“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” (Luke 8:16 NIV)
Providence members strive to live their daily lives as a light upon this world, reflecting the brilliance and love of the Holy Trinity. Please enjoy walking in the shoes of these providence members who have shared their daily lives through their personal blogs!
Providence Style Blog
This blog, written by a providence member who goes by a pen name of “Little Giants,” reflects on short proverbs from Pastor Jung Myeong Seok coupled with inspiring pictures that leaves a deep impression. His numerous posts are really simple, light-hearted, and yet thought provoking.
Check it out by clicking here! (or you can type the url: https://providencestyle.wordpress.com/)
Providence Path Blog
This blog is written by a member who previously survived from a series of self-harm, family turmoils, and contemplations of suicide. He shares how 5 years of darkness was transformed when he learnt God’s words in Providence, and saw Pastor Jung Myeong Seok’s life example.
If you are experiencing hardships and self-doubt, you must read this blog.
This blog is by a providence member called Joshua, who was inspired to create so that he could record his various inspirations, memories and realizations. Also, he writes about his experiences and encounters with God and the things that he learnt from Pastor Jung Myeong Seok.
This blog is written by a member, who is also a film maker, watching movies through the lens of the teachings of Pastor Jung Myung Seok and Providence’s 30 bible lessons. Given his busy schedule, he may not be updating that frequently, but his posts surely stir up creative thoughts in the most ordinary of us.
[Headline News] Community service organizations affiliated with the Christian Gospel Mission: Christian Gospel Mission Voluntary Worker Association, One Love Community, etc.
The volunteer workers who work with love and give radiant hope
The Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) is known for their encouraging affiliated community services and vigorous activities that boost social services. The Christian Gospel Mission Voluntary Worker Association was formed with the purest purpose of offering community services while One Love Community conducts Shared Hope campaigns and the Global Peace Cultural Union boosts intercultural exchange activities. These all are community service organizations affiliated to CGM.
They spread true love, which brings God joy
There are many community service organizations, besides Christian Gospel Mission Voluntary Worker Association and One Love Community, affiliated with CGM according to their understanding of values which stems from the idea that “religion is a lifestyle.” Through them, CGM has been boosting various social activities that communities need. On top of that, they also carry out their community services overseas beyond Korea through their Global Peace Cultural Union, which serves as the vanguard to their community service activities abroad.
During nationwide crises, such as the IMF(International Monetary Fund) crisis, CGM has held save-the-nation prayer assemblies and provided support for overcoming the national crises. Furthermore, in order to foster a healthy national spirit, which goes well with the current the 21st century social environment, they started out doing pure cultural art activities and currently are contributing to the development of healthy culture. Greatest of all, one of their most successful services even when compared to services that other denominations provide is the initiation and development of an ideal world of love and peace centered on God through international exchanges and cultural art activities overseas.
On June 6, CGM is planning to carry out social activities that will draw people’s attention once more, holding their 2005 Shared Hope Marathon hosted by Christian Gospel Mission Voluntary Worker Association and One Love Community which is also a national employees union. They are going to use the 5K bike lane at Hangang Park in Gwangnaru as a track and are expecting a thousand participants. All proceeds through the event will go to supporting people who need hope and love, such as hungry children, teens without guardians, the elderly homeless, deprived people struggling with illnesses, and etc. Since it is a CGM social activity, even after the marathon, there will be follow up events coordinated by the ministry. They have planned a family ring toss game, a toss-and-run with hula hoops game, and a couples hold and run game, including cheer, jazz, and tap dance events where all participants can gather and dance as one. The finale of the event is extensive cleaning. All participants will help clean up Hangang park in Gwangnaru as a way to protect the environment. After the event, they will issue a voluntary service certificate to middle and high school students.
Besides this, One Love Community held their One Love National Cup Employees Soccer Tournament twice and did various volunteer activities, such as delivering birthday cakes to rehabilitation facilities and welfare facilities. As a result, they were awarded with the Seoul Metropolitan City Mayor Award at the 2004 Seoul Social Welfare Contest.
The Global Peace Culture Union holds an international cultural exchange
The Global Association of Culture & Peace, which is an international non-governmental exchange federation, provides opportunities of harmony for people to understand and communicate with each other through various cultural exchanges, such as through sports or the arts. It was formed to actualize global love and peace, which cross over the bounds of nations and ethnicities
In order to achieve their goal, the Global Association of Culture & Peace hosts, holds, and sponsors various cultural exchanges, affiliating them with many different associations related to cultures, arts, and sports throughout the world. Currently, they have members in 40 different countries in Asia, North America, Europe, and Oceania. Also they are actively involved in activities with over 200 affiliated associations.
In addition, after holding their First International Peace Soccer Tournament in August in 1999, they held their Sixth Global Peace United Cultural Conference at Daejeon World Cup Stadium from August 11 to 17 in 2002. Significantly, it was held during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan tournament, and approximately 2,000 foreign members from 35 countries attended. Since the theme of the event was to seek a way for mankind to become one beyond the boundaries of different religions and ideologies, the event drew people’s attentions from all over the world. The Global Peace United Cultural Conference is held in a member country and rotates every year. Each conference has various programs, such as sports games–not only soccer tournaments–art performances, cultural and scholarly exchanges, international conventions, and etc. The events are meaningful because they are international events where members from all over the world gather in one place.
In regards to this aspect, CGM asserts that this is how they are different from other Christian organizations. What they mean is that even though they are misunderstood as a cult, differing from the way Christians usually do ministry, which focuses only on lecturing and stuffing their doctrines in people’s heads, CGM spreads the spirit of lives to people from many different careers and classes through events like the Global Peace United Cultural Conference.
They also explained that in other words, while respecting each individual’s individuality and ability and each nation and country’s culture and traditions, they are building up God’s nation. The reason is to let individuals, families, and nations fulfill God’s Will of Providence in a global perspective. This is the fundamental purpose of their ministry.
CGM has received many commendationsfor their volunteer services
One of the other associations proudly affiliated with CGM is CGM Volunteer Service. It was created to put the love of Christ into practice. Because of the community service they have offered to regional communities for the nation and poor neighborhoods, they have received many different types of commendations.
The community services CGM provides are motivated from their love for life, which is also the service mentality Chairman Jung Myung Seok established when he first founded the Mission. He said, “Peace will come only if you love.” CGM Volunteer Service made this motto the root of their services. Chairman Jung shared his love with isolated neighbors, became a healer to spirits who were poor and sick, a kind brother to people who were hurt, and a friend to young people who strayed from life. He is an example and walks on a path that society should follow.
Not only this but he has also showed filial piety to his parents since he was young and constantly loves his nation and people with Gyeongcheonaein* and humanitarianism, which both contain Korea’s national spirit. Despite persecution from other Christian groups in the name of religion, he has been trying endlessly to embrace them, following Jesus’ teaching, “Love your enemies.” After having inheriting this kind of teaching, CGM Volunteer Service has been doing their job.
(Translator’s note: Gyeongcheonaein is one of philosophies from China, and it means respecting the Heavens and loving mankind.)
Besides Mother’s Ensemble Volunteer, Handicap Experience Camp, Helping Sakhalin, Fundraising Bazaar for Orphanages, Sharing Rice with Love Movement, Free Medical Service Volunteer, Clean Up Parks, Blood Donation Campaign, Urban Environmental Improvement, Volunteer Service Festivals, Home Land Environment Campaign, Open Art Festivals, Clean Bus Station Movement, and Mental Retardation Facilities Volunteer, 30 other volunteer programs are currently running through their regional branches. From December 25, 2007, they have been doing community service activities related to the oil spill accident at the coast of Taean. In addition, they are actively involved in art and cultural movements as a part of the social activities they do. About this, CGM considers cultural art activities as an expression of thanksgiving to God, that is, hearing the Word and taking action on the Word to resemble His nature out of their love for God. Above all, differing from other types of entertainment, their art activities contain sincere inspiration. This is also one of the strengths of their ministry, which CGM uses to create a deep impact inside of people’s lives. “Evangelism is simply introducing God, who is the origin of art, to people who experience His inspiration,” explained CGM.
Taiwan’s SETN news network broadcasted a heartwarming feature about Chinese Christian Youth Association’s (Christian Gospel Mission (Taiwan)’s youth arm) celebration of Mother’s Day in 2009.
CGM’s children dressed up in cute animal costumes and performed for their mothers, followed by a personalized message of thanks to their own parents. CGM also organized outdoor activities for the families, such as a spring onion picking session in Yilan County. Through faith in God, families – the fundamental building blocks of society – are strengthened and unified. This then contributes to a strong and virtuous society.
Hear the testimonies of some of these families who are part of the Christian Gospel Mission, founded by Pastor Jung Myung Seok (turn on english subtitles on youtube):
Christian Gospel Mission (Providence)’s Peace Medical Corp was established in 2005, focusing on the fundamental values of medical care, practicing Christ’s spirit of loving lives, and conveying love and peace through medical care all over the world.
In this featured video, CGM’s Peace Medical Corp reaches out to special needs children in Harmony Home. These children have severe development challenges, which prevents them from communicating in a normal way even as they grow up. Despite challenges to earn the trust of these children, through regularly visits and a display of love for them, the children have began to trust the medical volunteers and have shown significant improvement in their social abilities.
Even then, it is easy for medical volunteers to perform these acts because of obligation or simply as a routine. The volunteers breakthrough these keeping in mind the teachings of Pastor Jung Myung Seok, who has taught them that “The fundamental element of medical care is to love life. It is to restore the value of lives.” Therefore, the volunteers treat each life as a unique and irreplaceable person, and are reminded of the fundamental element of medical care that Pastor Jung Myung Seok has taught.
The featured video (to view the english translation, turn on subtitles on youtube):
[Headline News] Christian Gospel Mission President Jung Myung Seok endeavors to spread the real truth (Page 130, 131)
These days, Christianity in Korea is in need of a big paradigm shift like in the days of Copernicus in terms of the goals and direction the churches need to strive for, the Word given to them in the Bible and the responsibilities related to it, their sense for history, and the ability to discern between what is intrinsic and what is extrinsic. In this kind of situation, President Jung is attempting to present a new vision of Christianity that fits this time period.
Working during the day and studying at night, through the 30 years of his life of prayer, he received the Lord.
Normally people tend to consider what is concrete and visible as important, but intangible things can have tens or hundreds of times more importance than what is concrete. There are cases when something concrete and visible only gains meaning and displays its value when it gains an intangible quality, which exists invisibly. We have witnessed these cases over and over from biographies of saints and the philosophers of the world.
In order to actualize the gospel of Christianity on this earth, as a faithful worker or pastor, one does not need an academic degree, a title, or a fancy position.
Instead of these things, what one needs is the ability to take care of one’s flock of sheep better than anybody else, a more clear and precise understanding of the sheep’s pain, grief, and life joys and sorrows, time to spend with one’s sheep, and the ability to actualize an open heart of giving in one’s daily life. In terms of numbers, the size of christianity is grand to the point that you can see a cross–a sign of a church–every 10 blocks, but the doctrine of christianity is losing its light and is in a situation similar to the high priest Eli whom God left. At this time when people are wondering about truth, President Jung’s message that illuminates the truth in a new way is very convicting.
The ultimate reason religion exists is to lead human beings to a better way of living and teach people to embrace socially neglected classes of people so that all members of society can live happily. President Jung is a person who realized himself, in the process of learning about his life of faith, that religion should not be just a prodigious theory but a lifestyle, and he worked to actualize this realization in his daily life.
He said, “I met Jesus in person during my extreme life of prayer, and while serving and loving him like a lover, I received wisdom and the truth behind how to serve the Heavens and save lives. My one and only teacher is Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit. I came to understand the way to testify about the Trinity and realized the deep heart of the Heavens by loving and serving God and Jesus solely with the mentality and thoughts of God and Jesus.”
When he became 33 years old in January 1978, President Jung wrapped up his ascetic life in the mountains and came down. He compiled the original notes that he wrote down from the Word that he received from the Heavens and made 120 pages of charts for months. That year, at the end of May, he packed the notes and the charts, went to Seoul, and devoted his ministry to evangelizing youths.
“We can’t deny that history has been changing according to the times. If Christianity in Korea blindly obeys the doctrine, which has become a dogma to them, while focusing on mysticism and the simple and blind ritualism of asking for blessings, disregarding religious essential truth, it can easily approach the general public, but it will not be able to save thisgeneration, save human beings’ spirits, nor help people take action upon the Will of God. In order to understand the Bible correctly, we have to interpret the parables in the Bible correctly. Once the parables are interpreted correctly, the secrets of the Heavens and the purpose of God’s creation, and furthermore, the purpose of life can be understood. Christian churches view the Bible with an incorrect perception. They interpret the Bible in a singular and literal way, being bound to its doctrine without considering the pertaining time period or science. That’s why they cannot properly interpret the Bible, which was written with symbols and parables,” Jung said.
Through his sermons, he quenches the spiritual thirst of the young generation.
“God is not the one who is confined within the frame of religion. He is the god of religion, the god of science, the god of philosophy, the god of literacy, and the god of art. He is the god of everything. That is why the true truth has to make sense not only religiously but also scientifically and philosophically,” he explained.
Within the short time period of 25 years, the Christian Gospel Mission has grown rapidly into a ministry organization where 200,000 young people have gathered, and they have currently spread the gospel to 50 nations. The Mission said that the deciding factor of their achievements thus far is President Jung’s open view of religion and the world. Its success hinged on this point.
“Jesus took care of the sick and the poor. Healing the sick and looking after the poor was originally my job and mission. This work always has to be done with a thankful, grateful, and joyful heart. What I mean is that I did not suffer from doing it. It was my duty. Even in the future, I will keep taking care of the sick and those who are hurt. This is the mission I have during this time,” President Jung said.
He keeps the absolute commision, “While we are alive, we should make Heaven on earth” and takes it beyond the logic of salvation, which is, “Let’s believe God and go to Heaven after death.”
During his ascetic life, he went through so many situations and difficulties. During the process, he heard voices from the Heavens, received inspirations and word related to life, and realized many things personally, and he has been spreading the gospel and leaving it etched in history through his writings and drawings.
At a big evangelism rally, a publication party for The Book of Salvation, which President Jung wrote while he was abroad, was held at the Wolmyeongdong retreat center on May 29. The essence of salvation is broken down in the book for readers to understand easily. Some reviews stated that the book was so fun to read while touching on profound truths that once the readers started to read, they couldn’t let go of the book.
Even though he has never received professional art education, with the inspiration that he has received from the Heavens and the talent that he was born with, his art pieces transcend existing styles of art. You can see examples of his paintings displayed at the Gusang Art Gallery in Wolmyeongdong. He is also active in creating cultural exchanges as a chairman of the Global Peace and Cultural Union.
A painting that President Jung drew
This painting was drawn when Jung received an inspiration that brushed by his mind. The allegorical expressions relayed skillfully by the power of a brush stroke contains powerful messages. A snail is trying to climb up a cliff in the painting. He falls from the cliff but does not give up and climbs up again, and when he falls again, he climbs up again. After several attempts, he barely makes it to the peak and shouts, “Ah! I’ve finally made it.” However, just as he was about to take a rest, a stork walks up to him from behind and says, “Jackpot!” and goes to peck at him to eat him. This painting depicts the moment that determines the snail’s destiny.
The painter depicted the image of God’s face with clouds in the sky, and conveyed the feeling within God’s eyes, which show that he is searching with fiery eyes for the righteous to see if there is even one righteous man in the world. The background is drawn symbolically: from the right to the left, you can see Namdaemun*, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, chimneys of factories, the Trade Center, the 63 building, the Twin Towers, a sun village* where wealthy people live, and a moon village* and a milky way village* where poor people live, which are located on the very top of a mountain and the closest to the sky. Also, in front of Namdaemun*, there are people who are worshiping idols before steles. The idol worshiper who is dark and has a tail is a monkey, which conveys the idea that idol worshippers are inferior than animals. It is the eyes of God, the Divine Being, who is anxiously looking for the righteous in the world.
* In Korean, “sun village” is a name that is used to define an area where wealthy people live, and “moon village” and “milky way village” are names that are used to define an area where poor people live. Usually, moon and milky way villages are located high up on mountains since the price of those areas are cheap.
Within 27 short years of ministry, Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) has become a worldwide organization with 200,000 members from 400 churches throughout the nation and 50 overseas nations. A staff of CGM shared their secret to success: to remember that religion is not a theory but a lifestyle.
He also mentioned a distinct characteristic of CGM, “We have a goal: By actualizing God’s perfect truth and His Will of love, let’s make our world into a world of peace. And, with that goal, we have a theory of lifestyle and action: Instead of considering Heaven as a Utopia in a very faraway place that we go to only after we die, we can actualize it, God’s ideal world, here on this Earth. Based on that theory, we are carrying out religious activities.”
A small circle that is drawn with limited knowledge cannot reach a big circle that is drawn with vast knowledge. Furthermore, we cannot even begin to imagine what is beyond the small circle with the limited knowledge. In order to reach the big circle, where God’s ideal world unfolds in reality, CGM Chairman Jung read the Bible from cover to cover about 2,000 times, and he said that during the 30-year process of an extreme life of prayer and through the vast Word of Biblical truth, he realized the truth of God that completely unites religion and ideology.
The foundation of the new interpretation of the Bible – The 30 Principles
Since the Bible is the Word of God, it is beyond our comprehension. Unless God enlightens human beings, we cannot understand it through our own efforts or study. Chairman Jung advocates the foundation of the new interpretation of the Bible, The 30 Principles, which targets mainly young people or college students; CGM is evangelizing with the creed, “Take action upon the Bible and make it your lifestyle.”
One of the 30 Principles, “the Seven Steps of the Law,” explains that all the existing worlds are created strictly and absolutely according to the laws, and emphasizes that these worlds cannot be sustained if they don’t adhere to the laws. It says, “There is a law called the vein of ore in the mineral kingdom, there is a law called physiology in the biosystem, there is a law called physics in the physical world, there is a law called geography in the earth system, there is a law called principle in the system of the universe, there is a law called psychology in the world of human beings, and there is a law called the truth between God and human beings, whereby if people don’t adhere to that law, they will be unable to exist.
In particular, if the law of truth that exists between man and God is violated, the relationship between human spirits and God will break. Since human beings lost the truth, they ended up living in chaos, and because they didn’t know what the truth was, they came to ignore the law and weren’t afraid of God’s law and customs. Therefore, true freedom comes when human beings become one with the Original Being of truth. All mankind can become one with each other within the absolute truth.”
The staff member said, “CGM is an organization that takes action on the Word only out of love for God and because we want to resemble His nature. In addition, we consider culture and art as a gift from God to His beloved ones, so we put a lot of effort into culture and art activities as an expression of thanksgiving to God. Also, each member develops their talents according to their individuality and gives glory to God in various ways.”
Taking action on love and peace everywhere in the world
In 1978 when Chairman Jung started his ministry in Seoul, he bore the first fruit of lives in 1980. From that point on, CGM established Korean College Students MS Ministry in 1982, registered with the Korean Jesus Presbyterian Methodist Order in 1983, founded the Korean Jesus Presbyterian Methodist (Truth) organization in 1986, and appointed Chairman Jung as the director. In 1989, it was restructured as the World Youth College Students MS Union, and in 1996, it was re-organized and run as the International Christian Union.
In October 1999, with the theme, “The ministry that prays, the ministry that becomes one through the truth, and the ministry that has advanced to the world,” it was reconstructed as Christian Gospel Mission, which has been operating until now. They have 400 churches in 22 regional districts throughout the nation and have branched out to 50 foreign nations with a total of 200,000 members worldwide. They are expanding their religious influence as a worldwide ministry.
The founder, Chairman Jung, has been particularly supportive of loving lives and the peace of mankind, not only amongst next-door neighbors but also amongst various nations, beyond global ideologies and religions, with the mentality upon which he had founded CGM: “With love alone, peace will come.” In addition, he received great reviews for developing a cultural movement towards a healthy mind and body, as well as for fostering the appropriate guidelines for proper youth development and the healthy family model, while advocating household peace.
CGM sets building God’s Kingdom as its goal and has the vision and new challenge of sharing this with the world. To establish the new era, where the whole world will become one, CGM is embarking on a mission to raise and dispatch many missionaries to foreign countries, and through that, take the lead in not only in faith, but also in actualizing the world of peace by spreading the beautiful side of Korea throughout the world.
In the past, Korea learned Christianity from the West, but now, conversely, CGM is accelerating to spread the new Word and God’s plan to the developed western countries.
Introduced in ‘The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry’, page 2717
‘Poet Jung Myung Seok is someone who has opened his eyes to the mysterious and profound wonders of the world created by the Creator. He discovered the law of creation, which states that nature is like human beings, and human beings are like God. In his poems, he ties together and connects a variety of difficult concepts [within this theme]. Then he gains the power to embrace both heaven and earth. He pursues an ideal world and at the same time, reveals [in his poem] his strong will to maintain his optimism and endure his difficult life.
Along with 3500 others, President Jung Myung Seok of Christian Gospel Mission is a believer of God who lives only for the sake of saving lives, and was recently recorded in a larger, revised edition of ‘The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry,’ which represents 100 years of the history of poetry in Korea (1908 ~ 2010).
The book made the evaluation that Poet Jung views the essence of nature from the perspective of the Creator’s law of creation. He was also described as someone who binds the love of Heaven and Earth through his world of poetry.
Especially through the following appraisal [of Jung], it was acknowledged that he has penetrated both the world of God and the world of reality: ‘His sincere world of poetry expresses a love of praising Heaven and love of embracing the broken Earth. His literature creates hope and harmony for modern people whose lives lack a balance between reality and ideals.’
Poet Jung’s name was recorded on page 2717 of The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry, published last March.
In this book, Jung was introduced as a poet and ten of his poems were introduced, such as ‘Narrow mind,’ ‘Life,’ ‘Our love,’ ‘Movement of the cloud,’ ‘Never-changing heart,’ ‘Hope,’ as well as others.
In his poem ‘Hope’, he sings of true happiness and hope that is gained only by someone who has overcome difficulties and has been trained in perseverance. He also reveals the deep truth of life and initiates deep thoughts within the reader.
Happiness goes/even in a blizzard /life winter// Happiness goes/in the thorny field/even in a bone-aching life/of hardship and difficulty//Happiness/doesn’t want to give herself to anyone/she takes the painful road/that creates struggle//Hope too/doesn’t want to live with anyone/it looks for and goes to one/who endures and perseveres//
Poet Jung Myeong-seok’s book, ‘Spiritual Poem’, became a best seller in 1989. He officially became a poet through ‘the Munyesajo (Literary Movements and Trends) Writers Association’ in 1995, and had the spotlight shone on him in the world of Korean poetry and literature.
Since then, Poet Jung has never slackened in his writing of poetry as he releases between three to five poems every month. He has now released around 3,000 poems. He has written around 30,000 proverbs of wisdom that he received through his life of faith and, among them, 6,000 proverbs were published in six books (Heaven’s Words, My Words).
The large, revised version of ‘The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry’ shows 100 years of the history of Korean poetry at a glance. It includes all the poets [of the 100 years], from the early poets in the history of Korean poets (Choi Nam-seon, Lee Yuk-sa, Lee Sang-wha, Jung Ji-yong), to the most recent poets (Jung Hyun-jong, Cheon Yang-hee, Hwang Dong-gyu). [The book includes poetry from] poets who have deceased, poets who were lost due to being kidnapped to North Korea or defecting to North Korea, and poets who are still alive.
2013 Seoul Literature Award Winner: Poet Jung Myung Seok
Poet Jung Myung Seok has never given up his life of composition, even in his current most inadequate environment, but has sublimated his misfortunes into happiness by challenging himself endlessly with hope. That is why the board committee of The Most Beautiful People of 2013 from Seoul Education Broadcasting highly appraised his passionate creative writing activities and nominated poet 1178 Jung Myung Seok as The Most Beautiful Person of 2013. His heart for life beats and surges like a wave throughout his compositions and within the merit of his missionary works.
The Selection Committee of The Most Beautiful Person of 2013
How he was nominated: This year poet Jung Myung Seok published two volumes of the series, Poems of Inspiration–The Woman of Poetry and Speaking Through Poetry. Since he has a wide circle of readers, both of his books made records as weekly bestseller at Kyobo Book Centre. Despite being imprisoned currently in Daejeon prison, we found that his fervor for literary creative writing has transcended his confinement; he has been writing almost as many pages as one book every week.
There are many people who have different views towards Jung. However, from a literary point of view, the diction Jung uses in his poems is unique, and at this time when poetry is already being considered a dead literary genre, Jung has engrossed himself in only writing poetry instead of essays or novels and has written thousands of poems thus far. Among those poems, he selected some of his works and published them into two books. In the future, we hope that more budding poets will be born from many other places so that poetry will resurrect again from its current state of depression in Korean literature. With that anticipation, we have nominated poet Jung Myung Seok as The Most Beautiful Person in 2013.
Furthermore, Jung has established a very special theory on psychoanalysis. In contrast to Carl Jung’s theory of dream interpretation, he has proven the reality of dreams empirically. His theory is known as the soul entity theory, which uses psychoanalysis to interpret the way dreams reflect reality. Although dreams reflecting reality is already widespread, his theory of psychoanalysis is revolutionary. In his theory, dreams are the reality of the soul entity; just as we have a physical body in the physical plane, the soul entity of the brain surely exists.
Who is poet Jung Myung Seok?
Who is poet Jung Myung Seok? He was born in 1945, the year of the rooster. At that time, Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. Around the time when Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin were making an agreement on the 38th parallel at Yalta on the coast of the Black Sea in the Soviet Union on February 4, 1945, a boy was born in Wolmyeongdong (Dalbar-gol), Seokmak-ri, Jinsan-myeon, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea. At that time, the district was not called Chungcheong Province but Jeolla Province. Poet Jung Myung Seok was the third son of Jung Pal Seong.
What kind of hope was there during the colonial period? Even at birth, Jung faced death. Because of his lack of immunity as a baby, he stopped breathing due to a certain disease. His mother-in-law kept nagging his mother to bury him quickly because it was an ominous sign, but his mother felt sorry for him. When she looked at her baby’s face, thinking that would be the final time she would ever see him, at that moment, he suddenly opened his eyes.
“Since he is still alive, let me have him for one more night…”
During that time, he had become unresponsive. His mother thought he had died after suffering from his high fever, so she laid him down at the corner of the room and covered him with a cloth. His mother was waiting for night to come so that she could try burying him discreetly at the back mountain. She wanted to see her son for the last time, the one whom she had given birth to with labor pains after 10 months, so she peered through the blanket. At that moment, he suddenly opened his eyes again. He wasn’t even crying. Jung spent three days like that. This miracle happened as his swelling subsided. That’s why his mom named him Myung* Seok because he seemed to have many lives. This is the childhood story of poet Jung Myung Seok.
(Translator’s note: Myung(命) is a Chinese character and means a life. However, later he changed his name to Myung(明), which means bright.)
Could the reason all his poetry is directly connected to life perhaps be because of what had happened in his childhood? Since he had experienced death at such a young age, during his adolescence, he often pondered deeply in solitude about life. Later on, while serving in the Vietnam War, he realized the value of life, the futility of life, and the fundamental world of God through first-hand experiences. He was able to live because of his mother’s love, which had compelled her to peer through the blanket to see her son’s face one last time, and so his affinity towards lives also stems from love.
The reason Jung’s poems are so good lies within their earnestness. His unquenchable earnestness towards what he is yearning for is carved deep into his poems like markings. When you see a flower, you can know about it by its fragrance. In the same way, all his poems give off a certain fragrance. Vol. 3 of his Poems of Inspiration titled, The Woman of Poetry, contained truly beautiful pieces. In order to understand the poet Jung Myung Seok, just as a work of art tells something about its author, reading his poetry yourself is the fastest and the most genuine way to get to know him.
Within Korean literary circles, there is a history book of literature known as The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry. Poet Jung is officially registered in the 2011 edition of The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry. On page 2717, readers can learn about him in a more detailed and genuine way. The fact that he is on page 2717 goes to show that The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry is a very thick history book of literature. It presents 100 years of Korean poetry history.
The Encyclopedia of Korean Poetry was published by EJP Books, and Jung is in the 2011 edition. This book includes poems written by 3,500 poets who represent the history of Korean poetry from 1908 to 2010. The encyclopedia showcases ten of Jung’s poems; some of which include The Terrain of the Heart, Life, Good and Evil, Our Love, Operation, A Never-changing Heart, and Hope.
When you read his poem called Happiness is on Its Way, you can see how he depicts a deep aspect of life with simple yet meaningful diction.
Happiness is on Its Way (Full-version)
In life’s winter, where blizzards blow, there Happiness goes,
Even in a bone-aching life of anguish and suffering,
Happiness still goes on that thorny road.
Not permitting itself to just anyone,
It heads toward the path of pain, of man’s struggle.
Hope, also, not wishing to live with just anyone;
Seeking the one who endures, it goes.
Happiness and hope are surely abstract nouns. We cannot touch them and they don’t have specific forms. However, poet Jung describes happiness and hope as entities that exist and that are living. Happiness and hope are not abstract to Jung. He personifies them as entities that have a specific form. We wonder, how earnestly did he want happiness and hope to the point that he would portray their looks with such diction? When we look at his style of speech, the way he connects the verb, seeking, to the abstract nouns, we catch a glimpse of his bold transcendence of the existing grammatical rules in poetry. Of course, modern poetry is also highly influenced by free verse, so it is not bound by grammatic structure either.
Once again, we’d like to ask, who is poet Jung Myung Seok? Hearing from Jung directly about who he is would be the most genuine approach. However, written words are an expression of one’s heart. An art piece reflects the thoughts of its author, and an author speaks through his work. Likewise, Jung speaks directly through his work, one being The Woman of Poetry. What more words are needed? Who knows? During the times of our deepest despair, perhaps you will also be able to draw hope like finding an oasis in a desert through the words of his poetry.