Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”: Endorsements

W. Mark Koenig:

Check out this information about my friend Grace Ji-Sun Kim’s new book. I am looking forward to reading it – hope you are too.

Originally posted on Grace Ji-Sun Kim:

ShowJacket.aspMy new book, Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style”: A Racial, Sexual and Cultural Critique (Palgrave Macmillan) co-written with Joseph Cheah is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

This new book is the first one in the book series, “Asian Christianity in the Diaspora“(Palgrave Macmillan) for which Joseph Cheah and I are both serve as co-editors.  Special thanks to our editor Burke Gerstenschlager for his guidance, trust and encouragement.

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Cheering section

We both stopped short as we came to the corner. I walked close to the building, too close I admit. Perhaps Ralph and Sally did, too. But we both stopped short; we averted a collision.

“Mark. You are losing weight again. Well done,” Ralph gushed.

His excitement and enthusiasm has remained with me all day. I have reflected on the experience all day.

Today marks the ninth day I have worked at self-care. This time. I have made many efforts in recent years as well. Sometimes I do well for a stretch and then everything falls apart. Eight days, soon nine, represents one of my longer efforts.

Ralph’s encouraging words, reminded me of how this time is different from earlier efforts and how this time is the same.

What is different, is this time I am working with a doctor with whom I feel connected. I have liked my earlier doctors. I have trusted them. But this time, something clicked with my new doctor from my first visit in May. I had a pretty good run after the appointment. Then I spent two weeks eating everything that did not move while at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s General Assembly. My second visit took place on June 23. She gave me advice and now I try to apply it.

What is the same, is the community of accountability that surrounds and sustains and supports me. It includes friends and family who have expressed concern for my health – and who have voiced support for my efforts. Some in the group comment on my Facebook posts or follow the blog where I make reports or engage me in conversations, virtual and real. They have made their support known to me and I appreciate it them deeply. They serve as my personal cheering section. Others, such as Ralph, cheer me on even when I am unaware of their presence.

To all the members of this accountability group, family and friends, known and unknown, I say thank you. With your support, I have made a great start. The journey continues.

See you along the Trail.

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A walk for Jim

I have taken, in my moments of self-care, to walking in support of causes important to me or to my friends. Tonight I do so again. I will walk from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm in memory of Jim Brennan and in solidarity with all survivors and victims of gun violence, many of whose stories are not told.

As you may have heard, the owner of Brennan’s Colony, Jim Brennan, was killed yesterday afternoon in a shooting in Cleveland Heights.  Mr. Brennan was a well respected businessman and community leader, and his establishment is a fixture on Lee Rd.
A prayer walk will begin at 7:00 p.m. this evening at the location of Brennan’s, corner of Lee and Silsby in Cleveland Heights.  We will walk from there to Church of the Saviour for a prayer vigil that begins at 7:30 p.m.
You are welcome to join the Cleveland InterFaith community in this event.  We also invite you to spread the word.
Will you walk?
See you along the Trail.

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Two treadmill observations

I am six days into my most recent effort at self-care. You can check out reports if you are interested. They are posted there if you are not interested as well.

One dimension of this effort comes from my doctor. She challenged me, or encouraged me, to increase the intensity of my work on the treadmill. Specifically she told me to increase my speed. With some trepidation, I gave it a try when I started this effort. It has worked well thus far.

Two observations from tonight’s 30 minutes:

It interests me how the time appears to pass more quickly when I am walking at a faster speed. It is a matter of perception, I know. But perceptions matter.

While walking tonight, the song “Welcome Home” by Eric Bogle came on my iPod. The song tells the story of an Australian woman whose husband has returned from Vietnam and her struggle to welcome home this beloved stranger. The song contains this lyric: Where hate is muddy quicksand, love is tempered steel. The line touches me deeply each time I hear it, resonating with personal experience, and leaving me with the wish to somehow, some day write something so powerful.

See you along the trail.


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A day for sports

IMG_4991 (800x533)I went to pick up another stamp for my National Park Passport.

I ended up in the middle of a multi-sport festival.

Governors Island has a long history. It lies a few hundred yards off Manhattan.

It served as part of the fortifications of New York during the War of 1812. However the guns mounted in Fort Jay, Castle Williams, and the South Battery did not fire a shot. During the Civil War it served as a prison for Confederates. The island housed military command headquarters and the U.S. Coast Guard.

I learned about this history as spent the afternoon on the island. I saw the barracks and touched the guns. I took in the views of Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.

In 2003, a portion of the island was designated as Governors Island National Monument; The Trust for Governors Island administers the rest. There are walks, opportunities to ride bikes, and cultural events.

Today one could view three different sporting events:

A badminton tournament

A large screen TV showing the World Cup

And the Gotham Base Ball Club played

All three made great additions to my visit. A good day. A fun day. And another stamp.

See you along the Trail.


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Prayer for Peace on 6/25

W. Mark Koenig:

A prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula for the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. Thanks Kurt!

Originally posted on Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure:

Today, June 25th, marks the day commonly recognized as the beginning of the Korean War when international powers dragged the Korean Peninsula back into conflict, except this time within itself.  As part of my job with the NCCK, I come into contact with resources, liturgy, and prayers that they have created on behalf of the peaceful reconciliation movement. I would like to share this prayer with you today which comes from a service created by NCCK members for the peaceful reconciliation movement.

Oh Lord, who unites us with the joy of liberation, thank you for filling us with life and joy and for reconciling our divided hearts through [our common worship as Christians around the world and our common communion around the table]. The fellowship you have given us becomes our hope and promise while suffering from deep division between sister to sister, brother to brother, and neighbor to neighbor.

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Jeju Island Study Trip: Part 1

W. Mark Koenig:

Way behind on this – but here is a reflection on the visit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Young Adult Volunteer program in South Korea to Jeju Island, a place of beauty, pain, and courage.

Originally posted on Hyeyoung and Kurt's Korean Adventure:

We take the YAVs on four big study trips/retreats during the one year they live with us in Daejeon. Our first trip was to Busan for the World Council of Churches Assembly. This time we went to Jeju Island. It is Korea’s largest island, and it hangs off the southern tip of the peninsula. It is known these days as a vacation/resort location, particularly for honeymoon couples. However, we went to learn about some of its darker history and some of the ways the islanders continue to deal with sufferings of the past. We spent 6 nights and 7 days there learning about the history of the island, it’s connection to the history of the mainland, and it’s unique culture that differs a bit from the mainland. I’ll cover different parts of our week there over the course of several posts.

Jeju April 3rd Peace Park (4/3 “Sah Sahm”)

jeju peace park group WEB


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