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A Faith Of Our Own

Second-Generation Spirituality in Korean American Churches

Sharon Kim

Publication Year: 2010

Second-generation Korean Americans, demonstrating an unparalleled entrepreneurial fervor, are establishing new churches with a goal of shaping the future of American Christianity. A Faith of Our Own investigates the development and growth of these houses of worship, a recent and rapidly increasing phenomenon in major cities throughout the United States. Including data gathered over ten years at twenty-two churches, it is the most comprehensive study of this topic that addresses generational, identity, political, racial, and empowerment issues.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

I am deeply grateful to many people who helped me with this research in its many stages. Without the collaborative support of institutions, informants, mentors, colleagues, friends, and family, I would not have been able to write this book. This book was generously supported by two grants...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-20

Samuel Hurh immigrated to the United States in 1973 at the age of six. His family settled in a quiet southern Californian suburb, where he rarely saw other Koreans aside from those he met every Sunday at the nearby Korean immigrant church where he and his family worshiped. At the church, Samuel was exposed weekly to his...

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2. Generational Tension within Korean Immigrant Churches

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pp. 21-49

Korean immigrant churches have experienced more than their share of internal conflicts and tensions. Sadly, numerous reports are heard of bitter church splits within Korean congregations where long-simmering tensions boiled over into shoving matches and fist fights...

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3.The Quest for a Community of Comfort

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pp. 50-82

According to the 2000 U.S. census, there are nearly 1.1 million Koreans residing in the United States (E.-Y. Yu 2001). As the numbers of American-born Korean Americans entering early adulthood increases, second-generation churches have been multiplying rapidly. The majority of the...

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4. Spiritual Laboratories

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pp. 83-109

Second-generation churches, as they emerge within congregational spaces, draw from a variety of cultural and spiritual resources. In their quest to invent an independent second-generation spirituality, the leaders of these new churches aim to adopt what they perceive to be essential beliefs...

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5. Reaching Out

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pp. 110-132

Fruitful Church sponsors an annual Christmas party at Township Gardens, one of the largest and reportedly most dangerous public housing projects in south Los Angeles. On an unusually warm December day, heading toward the main quad of Township Gardens, I noticed the numerous murals...

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6. Shifting Ethnic Boundaries

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pp. 133-158

An internal tension exists in and among the different churches where the second-generation Korean American Protestants in this study make their home. This internal tension in their hybrid third space revolves around the reality that at the current stage of development, second-generation churches...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 159-167

The ethnic church has been, from the first wave of Korean immigration to the United States, the central institution in the Korean American community. Today, there are more than 3,000 Korean American Protestant churches nationwide, and nearly 80 percent of Korean Americans are affiliated with them...

Appendix A. Description of Churches

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pp. 169

Appendix B. Congregational Survey

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pp. 171-176


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pp. 177-193


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pp. 195-200

About the Author

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pp. 201

E-ISBN-13: 9780813549477
E-ISBN-10: 0813549477
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547268
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547261

Page Count: 214
Illustrations: 1 table
Publication Year: 2010