Eugene Cho

building bridges > burning bridges

Do yourself a favor and watch this. It’s 7:15 minutes long but well worth your time.

Such a substantive leadership lesson in itself by Bill Hybels as he explains why Howard Schultz withdrew his commitment as a speaker at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit (held on August 11-12). And furthermore, how he and Willow Creek are responding…

I was particularly convicted and stirred by these  leadership ideas:

Build rather than Burn Bridges

I’m not a huge Howard Schultz fan. Honestly, I’m sure he’s a swell guy but the whole Seattle Sonics fiasco has left me a little very bitter. I would have used the opportunity to subversively question Howard’s character but Bill offers three suggestions to exemplify grace:

  • asks people to contact Howard and Starbucks to invite him back.
  • blesses him by encouraging folks to buy his book.
  • asks people to go buy Starbucks.

Wow. I would have offered some other suggestions that I’m too embarrassed to share on the blog.

Throw stones first. Ask questions later.

Lastly, I resonated with Hybels’ concerns about the growing culture of
“Throw stones first. Ask questions later.” Respect and civility seem to be a growing issue – not just in the public forum of politics but in our broader society – especially as it pertains to our engagement with whom we have disagreements.

  • If you don’t support homosexuality, you’re anti-gay.
  • If you support gay rights, you’re anti-marriage.
  • If you don’t support women in leadership, you’re anti-women.
  • If you support women in leadership, you’re anti-Scriptures.
  • If you don’t support the war in _________, you’re anti-American.
  • If you don’t support Eugene, you’re anti-Eugene.

I want to go on the record and declare that I”m anti anti-________. I’ve neutralized your anti-ness. And I’m brilliant.

Really…We often live as people who are defined by what we are against and not necessarily, what we are for.

Seriously,  it’s hard to love your enemies when you can’t even hear what they’re saying…

Which is another reason why building bridges > burning bridges (a la the video below).

Your turn: What did you think of Hybels’ chat?

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11 Responses

  1. Johnny says:

    Starbucks is as bad as McDonalds for America and the world. I wish more articles would explore how being so overcaffeinated is harmful to our physical health. Pumping your body with caffeine to get you through the day is probably a sign that you need a new job or need some pruning in your life. And it’s weird seeing kids as young as junior high students beginning the coffee habit thanks to the 11,000 plus Starbucks in our country. We need to call out Starbucks more like we do the fast-food chains for the way they’re ruining out bodies.

  2. m says:

    Love Hybel’s response, though I doubt that type of response would’ve saved the sonics from becoming the thunder….
    I would love to be a fly on the wall in the meeting between Hybels and whoever it was that started the online petition. As much as Christians get criticized for judging/condemning homosexuals, it seems like homosexuals do a lot of judging/condemning Christians themselves….


  3. jchenwa says:

    I like how he suggests to write to Howard Schultz. Even CEOs have feelings too. And of all people those who understand persecution, those people would be the Jewish people. A little noise by some doesn’t change the great and also beneficial business Mr. Schultz created. At the end of day, we all must be accountable to GOD, our LORD Jesus Christ. Whether we serve Him or not, whether we are favored or not. I can learn from Bill Hybels example of gentle and trusting (in GOD to correct) teaching, correction, or admonishing (take your pick).

  4. Ann F-R says:

    Eugene, thank you for articulating what all of us feel when faced, even indirectly, with criticism, penalties and threats for simply standing with Jesus. We can so naturally move away from Jesus, too, as we’re responding to those fearful responses! Bill Hybels’ gracious & loving care for the person who has been held hostage by those who want to live otherwise exemplifies how all of us are called to follow Christ. Hybels has truly allowed the Good Shepherd to guide his steps.

  5. ycw says:

    You and Bill seem to be genuine in your desire to show love to others. That is something we can all learn from. My only issue with what Bill said was the thing about scripture defining appropriate sexual behavior within heterosexual marriage only. Is that how we should really understand scripture?
    Anway, keep building bridges our way- I am one person who is trying to build bridges your way too- to reconcile my relationship with Christians and with Christ and hopefully in the process to be a peacemaker in the gay community – I pray that gay people will be encouraged by my words, actions, and attitude to stop throwing stones and start working towards peace and love toward others, even Christians.

  6. uthguy says: (who petitioned Mr. Schultz) started as a great idea I’m sure but like any thing that demands actions it has someones passion behind it. The passion that is driving what is happening now isn’t promoting positive action its bullying the very people it accuses of being bullies. They have petitioned the Texas Rangers to play videos about embracing the gay lifestyle whether or not its their position. Im sure this will be infringing on several players beliefs as they follow the teachings of Jesus also.

  7. Annette says:

    Much as I love and use social media, it’s sad to see how bullies have taken over much of the space. Vitriolic comments posted by anonymous people. Would they do this face to face, I wonder? Starbucks is better than many coffee chains, in that they did a deal with Ethiopian coffee growers a while back, to ensure the producers got a better deal. Like McDonald’s, they provide a lot of jobs for young people, new immigrants, part time workers and the semi-retired. Coffee is good for the brain (drunk in moderation!)

    Bill Hybels was gracious in his response. It was very Christian. My brother (who died in ’09) was gay. He never liked Christians as a result, because he had a hard time from them. He didn’t like my renewed faith, but I always loved him and challenged others’ views of him/homosexuality. Our ‘enemies’ want to make enemies of us, so let’s be especially gracious to them.

  8. Jeff Wilson says:

    What a pansy comment. No wonder people can’t figure out Christianity if this is where our leaders are coming from.

  9. I think we need more people taking this approach to leadership. Well life in general.

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One Day’s Wages

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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