In the wake of recent national events, I wrote the following on my Facebook page. It seemed to resonate with a lot of people, and so today I share it with you. May we offer the world a better way – the Way of Jesus.
“Sometime around 1960, my father - a baby at the time - was left at an orphanage in South Korea. He never knew his biological parents, who, I can only assume, made the most responsible, loving decision they/she could during a very difficult time. Thankfully, my father was adopted by an American couple - one of whom immigrated to the United States from England with her parents when she was a little girl.
A few years prior and completely unbeknownst to my father, my mother's father fought along the 38th parallel in the Korean War. Once or twice, my grandpa would tell me stories of his time in the war. They were pain-filled memories, but also ones of hope. My grandpa fought in the U.S. army alongside the South Koreans and other persons of color within his own regiment.
I am the product of a South Korean man and a U.S. Caucasian woman.
I am proud of that. And I am proud of them.
I am especially proud of them and for the memories I have during the particularly difficult times when they, we, my sisters, and I have been victims of racist remarks, labels, assumptions, actions, and behaviors.
I begin with their story, because their story is my story. I am the "hyphen." I am Korean-American. Perhaps this is why I feel such kinship with the God-Man, Jesus the Christ. He is the paradigmatic "Hyphen" who invites all who follow him to live a similar existence - as persons who walk with one foot on earth and the other in the Kingdom of God. Of course, Jesus-followers know that their allegiance to Christ takes priority over their allegiance to any particular flag. Sometimes we forget or too quickly conflate the two.
I also share this because I believe, very deeply, that we are #BetterTogether. I know that is not easy, that it takes work, that it takes humility and the willingness to learn from those different than ourselves. I also know this is a work we MUST be about and for which we must diligently strive, particularly we who call ourselves followers of Jesus.
There is no place for racism. There is no place for national rhetoric rooted in fear. There is no place for partisanship, denominationalism, or even something as basic as school-allegiance to divide us any longer.
This is a call for diligence. This is a call for repentance. This is a call for forgiveness. This is a call to no longer be afraid.
For it is most certainly true: "There is no fear in love. For perfect love drives out fear." 1 John 4:18
Pastor Jared Kendall