Eugene Cho

Palm Sunday: He’s Jesus. He’s Lord. We’re not. We’re just the donkey (or ass). Remember, it’s not about us.

Palm Sunday.

I’m very fond of this season in the Christian calendar because I can mention the word “ass” during my blog post and sermon and still keep all the fundamentalists off my back. ;)

But seriously, the message of Palm Sunday is very significant. True, this fulfills the prophecy of the Old Testament and that’s very significant but there’s more:

The image of Jesus riding on a donkey – aka “an ass” – during Palm Sunday is a great paradox.

In some ways, it’s when things go downhill really fast for Jesus and for anyone and everyone associated with Jesus that had a different agenda about “the Kingdom” than Jesus. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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 Perhaps, we should add Rob’s book to our list of Christian books that should NOT be published.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

forgiveness is so difficult and yet, so important

“When deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive…  Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” Mary Karen Read (her last entry on her journal before she was killed in the Virginia Tech shootings)

In teaching the past couple weeks about “our” relationship with our parents, the stories keep flooding in including this one that I shared last week of a young girl that tried to take her life. They are painful, brutal, disheartening, and everything within – stories of various abuses, neglect, rejection, etc. In fairness, this is amidst the landscape of many healthy relationships but nevertheless, they are difficult.

The question – in various forms – that I am being asked is,

“How can you ask me to forgive?”

Here are some reasons & thoughts to consider regarding forgiveness. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, faith, Jesus,

i’ve got two words for glenn beck

By now, most of you have heard the brouhaha regarding what Glenn Beck said on his radio and TV show recently:

“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

Well, in light of my non-verbosive response to Pat Roberton’s devilish comments about Hait, I’ve got two words for Glen Beck: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, politics, , ,

everyone needs critics…

Some of my readers have too much time on their hands. :-) While I do appreciate some of you sending me interesting materials for my blog such as funny videos, interesting articles, other blogs to check out, and topics you’d like for me to address, I also get a few readers that send me stuff…about me.

Seriously. I know that I have stuff I need to work out in my life and I’m constantly trying to live in the tension of “I must decrease and He must increase” but I am no megalomania.  I don’t need folks to send me stuff about what others are saying about me, my ministry, blog, sermons, articles, blah…

But when someone sent me the stuff below regarding my comment in the NY Times about mixed martial arts, I just had to chuckle: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, leadership, pastors,

i don’t live for the jesus who eats red meat, drinks beer, and beats on other men

Several weeks ago, I had an extensive phone interview with a reporter from the New York Times about the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the wide and nebulous net of “evangelical churches.” The reporter had come across one of my previous blog entries and contacted me.

The NY Times article came out today (February 2, 2010). You can click here or the image above to read the full article.

My hour interview was reduced to basically one quote:

“I don’t live for the Jesus who eats red meat, drinks beer and beats on other men.”

Let me clarify since I have a feeling I’ll be getting my share of visitors over the next couple days who have no idea who I am or the context behind that one quote. But first, some initial thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, Jesus, seattle, , , , ,

what do you see?


I saw this photo somewhere (not sure where) of Jesus, a rifle, and a Nazi (Hitler?) and couldn’t stop staring and reflecting upon it. I’m sharing it here as I’d love to hear your thoughts:

What do you see? How would you interpret this picture? Does it confirm or challenge?

The image perplexed me for so many reasons. It made me recall a conversation I had during my seminary years. During one lecture, we were discussing Dietrich Bonhoeffer – who was a Lutheran pastor and a pacifist faced with the dilemma of Hitler and the Nazi regime: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, faith, Jesus,

“what seminary should i go to?”

Someone asks me this question once every couple weeks:

What seminary or grad school (theology/religion) would you recommend?

It’s hard to give a simple answer without understanding a person’s context:

  • Who are you?
  • What’s your biblical and theological worldview?
  • Do you want to go into vocational ministry or into academics?

But for the sake of this blogpost and because the majority of these emails I get are from folks wanting to go into pastoral ministry:

  • What would your recommendations be for someone that is seeking to go into pastoral ministry? Why?
  • Where did you go to seminary or grad school? Would you recommend it to others or not?
  • Where are you currently at? And…?

My experience: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, pastors, religion, ,

“and american democracy is not my idol…”

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I can’t help but keep thinking about this quote from Cornel West again and again and wonder what it means to be a follower of Christ as a citizen of a great country that is simultaneously the most powerful empire in the world.  And then wonder if the [C]hurch is more in tune to the rhythms of this Empire rather than the songs of the Gospel.

People question why I keep saying we live in a great country.  Because people like Cornel West can say this. And people like me can write and share about it. Freedom is a great thing. It’s what God intended and while we can all agree that the US is not a perfect country, we have the opportunities that many don’t  have.

Read the quote from his book, Democracy Matters. Then, read it again.  What do you think?

“I speak as a Christian- one whose commitment to democracy is very deep but whose Christian convictions are deeper. Democracy is not my faith. And American democracy is not my idol. To see the gospel of Jesus Christ bastardized by imperial Christians Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, culture, Jesus, 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

what exactly is a worshipper?

What is worship? And what does it mean to be a worshipper?

After teaching through the Book of Acts for the past two years, and relishing in the years we studied and taught through Genesis and Exodus, and seeing this Truth throughout the narrative of the Story of God in a book known to us as the Bible, it has become clear[er] to me what worship is.

Worship is acknowledging that not only is there a God but that this God, the one True God, the Infinite God…is not just merely propositional but personal. We know that this God is personal because we know that this God becomes personal when God chooses to be consumed by the very flesh and bone that consume our essence and chooses to become anthropos.

He chooses to become one of us though His Son, Jesus Christ, and in a world of constant and extravagant upward mobility, God does the unthinkable and becomes one of us, dwells with us, walks with us, and ultimately, dies for us.  Jesus…Amazing. Truly amazing.

Worship then is acknowledging that not only is there this Personal and Infinite God but Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, seattle, , , , ,

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

how do we respond to the prosperity gospel?

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The prosperity gospel is a sham for the very simple reason that the emphasis is not on the gospel but on Prosperity. In fact, any movement that’s not focused on the GOSPEL is a false teaching as far as I’m concerned.

So, while I can acknowledge why some folks would be captivated by this movement, I’m more curious about how those who oppose prosperity theology should respond.

The NY Times published an article yesterday entitled, Believers Invest in the Gospel of Getting Rich, and it’s worth your read.

But back to my question:

How do we respond? Do we simply say that “We’re against it” or should go further to teach against the movement; to specifically cite preachers behind the movement?  How strongly do we voice our opposition?

Or maybe you disagree with me entirely and believe the Prosperity Gospel is legit…

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FORT WORTH — Onstage before thousands of believers weighed down by debt and economic insecurity, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and their all-star lineup of “prosperity gospel” preachers delighted the crowd with anecdotes about the luxurious lives they had attained by following the Word of God. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, , ,

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”

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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, , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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Wow. Blessed are the artists that help others reimagine the Gospel. #HeIsRisen #questchurch Amazing Resurrection celebration service. Especially love celebrating Communion every Sunday. Today, hosted a super Feast with bread from many different countries. #HeIsRisen Don't rush too soon to the empty tomb. Reflect on the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life & love. Thank you, Jesus, for you have redeemed this day of injustice and violence to be "good." You are truly the Light of the world. #GoodFriday 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

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