Friday, 2 March 2012
The Holy Spirit in Korea
One of the marvellous aspects of being an university college chaplain is that you get to listen to all sorts of lectures. On Tuesday evening, we had a fascinating presentation on Christianity in Korea from Professor Kirsteen Kim, the Head of Theology and Religious Studies here at Leeds Trinity (on the right in the picture below). In this her inaugural lecture as a professor, she provided an overview of the history of the Church in that country where she spent a number of years and whose language she speaks. A couple of aspects of her talk struck me particularly. Firstly, the fervour of Korean Christians is extraordinary. At the moment the number of Christians - and especially Catholics I understand - is growing rapidly and this at a time when the country is increasingly prosperous: this shows, as Professor Kim noted, that modernisation does not necessarily result in secularisation. Secondly, such growth in the numbers of Christians in Korea and many other countries outside of Europe means that the cultural dominance of Europe within Christianity is being challenged. I'm so used to Christianity being on the back foot in this country that I felt enormously relieved at the end of the evening. The Holy Spirit is at work across the world. Pentecost is happening in far-flung places I will never visit. And the same Spirit is at work here in Yorkshire, within a humbled, pruned, but still vital Church, whose history is a record of the intervention of that Spirit in local people's lives.