Jim Hinch

Month: January, 2012

Kyung-In

This is Kyung-In Lee. I’ll be writing about her soon. She’s praying in this photo, which she did every morning before preparing breakfast for her husband and seven children. Kyung-In lived in Seoul through the Japanese occupation of Korea, World War II and the Korean War. Her husband, a minister, was imprisoned by the Japanese and later killed (the family presumes) by North Korean communists following the invasion of Seoul. Kyung-In lost four children to war and disease. Her oldest son became a communist. She sent four of her children to live in America, placing them on American cargo ships in Pusan harbor. She lived much of the latter part of her life as a refugee. Her youngest son, Hi-Dong, told me he sometimes found her praying while holding a handkerchief wet with tears. That is the through-line in Kyung-In’s life: prayer. “I used to wake up at night and find her praying,” Hi-Dong told me. “I came home from school and found her praying in a corner of the living room….Through prayer she found strength to go on through the dark valleys of death and separation.” Kyung-In joined her children in the U.S. in the early 1980s. She died in 1987 at age 93. She is buried in Los Gatos, California. Her headstone reads: “She loved unconditionally.”

Advertisements

King’s Way

Wow. Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, home to super-pastor Rick Warren (Obama inauguration, Purpose Driven Life, etc.) has joined forces with Southern California mosques to adopt a three-step plan for ending enmity between evangelical Christians and Muslims. The plan’s first step calls for Muslims and Christians to recognize they worship the same God. Interfaith reconciliation has been proceeding for years between Muslims and more liberal-leaning mainline Protestant denominations. This is the first such effort I’ve heard of by an evangelical mega-church. Many evangelicals regard Islam as Christianity’s number one enemy, and they do not at all agree that the two faiths worship the same God. This is likely to make waves. See news release and pictures at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Contested Visions

Only three days left to catch “Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World,” a stunning exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Four hundred years of art produced in the Spanish-speaking Americas. What fascinates me is how the exhibit highlights both the resilience of native artistic traditions in the face of overwhelming Christianization, and also the adaptability of Catholicism in new lands. A parallel to pressures and adaptations faced by many immigrants in America today. Excellent review by Daniela Bleichmar in the 2/9/12 New York Review of Books.

God, gangs and art in L.A.

Two new publications this month, both about the work of Fabian Debora, a former East L.A. gang member turned painter and muralist. “Pay Me No Mind” appears in the latest issue of Boom: A Journal of California (an excellent and welcome addition to the literature of California). “A Spade is Not a Spade” appears in the latest issue of Image.