I like reading poetry in Korean. Even if it was originally penned in English, as this poem was. According to a collection of poems I recently picked up at a local Korean bookstore, this was originally found on a Catholic web site, but no URL is listed. Although Wired covered it some years ago. If you didn’t recognize the title of the blog post, it reads, “Did Jesus Use The Internet?” Click here for the original poem. But I’m going to update the English from the following Korean version…
Here’s how it reads in Korean:
예수가 인터넷을 사용했는가
예수가 인터넷을 사용했는가.
자신의 복음을 널리 전파하기위해
예수가 스팸메일을 사용했는가.
사도 바울은 성능 좋은 메모리와 업 버전을 사용했는가.
그의 편지들은 바울@로마.컴이라는 이메일 명으로
성경 게시판에 올려졌는가.
마케도니아에서 떠날 때 그는 문자 메시지로
‘가도 되는가’ 를 묻고 출발했는가.
모세는 바다를 가르기위해
전자 게임기의 조종간을 작동했는가.
그리고 어디로 가야 할지를 알기위해
위성 추적 장치의 도움을 받았는가.
그는 십계명을 손으로 썻는가.
아니면 영구히 보관되도록 CD에 기록했는가.
예수는 어느 날 나무 위해서
정말로 우리를 위해 죽었는가.
아니면 그것은 단지 흘로그램인가.
또는 컴퓨터 합성인가.
그것은 무선 인터냇을 통해
동영상으로 다운로드 받을 수 있는가.
만일 당신의 삶에서 신의 목소리를 듣기 어렵다면,
다른 목소리들이너무 많이들려
신의 목소리가 당신 귀에 가닿지 않는다면,
그렇다면 당신의 노트북 컴퓨터와 인터넷과
다른 모든멋진 도구들을 내려놓으라.
그리고 순수함으로 돌아가라.
그려면 신이 당신 곁에 있으리라.
Now, for those of you who don’t/can’t/ don’t want to read Korean, I’ll try to edit the poem and express what changes have been made in the language and notate what was omitted to an increasingly secular Korea. Again, if you want to see the original poem, refer to the link above. My changes and notes are in blue.
Did Jesus use the Internet at the Sermon on the Mount?
Did He ever try spam e-mail to send His message out?
Did the apostle Paul use powerful memory and the latest version?
Were his letters posted on a bulletin board with his email, Paul@rome.com?
When he left Macedonia send a text message asking “Is it OK to go?”
Did Moses use a game controller to part the Sea?
Or use a Satellite Guidance Tracking System to show him where to go?
Did he write the Ten Commandments by hand,
or were they archived on CD?
Did Jesus really die for us one day upon a tree?
Or was it just a hologram,
or computer trickery (the Korean word implies combination or duplicity)?
Can you download the video?
If in your life, the voice of God is sometimes hard to hear…
with other voices calling, if His doesn’t touch your ear…
Then put down your laptop, Internet, -and all your fancy gear-
And return to simplicity
-and then God will draw near.
***[The 5th stanza is missing altogether in the Korean version. Check out the original version to see why.]
It’s a nice poem…and now comparing it to what was left out brings up a few more issues for me, but because I first found the poem in Korean, it felt different to me than reading it now and seeing omissions for use in secular space. I don’t know when the original was written, but seeing how it refers to “modem”, I’m guessing it’s pretty old. The Korean version takes liberties to “upgrade” the vocabulary even in translation.
But even with non-Korean poetry recaptured in Korean, something about my mother tongue sings to me. For the transmission of the same ideas, it infuses a simple poem with different colors and meanings. Often, when it comes to that language, it speaks to my heart, even when I cannot find the words to respond. May I have the ears to hear.