The Korean American ExperienceIntroduction For many Korean-Americans, religion is a key part of their lives.
Most Korean-Americans are protestant Christian although a few are Catholic, Buddhist, or unaffiliated, while Korean protestant churches are predominantly ethnic churches with almost exclusively Korean and Korean-American congregations with Korean-trained pastors. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of this institution for the long term adaptation of the Korean American community to American life.Positive Contributions of the Korean Protestant Church The Korean Protestant church in America has made several major positive contributions not only to the American religion experience, but also to the lives of those Korean-Americans who join the church upon coming to the United States. Perhaps the most prominent positive contribution that the church has made to Korean American communities is the fact that the church serves as the fiber that in many cases allows those communities to function properly; form a charitable standpoint, whether the members of the community are in need of employment, decent housing, clothing, food, education or medical/child care, the vast resources of the Korean Protestant Church are always available to the church members in their time of need (Ilyong).
In this way, the church makes it possible for Korean-Americans to stay united, stay well, and keep connections to their faith. This also improves the reputation of the church, thereby attracting new members when they learn of what there is to be offered to new members. Yet another positive contribution of the Korean Protestant church is the ability for Korean-Americans to retain their sense of culture and preserve traditions, so that these are not lost in the transition to American life. However, as will now be explained, there are also downsides to the Korean Protestant church.
The Downside of the Korean Protestant Church The Korean Protestant Church is not without its negative points; first, there is the issue that, according to some, the church is growing at such a rapid rate that it will soon lose some of its power and quality if it is spread too thinly by having too many locations. Also, there is the possibility that ethnic churches like this may overemphasize ethnicity to the point that the Korean-American members never feel welcome or comfortable in their new country, or that these Korean-Americans may in fact become so well blended into the Korean community that they join when they come to America that they essentially become invisible and never have the full opportunities of other Americans (Ilyong). Therefore, what is important to realize in regard to the Korean Protestant church in America is that it must somehow find the balance between retaining Korean traditions while still allowing for some of the American culture to emerge as well.
Conclusion In conclusion, the Korean-American Protestant church stands strong not only to promote the Christian faith, but also to serve as a valuable resource for Korean-Americans to retain their wellness, sense of community and the preservation of their cultural traditions.ReferencesIlyong, I Kim, ed. Korean Americans: Past, Present, and Future.
Holly International, 2004.