Paradoxes of Domesticity: Missionary Encounters in the Making of Christian Homes in Asia and the Pacific

Hyaeweol Choi, Margaret Jolly

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    One day in the 1890s, a group of Korean women gather together to pay a visit to the home of the local missionary from the United States. This was more than a social call; it was an expedition. The missionary home was filled with all manner of exotic stuff they had never seen before, and the Korean visitors were intrigued by the promise of what they might find there. In preparing to host her visitors, the wife of the missionary might take some extra care to highlight these attractions to make the experience all the more impressive for her guests—polishing the clock on the mantle, bringing the rocking chair into the sitting room, uncovering the typewriter on the desk. Here was an opportunity. Once these women were in her home and captivated by all of the exotica, she could talk to them about the Christian faith and start the process of bringing them out of their “paganism” into salvation. In the course of that afternoon visit, the missionary wife told the story of Jesus, and her guests listened politely, intently. To be sure, she imagined, some of those visitors would denounce their “traditional” beliefs to accept Christianity. And in the end one guest, a Korean shaman, expressed a readiness to accept Jesus Christ. However, that openness to Christ was not to the idea of a single God in the Christian tradition. Rather the shaman accepted Jesus as another in the panoply of spirits, reasoning that having one more god to worship could only be an added benefit.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDivine Domesticities: Christian Paradoxes in Asia and the Pacific
    EditorsHyaeweol Choi and Margaret Jolly
    Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781925021943
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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