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Korea: Moving on from Afghanistan

The senior pastor at the Saemmul church, which sent 23 Korean volunteers to Afghanistan where they were kidnapped, was re-appointed on the 30th of September. The event provided bloggers with another chance to look back at the incident.

결국 예상대로 된것같네요…
샘물교회에서는 93%이상의 지지를 받아 박은조 목사님이 재임용되었습니다
아무리 배타적이고 이기주의인 한국기독교라 하지만
국가적재앙수준이었던 피납사태의 주체적인물이었던 박은조 목사가
공산주의에서나 볼수있는 90%이상의 지지율로 재임용된 사건은
종교이전에 참된민주주의 대한민국에 사는 한 시민으로써 심한 괴리감이 듭니다.

개인적으로 교인도 아니고 박목사를 알지도 못합니다
얼마나 신앙심이 깊은 선지자이신지, 또 얼마나 주위를 보살피는 분인지 저는 잘 모릅니다
하지만, 정말 자숙하고 반성하신다면
처음 피납당시의 초심으로 돌아가 교계를 떠나심이 오히려
많은 비기독교인들의 눈에 한국기독교의 희망이 그나마 남아있음을 느끼게하지 않을까여?

무엇에 그리 집착하십니까?
정말 아직도 구원해주어야 할 어린양들이 그렇게 많아서입니까?
아님 그동안 쌓아놓은 교회의 자산이 아까우십니까?
잘은 모르오나 교인 3000이상의 샘물교회 담임목사이셨으면
아마도 꽤 오랜기간 목회활동 안하셔도 잘 사시리라 믿습니다…

It came true, as I expected.
The senior pastor of Saemmul Church, Park Eun-jo, was re-appointed with 93 percent support this time. I know that Korean Christians are exclusive and selfish, but he was the leading figure who caused a national disaster, the Afghanistan hostage incident. Like we can see in communist societies, he received more than 90 percent support. As a civilian who lives in a democratic country, I feel out of touch with this society.
I am not a Christian and don’t know about the pastor personally. I don’t know how sincere he is in his religion and how much he cares about people around him. But if he controls himself and reconsiders, he should have left the church with the mind that he had shown in the beginning of the hostage incident. It would have shown that, to non-Chiristans, there is a still hope to Korean Chiristanity.
What makes him obsessed with his position?
Are there still a lot of weak lambs that he should rescue? Or is it hard to forget about the church property that he has piled up? I don’t know well, but he has been the major pastor in the church that has more than 3,000 believers. I belive that his life will be fine without the pastoral activity.

Comparing Christianity to communism made some bloggers disagree with him.

공산당이라….. 지나친 데요.
교회투표는 정치권 같은 데서 하는 투표랑은 다릅니다.
비리나 인물에 심각한 문제가 있지 않는 이상 왠만하면 재신임 됩니다.
오히려 목사가 재신임 되지 않는 게 재앙으로 느껴질 정도로 놀랄 일입니다.
목사가 바뀔 경우 그 교회 다니는 사람들이 많이 다른 교회로 옮기죠.
더군다나 샘물교회는 박은조 목사가 세웠는데……

정치권에서 하는 투표랑은 다른 것이 대통령의 경우 대통령이 맘에 들지 않는 다고 다른 나라로 이민을 갈 수는 없지만 교회는 교회다니는 사람들이 세운 것이 아니라 목사가 세운 것이 대부분이다 보니
교회다니는 사람들은 목사가 맘에 들지 않으면 다른 교회로 옮기고 마는데 7%의 반대나 있다는게 오히려 놀라운 일이죠

Communist… it’s too much. Church elections are different from political ones. As long as the pastor doesn’t have problems regarding corruption and doesn’t have personal problems, it is natural to be reappointed. It would be more surprising that the reappointment didn’t happen. In case the pastor is switched, a number of church believers will move to other churches. In addition, he was the one who built up the Saemmul Church.

The reason why it is different from political elections is even though the elected president is not likable, people don’t leave the country. But a church is built by a pastor, not by church believers. Therefore, if the believers don’t like the pastor, they instantly change their churches. I am rather surprised that there was 7 percent objection.

Another blogger talks about different perspectives inside and outside Christian boundaries.

만일 박은조 목사가 극악무도한 짓을 저질러 교회에서 퇴출되었다면 또 모를까…. 교회라는 지극히 종교적인 틀안에서보면, 피랍자들이나 그들을 보낸 교회측이나, 절대로 잘못된 행동이었다는 생각을 할 수가 없습니다..

교회에서의 제1의 덕목은 “복음전파”이고, 때문에 많은 신도들이 알게 모르게 선교를 통한 전도를 행하는것이며, 이는 절대로 비판의 대상이 될수가 없습니다… 이런 행위 자체를 비판한다고하면 이미 그것은 기독교의 교리를 벗어난 행동이고, 이단이며 사이비인데, 이런 생각으로 똘똘뭉친 저들이 어떻게 박은조 목사 및 피랍자들을 비난할수가 있겠습니까?

오히려 아무나 하지 못하는 오지에 가서 선교를 실천한 그들이거늘… 이는 국가의 법을 어겼든 가족을 배반했든.. 그 어떠한 희생이 따르는 일이었다 하더라도, 최소한 기독교 세계에서는 “영웅”의 행동이었을 것이며, 앞으로도 그들을 더욱더 추앙하면 했지, 절대 비판의 칼날을 내세울 리가 없는 것이죠…

어느 신문기사에 실린, 이번 사건에 대한 사설을 읽게 되었는데… 그 사설의 논조는 이번 피랍사태를 비난 하는 사람들은 반기독교 세력들이고, 중산층 이상 대부분의 상류층은 기독교 신자인 관계로, 가난하고 가진것 없는 반기독교 세력들이 가진자들에 대한 증오가 잘못 표출되어, 이렇듯 비 상식적인 비난이 이어진다는 것이었습니다… 불교신자든 혹은 통일교를 믿든 JMS를 믿든 대순진리를 믿든… 아니면 아무런 종교가 없더라도 풍요로운 삶을 사는 사람들이 많이 있거늘…

The result would be different if the pastor committed hideous crimes. According to their own perspectives inside the church, the hostages and the church would not think that their actions were wrong. The first and most important virtue of the church is “mission (helping non-Christians step into the Christian world).” Therefore, believers consciously or unconsciously do their jobs and what they do can’t be the target of the criticism. If they criticize their own behaviors, it means that they do not follow the Christian doctrines and it is taken as heresy. How can we expect that those people will criticize the pastor and believers?

They practice their missions in backward countries… even though they disobeyed the national regulations and betrayed their families, and what they do could cause any kinds of sacrifice, it is the behavior of “heroes” in the Christian world. Christians will revere those missionaries more and more and will not aim their knives of criticism at them.

I read a column in a newspaper. The main point of the column was that people who are upset about this hostage incident are all anti-Christians. The middle and major high classes are mostly Christians and, therefore, anti-Christians who are poor express their antipathy against other classes in a wrong way with this incident. The column said that that’s why these kinds of nonsense criticisms don’t stop. Who cares whether they’re Buddhist, Unification believers, or any other kind of religious people? There are so many people who have prosperous and meaningful lives without religion…

The pastor’s reappointment brought up another issue related to the hostage incident.

…아프간 현지 언론은 두 명의 인질이 조건없이(?) 석방되기도 한참(2주)전에
그들이 강간당했다고 보도했다.
http://www.afghanlord.org/2007/08/korean-hostages-raped-by-taliban.html
심지어 한 네티즌은 의혹과 관련하여,
“피랍 여성들 중 생리를 안하는 두 명만 먼저 석방한게 아니냐, 정확히 피랍후 한 달여 만에 석방된것도.. 만약 피랍 사태가 장기화 되면 3개월 이상 된 여성은 석방후 아이를 낳아야만 하는 상황이 되기에 급했던거 아닌가?” 라는 억측을 하기도 했다.
두 명은 언론과의 접촉을 완전차단한채 국군 수도병원의
대령급 이상 입실 가능한 특실에서 산부인과 검진 등을 받았다.
ABC News는 이 두 인질들이 반복적으로 강간당했다고 진술함에 따라
한국 정부의 탈레반 협상 노력이 급물살을 탔다고 보도한다.
http://www.abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=3549862&page=1#comment
국내 언론에서는 일언반구 의혹제기도 없었던 사실이
외신에 의해 증인까지 갖추어 보도되자 국민들은 허탈해 했다.
하지만 이에 대해 피랍자들은 ABC뉴스를 명예회손죄로 고소하겠다고 나섰다.
http://news.media.daum.net/society/affair/200709/03/newsis/v17994150.html
그리고,
http://www.freezonenews.com/news/article.html?no=19624
이 같은 보도에 대해 ABC뉴스 한국지국의 한 관계자는 3일 < 프리존뉴스>와의 통화에서 “잘 모르겠다”고 답했다. 그는 “(아프간에서) 현지 기자가 소식통을 통해 나름대로 정확하다고 판단했기 때문에 기사화한 것 아니겠느냐”며 “그건 본사 데스크에서 판단할 것이다.”라고 말했다….
있지도 않은 사실로 인해서,
아직까지 강간당한 여성은 무언가 특별한 것을 잃은 낙인찍힌 존재로 여겨지고,
시집조차 제대로 가지 못하고 더럽다고 욕먹는
우리 나라의 후진적인 페미니즘으로 인해서,
피랍자들이 이중적인 고통을 당한다면 얼마나 불행한 일인가..

Afghanistan media said that two female hostages who were released earlier were raped two weeks before the release.

Even some netizens assume “Didn’t those abductors release two female abductees who skipped their periods? The reason why they released them exactly after one month might be that they were afraid that those women might deliever babies there if the ransom takes longer.”

The two abductees were completely blocked from media and they had their bodies examined in a military secret hospital.
ABC News reported that those two women confessed that they were repeatedly raped and therefore the negotiation went smooth after that.

The internal media never mentioned this at all, but the external media even showed this news with witnesses and our civilians were perplexed.

But those abductees said that they will sue ABC news for libel.

And,

About this report, a person who works at a Korean branch in ABC News answered, “I don’t know about it well” on the phone interview with Freezone Newson the third of September. The person added, “I think that they must have made it an article because they judged that the information they got was correct” and “it’s by the judgement from the main branch.”…

By the unproven truth, those women would be regarded as some who lost some special things. Due to backward feminism, they might be blamed as dirty and not be able to get married. How miserable it would be that those abductees go through dual pains!….

2 comments

  • mahathir_fan

    The comparison between Church and Communism is nothing new. I have made this comparison myself.

    However, I would not say that the re-election of a paster is “Communism”. Communism is a Democratic system, and as a democratic system, it is important to have change of leaders every few years. Just look at China and Russia. Re-election of a paster on the other hand is simply to re-confirm his job. It is impractical for a paster to move from one church to another every few years.

    Also, I think Koreans should focus more on spreading Christianity to North Korea instead of going to some faraway nation. At least in North Korea, we speak the same language. And traveling there would promote more cultural exchanges which would help us in reuniting under the Republic of Koryo. There is nothing for Korea in places like Afghanistan. And converting more Christians in places like Afghanistan only helps to recruit more soldiers for the next Crusade war. Besides, if more Afghans become Christians, there will likely be more religious conflict next in a few generations.

  • “The first and most important virtue of the church is mission (helping non-Christians step into the Christian world).” Hmm. Growing up in Christian Europe, I’ve never heard this worrying twist on Christian beliefs.

    The pastor himself if not the problem. The problem is the aggressive missionary aid work (with strings attached) that this pastor represents. Re-electing him simply says that the missionary zeal of Korean churches will continue unabated.

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