Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Tyndale prof


October 2016

How I Relate to Umma in Kim’s Convenience


Guest blog by a friend, Marilyn Law:

Marilyn Law is an aspiring writer and editor on cultural experiences.  She edits and writes for Asianwave Magazine on cultural events.  Marilyn’s cross-cultural experience attributes to her being a Canadian Born Chinese, growing up in downtown Toronto, living in the suburbs of Toronto and Greater Area of New York and traveling to Asia and Europe. Having a Master’s degree (M.Div.) in Youth and Family Ministry from Tyndale Seminary as well as a Business degree, Marilyn balances her management skills with her ministry heart to serve the community. Her 20 years’ experience serving the community as youth worker/director, ESL teacher, network manager and internal auditor reflect her passion to help people.

Umma, Mrs. Kim, is the wife and mother in the family of Kim’s Convenience TV drama. After watching Episode 103, I relate to Umma when she declares the photo wall as a “Don’t Touch Wall”. Despite moms being accommodating to give her support to family and the community, she maintains the one area that is deemed “untouchable”.

1.  Appearance and image are very important to Asians

Having a beautiful photograph and a display case are the pride of the family. “Don’t touch”, in case the children may ruin the display. In the previous episode, Umma defends her son’s occupation by announcing his promotion as the Assistant Manager. This theme of looking good is displayed on the photo wall.  The culture of a competitive environment often imposes the fear of losing the dignity or respect from others. Are we okay to be comfortable in our own skin?

  1.  Umma likes to look good in the photograph

Her reference about how people see them reminds us of her prior struggle with the other mothers at the church.  When parents strive to appear modest for fear of appearing arrogant, they sometimes hurt their children on the extreme effort. On the other hand, there are parents who strive to prove their worth by announcing their children’s achievements. What is the appropriate balance of showing value to our family members?

3.  Family members (parents, spouses, and children) significantly play a strong role in validating each other

Photographs capture memories. However, memorab

le experience and words are permanent pictures in a person’s heart.  Umma replaced the black and white picture taken by Janet (her daughter), with an update color picture taken by Gerald (Janet’s classmate).   Rather than confronting her Umma that she hurt her feelings, Janet finds an indirect way to regain her parent’s validation.  She secretly uses Gerald to use her own candid photo of her Appa to post beside her Umma’s photo.  Have you protected a family member’s dignity (pride/saved face) creatively with a secret satisfaction?

Many Asian families are expected to uphold the family dignity as a unit.  If one loses respect, the other members feel the pain too.  Therefore, it is considered shameful to show your family’s “dirty laundry”.  Therefore, there is pressure to keep façade of a pretty picture.  I relate to Umma as I protect the appearance of my kitchen.  I have a “don’t touch” new sink where I keep it dry and sparkling. My sons and husband accommodate my pet peeve so long as I still cook a nice meal for them.  They joke with me about it once in a while as a give them a half-smile.


Why We Identify with Appa in Kim’s Convenience


Appa or Mr. Kim is the main character in Kim’s Convenience. It is his store and his family at the centre of the drama. Many of us draw connection with him directly. We see ourselves in his shoes as men and fathers. Other see him as the father or grandfather in our families or the proprietor in the local family store.

Let’s look at a few ways that we identify with Appa in Kim’s Convenience. I write this after watching Episode 103 and some interviews with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.  My wife is watching Korean drama in the background and I hear the melodic chatter. It is definitely not “white noise.”

1. We have a parent who embarrasses us

Who hasn’t been embarrassed by a parent who says awkward things to us or about us in front of our friends or family members?  We know they mean well but some things are not for public consumption.  Maybe some things are “lost in translation.”  We often grin and bear it but sometime we get so mad that we return a verbal barrage and all hell breaks out.

2.  We have difficulty relating to our family members

Each family has its own version of Family Feud.  Is it a generation gap or language gap?  My sense is that it is due to a personality gap that sparks often fly with those with similar or different personalities. In Kim’s Convenience we see tension between Appa and his wife, Mrs. Kim called Umma. Sometimes they seem off in their own worlds. They relate differently to their children too. Of course we know everyone means well, but there are far from a harmonious family.

 3. We put too much attention on ourselves

It is easy to focus on self-promotion and self-preservation. In Episode 103 Appa is totally caught up in his own readiness to have a good “candid” picture of himself. He neglects the customer, the lady buying chocolate milk.

The Bible even talks about men or husbands who care for themselves more than their wives. No doubt that is representative of many men.

As a man and a father, I relate most to Appa. I put my foot in my mouth often with family members and others. I’m sure I embarrass them frequently. I want to provide for my family.

Especially as an Asian man, I want to bring honor to the family name and lead my family to do so as well. Yes, I often feel the tension of the Asian and Western values. I sense I live in several world and not that comfortable in any one of them.

I eagerly await the release of each episode of Kim’s Convenience. For me, I closely follow the “antics” of Appa, my favorite character.

Read my 1st blog entry on this show, Why We Identify with Kim’s Convenience


Preaching for Transformation

This is a workshop I presented at the Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship, October 25, 2016 at Yorkminster Baptist Church, Toronto

This is the outline I developed:

Preaching for Transformation

Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship Workshop

October 25, 2016

Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto

  1. Thinking about transformation/change (Luke 15 11-32 – Prodigal son/waiting father; Luke 19:1-10 – Zacchaeus)
  1. How does preaching relate to transformation? (Acts 2 – Pentecost)

To expound Scripture is to open up the inspired text with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God’s voice is heard and God’s people obey him (John Stott)

Preaching is the communication of a biblical concept, derived from and transmitted through a historical, grammatical and literary study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit first applies to the personality and experience of the preacher, then through the preacher applies it to the hearers (Haddon Robinson)

  1. Roles of God, preacher and congregation in transformation
  1. Preacher preparation

Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others (M. Robert Mulholland Jr., Invitation to a Journey: A Roadmap for Spiritual Formation, Downers Grove, IVP, 2006)

  1. The preacher’s delivery of the sermon
  1. The preacher modeling transformation

Each of us makes a powerful theological statement the moment we enter a room.  People take one look at us and immediately determine something about our self-image, how we are managing our sexuality, the level of our self-care, our openness to learn and grow, our enthusiasm or lack of it, etc. (Roy M. Oswald, Clergy Self-Care: Finding a Balance for Effective Ministry. The Alban Institute, 1991, 3)

  1. The journey continues – Develop Your Rule of Life and practice it

KEN SHIGEMATSU’S RULE OF LIFE, full-time pastor (God in My Everything, p. 220)

-Take a 24-hour Sabbath once a week

-Begin each day with Scripture and prayer

-Pray the Examen before going to sleep at night

-Run 2-3 x a week, swim 2x a week

-Aim to be home by 5:15 p.m. each day, and to be home at least 4 evening a week

-Fast on Thursdays

-Go on a date with my wife once every 2-3 weeks

-Meet with a spiritual director once a month

-Host people from different backgrounds in our home about once a month

-Take a yearly spiritual retreat with my mentoring  group

-Take a yearly summer vacation with my family and spend New Year’s in Japan with my wife’s family

-Tithe to my local church and give to impoverished children and missions in the developing world to the point where we feel financially stretched

JUNE’S RULE OF LIFE, married with young son, works as a teacher (p. 222-23)


  • Rest and Sunday worship, typically on a Saturday or Sunday (depending on what’s going on)


  • As I can pray throughout the day—in the car, on a walk, before mealtimes
  • More concentrated times of prayer (1) when I put our toddler to bed and (2) before going to bed

Scripture reading:

  • At night before I go to bed; as I can, pray through these Scriptures the following day

Spiritual friendship:

  • Small group with families with young children (currently working through a Bible study book on parenting)


  • Watch movies, favorite shows, dine out/in or hang out with friends/family, go to events/shows
  • Travel once a year in the summertime

Care for the body:

  • As I can, go for an hour jog once a week (if I’m lucky); this is hard in the winter and much easier in the spring/summer
  • Eat mostly a home so as to eat healthy


  • Try to take our son to visit his grandparents once a week

Financial life:

  • Tithe every month
  • Support missionaries and other charitable organizations every month


  • Volunteer as a family at the local seniors’ home once every 2 months
  • Volunteer at camp each summer


  • Through friendship and invite people to church and through our Easter and Christmas Outreaches

Suggested Resources:

Brown, Sally A. “Preaching and Spiritual Formation.” In Ways of the Word: Learning to Preach for Your Time and Place. Fortress, 2016.

Childers, Jane, ed. Purposes of Preaching. St. Louis: Chalice, 2004. (preaching as an incarnational act, why homiletics is more than method)

Edwards, J. Kent. Deep Preaching: Creating Sermons That Go Beyond the Superficial. Nashville:B&H, 2009 (sections on Spiritual disciplines, personal preparation)

Johnson, Darrell W. The Glory of Preaching: Participating in God’s Transformation of the World.    Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009. (implication and application)

Keller, Timothy. Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Viking, 2015. (preaching to the heart, preaching in the Spirit)

________. “Workshop: Preaching to the Heart”

Killian, Charles D. “PR 810 Preaching as Spiritual Discipline.” Syllabus, Asbury Theological Seminary, 1999.

Larsen, Tim

Luchetti, Lenny. “Preaching, a Spiritual Discipline? Instead of exhaustion, homiletics can bring you life.” Christianity Today online

Luccetti, Lenny. “Practice what you Preach”

Luxa, Steve. “The Spiritual Discipline of Sermon Prep”

Miller, Kevin. “The Spiritual Disciples You Didn’t Choose.” Preaching Today

Robinson, Haddon. Biblical Preaching, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2014

Shigematsu, Ken. God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Taylor, Barbara Brown. The Preaching Life. Cambridge, MS: Cowley, 1993.

Warren, Rick.

Wong, Daniel L. “Preaching in a Multicultural World”


Please contact me:


Twitter: @DanielLWong

** Upcoming D.Min. in Preaching & Communication at Tyndale Seminary beginning May 2017. Applications are being accepted. See


Why We Identify with Kim’s Convenience

Who hasn’t rushed into a convenience store to get a quick snack or went there because you didn’t want to drive to the grocery store? It was convenient. We sometimes notice the cashier/owner who often and speaks with an accent. We all identify with the new show Kim’s Convenience in some way.

Kim’s Convenience is a new show that reveals the life surrounding the store, especially the family that runs it and live in it. There are family dynamics in all families but many of us can identify with the challenges of immigrant families. There are differences in viewpoint and reference points. Beyond the generation gap, there are language and cultural gaps. Based on the live Tweets during the show (it was trending in Toronto and Canada) and the deluge after, many could identify with the family dynamics living in a majority/minority world.

Kim’s Convenience subtly addresses issues in a humorous way. It seems quite Canadian and Asian to do this indirectly whether this is the homosexual issue, success at work or aspirations for a daughter to get married and have children.

All of us bring a past and present to Kim’s Convenience. I am a 3rd generation American born Chinese who has been in Canada for more then 30 years. My own family has varied cultural mixes. I pastored in a Chinese church for 18 years (note Ins Choi own story of helping in a youth group and the Korean pastor in the show) and now teach at Tyndale University College & Seminary. In my current position I teach students of various cultures including Korean, Chinese, various shades of Canadian including Newfoundlanders. I say it is easy to step on cultural toes. Yet I find it an exciting adventure to dabble in various cultural foods and learn various traditions.

I look forward to the future episodes of Kim’s Convenience. I will laugh and cry as I identify with the characters and situations in the story which is our lives. I hope you do too.

Note: this is my initial response after watching the 2 opening episodes of Kim’s Convenience on Oct. 11, 2016.

First episodes at







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