Home > About Me, Religion > Jesus Behind the Wheel

Jesus Behind the Wheel

religious-license-plate-2009-4-24-19-20-0One of the things that Korea and the US most acutely share is a serious love for Jesus Christ.  Surprised?  So was I.  But I’ll be damned (boo ya) if the missionaries didn’t do one hell (no pun intended) of a job on the Korean peninsula way back when.  However, while both American and Korean Christians share a proclivity for singing and Sunday seriousness, there are a few behaviors that separate the two.

Well, to be fair, I’m basically talking about things that American Christians do that Koreans don’t.  Koreans aren’t an ostentatious people.  In fact, I didn’t realize that Korea was a heavily Christian nation until I had been there for a month or two.  How I did this I’ll never know, considering the skyline of any Korean city is invariably dotted with glowing crosses.  Regardless, Koreans aren’t in your face about their love for Jesus Christ.  Quite frankly, some Americans just are, and I don’t get it.

One of the first real reminders that I had returned home was riding in traffic behind a car whose license plate read: THELORD.  Now, assuming the driver is not, in fact, God or Jesus Christ – and thus simply throwing their name out there – this person is uber gung-ho about letting everyone on the road know that they LOOOVE God.  I remember thinking, “Whoa!  We get it, man.”  Then I remembered that this type of thing is not so irregular in ‘murrka, well, at least in the south.  Just check out the license plate above, which is an official, un-manipulated plate photo.

You would never see such behavior in Korea.  Never.  Koreans would not feel a need to prove their love for the Lord, at least not on their car.  An adequate display of religiosity for a Korean would simply be showing up at mass, expressing the appropriate sentiment, and acting correspondingly as best they can in their daily lives.

But that contrast just typifies an inherent difference between Korea and the US.  Americans are big and flashy, where Koreans are slight and humble.  Obviously there are exceptions in both cases, but for the most part I believe these characterizations to be true.  That both natures have crept into the respective manifestations of the Christian religion is truly fascinating to me.

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