Friday, November 30, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea - #16: Funky Seafood

I'm honestly not big on seafood.  But Korea has expanded my seafood tastes 1,000 fold.  I'll now try just about anything.  
A meal like this - with a whole octopus intentionally displayed as the eye-catching feature piece - is very common.  Once at a meeting of Cheonan pastors, we had a spicy seafood soup with just about everything that lives in the ocean: all sorts of shell fish, shrimp, crab, actual fish pieces, fish innards (including intestines and ovaries full of eggs), and all sorts of other sea creatures that don't fit into easy categories.  
One of Korea's prime delicacies that I haven't tried yet is Saeng Nakji - or fresh octopus.  It's so fresh that they bring it to your table fresh out of the tank.  Then, they chop it up, and everyone digs in.  The tentacles will wrap around your chopstick (even after the chopping), and you have to eat it quickly or the suckers will get stuck in your throat.  Apparently, every year a few people die from this.  I actually want to try it before I leave.  How could you not?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Do We Ever Get Forgiveness, Or Are We Always Sinners? (Talk Back Series)

Talk Back Question:  You said we are sinners looking for God's forgiveness.  Do we ever get forgiveness, or are we always to see ourselves as sinners?

[This question can in on a Talk Back card at our church. Answered by Shannon Smith and Josh Broward.]

I believe we get forgiveness, but we are always sinners. Martin Luther said we are “simultaneously saint and sinner.” We have been forgiven, but we are sinners who have been saved by the grace of God. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). 
Yet at the same time, ”He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  We are forgiven when we confess our sins to God and ask Him to forgive us and cleanse us.  But we still remain sinners.  
We don’t have to worry or think about whether or not we are truly forgiven. It’s easy to doubt, especially because we all know how much we have personally sinned.  But we serve a God we can trust to purify us from sin and wholeheartedly forgive us. 
And while we have this faith in a God who saves us by His mercy and grace, we are still faced with the temptation to sin daily.  Even though we are made new in Christ, we still have the capability to sin.  This is why confession and prayer are good spiritual disciplines to practice regularly. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9).
The real issue here is a balance between humility (recognizing that we are broken, wounded, sinful people) and confidence (trusting in God’s love and mercy).  We are also balancing contentment (resting in God’s forgiveness) and progress (pushing on toward more holiness and Christ-like-ness).   These aren’t always easy to balance, but that’s pretty much like most things in life.

100 Things I Love About Korea - #15: Reciprocity

This was hard to get used to at first, but I'm starting to see the beauty of Korea's culture of extreme reciprocity.  There is something helpful and community building about a cultural norm of mutual support.
At every wedding and funeral, the friends and acquaintances are usually expected to give between $50 and $100 - more if you're family.  And it's always, always cash - no shopping necessary.  We saw this boomerang in our favor at John David's first birthday party.  After being a recipient of generous gifts, I'm now much more inclined to be generous as well.
If someone helps you out, a little thank you gift is the polite response.  I recently received a set of handkerchiefs for attending a funeral in a city about an hour away.
If you go to someone's house, even for a few minutes, you never go empty handed.  People usually stop at the store to pick up some fruit or baked goods.  Sure it's a cultural obligation of sorts, but it also kind of warms the heart.
Often, especially when I'm dealing with issues inside the complex political network of KNU, I am very aware of the culture of reciprocity.  A favor paid now will "earn points" for a favor needed later.  Although there is always the danger (or the reality) of mixed motives, there also seems to be the practical result of making most people a little more generous and pliable (at least if your "account" is on the positive side).
Slowly in my eight years here, I have stopped fighting this culture of reciprocity, and I'm still learning to embrace it - albeit with my own Western twist.  It's different, but it works.

Monday, November 26, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #14 - Korea Nazarene Univeristy

(Today in the Korea Nazarene University faculty chapel, I am giving this short farewell address.  I hope to do the first few paragraphs in Korean and then switch to English with the translation on the screen behind me.  KNU is one of the things I love most about Korea.) 

Our family moved to Korea 8 years ago in 2004.  However, in a few months, our family will be moving back to the USA.  As I say goodbye, I would like to share 8 thanksgivings from our time here and 8 prayer requests for the future of KNU.

First, I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn Korean.  However, my biggest regret for my time in Korea is that I did not learn more Korean.  
So my first prayer request is that KNU will become more effective in helping our international faculty and students learn Korean.  (However, because I didn’t study enough, I have to change to English now!)
Second, I’m thankful that KNU welcomed my wife, Sarah, as your first international exchange student in 1999.  
My second prayer request is that God will help KNU to see the great potential of KNU’s international students.  Your investment in them is an investment in God’s work around the world, but it’s also an investment in the future of KNU.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Goodbye Letter # 07 - Deborah Antle

Many of you don’t know me, but I arrived in Cheonan in November 2008 and taught at one of the high schools until January 2011.  I attended KNU International English Church during that time.  When I left Cheonan, I didn’t leave Korea.  I went to Gwangju (the little one in Gyeonggido, not the big one down south) and taught at another high school.  So, to me, I wasn’t really saying “goodbye” back then.  It’s time to say it now, though. In January, I’m going home to America and, as far as I know, I’m not coming back.

I’ve been attending a Korean church while living in Gwangju, but KNUIEC has remained, in my heart, my home church in Korea.  I wasn’t there at the beginning of the church, but I was there for many beginnings.  I was there when Josh quit working as a professor and became the church’s full-time pastor.  I was there when the youth group began.  I was there when the first babies of our "baby wave" were born into our church.  I was there when the church voted to start the long-term partnership in Bangladesh.  I was there when Shannon and Adam were voted in as our first Youth Pastors.  I’m grateful for the privilege of being part of you, and I’m SO proud of you!

My life is richer and wiser for having been a part of you.  I remember when, one Pentecost Sunday, we had about 10 or 11 people read Scripture in different languages, and something like 9 of those people were reading in their native languages.  That was an extraordinary moment for me, realizing I was experiencing the “many nations, one family” concept of the Kingdom of God, and I didn’t have to wait to be on the other side of the grass to see it.

God’s sending me back to America now, but I’m going back better.  Korea and KNUIEC will remain a part of me, for the remainder of my life here, and I’m certain that influence will stretch into eternity.  I truly, deeply, and eternally love you.

Your sister in Christ,

Deborah Antle

Monday, November 19, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #13 - Spring

Spring is my favorite season, and spring in Korea is breathtaking.  From weeds to shrubs to trees, flowers are everywhere.  Spring in Korea looks like God lined up every color of paint in the world and then closed his eyes and just started throwing it all over the place.  Whole hillsides turn flaming pink with azaleas.  Streets are lined with white cherry blossoms.  Every meadow and every sidewalk are dotted with starbursts of color.  
Although these pictures from my friends Taylor Ford and Andy Phelps are beautiful, perhaps the best tribute I can pay to Korean spring is in this poem.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #12 - Fall

Korea has the most spectacular fall I've ever seen.  Not is our neighborhood chock full of dazzling yellows and blood red maples, but some trees even put out unique fall berries and buds.

This photo is by my friend Taylor Ford, and it shows the view from the sidewalk where I walk with John David 3-4 mornings a week.  Amazing.  Absolutely amazing.
Korean falls are long (a full three months), and they are awash with color.  The trees are luxuriously staggered so that they don't all shed their leaves at the same time.  Instead, the eyes have a steady feast of gently changing colors.  It keeps the apartment maintenance crews busy sweeping up all the leaves, but oh is it worth it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye Letter #06: Nikki Muyskens

[This is part of a series in which departing members of our church write a letter to say goodbye to our church.  Nikki left in the summer of 2012, so this is coming a little late, but nonetheless, it's still good!]

Dear KNU International English Church,
I write to you from my home in Colorado (USA) now, on vacation before I go back to my new home in Daegu for the next year.  My stuff is no longer in Cheonan, but it still feels like a home to me.  It’s the place where I have lived and grown for the past two years, and it’s the place where you, my church family, still live.  It was a surreal experience last month to be packing up my things and saying goodbyes, because I couldn’t quite believe that chapter in my life was coming to a close, even though I was looking forward to my future plans as well.  I also find it a little strange to say a lot of emotional goodbyes, because I am not actually leaving in the same way as our friends moving to other countries.  Daegu is not that far away, and I plan to visit relatively often.  I am not severing connections here by any means--- rather, I hope they continue and grow--- but this chapter of my life, nevertheless, will look different.  I love how Michael Palmer uncovered the beauty of saying goodbyes in his blog ("The Beauty in Goodbye"), because it really is the transitions of life that make us appreciate the true significance and tremendous value of what we have, and God has richly blessed me.  “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).

I cry at beauty, at grace and thankfulness, at the significant, at the inexpressible--- at something that has left an impression on me in ways that I may not be fully aware.  That’s why words aren’t coming to me so easily right now, because this loving community has truly shaped me, encouraged me, strengthened me, and sharpened me in more ways than I am aware of, yet am deeply grateful for.  To all who are part of KNU International English Church, whether we knew each other well or not, thank you for creating this community, for welcoming me, and most of all, for seeking to love God with all your hearts.  I am blessed to be part of this loving community that changes our world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #11 - "GangNam Style"

"GangNam Style" put K-Pop on the global map - or at the very least enlarged its presence to a household word.  As of this moment, "GangNam Style" has more than 700,000,000 Youtube views, and is on pace to overtake Justin Bieber's "Baby" within a few weeks for the most viewed Youtube video of all time.
What does GangNam Style teach us about Korea and our world?
1. We are living in a visual age.  Without a doubt, the video made the song (and the singer!).  Without the video, Psy, his song, GangNam, and - to a lesser extent - K-Pop would still be in global obscurity.
2. Social media changes global marketing.  Youtube made this possible.  The most often sited statistic relating to "GangNam Style" is is meteoric rise in total Youtube views.  Youtube is what spread its fame.  Psy simply launched his video for free viewing, and through shares, facebook likes, and tweets, it spread around the world like wildfire.  Also, the ability for people to upload interesting memes (copy-cat) from their own contexts magnified the impact of social media.  User participation added fuel to the GangNam flame.  I'm not sure this point can be underestimated.  Follow the train of events.  Earlier this year, Psy was almost completely unknown outside of Korea, and inside Korea he was a satirist, jokester, and oft censored musician.  Within a few months of releasing a new music video for free - charging absolutely nothing - he has become a global phenomena and has made hundreds of millions of dollars in global sales and local endorsements.
3. Humor is an effective tool for social critique.  "GangNam Style" is a genre breaking song.  Its humor and hilarity are the sweet chocolate coating the hard nut of social commentary.  Psy relentlessly mocks the super-rich, materialism, competition, luxury, and upward mobility.  The simple message of "GangNam Style" is actually very similar to the biblical book of Ecclesiastes: "Meaningless, meaningless, all of this is meaningless ... All of this crap you're working for is just cotton candy.  It's not real, and it won't satisfy you."  Psy doesn't offer an alternative goal, but disillusionment is the first step toward change.  But the humor is the real key for getting us to deal with that bitter nut.
4. Personal authenticity trumps the attempt for mass appeal.  K-Pop is awash with pretty-boy bands and skinny, sexy girl bands.  And despite their relentless efforts and huge spending to break into the music market beyond Asia, K-Pop has consistently failed to make significant inroads in Western cultures.  Until "GangNam Style" and this middle-aged, pudgy outsider musician threw caution to the wind and made an authentic, catchy song expressing one of his deep heart-felt concerns.  This is a message to everyone who strives to be "beautiful" and "popular."  Simply be yourself and letting your creativity flow from the depths of your heart, and that will result in the best possible message and product for our world.  We probably won't experience billions of youtube views, but we can still make a more meaningful contribution through authenticity than we can by trying to measure up to false standards of beauty and "coolness."
5. Success and change can come from any corner of the globe.  "GangNam Style" is proof that our world is increasingly "flat."  Unknowns can become global phenomena overnight.  Anyone can get their message out if it catches fire on the social media network.  The gates are down.  The curbs have crumbled.  The world is wide open to anyone with internet access ... and that will soon be everyone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #10 - Learning Korean

Korean is a fun language.  It is a mixture of complexity and simplicity, formality and hilarity.  Many Koreans will tell you that the Korean language is the greatest and most scientific language in the world.  They even have a national holiday celebrating HanGuel - the Korean alphabet, "invented" by King SeJeong the Great.
I don't really buy all of the nationalistic propaganda, but they are right about a few things.  The alphabet is surprisingly simple to learn.  With a few flash cards, you can memorize all the letters and their basic sounds within a week of mild study.  Also, in terms of pronunciation, Korean is mostly regular.  There aren't seven different ways to say one vowel, as there are in English.  There are a few special rules, but they are fairly easy to master.
I have to admit I'm not fluent - not even close.  But I can carry on a stumbling conversation for a good while.  And I haven't mastered the complexities of Korean grammar and levels of formality, but I'm getting there.
One of my biggest regrets about my time in Korea is that I didn't invest more time studying Korean in my first year or two.  I wish that I had done intensive programs in the winter (when I wasn't traveling or teaching) and serious weekly classes.  If I had done that, by now I'd be truly fluent.
About a year or two ago, I finally crossed the threshold for learning Korean.  I now have enough critical mass of vocabulary, grammar structure, and listening comprehension to have real conversations with people.  Now, I can learn Korean more easily simply by participating in what is going on around me.  If i had crossed this threshold years ago, my Korean would be light years beyond what it is now.
So for those of you who are still in Korea or are coming soon, let me recommend my favorite Korean teacher.  Her name is Choi JeongYoon (최정윤), and she is a graduate of Korea Nazarene University's speech therapy program.  Since then, she has earned a certificate in teaching Korean as a second language.  She is reliable and effective.  She has three years experience, and she speaks English very well.  She usually runs a variety of classes - from true beginning to intermediate.  Every semester she does some special events - including a Korean cooking lesson and a Korean market day.
She also schedules private lessons for those who are more advanced or need a special time.  For the group classes, the price  is a very reasonable 15,000 an hour.  Check out her brochure here, or contact her directly: (010-2774-6526 or fflssa[at]  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #9 - Old Stuff

Walking around Korea, you never know what you're going to see.  Most often in my area, you'll be in the midst of sky-rise apartments and bustling shopping areas.  But one turn to a side street - especially in Seoul or some of the "old cities" - and you could run into literally anything.  
Korea has a knack for preserving its history while rushing headlong into the future.  Folk villages go all out in this respect.  And while they are definitely valuable, they are also obviously contrived and artificial.  What really captures my attention is the seemingly random ancient door knocker or the quaint Buddhist temple nestled among restaurants and bars or the side alley that looks like it's straight out of the 1800s.  
Oh, Korea, how I will miss both your plethora of well-planned and well-preserved relics but even more your forgotten and fading fragments.
(Once again, a big thanks to Andy Phelps for the use of his beautiful photographs.  Check him out.)

Hamish, Shamish, Zephaniah, God, and Us - Zephaniah 3

I listened to a sermon by Peter Rollins this week, and he told a story that I’ve heard before, but he’s from Northern Ireland, so he has this great accent, and accents are lots of fun, so I’ll try to tell it in his voice.  (How’s that for a run-on sentence to start out a sermon?)
There was this guy named Shamish who was traveling by sea.  His boat sank, and he ended up on a deserted island.  He lived there all alone for twenty years, but his brother Hamish never gave up looking for him.  Hamish bought a plane and flew all over the ocean looking for his brother.  One day, he saw some buildings on a small island and decided to go down and take a look.  He was amazed when Shamish met him at the beach.
They hugged and cried and celebrated that Shamish was finally rescued.  But Hamish said, “Before I take you back, why don’t you show me around this place where you’ve been living for the past 20 years.”  
So Shamish took him to his “village” where there were three small buildings.  Hamish said, “What are these?”
Shamish said, “Well, this is my house.  It’s really quite comfortable, considering.”
Hamish looked pointed to another building, “Then, what’s this one?”
Shamish beamed with pride. “Ah, that’s my church.  I go there every Sunday for services, and I say prayers there on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  It’s a wonderful, holy place.  I love it.”
Hamish nodded and pointed at the third building, “And what’s that one?”
“I don’t want to talk about that.”
“Oh, come on.”
“No, really, I don’t even want to discuss it.  Let’s go.”
“Come on now Shamish.  You’ve been living here for twenty years.  The least you can do is give me the full tour.”
“Oh, all right, that’s the church I used to go to.  Terrible place.  Just awful.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #8 - Palaces

Just a few generations ago, Korea still had kings.  Throughout the country, there are a variety of beautiful palaces that are either ancient or authentically restored.  Touring them is like stepping back in time.  You can almost feel the vibrations from trumpets and horse hooves.  Sometimes you can literally hear banners flapping in the wind or gigantic symbols gonging in tribute to the ancestors.
Perhaps because their architecture is so different from Western styles, perhaps because their color schemes are so striking, perhaps because there is some mysterious truth to the feng shui spacing of buildings and open spaces ... I'm not sure why, but Korean palaces give me a deep sense of awe and peace.
To explore this in two dimensions, check out my friend Andy Phelps's phenomenal photography.  Thanks to him for permission to use his pics here.  (And if you're so inclined, you can even buy a few prints for yourself.  Sarah and I are thinking of doing this for Christmas presents this year.  We've given just about everything else Korea-related already.)

How Do You Know If God Is Saying, "Yes," "No," or "Wait"? (Talk Back Series)

Talk Back Question:  I believe that God answers all prayers, and no prayer is left unanswered and unheard.  However, how do we know God's answer - if it's a Yes, No, or Wait?
[This question can in on a Talk Back card at our church. Answered by Matt Banner and Josh Broward.]
It sounds like you already have a strong faith in God, and a true belief that God hears and answers our prayers. But all Christians struggle with this question of how to discern God’s voice and how to know what God is saying.
It would be really easy if God just spoke to us in loud, booming voice and told us what was going to happen. But, unfortunately, that has never happened for me. It takes, time, patience and maturity to learn how to discern God’s voice. But Jeremiah 29:12-13 says "Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." First, we must make sure that we are seeking God and praying to Him sincerely.
Next, we must be sure that we are praying for God’s will and for things that are part of God’s guidance in our lives. It’s okay to ask for jewelry or a new wallet, but these are things that we are asking for in our own selfish way and not things that are for the glory of God. John 14:13 says “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” This is not simply invoking Jesus’ name to get what we want, but instead, it says we should ask for things in the same way that Christ would ask and in the same spirit that Christ would pray.
Thankfully, there are many guides to help us figure out how God is answering us.
  1. Scripture ~ The Bible is the inspired Word of God and often when we read the Scripture, we will remember or read something that helps us know the answer.
  2. The Holy Spirit speaking to our heart ~ Sometimes, we can feel God’s Spirit in our lives and in our prayers.
  3. Godly Counsel ~ Talking with people you know and trust in the church can help you see where God is leading
  4. The peace of God ~ Sometimes, when you are really struggling with an issue or decision, your heart will become calm and peaceful, and you know what to do or where God is leading.
  5. Circumstance/Timing ~ The actions and events around us can confirm what God is saying and sometimes those circumstances are the answer.
God sometimes speaks to us using two or more of these ways. It is important to seek out God’s answer as much as possible.  But we must also be aware that we are imperfect beings and we will make mistakes.  If we sincerely seek God and pray to God, then we can discern God’s voice.  
But sometimes, the only way to know the difference between "No" and "Wait" is to ... wait.  Sometimes, "No" and "No for now" sound exactly the same and require the same basic response from us.  We just have to release the issue to God and allow him to make his plan clear over time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #7 - Public Transportation

I don't own a car, and I don't want one.  Church board members have proposed leasing a car for us.  People have tried to give us a used car.  We have always politely declined.  We simply don't need a car in Korea.
First of all, we walk almost everywhere.
Secondly, Korea's public transportation system is GREAT!  We can get almost anywhere in Cheonan by bus or subway.  Usually, it only takes 10-20 minutes to get where I'm going.  Every now and then, we venture out of Cheonan - either by bus, train, or subway - and all of these are excellent and cheap.
On rare occasions, we need to go somewhere not easily accessible by regular public transportation.  We might pay between $10 and $20 for a long taxi ride to an out-of-the-way place.  Although it hurts dishing out that cash all in one pop, I am comforted by the reminder of the expenses of maintaining a car.  (Even if the car and the gas were free, insurance alone would cost around $1,000 a year.  That's a whole heap of taxi rides!)
Another big bonus of Korea's system is that we don't have to buy tickets for city buses or subways.  I simply hold my credit card up to a machine at the gate or door, and the charge comes out of my account.  No fumbling for cash.  No waiting in line.  No worrying about having the correct change.  Quick and easy.  And one more reason why I love Korea.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #6 - Convenience

Even McDonalds will deliver right to your door - which is a dangerous thing!  
Population density has some serious advantages.  Convenience is one of the biggest.  In Korea, you can get almost anything really, really fast.
Delivery food here goes far beyond anything we've ever experienced.   We can order fried chicken, soups, sandwiches, Chinese food, a wide variety of traditional Korean foods, and of course pizzas.  And someone is always putting a new booklet of delivery options on our apartment door.
But beyond food, we can literally walk across the street and do 90% of the various things we need to do in the week: banking, dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.  And the dry cleaners actually deliver our clothes to our door for no extra charge!
Also, because Korea packs the population of California into an area the size of Indiana, and further packs the people even more into city clusters, (something like half the land is mountainous and not easily "livable), all forms of delivery are extremely cheap.  If you make an internet purchase, it will probably be at your house in 1-2 days for less than $3.  We bought a toilet online - yes an actual ceramic toilet - and the total shipping was about $7.
One more reason why I love this place.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #5 - Small Town Feel in a Big Town

We live in a 15 story apartment building, and there are skyscrapers all around.  There are more people in our apartment complex than in all of Sarah's hometown.  Yet it feels like we live in a small town.
Just consider the list of people we know enough to chit-chat on the street:

  • all three regular workers at the bakery
  • our realtor
  • the lady at the fruit stand
  • most of the workers out our local grocer
  • the folks in the Kimbap Nara (a restaurant) across the street
  • John David's daycare workers
  • the dry cleaners
  • the folks in the pizza shop
  • a few neighbors
  • the mentally disabled guy who always asks where I'm going
  • the security guards in our apartment complex
  • a few of the security guards in neighboring apartments
  • some of the bank workers
  • some of the teachers in Emma's school
  • the mom and pop owners of the nearest stationary store
  • the folks at the nearest coffee shop
  • our florist
  • Sarah's hairdresser
  • the convenience store
  • and the old men who sit in front of the convenience store drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.  

We see all of these people on the street or in their shop anywhere from everyday to once every few weeks.  That doesn't even count folks from church or KNU that we see while walking down the street.  It is a rare walk home when I don't pass someone I know, and it's fairly common to be a few minutes late because two or three different people wanted to stop and chat.
Sarah and I have talked a lot about why there is this small-town phenomena in a city of almost 600,000 people.  We think it comes down to population density and localization.  We don't know the people at the big stores (places like a Wal-Mart).  There are too many workers and too many customers.  But when you've got 10,000 people living within a few square blocks, you can have a thriving network of mom and pop places that really get to know their customers.  Also because so many people are walking instead of driving, you just run into a lot more people face to face.  (For an actual view of our street, click here.)
I love this about Korea - or at least our neighborhood in Korea, and I'm going to miss it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hide and Seek, Seek and Hide - Zephaniah 1-2

The first apocalyptic movie ever made was Deluge in 1933.  It showed a massive earthquake in California and a tsunami that went all the way around the world and destroyed New York.
Through the 1950’s only eleven apocalyptic movies had been made.  The most famous was based on H. G. Well’s novel, The War of the Worlds.  
  In the 1960’s we picked up the pace a little with thirteen apocalyptic movies as we started worrying about nuclear war.  We produced The Day the Earth Caught Fire and the dark comedy, Dr. Strangelove.
The 70’s brought us 23 apocalyptic movies, including several sequels of Planet of the Apes in which intelligent apes take over the world.  Also, there was a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers - as if one wasn’t enough.
In the 80’s we stepped it up with 30 apocalyptic movies, including the classic Aliens and Arnold Schwartzeneger’s first Terminator.  When said, “I’ll be back,” I guess he was right.  Who knew it would be as governor of California?
We were kind of slackers in the 90‘s.  We only made 29 apocalyptic movies, but we hit it big with computers sucking the life out of humanity in The Matrix and a meteor bound for earth in Armageddon.
But since 2000, we have seen an explosion of apocalyptic movies, a total of 76.  We’ve killed ourselves off through cold, heat, disease, computers, zombies, pollution, evil, divine judgment, and of course more aliens.
  More than ever before, we humans are aware that our lives may be violently disrupted by events beyond our control.  This is the essence of the apocalyptic genre - the sense that life cannot continue indefinitely as it is now, the sense that huge, cosmic changes may be coming soon.
Zephaniah is an apocalyptic prophet.  He is a preacher of dramatic, unstoppable change.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

100 Things I Love About Korea: #4 - Walking Almost Everywhere

I walk an hour a day - without even trying.  5 minutes here.  10 minutes there.  And before you know it, I've put in several miles of walking.  So far today, at lunch time, I've already walked 10 minutes to work, 5 minutes to the bus, 5 minutes to an appointment, 5 minutes back to the bus, and 5 minutes back to my office.  That's 30 minutes bonus exercise.  Nice.
One of the costs of moving back to the USA will definitely be the loss of incidental exercise and calorie burning through the natural daily walking that comes from living in Korea.  We don't own a car, and we don't want a car.  A few times a week, I use public transportation like a bus, subway, or taxi, but the rest of the time I just walk.  We walk to work, to church, to Emma's school, to the grocery store, and to most of the restaurants we frequent.
And I love it.  It's good exercise - building serotonin and burning calories - something I need more and more.  It puts me out in nature, where I can see and appreciate the weather and the seasons.  Sure, it's hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but that's life, and I get to experience more of it this way.
I'll surely enjoy the independence of hopping in a car and going wherever I want whenever I want, but just as surely, I'll miss my many, many walks around Cheonan.