Monday, January 02, 2006

NYT on Chinese Koreaphilia

The article focuses on South Korea's role as cultural middleman between China and American consumerist, demotic pop culture. But the freaky part was revelation of "blitzkrieg evangelism" from Korean evangelicals:

Hwang In Choul, 35, a South Korean missionary here, also sees a direct link between South Korea's democratization and its influence in China. After restrictions on travel outside South Korea were lifted in the late 1980's, South Korea's missionary movement grew from several hundred to its current size of 14,000 missionaries. Mr. Hwang, who since 2000 has trained 50 Chinese pastors to proselytize, is among the 1,500 South Korean missionaries evangelizing in China, usually secretly.
Show the prosperity-starved Chinese images of humongous stadiums full of happy-clappy-weepy people enjoying the narcissistic fruits of modern spirituality underwritten by mass consumerism, and you'll tap into that frightening collective wellspring that created Mao. On top of all that, show how clean, materially prosperous, and utopian megachurch worship is, and evangelicals will win millions like they are in Latin America. Maybe the Great Commission was never meant to exclude economic and cultural aspirations in toto, but evangelicals have got to stop confusing missions with carpetbagging.