Monday, March 26, 2012

Comparing the Two, Part 1

I read a heart-wrenching story on yesterday (In North Korea, a brutal choice)
about North Korean defectors and what they have to go through to survive and get to freedom.  It was very difficult to read.  Some of the paragraphs grabbed my attention because of the similarities in leadership tactics between dictators and authoritarian pastors.  What the woman and her family in the story went through physically can be used to parallel what people in abusive churches deal with emotionally and spiritually. 

Here were some key paragraphs that caught my attention.  Later, I will show the parallel I see between a dictator and a pastor who uses his authority in a way that is spiritually abusive.

When a country is led by dictators, it's the ordinary people who pay the price and are forced to make gut-wrenching decisions. 
Defectors' stories are often the only way the world learns about what happens inside the reclusive country. But many who escaped North Korea choose to remain silent, fearing repercussions for family members left back home.
Many who do speak out, including Han and her daughters, use pseudonyms (as they do in this article) to avoid detection by the North Korean government.
"I believed the party kept us alive," Han said. "I was very thankful. I was constantly trained to believe that without the party, we wouldn't exist."
She did not doubt the leaders, even as her family went hungry. It was the United States and South Korea's fault, they were told, that they had to hunt frogs, rats and even snakes.
The first time Han and her husband snuck into China and hid at a relatives' home, she got her first glimpse of a rice cooker, full of steaming, hot white rice.
The next day, officers came for her, too. In custody, she was forced to kneel in front of police, who kicked her, beat her with a wooden rod and smashed her skull. They lay her hands flat on the cement floor and stomped on them.
"We can talk about what happened," she said. "All my family in North Korea has died. I realized God chose us. Other people cannot talk or their family will suffer."

When reading the CNN article,  take note of the following:
  • How do the dictator and leaders use their authority to control people?
  • Even though Song Ee Han lost family members to starvation does she still honor her leader?
  • Why was it wrong for Song Ee Han to seek food for her family in China to prevent her family from starvation?   
  • What message does it send to people of N. Korea when someone escapes to get food for their starving family?
  • What message does it send to the leaders of N. Korea when someone escapes to get food?
  • What do the common people of N. Korea think of other countries?  
  • What is their opinion of their own country and leader?  
  • How did her neighbors respond when they sought food in China?  Did they side with the government or with the starving family?  
  • How was she treated by neighbors when she returned to the country?  
  • How was she treated by leaders when she returned to the country?  
  • Can you find parallels in this type of leadership compared to a spiritually abusive leader in a church?
  • Can you find parallels between the common people in N. Korea who don't ask questions and the "common people" in church who don't question their leaders?   
I know . . . . some of you are probably wondering how I can have the audacity to compare people who are abused to the point of starving to death with people spiritually abused.  I get it.  Hang tight.  I'll get there. 

 . . . . . to be continued  (Comparing the Two, Part 2)


  1. I'm already there and see your point. Or at least a point. You might make a different one than I was thinking! What I wonder is what the leaders hope to gain, in either of these situations, once all the "common" population has died.

    1. Your last sentence is very profound and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the implications of both parts of it. Thank you! It may end up on my next blog post.


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