THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XIV: Dispatches from the Ice Palace

This morning was the first on a day off from work since I came back to Korea a month ago that I didn’t wake up next to someone, and it felt really strange. This weekend is 설날 (“Seolnal”), also known as the Korean New Year or Lunar New Year. Typically, it falls on the second New Moon following the Winter Solstice and is a time when Koreans return to their hometowns to be with their family, eat traditional food, drink soju, celebrate the passage of another year, and perform ancestral rites. The practical effect of this for me is that my boyfriend, who we’ll call DG, won’t be coming to see me until Saturday evening, even though the both of us have a long weekend. He’ll be celebrating with his family in Busan and, as a result, I hope to be forgiven my mild melancholy. Okay, I admit, it’s not that bad. It’s just that it’s cold and it’s nice to be able to snuggle up to someone special when the chill starts to bite, which it does in my sometimes frigid apartment. Continue reading

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Hate is Easy

What, exactly, does God hate? (Photo: Westboro Baptist Church)

Twice in my life I’ve been connected to people in various ways whose funerals were picketed by the people from Westboro Baptist Church. The first was Oral Roberts, the founder of my alma mater, and the second was Garrett Coble, a former professor at ORU who died in the plane crash last weekend that took his life and the lives of two other men I knew as classmates.

I don’t pretend to understand the logic of these people, who claimed that the plane was brought down by God as punishment. For one reason or another, they apparently believe that what they’re doing is important work. While most people look on them as unimaginably hate-filled and bigoted, some sort of twisted perception of the truth has somehow led them to believe that they are about the Father’s business, and, in light of that, I have a challenging word for everyone. Don’t worry if it’s hard to accept; it is for me too.  Continue reading