Eugene Cho

what is the most important thing?

Over the course of this past weekend and my recent post about hell, universalism, exclusivism and other exclusive elititistic theological words and constructs, I’ve shared on numerous occasions both my deep appreciation for theology and simultaneously, the danger of theology. I wrote:

Theology is important. No matter what others may say or think, it has great value and importance. In fact, I would contend that one of the aspects that ails the Church is the lack of theological depth and substance. The [C]hurch are a bunch of lightweight theological dummies.

But my point is that while theology is indeed very important, it’s not the most important thing. If theology was the most important thing, we’d be screwed as salvation would rest in humanity’s ability to understand with absolute clarity.

Depending on how you approach the theological process, it’s understandable for people to formulate or arrive to the natural question:

“What then is the most important thing?”

and even more so… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, faith, Jesus, , ,

what the hell!? making sense of the fiasco with rob bell, john piper, and a book we’ve yet to read.

Sorry, I thought this was a funny and appropriate title for this post. Maybe not.

I am doing the world a huge favor because I know that no one has heard about the brouhaha that transpired this past Saturday over some dude named Rob Bell or rather, a book he’s written that is yet to be released and Gospel Coalition, John Piper, and the legions of “new-Calvinists” that see it as their convictions to defend and contend for orthodox Christianity. [Read Part 2, The Most Important Thing.]

So…this blog post about Bell’s upcoming book  pretty much declared Bell to be a universalist and that was the match that set off the firestorm. Perhaps, we should add Rob’s book to our list of Christian books that should NOT be published. ;)

What are your thoughts about the fiasco?

As usual, here are some of my random & vomitaceous thoughts:

Rob is a friend…

Now, let me go on the record and share that I like Rob. I’ve blogged about him – with praise and pushback. We’ve emailed several times. He’s shown some tweet support for One Day’s Wages. In short, I’m proud to call him a friend and a brother in Christ.

So, it pained me to see so much venomous stuff being written about Rob.

Me like the Universalist Post

This might be hard for some of you to believe Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, faith, Jesus, religion, , , , ,

everyone needs to read this because maybe, this is actually about YOU and ME

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Everyone needs to read this.

Every Christian needs to read this. Every Christian, pastor, leader, community organizer, and influencer needs to read this.

Whatever tribe, denomination, or team your roll with; whatever term or word you’re comfortable with; small church or mega church; organic or online; reformed or monastic; conservative or liberal…blah blah blah.  You need to read this.

Why?

Because many of us think that God was addressing someone else when we read or preach Amos 5:21-24. You know…the other person, group, team, church;  That other misguided and self-righteous quasi-Christian, borderline heretic, and religious legalist; the other person on the fence on that hot theological issue; the other liberal or conservatives; that feminist or ultimate fighting Jesus lover, and on and on. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, religion

in our human finitude, we cannot fully grasp the infinitude of god…

We can try but we cannot fully understand the fullness, majesty, and glory of God.

But we try. It is our human nature – for better and for worse. We use words, metaphors, stories, images, songs, liturgy, and the kitchen sink to better understand the answer to the question: “Who is God?”

We try but

how can we possibly in our human finitude fully grasp the infinitude of God?

We can’t which is why it is so incomprehensible that God chose to descend, be consumed by flesh and bone, be born of a woman, and live amongst us.

While it is certainly good news that God died for us in Jesus Christ, don’t forget this amazing gospel: God walked amongst us!

Truly incomprehensible. Truly amazing.

Several weeks ago, my family took another spontaneous one night camping trip to Deception Pass State Park [Bowman Bay]. The weather was stunning [80s] and in the evening, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the skies so clear and the stars so bright in the Seattle/Puget Sound area. Eventually, the wife and kids went to bed in the tent but I couldn’t stop gazing at the stars. Just shaking my head, eyes swelled with tears, and simply amazed by the majesty and glory of God.

I recently saw this video Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, culture, faith, Jesus, pastors

does the responsibility of God’s glory fall upon men?

A post with Fabio as the lead image is worth reading.

In response to my post yesterday about the pending death of the TNIV version of the Scriptures, one of my readers, Joe Louthan, contributed a comment that I thought was worth posting as a separate post and he was gracious to let me share it today. I very much appreciated the tone and manner he shares both his thoughts and presents some straightforward questions so I am obviously asking my readers and commenters to do your usual thing and engage in thoughtful, engaging, and civil engagement.

Here’s his comment:

To you, Eugene and those from the gender neutrality/inclusive camp, may I ask this:

You want the Bible to address both brothers and sisters equally. Yet, the vast majority of the weight of responsibility falls on the men. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, Jesus, pastors, religion

god can create a stone he can’t move…

Bigrock

Let me attempt to postulate some of my beliefs about God’s sovereignty. I have been called by some as a borderline heretic for my views.

For me, God’s sovereignty is directly linked to God’s love. We often see the cross of Jesus Christ and the sacrament of communion as beautiful expressions of God’s love and while it’s hard to argue against those powerful truths, I would contend for another possibility as the ultimate sign of God’s love.

Creation is a beautiful reflection of God’s character. And in that creation, he gives to humanity what I often interpret as the greatest expressions of His love: Freedom or Free will.

What’s even more amazing is that God gives us the gift of freedom knowing the possibility that humanity could sin and rebel. For me, this is stunning.

In giving the gift of Free Will, I believe God actually chooses to “relinquish” power. He still remains Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, Jesus, religion

jimmy carter leaves the southern baptist convention: “losing my religion over equality”

womensilence

I read this piece from former President, Jimmy Carter, over the weekend explaining his decision to sever his ties with the South Baptist Convention – after being an active member for six decades.  While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I agreed with the crux of his column: Enough is enough.

Most of you are aware of my hermeneutics and convictions pertaining to the issue of equality of women and my full support for women in all levels of leadership in the Church. I’ve written numerous posts about the issue but here are some worth checking out:

I hate to admit it but it still seems lonely with that “position” so I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a woman – called by God – but seen not only as “unqualified” but in essence, “living in sin” for being deceived…a la Eve all over again.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, Jesus, leadership, ministry, , , ,

“win over” or “love on” for jesus?

I’m currently rockin’ in Knoxville, Tennessee. I have the privilege of being one of the morning teachers of an event called CHIC2009 – a gathering of 5200+ high schoolers from all around the country. I’m simply teaching one message but 8x to 600+ students at a time (twice/day).  I’d really appreciate your prayers.

I was asked to speak on the topic of  ‘my relationship with others.’

Simple enough but it’s clearly one of those things that seem much easier said than done.  My sermon – through various points – seeks to explain this:

…more and more Christians are falling in love with the idea of loving and serving our neighbors…than actually loving and serving our neighbors.

And one of the most important ways we love and serve our neighbors is if we build relationships with people.

And this is where I get a lot of push back from people. By building relationships with people, we need to let go of the agenda of “evangelism” and “let’s convert this person to Jesus Christ.”   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, emerging church,

the beautiful and broken story

img-lindsayStories are essential. Our ability to experience, process, and share our stories is one of the reasons that make us uniquely human and a reminder, in my opinion, of affirmation that we are created in the image of our loving God.

The Scriptures is a profound narrative of God – unfolding his identity, purpose, and commitment to His creation.  It’s also a narrative about God’s relationship with humankind.

But when I talk about story, I’m talking about “all” of it and not just the nice parts.  Before Christ and after Christ – which is why I’m so compelled by Paul’s ‘sharing’ of his story (before and after Christ) throughout Acts but especially when he talks to the respective kings: Felix, Festus, and Agrippa. As a pastor, I am constantly reminded that with numerous hats I wear, the three I can never take off all involve ‘the story’: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, faith, , ,

“…whom shall i fear?”

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I want to share the beautiful and inspiring story of Fatima bint Mohamed bin Uthman Al-Mutairi with you.

Fatima was a 26-year-old Saudi woman who was killed by her own brother in August 2008 simply because she followed Jesus Christ. I shared her story during last Sunday’s sermon (Acts 25:1-12) because of some parallels I saw with Paul’s life. There were other reasons why he was hated and vilified by the religious leaders but one of them was that by following Christ, he was seen as a traitor to his people, culture, and Judaic law.

I don’t have much information about her story. Couple sources cite that Fatima was a member of a major Bedouin tribe (Al-Mutair) and she resided at “what is arguably the most religiously zealous town in all of Saudia Arabia, Buraydah.

Her fellowship with other believers “appears to have been limited to Internet forums”.  She composed her amazing poem (translated into English) before her martyrdom and it has deeply resonated with me ever since I heard of her death last year.  Fatima was burned alive after having her tongue cut by her brother Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, faith, Jesus,

i really dislike these people

westboro

I really dislike these folks from Westboro Baptist Church – the folks behind the hideous website GodHatesFags.Com (I don’t even want to link it).  Hate is way too strong of a word. And inappropriate in light of the sermon I preached this past Sunday about the sin of hatred. For the past two years, I’ve been teaching through the Book of Acts and while Paul had his issues and shortcomings, I spent some time talking about the “religious” folks that become the adversaries of Paul – that while they sought to defend their ideas of truth and proper doctrine, resorted to the ammunition of hate.  Hate that leads them to plot murder.

I don’t care who you are. No matter your religious affiliation or allegiance (or lack thereof) or if you are a self-professing Christian:

If hate is your motivation, you are far from God. And you need to repent.

And while it may be easy to dismiss “hatred” to others, I would contend that ‘hatred’ can seep into all of our lives and impact our relationships – those far and even those in our inner circle of relationships.

Why am I talking about WBC and giving them press on my blog?   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, religion, seattle, ,

why is everyone leaving the church?

nm_youth_church_090506_mnTalk about a string of bad press! In addition to a write up in the Christian Science Monitor [The Coming Evangelical Collapse], a cover article of the Newsweek Magazine entitled “The End of Christian America,” a more readable and short article popped up last week on ABC News entitled, “Young America Losing Their Religion.”

While these articles aren’t great news, I must be a bad pastor Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, culture, emerging church, faith, Jesus, ministry, religion

do not be afraid: dream, pursue, and jump

We are people with the gift of hope and the capacity to dream. The minute we stop dreaming is the moment we begin the process of death. So share your answer to this question:

What is one of your dreams you want to pursue in your life?

I’m 38.  Married over 12 years.  3 children.  Planted two churches. Currently pastoring my dream church.  Love the cafe and music venue.  I’ve taken plenty of “risks” in my life but “the fear” never gets old.  I feel like I constantly wrestle with ‘fear.’  In fact, I think this thing called “the fear” is actually growing in my life. It’s getting worse.

Maybe, it’s because I feel like I have so much more to lose.  When I was single and roaming around the country all alone in my VW Bug or Toyota Camry, taking risks was really no big deal.  But now, I’ve got stuff, mortgages, car payments, kids, a wife, a staff, a $5000 espresso machine, responsibilities, hair products Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, faith, seattle

you are not alone: an interview with jim wallis

Recently, I had the privilege of spending some time in Washington DCwhere I also announced my entrance (and short lived) into politics. There, I met some old friends, made some new friends (will post my interview with The ONE Campaign next week), and was also able to spend some time and interview Jim Wallis. For those that aren’t familiar with Jim, he is an ordained minister, evangelical Christian writer, activist, and also the founder and president of Sojourners.  The mission of Sojourners is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Jim’s most prominent books are entitled, God’s Politics and The Great Awakening.

In the interview, I attempted to break him down, reduce him to tears, talk trash Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, culture, emerging church, pastors, politics, , ,

resurrection people – he has risen!

caravaggio_doubting_thomas

By God’s grace, we live as Resurrection people.  Through Christ, we are reconciled to God and because of Him, we are called to the ministry of reconciliation.  Do not be afraid…He has risen.

Happy Easter, everyone!

The word of the Lord from the Gospel of Matthew 28

Jesus Has Risen

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, , , ,

all jesus wants is to eat with you

last supper by leonard da vinci

There are numerous significant theological and biblical meanings behind the Last Supper (Passover Seder) and while the pursuit of those meanings are worthwhile and powerful, here’s the most simple and as significant:

Jesus wants to eat with us.

Let me say that again.  The Triune God of the cosmos not only created the world and humanity but desires fellowship, communion, and friendship.  And when sin entered the world and humanity to wreak  havoc and choas, God intervened again – with the redemptive mission of restoring Shalom – all that which God intended for us.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14 / The Message)

Throughout Jesus’ journey, he was eating with Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, emerging church, Jesus, quest church, , , ,

the coming evangelical collapse?

ob100005

Some of you may have already seen this article entitled The Coming Evangelical Collapse [@Christian Science Monitor].  There are certainly some good things for ruminations, discussions, and considerations but like many things written for the purposes of drawing attention, it makes some grandiose statements.

I’d love to hear from you regarding your thoughts and commentary about the article [below].  Do you agree? Disagree?  What stood out to you?

And if you believe the Western church is in trouble, here’s the million dollar question:  Why and what can be done?

Is Christianity in trouble?  It really depends on how you look at the situation.  I have shared for some time that we live and have lived in a Post-Christendom Western world for a long time.  But because we dominate the resources of the world including information, we think we still remain the cradle of all things vibrant Christianity.   Having spent some time in other countries and pastoring two years in Korea in the ’90s, the Western world is NOT the center of the world.  I’m not trying to diminish the work of the Church in the West as it’s clear that it’s still influential but the Gospel is flourishing in many places outside the Western world especially in places around Latin America, Asia, and Africa.  Furthermore, while Christianity – in its various forms – are struggling in the Western world, we should also point out that it’s not the case in every situation. For example, ethnic churches, on the most part, are still flourishing in the West…

So, are we in the midst of a collapse or a spiritual recession in the West?  Well, these are certainly challenging times but just like the current economic recession, I see this as an opportunity for the “evangelical church” to re-discover their identity and grow deeper in our mission.  What I’m saying is that decline and talks of death aren’t necessarily bad things since sometimes, those very things will wake us up.  And perhaps through ‘death,’ we see the possibility of life anew.  

In fact, perhaps this collapse ought or needs to take place in order for us to discover ourselves once more from all that which have lured us away from our identity:  both as individuals and as a larger community.

And what’s the solution?  Not enough time and energy to share all my thoughts now but this I will share:  For me, Western Christianity have become victims Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, pastors, religion, ,

piper and the female wrestler

Dr. John Piper has been an influential author in my life.  I came to faith at 18 years old and read a few books that impacted me during my early years.  His book, Desiring God, was one of them.  While my views have diverged from some of his views, I still have much respect for him and his ministry.  

Couple years ago, I finally felt comfortable enough in my own skin and in my pursuit of God that I chose purposely and intentionally to place myself  in a position that I can listen to many diverse and divergent voices.  These voices encourage me, sharpen me, push me, and often times in strange way, re-affirm my voice as I seek to honor Christ with my life.

I subscribe to the Desiring God blog and was intrigued by Piper’s article entitled, Over My Dead Body, Son.  Now, I wish that several of the blogs I subscribe to would leave their comments open.  I only respond to handful of my blog’s comments but in general, comments promote dialogue and that – in my book – is a good thing even if there are disagreements.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I am in full support of women in all levels of leadership.  But simultaneously, I’ve chosen to engage in friendship and dialogue with leaders and pastors with different views – for various reasons and so, I tend to receive a few shots from both sides of the fence.  No biggie.  

But having said that, I lean on more ‘conservative’ or traditional ways on some contemporary issues.   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: bible, religion, ,

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.

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