Bicultural Identity as a Means to Negotiate Cultural Religious Differences

19 June 2019

Bicultural Identity as a Means to Negotiate Cultural Religious Differences

On 8 July, Ji-Ung Lim, second generation Korean pastor at a Korean church in Cologne, will defend his dissertation documenting how first and second generation immigrants have responded to cultural and religious change.

In his dissertation, Lim pays attention to the bicultural experience of Christian migrants of Korean ethnic descent who arrived as guest-workers in Germany in the second half of the twentieth century as well as their German-born children. While the first generation of Korean migrants established numerous ethnic churches, which served as sociocultural centers and safe harbors in a foreign country, the offspring of Korean migrants – the so-called second generation – struggle with the cultural values and religious expressions of their parents’ generation in their ethnic churches today.

Lim strives not only to shed light on reasons for tensions between two generations in one particular ethnic faith community, but also to seek ways for a harmonious co-existence in culturally and religiously heterogenic communities by looking at the bicultural identity of ethnic minority groups as a means to negotiate cultural religious differences.

Lim’s empirical investigation of the bicultural identity of Korean Christian migrants from a religious perspective provides a stimulus to renew the outlook on multicultural societies. It may help to avoid rejecting one or another of the cultures, focusing rather on understanding how to cope with two different cultures and discovering benefits of culturally plural societies as well as recognizing the close conjunction of and interrelation between culture and religion.

Ji-Ung (Jeremy) Lim is a German-born second generation Korean pastor with more than ten years of ministry experience in the Korean migrant church community in Germany. He received his Mag. theol. from Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster as well as his M.Div. from Honam Theological University and Seminary in South Korea, where he lived and worked as a pastor for seven years. He is married to Eun-Jung and they have two children, Elisa and Christian. Currently, he serves as pastor at a Korean migrant church in Cologne, Germany.

The defense will take place on Monday July 8th at 11 hours in the chapel of ETF Leuven.

Lim, Ji-Ung. “Korean Migrant Churches in Germany: An Analysis of Cultural Religious Differences between the First and Second Generation Korean Christians with Focus on Bicultural Identity” (PhD diss., Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, 2019).

Promoters: Prof. Dr. Pieter Boersema (ETF Leuven)
Co-promoter: Prof. Dr. John Yong-Joon Choi (HGU Pohang / ETF Leuven)

About ETF Leuven
The Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven has as its core tasks education, research and societal service. Its programs are accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). At the moment, the faculty counts 36 students with 13 different nationalities in its doctoral degree program.

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