Eugene Cho

video interview: dave gibbons & ‘the monkey and the fish’

gibbons21I want to introduce you to Dave Gibbons. He’s known in some circles and not in others but what he has to share and offer is important to the larger Church – especially as the World changes in a way that the majority of the Church cannot see or [want to] acknowledge.  I first met Dave about 14 years ago on a tour bus in Seoul, Korea [a long story].  This was before he planted NewSong Church and before Quest Church was even a thought in my heart.  

One of the things that’s most impressed me about Dave – in his various roles – is his vision as a ‘social entrepeneur.’ And honestly, I’m also encouraged that he’s one of the handful of Asian-American faces that’s recognized in the so called ‘mainstream subculture of Western Christianity’.  Truth be told, he’s half Korean and half Irish but we’re going to go ahead and claim him.

As my readers know, I’m working through my list of books I want to read this year and his new book, The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership in a Third Culture Church,is on that list.  I had a chance to sit down Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, christianity, emerging church, ministry, pastors, religion,

deconstructing race

As some of you know, our church is hosting our annual ‘faith and race’ depth class right now.  Jason R. recently came on board as a ministry intern and is working with all things depth classes, conferences, etc.  Jason’s also a gifted web developer but eager to put his seminary degree from Fuller Semimary to good usage at our church community.  He and his wife, Nancy [a professional calligrapher] have been at Quest for about 1.5 years.  He and several other presenters have been teaching on various subjects, leading group exercises and discussions. 

Racism is a complicated matter. Last night, he sought to help the group ‘deconstruct race’Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, religion

well, this explains it

the academic pressure was pretty brutal in our cho household growing up.  sort of a common story especially amongst asian immigrants.  ask any asian-american and they’ll know exactly what i’m talking about.  immigration does some intense things to people.  i was six, mike was 9, and phillip was 12 when we moved to the states.  technically, i had the most time to acclimate and should have been the one to kick most ass but my brothers were pretty incredible – particularly my oldest brother who holds a ph.d [which really stands for Permanent Head Damage] in mechanical engineering with special focus on acoustic vibrations. 

because of my parents’ high expectations and their commitment to our education, we all did “well.”  i managed to graduate tops in middle school but it was pretty much down from there.   now, i still did well – but just not tops.  i was in the honor society in high school; graduated college in three years…but just not tops which translated to “not good enough.”  during my fourth grade summer vacation, my mother gave me “homework” which was the case for every summer.  that summer’s homework was the most memorable…i was assigned to copy the world book encyclopedia – by hand.  each and every volume although i think i only got through the “S” volume.  i ripped out pages when she wasn’t Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, family

father’s day tribute

Happy Father’s Day to each of you.  My parents who live in San Francisco visited us last week.  We very much enjoyed our time and we were immensely excited to hear the news they shared with us:  they’ve decided to move to Seattle in the coming year.  After years of inviting, encouraging, and enticing, it appears our efforts will come to fruition…

From this past Sunday’s Seattle Times paper, I enjoyed reading a feature story entitled “The Heart of It: From His Dad’s Death, a Son Searches for the Meaning of Life.”  The story is written by Michael Ko who also happens to attend Quest.  He leads a community group with his wife, Liz.  I was privileged to be able to officiate their wedding about a year ago…

michaelko.jpg

Couple years ago when I attended Michael’s father’s funeral, it dawned on me that his father, Hi Sun Ko, was one of the first people I met in Seattle [couple years before I met Michael].  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, family, seattle

reflections on virginia tech [months later]

weeks have now passed. perhaps, it’s become an afterthought for many. personally, a day hasn’t gone by without some thoughts of the virginia tech tragedy.  the tragedy exposed a great deal – it exposed what we all already know:  we live in a broken and fallen word.  it was never meant to be like this.  i say that not for it to be an easy exit or answer but to illuminate the deep nature of jesus’ redemptive live, death, and resurrection.  it also exposed the reality that “race matters” and that race is something the human collective will never fully understand, grasp, and elevate.

in addition, i was exposed.  one poorly written post attracted about 16,000 hits in a span of two days.  it wasn’t the kind of notoriety i was hoping for but this blog became one of the most visited wordpress blogs during that span.  local papers called [eventually had a chance to write a guest column for the seattle pi].  churchgoers called.  friends around the country emailed.  and like many, i found myself glued to the TV until i had to just pull the plug.  because of the high traffic through the blog, i received my share of some interesting emails – those that were thought provoking and those that were downright scary.  i sort of freaked out because of some of the emails which prompted me to go through the blog and delete all pics of the family and kids.

it also exposed my depravity.  this was a snapshot of the progression of some of my thoughts:

“wow, how could this have happened?  what a tragedy.  i must pray for these folks.”

“what?  they think an asian man did it?  that’s impossible.  asians don’t do stuff like that.  but just in case, i hope it’s not a korean person.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, culture

comfort women | dignity walk


I was 15 when I first learned about ‘comfort women.’  I thought it was a fictitious story;  I thought, “That’s unbelievable.  How is that even possible?”  Tragically, it happens and is still happening in different forms.  I know there will come a day when my kids will learn about things that happened in my generation and will wonder, “Why didn’t anyone [including my parents] do anything about it?” That will be another occasion I will be tempted to hide. The issues of human rights, children’s right, women’s rights, and global peace must still be forefront in our hearts. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, justice, politics

seattle PI guest column on the tragedy of virginia tech

Here’s the guest column I had the privilege of writing for the Seattle Post Intelligencer [published for Tuesday, April 24, 2007].  I’ve also included some other reads I have personally found very moving and insightful.  I was limited by time and a word count, but hoped that this ‘guest column’ would be a source of healing, deeper understanding, and blessing to many.  I wish I did a better job, [and given them my own title], and spoken from a larger Asian perspective.  One clarification I want to make – while I and other Koreans/Asians grieve and feel pain and ‘shame’ over Seung Hui Cho, we are not the victims in this tragedy.   My hope was to convey that no matter who or what we are, we are all connected to one another – not just because of our ethnic identity but our larger human collective and narrative.  Because of the invitation to address the larger Washington readership, I chose not to be preachy.  Much of this editorial comes from some initial thoughts shared in a blog entry from last week entitled, ‘Making Sense of the Senseless.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, emerging church, , , ,

“one of our own…”

With permission, I am posting an article submitted to a publication of Seattle Pacific University.  This thought provoking article is written by Dr. Bo Lim, Old Testament Professor at SPU.  He also attends Quest with his family and to prove how small the world has become, is a high school friend from Lowell High School in San Fran.  Feel free to share your thoughts here and Bo will respond directly to any dialogue.

_________________________

           Because race is probably among the topics which produce the most misunderstanding, allow me to provide some initial remarks. First, I want to acknowledge that I am not a victim of the VA Tech massacre. The community of Blacksburg is the victim.  Those who were shot or are the loved ones of such people, they are the victims. So focus should be placed on supporting this community during their tragic loss. But because of the speed of the media, questions are already being raised in regard to school security, gun control, and mental illness. Yet oddly the topic of Cho’s race seems to be largely unexplored. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, culture

making sense of virginia tech

Update: Read the article I wrote for the Seattle Post Intelligencer

Like everyone else – here [Seattle], there [Virginia], West [United States, East [Korea], and everywhere, I am trying to make sense of something that is simply – senselesss.  Personally, the emotions have been even more convoluted because I am Korean-American.  I am a Korean immigrant [immigrated at the age of 6] and understand the immigrant experience;  I am a Korean-American Immigrant Male [who even shares the same last name - 'C-H-O' - as the gunman].  I am a Christian pastor involved in the institution of Religion that Seung Hui Cho criticized and expressed disappointment.  For these reasons, many have asked, called, IM’d, and emailed asking me to share some of my thoughts – as a person, a Christian, an immigrant, a pastor, but especially as a Korean-American man.  I’m sharing some thoughts [some which are still in vomitaceous process] in hopes that we can dialogue here – that it may serve as part of the healing and redemptive process. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american

silent racism – there’s hope


the fact is we are all biased and prejudiced; all depraved [and beautiful] and jacked up. we’re certainly all ‘racialized’ in many ways. long story short, i’ve been following some drama with the folks at Youth Specialties (Zondervan) over a book published by YS called, skits that teach. well, one of the skits is outright racist as it parodies asians.   and yes, this is supposed to be educating the youth of america.    i re-posted the above video entitled, ‘silent racism’ because it is so appropriate.  it was created for an assignment during our church’s 2006 faith and race class.  for me, it speaks so much to the systemic racism that exists and how we’re all guilty and must seek to see the beauty and dignity God gave to each person, each tribe, and each ethnicity. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, christianity, church, emerging church, Jesus, justice, leadership, ministry, pastors, quest church, religion

broadening worldview

Two of our children are now in the public school system in Seattle and our third will be on his way in 1.5 years.  I’ve always been a fan of the public school system mainly because it’s all I know.  I entered Sherman Elementary School immediately after my family and I immigrated to San Francisco in 1977.  Philosophically, it makes sense to invest heavily into the public school system in order for ALL children in ALL neighborhoods to benefit.  On paper, it’s supposed to work but sadly, easier said than done.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, justice, seattle

happy new year – again?!

letter.jpg

yes, happy new year to each of you – again!  today is the celebration of lunar new year.  many folks know it in the states as ‘chinese new year’ but many other asian people, including Koreans, also celebrate this day.  while most have adopted january 1 as new year’s day in order to celebrate with the larger world, they still maintain a deep appreciation and celebration of the Lunar New Year or Sollnal (in Korean).  sollnal (korean new year) and chusok (thanksgiving) are the two most significant holidays in the korean culture.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, culture, family

pat robertson v2

i just don’t get it.  and i hate going public in expressing my ‘dislike’ for a person – especially if that person happens to profess belief in the same jesus christ.  i refer to pat robertson as a very distant distant distant distant cousin in the larger christian body of christ but sometimes, he just drives me nuts.  because i’m a christian pastor and involved with a denomination called, ‘evangelical covenant church,’ i honestly get more questions from neighbors and unchurched friends about robertson and jerry falwell than i do about jesus. that statement, in itself, says that something’s a little screwy. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, justice

10 best korean movies/films

What are the 10 Best Korean films?

Here is my list.  Some may question the inclusion of some of these films but they fulfill my requirements -

  • a compelling story
  • superb acting
  • captivating cinematography
  • a larger societal impact and message

I make these recommendations not simply because I’m Korean-American and have a healthy level of pride in Korean art & culture but because anyone that knows anything about film can attest how the Korean film industry is making some serious waves around the world.  Each year, you will see an increasing number of films being entered into international film festivals (and some that have walked away with notable prizes such as Oldboy in the 2004 Cannes film festival).  With the emergence of Asian film festivals in growing urban cities around the world,  you’ll be learning more and more about Korean actors, actresses, directors, and films. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, entertainment, , , , , , , ,

10 Best [Korean] Films pt.1

i am proud to introduce the first of a handful of lists i will share in the next 10 years entitled, “10 Best…”  I begin today by sharing a list inspired by a question someone asked in a community group i visited last night: ‘know any good korean films?’  well, i’m glad that you asked to see my 10 Best [Korean] films.  i make these recommendations not simply because i’m korean-american and have a healthy level of pride in korean art & culture but because anyone that knows anything about film can attest how the korean film industry is making some serious waves around the world.  each year, you will see an increasing number of films being entered into international film festivals (and some that have walked away with notable prizes such as oldboy in the 2004 cannes film festival).  with the emergence of asian film festivals in growing urban cities around the world,  you’ll be learning more and more about korean actors, actresses, directors, and films. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, culture

in memory of james kim

james_2.jpg

when news began to spread about james kim, i had this growing suspicion that i somehow knew him.  sometimes, i make this error of thinking i know all the korean-americans.  it isn’t because of arrogance as it is to simply convey how inter-connected korean-americans are - locally, nationally, and even globally. i kept thinking that i’ve seen him somewhere; that i somehow played basketball with him orcrossed paths in san francisco.  he was 35 – a year younger than me.  as it was, the reason why he looked familiar to me was because i’ve seen him on TV on occasions on a cable program called techTV and i happen to be a recovering gadget junkie.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, culture, family

race. racism. racialization.

well, it was a very interesting sunday.  very exhausting.  obviously, the content of the sermon (issues of faith and racism) contributed to the exhaustion.  i also made the mistake of checking email on sunday between services (which i should not do); just the number of hits and comments on this blog in the past 24 hours, emails, and comments after the sermon is verification enough that the church (including quest) doesn’t speak enough about ‘faith and race.’  as i shared yesterday during the sermon yesterday, our faith cannot be contained for a sunday or a 90 minute service.  if faith in jesus is real, it must engage every aspect of our lives.  ultimately, it invades, affects, redeems, and transforms our worldview. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, culture, emerging church, quest church

‘i don’t dislike white people’

interesting title for a post, huh?  you’ll need to read on… 

i’m prepping to teach the next two sundays at quest church on the issues of faith and race.  each year, several quest members host a faith and race depth class.  i was unable to attend this class over the past summer as my wife wanted to participate this year. we had an incredible turnout and response.  so, over the next couple weeks, i’ll do my part to add to the conversation while teaching about stuff like race, racism, racialization, systemic evil, white privilege, prejudice, reconciliation, power and exploitation, intentionality, inclusion, and of course, the good news of Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: asian-american, emerging church, quest church

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it. A quick, busy, & meaningful 26 hrs in Wash DC but managed to go for an hour walk for this view. One of the greatest monuments in the world. A true American hero. #AbrahamLincoln I may stand on different sides on several issues with this man but I'm committed to praying for my President.

Honored to be joining Christian pastors and leaders today for the White House Prayer Breakfast. The great wheel of Seattle. Cloudy on top. Sunny on the bottom. Such is life sometimes. Taking a walk in one of my fav Seattle spots before a busy month. Embracing the calm before the storm.

my tweets

  • In his final days, Jesus washed dirty feet, ate with misfits (including a man who he knew would betray him), and forgave his enemies. #grace || 22 hours ago
  • Can't stop crying. Grieving the tragedy of the South Korean ferry. Praying for miracles. Nearly 300 are still missing. Lord, in your mercy. || 1 day ago
  • Don't be so quick to jump to the celebration of His resurrection. Take time. Pray. Reflect. Journey with Christ in his final week & moments. || 1 day ago
  • What would we do if we only had one week to live? Jesus borrowed a donkey, washed dirty feet, and got crucified. - wp.me/pT6R-2N7 || 1 day ago
  • Hope is not that God guarantees a life of bliss and blessings but that in all seasons & circumstances, God is with us. So, never lose hope. || 1 day ago
  • Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it. instagram.com/p/m09meKyWbO/ http://t.co/rhIL25xBNe || 2 days ago
  • A quick and meaningful 26 hrs in Wash DC but managed to go for an hour walk for this view. instagram.com/p/m0mg5AyWZE/ http://t.co/YJsuPqzmL1 || 2 days ago
  • There's a huge difference between empty fatigue and gratifying tiredness. Life is too short. Invest in the things you deeply care about. || 2 days ago

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