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Gated Communities, Groceries and Restaurants December 29, 2008

Posted by peterong in Asian American.

I  just came across this interesting article in the Los Angeles Times about the growth of Korean Americans in the Fullerton Area. What struck me and got me thinking was the Asian American culture is often seen as one of upward mobility and a pursuance of comfort. It is not surprising why there are so many churches (according to the article, two of the largest Korean Churches in California are in Orange County) in the area to minister to them as well as food conveniences. 

But there is very little said about our connectedness to the gospel that reaches beyond the creature comforts of our lives. I write this in the comfort of a pretty nice church office, but my heart yearns for more of a discipleship that requires sacrifice. Not out of duty because it is part of our immediate transformation by the gospel. 

I come across conversations with so many Asian American Christians and what is always pressing on their minds are where to live, where to eat and where to shop. I find it hard to bring up anything else. I remember asking a person at church this Sunday, “how is your marriage?” and this person looked at me as if I asked them what is their preference for pornography. But if I asked where do you want to eat, I would get a catalog of restaurants and the choice meals. Or if I was to ask where we should live, I would get a series of answers of schools and parking rules. 

I wonder if the gospel is simply a purpose driven life to enjoy the comforts. To live out like that song “Heart of Worship” says, it’s all about God but the irony of that  song it is not about God but all about this person’s struggle. 

As I read the article I thought about perhaps it reflects a bias from the contributer in how he sees Asian American culture or it is a dangerous reality…and if it is so, does it reflect our gospel community the same way. It ends with this summary: 

As a student in 1979, Ahn lived in Garden Grove but became turned off by what he said was an unsafe area. Like many Korean Americans who first got their footing in Garden Grove, Ahn was lured to some of the more posh areas of the county.

“A lot of people did what I did. Young couples look for a job in the Garden Grove area and live there for three or four years. Then their children grow up and people are looking for bigger houses,” Ahn said. “They don’t have a choice in Garden Grove, so they move to another city like Fullerton or Irvine.”

Ahn now lives in a gated community in Anaheim Hills but still drives to Garden Grove every weekend for the grocery stores and restaurants.




1. Stephanie Hickman - December 29, 2008

You say you want more of a discipleship that requires sacrifice. We’ve got just the thing for you. Move to Denver. Hee, hee…

Really enjoyed this post. I live in an incredible amount of comfort compared to a lot of the world. Sometimes my heart, as well, yearns to know God in the way that comes only from sacrifice and not having. But who am I to not thank God for what I DO have. There’s such a balance – a balance I’m afraid I’ll be trying to figure out my whole life.

But I’m sure we could flush it out well together if you moved your family to Denver…hee, hee…

Miss you guys.

2. Matt Suhu - January 8, 2009

wow…i hope it wasn’t me whom you asked how my marriage was. in any case, i’ve recently thought about how church is just a club or society that one pays membership dues via Sunday church attendance, weak tithing and offerings, and occasional Bible studying for comfortable friendships that have non-threatening rules and boundaries.

i wanna go deeper, but it seems like no one’s willing to take the plunge. everyone, including myself, is just concerned with food, careers, and fun. so depressing.

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