보스톤 코리아 기사 (with English translation)
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
보스톤 코리아에서 크레파스 프로젝트 인터뷰 기사를 내주셨습니다.
기사 작성과정에서 인터뷰 의도와 조금 다르게 나온 부분들이 있어서 바로잡습니다:
1. 저희는 성경이 동성애를 죄라고 말한다고 생각하지 않습니다. 기사에 나온 부분은 "설령 백번 양보해서 성서가 동성애를 죄라고 한다고 하더라도"가 생략된 그 후의 이야기입니다. 2. 커밍아웃한 목회자가 없다는 부분은 보스톤 지역에 없다는 뜻이었습니다. 저희가 모르는 곳에서 헌신하고 계신 분들이 있다고 생각합니다. 3. 저희는 모든 한국인 퀴어 기독교인들이 교회를 떠난다고 생각하지 않습니다. 하지만 절대다수가 한인교회를 떠나거나 교회에서 자신을 숨기고 아파하고 있다고 생각합니다. 그들 곁에서 조금이나마 힘이 되어주고 싶어 프로젝트를 시작했습니다.
인터뷰 해주시고 기사 써주신 보스톤 코리아와 장명술 편집장님께 감사드립니다.
아래는 영어 번역 (의역)입니다:
You may find our English translation of the article below (please note that it is to provide a general meaning of the article and is not a word-to-word translation.):
Meet KREPAS Project: an open and affirming church community for LGBTQ+ in the Korean community of Massachusetts. “KREPAS is the beginning of a spiritual community that welcomes sexual minorities,” says Pastor Hyunwoo Koo (33 years old).
KREPAS Project will begin in September as a culturally specific of the ministry of First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain. The Project aims to seek independence as a self-sustained church as it grows.
They expect to embrace those who hide their identity or left the church due to the conservative perspective of Korean churches. Koo, who is managing the project, argues, “[many Korean Christians] simply think there is no queer body in their church because of two stereotypes that many share—there are not many Korean queers and there is no queer in church.” He continues, “but it is the case that most of them just hide who they are or leave the church.”
Koo also states “we aim to form a community where queers and their family can worship God as who they are without putting their masks on.”
The problem is whether there is enough demand in Korean society. It can be a biased preconception, but it is still possible that there are not enough people for the project. Koo argues, “statistically, there are a meaningful number of Korean [Christian] queers [in Boston]. They are obscured because of the Korean churches’ oppression."
Andrew Cho (24 years old), an out Korean American queer, says, “I have been a part of many kinds of churches and want to share why this project is important. When I first came out to my parents in Arizona, they were more worried than anything about the shame if their community found out about me. Their shame hurt more to me than their rejection of my sexuality. I understood later that what others think is so important in Korean culture that even if I was out my parents would still hide my identity [from their family and friends].” Cho continues, “I saw myself and other Christians not being transparent about their identity in [Korean] church.”
What queer Asian Americans often choose next are English-speaking churches. However, although they may come out in English-speaking churches, their cultural identity often does not fit in “American” churches. Because they cannot be who they are in Korean churches either, many of them end up leaving the church.
To the question of why he is working on queer ministry, Koo answers, “I thought we need this.” He continues, “There are limitations because I myself am not an out queer. Nevertheless, I believe I can do my part before an out queer minister takes the lead [in the area].”
Koo’s adds his second reason, “This is the church I believe: Jesus embraced all, and God created all without mistake. If Christianity is for the minorities and the oppressed, we need to look for that path."
In Korean immigrant churches, most pastors consider practicing homosexuality a sin according to the Bible. Koo disagrees and believes that the Bible does not say it is a sin. "Even if the Bible says it is a sin, it is dangerous to read the Bible this way. The Bible must stay alive. God’s love should be prioritized.”
KREPAS Project launches with queer theology lectures in September. Its pre-church activities include informal gatherings and Bible studies. [Added] You may find them at www.krepas.com or their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/krepasproject.