Crawl with God, Dance in the Spirit! Summary

Jong Chun Park


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

The goal of Crawl with God, Dance in the Spirit by South Korean theologian Jong Chun Park is to propose a new theology of the Holy Spirit. This new theology is to move beyond the previous two Christian theological approaches that Park deems unfit for guiding Christians in the twenty-first century. According to Park, the first theology of the Christian church fathers encompasses a view of an absolute, omnipotent God that “does not resemble the God of the Bible and is not relevant to the modern person’s” life. He also states that the second theology, which emerged from the Reformation, is no longer appropriate. The second theology, Park says, focused on the subjective religious feelings of Christians and was promoted by nineteenth century theologians such as the German Friedrich Schleiermacher.

Park’s third theology emphasizes divine-human participation, with the two partners being almost equal. For this theology, Park draws heavily on the history of Christianity in Korea and also takes into account the pre-Christian Korean spiritual and historical experience. Park calls his endeavor an ecumenical enterprise that will bring the Korean Christian in closer communion with God. Central for the overall Korean spiritual experience, Park states, is the concept of the mountain of Arirang, a mythical mountain that is the subject of many popular folk songs. In the version referred to by Park, the Korean people symbolically crawl over Arirang to demonstrate resistance to injustice and suffering. Even though the righteous are executed at the top of Arirang by the minions of feudalism, there is triumph in their sacrifice. Park sees this as being like the experience of Christ at Golgotha.

Park grounds his theological view of divine-human participation as the next wave of Christian theology in his discussion of the history of the Christian church in Korea. According to Park, the Methodist missionaries of the late nineteenth century initiated a liberating wave during the Great Revival movement in Korea that lasted from 1907 to 1910. However,...

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Crawl with God, Dance in the Spirit! Bibliography

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Buswell, Robert E., and Timothy S. Lee. Christianity in Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2005. Comprehensive, accessible, and balanced review of two centuries of Christianity in Korea. Provides background information on people, events, and theological and historical issues discussed by Park that put his views in broader perspective.

Kang, Wi Jo. Christ and Caesar in Modern Korea: A History of Christianity and Politics. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997. This concise, balanced discussion of how political and social events in Korea affected Christian movements there covers well the period discussed by Park and provides an excellent frame of reference.

Yu, Chai-shin, ed. Korea and Christianity. Fremont, Calif.: Asian Humanities Press, 2004. Seven essays cover the history of Christianity in Korea and are linked by preface and epilogue by the editor. A good look at issues important to Park’s theology such as the Christian response to Japanese colonialism and the history of the Protestant Church in Korea with discussion of its possible future.