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February 28, 2013


Dennis Rodman “friend for life” with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un

When I read this article over at ESPN, the first thing I thought of was the millions of North Koreans brutalized and forced to live in unspeakable conditions by their “leader.”

I wondered what those enduring Kim Jong Un’s reign would think to see a pampered former basketball star from the free and rich United States, chatting it up with their leader and offering his stamp of approval for Kim Jong’s leadership.

Rodman and Kim sat side by side at an exhibition game in Pyongyang on Thursday, chatting as they watched players from North Korea and the U.S. play in mixed teams, Alex Detrick, a spokesman for the New York-based VICE media company, told The Associated Press.

Rodman later addressed Kim before a crowd of thousands, telling him, “You have a friend for life,” Detrick said.

The encounter makes Rodman the most high-profile American to meet with the young North Korean leader, said to be a diehard basketball fan, and comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

But then I realized . . .

Rodman is demonstrating to the world the glories of reconciliation and the importance of doing mission and ministry together.  Deep in Rodman’s soul it’s all about peacemaking and the relationship and unity.

Of course, I’m sure there are some who would reject Rodman and Kim Jong being “friends for life”—after all, those people “have been wounded and betrayed” and understandably have hurt feelings and therefore have a problem with Rodman’s being friends for life with Kim Jong.  That’s why they might react with such outrage and indignation and revulsion.

I’m sure that Rodman and Kim Jong hold the same tension about agreeing and disagreeing. And certainly Kim Jong must be concerned about the way his position in North Korea has been characterised. 

Agreement is overrated.  What Rodman and Kim John are trying to do is stay in there and reclaim the best charism of their respective US traditions of freedom and North Korean traditions of repression, torture, and fascist control – a ‘both-and’ quality.

The other issues are not defining realities.


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7 comments

Brilliant and would be a funny piece if it weren’t so on target and true about the evils being perpetrated.

[1] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-28-2013 at 10:51 AM · [top]

They should be very good friends, too. 

One is a flamboyant narcissistic mental case, suffering from Delusions of Granduer and visions of Unicorn Lairs ; The other.. wait .. I forgot which was the other.

[2] Posted by J Eppinga on 2-28-2013 at 12:59 PM · [top]

Nah… Dennis just needs money.

[3] Posted by Festivus on 2-28-2013 at 04:39 PM · [top]

Sarah,

Just think about the gospel witness as these two live into the conflict, fighting for relational orthodoxy in a cruciform way. But do you think reconciliation will work for others…and here I’m thinking particularly of those around the world who are not as nice as Rodman and Kim Jong?

[4] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-28-2013 at 04:40 PM · [top]

RE: “But do you think reconciliation will work for others…and here I’m thinking particularly of those around the world who are not as nice as Rodman and Kim Jong?”

It’s hard to say, Matt, what with all the hurt feelings of a few North Koreans stuck in labor camps and killing one another for rice.

But you know . . . the quality of friendship is a common heart.  Can this be replicated?  What can be replicated is desire not to live in fear.  They are a son and daughter of God.  The other issues are not defining realities. If you start there and reach out there is no telling what might happen.  There are some principles we can learn – things we are not doing.

In living into this conflict Rodman and Kim Jong are actually living into the mystery of individual liberty, the free market, and our Constitution—together as friends for life.  It is not a problem to get around so that we can get on and do the real free-country thing, so much as it is about that continuum on the plains beyond good and evil where kindred spirits will meet one another.

[5] Posted by Sarah on 2-28-2013 at 04:56 PM · [top]

So much for the fish in that barrel.

[6] Posted by Greg Griffith on 2-28-2013 at 05:05 PM · [top]

Don’t you people realize that their relationship is grounded?  They did not paper over their differences, but neither did they exaggerate them or allow them to divide them any more than the realties and politics dictated. And “Grace Happened.” They found that they had become fast friends, bound together in relationship. 

We must never forget that unity —above all else regardless of whether or not one of the parties to the unity endorses forced abortion and child labor.  Unity, people.  Unity.  Just as our “brothers” here in the states have been telling us - the wolves are not so bad, really.

[7] Posted by Jackie on 2-28-2013 at 07:55 PM · [top]

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