳐 오른다. 이 책이 나오기까지 제3시대그리스도교연구소 김진호 실장은 처음부터 격려와 조언을 해 주었다. 출판을 허락해준 동연의 김영호 대표와 정성스레 편집을 해준 조영균 편집장에게도 감사를 드린다.

이 책은 성서에 대한 질문을 다룬다. 성서는 무엇인가? 어떻게 읽을 것인가? 수많은 해석과 말 많은 성서가 오늘 우리들의 삶과 세상, 나아가 인류공동체의 현안을 이해하고 해결하는데 어떤 건전한 시사점을 주는가, 아니면 효력 없는 위험한 구시대의 유물인가? 서론에서 “문화 비평적 성서 해석”이란 개념을 소개하고, 1부에서 그런 해석을 위한 몇 가지 전제조건을 다룬다. 예를 들면, 성서와 하느님의 말씀은 같은가? 2부에서는 문화 비평적 성서 해석의 실재로서 성서에 물음표를 던지며 대안적 읽기를 모색한다. 3부에선 문화 비평적 성서 해석의 시각에서 오늘의 인간상과 당면과제를 탐색해본다.

이 작은 책을 통하여 독자 스스로 성서에 대해 다시 생각해보는 계기가 되었으면 한다. 성서는 결코 스스로 말하지 않는다, 독자가 해석할 뿐이다. 그렇다고 어떤 특별한 사람들이나 조직이 해석을 독점하는 애장품이거나 남을 공격하는 오만한 무기가 될 수 없다. 오직 날카로운 비평을 통하여 재해석되고 거듭나야 하는, 버릴 것은 버리고 취할 것은 취하는 그런 대상일 뿐이다. 그래서 독자의 비평의 눈이 중요하다. 비평 없이 읽는 책은 자기만족의 도구이거나 해로운 독이 될 수 있다.

이 한 권의 책으로 무엇을 얼마나 말할 수 있으랴 만 여기에는 나의 삶의 여정과 진실의 고독이 녹아 있다. 물론 아쉬움도 있고 부족함도 많다. 하지만 나는 언제나처럼 이곳에서 나의 길을 묵묵히 가려 한다, “저 광야를 가고 있는 코뿔소의 외뿔처럼” (Suta Nipata).


목차

이 책을 추천하며
머리말


서론 문화 비평적 성서 해석을 위한 준비
문화 비평적 성서 해석이란
문화 비평적 성서 해석의 계보
문화 비평적 관점으로 본 신약성서
문화 비평적 성서 해석의 지형과 의의

1부 문화 비평적 성서 해석의 몇 가지 전제
성서와 하느님은 말슴은 같은가
기독교는 누가 시작했는가
로마제국의 이데올로기
신학의 땅의 것
법(法)은 물이 가는 것처럼
초월의 내재와 삶
메타포의 다양성과 한계

2부 성서에 던지는 물음표-문화 비평적 성서 해석의 실재
교만하지 말라는 게 바벨탑의 교훈일까?
약속의 땅이란 미명으로 약자를 압살해도 되는가?
아브라함이 어떻게 믿음의 조상인가?
사라와 하갈의 대조적인 눈물에 대해
성서에 나온 부전자전에 대해
상반되는 지혜에 대해
롯기에 대해:누구를 위한 해석인가?
예수의 죽음을 어떻게 이해할 것인가?
만사 믿음 형통? 바울의 예수 죽음 이해
예수가 말하는 세상에 대해
포도원 일꾼의 비유에 대해
예수가 길이다?
거듭남은 무엇인가? 예수와 니고데모의 대화
물세례의 진정한 의미에 대해
우리가 잃어버린 예수의 믿음은 무엇인가?
예수와 바울이 전혀 다르다고?엽락분본에 대해
죽어야 산다 와 죽어도 산다?바울 신학의 두기둥
교회가 그리스도의 몸이라고?

3부 문화비평적 성서 해석과 오늘의 당면과제
들어가기에 앞서
천로역정의 문제점:개인주의와 이분법적 세상관
하느님의 사람들에 대한 정의
부자와 나사로의 비유로 본 세상의 문제
근본 물음
역지사지의 교훈
표리부동에 대하여
기적은 우리에게 달려있다
넘어야 할 선 넘지 말아야 할 선
미션이란 무엇인가
약함을 인정하라
죽음이라는 희망
진정한 나의 모습이란
인생의 수고와 짐
인생의 세 가지 순간
판타지와 진정한 희망은 다르다
진정한 변화에 필요 한 것
변화의 원리
나보다 더 큰 세상

Monday, November 10, 2014

An example of a transformative preaching



In the past few years I have heard two very different sermons based in Acts 3, where Peter and John go up to the Temple to pray and meet a beggar who is asking for alms. One sermon's emphasis was on God's power, the Spirit or Jesus' name, which can do something special, a miracle. In this sermon Peter and John are equipped with the Spirit and they could help the beggar to rise against the crippling conditions. This type of preaching is so popular in the church that we hear something like this: Jesus is the solution; there is no other name than Jesus. But this kind of preaching is very superficial and misses out important transformation points; for example, in this sermon we don't know how Peter and John could be involved in the process of transforming the beggar or how they themselves were transformed for doing this marvelous work for the beggar.

But today I heard a very different sermon which is full of transformative points in that the preacher talked about Peter's former dysfunctional life and his experience of transformation. He was ready to serve others because he had been there, seeing the same dysfunction in other's life; therefore he challenged the beggar to see beyond his meager conditions. Peter did not give him what the beggar expected to receive. Instead he challenged him to expect more, the real good thing that he can live as a normal person as God wants him to be, who can walk and shake his hands without depending on former habits of "I am no-body."

So here is also a point of transformation with the beggar, who listened to Peter and followed what he was asked to do. He tried to stand up moving his legs and feet. His acting faith made it. He saw a miracle for himself. Otherwise, his miracle is neither because of Peter's saying or power nor Jesus' name. An analogy will be helpful here; even though the sun is always available in the world, a person cannot have benefits of it unless he or she comes out to be exposed to it. That is a person's faith that participates in God's transformative power. Transformation is revealed through faith for faith. Or, transformation involves three parties: God, the one who is transformed, and the one who is willing to accept a challenge for transformation.

If you have transformative insights in biblical studies, consider to submit your works to the Journal of Bible and Human Transformation.

FOR more about transformation and the Bible,
Contribution to Seminarium Blog by Fortress Press
“The Bible and Human Transformation--Part I: The Nature of the Bible;;;; Part II: Jesus' Parables and Human Transformation;;;; Part III: Miracles and Human Transformation,” Seminarium Blog (The Elements of Great Teaching) (by Fortress Press), 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

To stimulate conversation about atonement of Jesus' death

This is a short response to Michael Gorman's book, "The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant: A (Not So) New Model of the Atonement" (Cascade, 2014), in terms of his interview at Crux Sola.

The purpose of writing this response is to generate further conversation about atonement. Otherwise, I appreciate the author's great work.

I do agree with and like Gorman's participatory atonement of Jesus' death which we need most desperately in our day. But as a critical scholar myself, I have to say that not all books in the NT can be read with a single view of atonement. Whereas the so-called Paul's seven undisputed letters can be grasped in such a direction, Deutero-Pauline letters, Pastoral letters, and especially Hebrews, do not share such a view of participatory atonement. Rather, these later books emphasize "static" atonement of Jesus' death (in the sense that Jesus' death is understood as a penal substitution, for example). There are plenty of references or theology about such a static atonement. So much so, in these books there is an emphasis on believers' faith in Jesus, which is quite different from Paul's seven undisputed letters.

Now when it comes to the gospels, Jesus' death is not needed for the forgiveness of sins or for salvation since baptism and repentance of people are enough for such purposes. If we follow the logic of the gospels, Jesus' death is a result of his costly preaching about God's rule in an unjust, hostile world. In other words, if people had accepted his challenging message about God's rule, he would have not been executed on a cross. So overall, the NT does not give us one view of atonement nor one reason of his death. What we as critical readers need is how to explain and explore Jesus' life, teaching, and death in his context, in the early church's context, and in our day. In the end, the reader's essential task is discernment: what to accept in what way and what to reject why.

If you wonder about my view of atonement and biblical interpretation, please go and see a list of my works at my web site, especially "Christ's Body in Corinth," "A Theological Introduction to Paul's Letters," and "Biblical Interpretation."

See also my small article, "Jesus' death in context," published in Living Pulpit 2007 (available through ATLA Religion database).

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ask why; a mere obedience or obeisance is not the answer


A most recent tragedy of the Korean ferry Sewol has left unforgettable scars on the minds and souls of Korean people, which won't go away easily or any time soon. This seems an unprecedented case for a total failure of the government and private sectors. More than 470 passengers were on board and most of them were high school students at their teens for their school trip to a remote southern island Jeju. Only 174 passengers exited the boat and were saved. All others were confirmed dead or still missing. Sadly, all things worked together (negatively) to get things worst ever. First of all, this ferry company called Chungjin Haewoon violated several laws and regulations about safety codes (overloading containers and cargo, adding more space by rebuilding the boat, not providing adequate safety training for its crew members, ignoring boat repair requests from its staff, hiring a temporary captain to run the boat on the day, and etc). It is so shameful to hear all these ugly things about the company and its greedy owner as well as other interest groups.

Second, there were no immediate, organized responses of the government to this disaster. Sea police for example was so senseless that it did not know what to do. It could save a lot of them if they acted fast enough. There were no adequate manual and saving equipment or personnel. Even emergency control or watch in the sea failed completely.

Third, the crew members (except for service crew such as Park Ji-Young and another man who did not escape the boat but saved other passengers at the risk of their lives) left the boat for their lives without doing anything to evacuate hundreds of passengers, who were told by the boat broadcasting to stay calm in their place. There is a suspicion that the ferry company may have ordered its crew members (captain and others) to sink the boat with passengers inside, in which case she could receive lots of insurance money along with life insurance compensation. This must be investigated. Otherwise, some suggest that the behavior of the crew members are hardly explainable, because they had to time to issue an emergency sign before they left the boat.

Actually, if passengers had been told to come out with jackets worn and move to the deck of the boat, they could have been saved. Because of this broadcasting, many students waited in their cabins or rooms even though the boat began to sink. They simply believed in the announcement that says "stay where you are." Even at this dire moment our students had a chat and took pictures and looked very playful. They were acting like they were dying, leaving a few words to their parents. They seemed unaware of their impending deaths. In this dangerous time they believed that they would be saved because they trusted in the repeated announcement that they stay where they are.

At several points when they heard this same announcement, they said "yes." One student in the room of the boat video-recorded all of this, using his smartphone. This student who took pictures and recorded was found dead and his body was recovered with his smartphone. His father recovered his son's smartphone memory chip and sent it to the news agency. That is how I saw the video and pictures taken at the very moment they got stuck inside. What a painful video this is! Before the ferry was completely submerged, as this video indicates, they had been alive and waited in the boat to be rescued. This makes me utterly sad. These students were too good and followed what they heard: "stay in."

In Korean society obeisance is highly emphasized, and so some students didn't seem to learn to disagree to or disobey certain things. At a critical time such as that, students may have had to ask: "Why should we stay inside when the boat began to sink? Why should we believe what you said?" I know this seems not easy. Mere obedience can be horrible otherwise. If obeisance is a virtue, so is suspicion.
*For more, see the previous posting on this tragedy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Total Shock and Shame from the Korean Ferry Sewol Tragedy


For a few days now my mind cannot find rest and sinks again and again and over again. 476 passengers were on board when the Sewol departed from Inchon to Jeju Island in Korea. Among them more than 370 were high school students who were en route to that island as part of their school trip. So far about 170 passengers were rescued (actually, they exited the boat) and more than 181 bodies were found so far, still missing 121; most of them are young high school students at their teens. Despite the desperate rescuing efforts, their survival is yet to be heard. While I am weeping, I am shocked to find the following information about this tragedy from various sources of news report.



1. This ferry was imported from a Japanese shipping company in 2012 and it had been already running for 18 years in the sea of Japan. It could retire there. Before 2012, the official retiring age for a ferry boat in Korea was 20 years old. But this age limit was changed under the Lee Myungbak government of Korea, allowing for a 30-year old ferry boat running. This must be crazy. In this regard Lee is to blame since he was a promoter of new capitalism with deregulation policies during his presidency. Because of this law change, the current ferry was imported in 2012 as a used one, which had run 18 years already. Alas! I am very angry because of this law change by the senseless government and the Sewol's decision to import such an aging ferry for Korean passengers.

2. Now this ferry boat is said to have been rebuilt adding more space and capacity for passengers after imported. This rebuilding has to be checked whether this was done according to safety law codes. Along with this, there must be a special investigation about the ferry's technical issues; the official inspection agency of the government also must be investigated.

3. In this ferry there were two inexperienced ferry crew members (one in controlling the ferry and the other in navigating) who had an experience of less than a year. They were in charge when the ferry sunk hopelessly. The captain in charge was Lee Joonsuk, 69 years old, left them for a while and asking them to take charge. Somehow they took a swift turn with unknown reasons and the ferry tilted suddenly toward the left side and began to sink. We even don't know how much shipload (containers and cars) was carried and whether they were secured and fastened tighten. By the way, we are told that lots of containers fell when the ferry tilted sharply. We are also told that Lee was a replacement for a regular captain who was on his vacation. Worse comes after worse.



4. The most terrible thing happened for 90 minutes when the ferry began to tilt and sink almost. If Lee had made a right decision that all passengers are to leave the ship immediately he felt something wrong about the ferry (there was a big roaring sound), most passengers could have been saved. This critical time of 90 minutes were wasted because the crew members repeatedly told the passengers to stay calm and stay inside of the ferry (meaning stay in where they were). Most students apparently stayed in! They trusted in vain. Why did the captain not ask all the passengers to immediately wear life-saving jackets and prepare life-saving boats for evacuation? One report says no life-saving boats were working except for just two. We don't know whether there were enough life jackets. Without remaining at the helm there to help, instead the captain Lee and the other crew left or abandoned the ferry and passengers in danger for their lives. They were among the first group of people rescued by the rescue team. Even after being rescued, Lee tried to hide his identity, acting like one of the passengers. I am so sick and hurt of this.

5. However, the only exception is one young lady Ms. Park Ji-Young at her early twenty, who was a crew member (for passengers), and helped young students to get out of the sinking ship, while making no success in rescuing her own life. Her story makes me cry again.

Park Ji-Young, a 22-year-old crew, who lost her life while saving others

6. Now the high school of these students is also to blame because it put their students in harm's way. There should have been a careful examination about this ferry trip. In fact, this ferry boat left for the destination several hours late due to the weather condition. By the way I am sorry to hear that the vice-principal of this high school has hanged himself on a pine tree due to the pressure and guilt he had; he was a leader of this trip and was rescued.

7. Overall, the government's emergency response and rescue efforts are very disappointing. There are lots of worries, inefficiencies, and complaints about this rescue operation. I know nothing is easy in an emergency. But how much can we learn from the past tragedies? The current government's leadership is questioned. There were enough lessons in the past; but do we learn and put them in practice today? My mind sinks again and over again. I keep all affected due to this senseless tragedy in my thoughts and prayers.

8. Conclusion
This tragic accident could have been avoided or many could have been saved. This accident is human error, terribly wrong and morally failing. There is a system failure involving multiple parties: the government (former and the current) and its overseeing agencies that did not do their job properly, the ferry company's importing of an aging ferry and renovating by adding more space and careless management, and unpreparedness of its crew members in emergency.


*Last-minute text messages sent by students trapped in the sinking ferry:









*memorial place:
photo: courtesy of Newsis

======================================

Ask why; a mere obedience or obeisance is not the answer

*For convenient purpose, I paste another blog posting of mine here.

A most recent tragedy of the Korean ferry Sewol has left unforgettable scars on the minds and souls of Korean people, which won't go away easily or any time soon. This seems an unprecedented case for a total failure of the government and private sectors. More than 470 passengers were on board and most of them were high school students at their teens for their school trip to a remote southern island Jeju. Only 174 passengers exited the boat and were saved. All others were confirmed dead or still missing. Sadly, all things worked together (negatively) to get things worst ever. First of all, this ferry company called Chungjin Haewoon violated several laws and regulations about safety codes (overloading containers and cargo, adding more space by rebuilding the boat, not providing adequate safety training for its crew members, ignoring boat repair requests from its staff, hiring a temporary captain to run the boat on the day, and etc). It is so shameful to hear all these ugly things about the company and its greedy owner as well as other interest groups.

Second, there were no immediate, organized responses of the government to this disaster. Sea police for example was so senseless that it did not know what to do. It could save a lot of them if they acted fast enough. There were no adequate manual and saving equipment or personnel. Even emergency control or watch in the sea failed completely.

Third, the crew members (except for service crew such as Park Ji-Young and another man who did not escape the boat but saved other passengers at the risk of their lives) left the boat for their lives without doing anything to evacuate hundreds of passengers, who were told by the boat broadcasting to stay calm in their place. There is a suspicion that the ferry company may have ordered its crew members (captain and others) to sink the boat with passengers inside, in which case she could receive lots of insurance money along with life insurance compensation. This must be investigated. Otherwise, some suggest that the behavior of the crew members are hardly explainable, because they had to time to issue an emergency sign before they left the boat.

Actually, if passengers had been told to come out with jackets worn and move to the deck of the boat, they could have been saved. Because of this broadcasting, many students waited in their cabins or rooms even though the boat began to sink. They simply believed in the announcement that says "stay where you are." Even at this dire moment our students had a chat and took pictures and looked very playful. They were acting like they were dying, leaving a few words to their parents. They seemed unaware of their impending deaths. In this dangerous time they believed that they would be saved because they trusted in the repeated announcement that they stay where they are.

At several points when they heard this same announcement, they said "yes." One student in the room of the boat video-recorded all of this, using his smartphone. This student who took pictures and recorded was found dead and his body was recovered with his smartphone. His father recovered his son's smartphone memory chip and sent it to the news agency. That is how I saw the video and pictures taken at the very moment they got stuck inside. What a painful video this is! Before the ferry was completely submerged, as this video indicates, they had been alive and waited in the boat to be rescued. This makes me utterly sad. These students were too good and followed what they heard: "stay in."

In Korean society obeisance is highly emphasized, and so some students didn't seem to learn to disagree to or disobey certain things. At a critical time such as that, students may have had to ask: "Why should we stay inside when the boat began to sink? Why should we believe what you said?" I know this seems not easy. Mere obedience can be horrible otherwise. If obeisance is a virtue, so is suspicion.

Friday, April 4, 2014

What is Paul's gospel?

I intended to leave blanks in the following so that you may wonder why.
  • Paul's gospel is about not how I am (           ) but how we become (         ) of God.
  • Paul's gospel is not a law-free gospel but a (          ) gospel.
  • Paul's gospel is about not an individual justification by faith in (        ) but the individual/communal participation in (           ) faith and life because of God's righteousness.
  • Paul's gospel begins with not (          ) but God's gospel (Rom 1:1) which concerns his Son.
  • Paul's gospel declares that what matters is not an individual faith or righteousness but God's (           ) that is revealed through Christ's faith and for all who have faith (Rom 3:22).


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why did I write this book TRUTH, TESTIMONY, AND TRANSFORMATION?




 When Jesus says in the Fourth Gospel, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," does he mean that Christianity is the only true religion, or did he mean something else? As we know, Jesus did not found a new religion nor did he pave a new way to salvation or truth. Rather, Jesus worked for God, by showing the way of God, testifying to the truth, and engaging in the work of liberation. Jesus in the Fourth Gospel, like Moses, is sent by God to liberate people from darkness. Unlike today's triumphant Christianity, the Johannine community was a small, marginalized, expelled community that struggled because of their faith. It will be very interesting to see how this struggling community was transformed into a loving community, following the model of Jesus.

       I wrote this book out of my hope that the Fourth Gospel and John 14:6 in particular could be the scripture of engagement, embodiment, and empowerment for Christian readers. I hope this book will help the reader rethink the role of the Logos or the "I am" sayings in the Fourth Gospel. In a pluralistic society, the focus of the gospel shifts from conversion or theological doctrine to empowerment of people. I dream that this book will contribute to theological education in that the "I am" sayings of the Fourth Gospel give a voice of inclusivism rather than exclusivism, solidarity rather than marginalization, and liberation rather than oppression. In the pluralistic life contexts of America today, the theology that accepts others as friends is very important; it engages others on the basis of God's love and justice. With a focus on the language of embodiment and empowerment, theological education can be more inclusive to others and help students to reorient their attention to the present life in the world. -from the preface of the book.