My new book, Contemplations from the Heart is now available for purchase on Amazon. i am very grateful to Dr. Don K. McKim for his generous Foreword to my book. Below is the Foreword posted here with permission.
Foreword by Don K. McKim
The Christian life is complex and each of us journey through it in our own ways. These journeys lead us to different places, to interactions with many people, and to reflect on who we are as individual Christians, as people of faith in churches, and as members of the global family of humanity. All these dimensions are meaningful. All need to be kept in perspective as we move through the zigs and zags we experience throughout our years.
Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim has provided an array of contemplations from the heart which speak to us in all facets of our lives. In her honest reflections, we hear the voice of a deeply committed and passionate Christian, a Christian theologian, and a citizen of the world whose care for the world and its people, as well as God’s church, is strong.
Dr. Kim’s interests are wide-ranging and touch on the deepest realities we know: family, the community, and the Divine. These three aspects of life are always with us, constantly changing, and always calling us toward faithful living, often in complicated situations. Dr. Kim shares concerns that impact her life and addresses them in ways that are candid and authentic. We sense her strong concerns for the things that matter most in life, especially for persons of Christian faith. She addresses world issues, the environment, practices that affect our communities, and the practical challenges of balancing life in the family, as a parent, and as a professional person. We see here a life fully-lived, engaged, and one who is concerned to reach out to understand and enact the desires God has for all persons inside and outside church communities. She lives her vocation in her family setting.
It is important to listen to Dr. Kim’s contemplations. She opens doors of understanding, emerging from her cultural con- texts and experiences. She has reflected on what she has known and sees in society, calling people of faith to recognize what is happening and to be involved with the problems, opportunities, and challenges Christian people encounter today. Her reflections are a clear call for engagement which goes beyond simple aware- ness. They move us toward trying to make a difference in our own contexts and the wider world community. It can be easy to become insular, detached, and self-absorbed. But reading this book will startle us and stir us from complacency. We gain new eyes and ears to the world and the church, inviting us to take more active roles in service to the divine calling which summons us to love the world, even as God has done in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
It is clear that Dr. Kim speaks as a committed Christian and a person deeply rooted in the Christian church. But her personal reflections will also touch and challenge those who may not be part of Christian communities or who have dropped away from church bodies of which they were once a part. It is a distinctive mark of these reflections that they can find their way into the consciousness of those who are not directly associated the church. This is due to the integrity with which Dr. Kim writes in addressing the human condition, human society, and our contemporary culture on topics that touch us all in the important places of our lives: family, community, and the divine. Our families, environment, and church and society are the contexts where our lives take place. The insights Dr. Kim conveys enter our lives and experiences—whoever we are and wherever we find ourselves. Reading her contemplations will spark our own. This book can speak to the hearts of all readers, in one way or another.
The book should also be shared with others. The questions for reflection that conclude each segment provide important and meaningful directions for conversations. These can be held among groups of people, in church settings and beyond. One can envision groups in small clusters of different types engaging Dr. Kim’s thoughts, reflecting on them, and sharing their insights with each other. The results can be transformative. “Deep calls to deep” (psalm 42:7), said the psalmist. When the deep places of our lives are considered in light of the divine dimensions of reality, new lives can emerge. For personal and group use, this book provides opportunities, as Dr. Kim says, “to slow down and take the time to consider how God works in our lives each day.”
God works in and through our lives and experiences. These reflections can open us to see the divine work. We can experience perspectives that can shape new visions for us, the church, our society, and the whole world—all of which God loves.
Donald K. McKim
[read also: Contemplations from the Heart]
Rev. Dr. Don McKim is executive editor for theology and reference at Westminister John Knox Press and editor of These Days. He is a Presbyterian minister who has been a seminary theology professor and a seminary academic dean. He is the editor or author of over thirty books, including The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms and Presbyterian Questions, Presbyterian Answers.