Chung Hyun Kyung:
A Living Saint for those who
Struggle to be the Sun Again
Artist: Ellen Acton
Chung Hyun Kyung
Occupation: Lay theologian of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, Associate Professor of Ecumenical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the U.S.
At the 1991 World Council of Churches Assembly in Canberra, she caused a stir by referring to the goddess of compassion and wisdom, Kwan In (usually known in the West as Kwan Yin), as a culturally relevant way to interpret the Holy Spirit in Asia. She received a standing ovation, but appalled conservatives, who labeled her a syncretist, i.e. one who combines Christian teachings with elements of other traditions.
Her response: "I say, 'You are right, I am a syncretist, but so are you.'" She pointed out that all Christian theology contains elements of the culture from which it comes, but the dominant Western culture does not recognize this (kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees).
She was also a speaker at the infamous Re-Imagining Conference in Minneapolis in 1993, a gathering of (primarily) women who came together to discuss theology from a woman's perspective.
Her book "Struggle to Be the Sun Again," is a strong statement about the need for women to be treated by society (including religious society) with equality.
- Ellen Acton