지난주 한국에서 시각 장애인이 대학 총장이 되시는 사상 초유의 일 이 있었습니다. 총신대 총장님으로 세계밀알을 설립하신 이재서 박사 가 취임한 것입니다. 이 박사님은 뉴저지 러커스(Rutgers) 대학에서 학위를 하신 후 한국 총신에서 사회사업학과 교수로 섬기시다가, 이번 에 총장으로 선임되셨습니다. 많은 장애인들이 고무가 되어 취임식에 참석했다고 합니다. 이 박사님은 이렇게 취임소감을 밝혀 화제가 되었 다고 합니다. “저는 시각 장애인으로 한눈 팔 수가 없기 때문에 열심히 학교 일만 챙기며 최선을 다하겠습니다.” 바로 이 분이 올 8월 초 저희 교회 ‘한 여름밤의 시원한 신학강좌’ 강사 중 한분으로 오시게 됩니다. 강사로 섭외할 때는 총장 설이 나오기 전이었는데, 총장 취임 후, 첫 나 들이에 저희 교회 모시게 되어 큰 기쁨으로 생각합니다. 그때 마침 소 망부 여름성경학교가 있어서 학생들에게 잠시 격려의 말씀도 부탁드 리려 합니다. 우리도 아름다운 미국에서 ‘한눈 팔지 말고’ 자랑스러운 Korean-American이 되십시다.
A University President, with No Distraction
Rev. Bryan Kim
There is a place I used to take my visitors when I lived in Hartford in Northeast. It is the Connecticut State Capital. I lived in an area where there wasn’t much to see except for an antiquated State Capital where I frequently took my visitors. I’m not sure if it is still there, but there was a statue of Nathan Hale, a patriot from Independence War, in the capital building. I used to share how I was impressed by his honesty and his final words inscribed on the statue. The inscription read, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” And then I would take them to the gift shop to buy a souvenir. There we were, once gain, impressed by a blind store clerk at the counter. When purchasing something, you have to tell the clerk how much money you are giving him since paper dollars are all the same size. Also, you have to tell him how much the item is so that he can give back your change. It is a system that requires customer honesty. If your souvenir costs $2 and you say, “I gave you a ten dollar bill”, then the blind clerk will count out $8 in change. That moment is so heartfelt that you have to experience this to know how it feels. It is a wonderful feeling. I, who have experienced the world with a blind cashier and a beautiful country kept secure by people like Nathan Hale, applied for US citizenship without hesitation and became a proud US citizen.
Last week, for the first time in Korea, a blind person became a university president. Dr. Jae Suh Lee, founder of World Milar(wheat) Missions (a Christian support organization for the disabled) was installed as the president of Chongshin University. He graduated Rutgers University and served as a professor in the department of social work at Chongshin University in Korea and was elected to become the university president. Many disabled people attended this installation. His address at the ceremony became a news, “As a blind person, since I cannot be distracted, I will do my best only to care for this school.” He will come to our church in early August as one of the speakers for ‘Refreshing Theological Lecture for a Summer Night’ series. We contacted him before the news of university presidency came about. We are delighted that this will be his first visit after his installation. We will also have Hope VBS at that time and we will be asking him for a word of encouragement to the students. Let us ‘not be distracted’ and become proud Korean-Americans.