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I am excited to speak at KOSTA July 3-7, 2017 on Asian American identity, marginality and sojourning. I am reposting a column for KOSTA Voice. Please visit the site to read other columns and blogs.

Kosta 2017 새내기 강사 Rev. Grace Ji-Sun Kim

July 4, 2017

I was born in Korea and in 1975 my family immigrated to Canada. I started kindergarten in Canada and received all my education in Canada. After I finish my Ph.D. in theology from the University of Toronto, I came to the United States to teach theology. Presently, I am an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana. I have written or edited 12 books, most recently, Embracing the Other (Eerdmans, 2015), Intercultural Ministry (Judson Press, 2017) and Contemplations from the Heart (Wipf and Stock, 2015). My husband has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and is presently a Mathematics Professor at Kutztown University. We are the proud parents of three teenagers.

Much of my ministry is teaching, writing and preaching. Since many seminary professors in the United States are white men, I feel that it is important for me to teach and offer a different voice to students who are in the classroom. Diversity is important in our classrooms, churches and community. So many people fear diversity, but diversity actually adds richness to our learning, our ministry and our lived experiences. Therefore I find it is important to continue to write books and articles so that people can hear that diversity is important and that Korean Americans have a lot to contribute to society and in the academic world. Furthermore, I enjoy preaching as it give me an opportunity to share the good news in churches, communities and schools.

My session in Kosta 2017 will explore our Asian American identity as Sojourners in a foreign land. Growing up as an immigrant, I experienced a lot of racism as well as an identity crisis. I didn’t know what it meant to be an Asian immigrant woman and how we are to live in a land that is predominantly white.

I am sure many of us here at KOSTA may be experiencing similar questions of identity, purpose and calling. My session will explore how Asian Americans live inbetween two cultures. As we do, we find it difficult to live as marginalized people who live under the myth of ‘model minority’ and ‘honorific whites’. These terms tend to diminish all the suffering and pain that Asian Americans have experienced as minority and people of color.  Furthermore, Asian American women experience sexism which further places a burden and discrimination on their lives.

As Asian Americans live as minoritized people in the U.S. we ask ourselves, where is God? How are we to become authentic Korean Americans and also be faithful people of God in the wider community? We recognize that it is ultimately the Spirit of God who will liberate us and empower us to work for righteousness and justice. My session will conclude with a study of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I am really honored to be invited to lead a session and share my testimony at KOSTA. I believe that many young Korean students or Korean immigrants who are second and third generation are trying to find their purpose in their life, especially in a foreign land. As Christians, it is important to understand that we need to serve God in whatever situation and context that we find ourselves in. So I hope that my sessions and my testimony will encourage young Koreans to explore the different possibilities of serving God as sojourners in a foreign land.

We are placed in our situations and contexts for a reason. God is always with us, so no matter what situations we find ourselves in, I pray that Kostans can seek God and share God’s love with others. There is so much fear, hatred, war and hurt in the world, I hope that Kostans can become the light and the salt of the world and show how God loves us, no matter how we look like, what language we speak or what degrees that we may have.

As we sojourn together in this world, we need to encourage one another, pray for one another and share peace with one another.

I hope that God will use every Kostan to be a beacon of hope and love for a broken world.

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올해 여러분의 강사님께서 미국 코스타에 처음 오셨습니다. 그분들 중 몇분들을 모시고 인터뷰 형식의 기사를 기획했습니다. 이 기사는 그 일환으로 준비된 것임을 알려드립니다.

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