Eugene Cho

“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,

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

to twitter or not to twitter…at church

twittering at church / time magazineAs you know, I joined Twitter (@eugenecho) about two months ago after asking you for Twitter advice. I’m convinced that it’s very useful – particularly because it is what you make of it. I do find it comical when the Twitter critics chat about how much they dislike Twitter – and yet, they’re updating their Facebook statuses every other hour. Huh?

But why do we tend to go overboard?  For example, I was reading the article below from Time Magazine entitled, Twittering in Church, and while I fully embrace the changing mode of technology, communication, and language (and the church’s need to learn and engage in this language), I’m uncertain about the church encouraging people to twitter through the different elements of a church worship service: singing, sermons, communion, etc.

Maybe, I’m getting old fashioned.  Heck, I joined Facebook after the majority of my church joined and finally caved in to Twiiter. But I’d like to hear your opinions:

  • What do you think of encouraging people to twitter through a service?
  • What are the boundaries?  How far is too far?

I liken this to my post months ago about video venues coming near you.  I support using technology, utilizing videos, and having them available as a resource but think we’re crossing unhealthy boundaries by replacing live and local pastors with somebody on a jumbo screen – even if they’re on high definition!  Just because one can respond “we do it for the glory of Jesus” to everything seems dangerous to me.

Here’s the article from Time Magazine: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, emerging church, religion, , , ,

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, , ,

the voodoo video i couldn’t show at quest

still_sebastians_voodoo_02

Thanks to the collective wisdom of our larger staff, I pulled this “voodoo video” from last week’s Good Friday service.

But I still really like this video.  Very thought provoking so I’m now sharing and showing it here on my blog – for your viewing and commentary (video below).

It’s disturbing on several levels including the usage of ‘voodoo’ in it’s title which isn’t the best word in a church context but from an artistic level, this is an amazing video. The incredible animation is created by 26 year old artist Joaquin Baldwin.  I don’t know him personally but after watching this video, I suspect he may have been influenced by Christianity in some shape or another.  When you watch the film, you’ll see some Christian parallels.  Had I shown it, it would have taken some good explanation why I was showing the clip.

Here are the reasons this video really made me think: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, emerging church, faith, religion, ,

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, , , ,

Christian books that should NOT be published.

Is it ok to sometimes poke fun and laugh at ourselves? I hope so because if not, I’m in some big trouble. As in, I might get blacklisted by the Christian evangelical subculture.

In reponse to the question about the 10 Most Essential Christian Books, I received some fabulous and interesting suggestions. But I also started getting a list from people regarding the most anti-essential Christian books or in other words, books that should never be published so I’ve taken the liberty of listing some of them here.  And if you’re gonna get offended, I have two things to say:  1) It’s not my list or umm, it’s not all mine.  Don’t kill the messenger! and 2) Relax. It’s okay to make fun of ourselves sometimes. I hope.

If you want to laugh even more, check out 10 reasons why men shouldn’t be ordained.

I’ll share my list of essential book soon but for now, enjoy this list of the Christian Books that should NOT be Published from various commenters from this blog.  You folks are mean!

And dare I ask:

What would you add to the list?

Update: I’m adding the American Patriot’s Bible to this list.  The crazy thing is that it’s a real book unlike the list below.

  • Everyone Is Going To Hell Except Me – John MacArthur
  • There’s No ‘U’ in Ministry: A Woman’s Guide – Mark Driscoll Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, ministry

an upside to the economic downturn

serve

The doom and gloom news about all things economy related can be paralyzing.  I know it’s impacting many individuals, organizations, and churches as well.  I’ll share later this week how it’s impacted my family but I wanted to share how Quest is trying to respond.  Last year, Quest was fortunate and just met our budget.  I’m not certain how since a) 2008 was the first year we hadn’t  numerically grown since the beginning of our church and b) 10% of our church have experienced job layoffs.  As difficult as the economic climate may be, this is also an incredible opportunity for the [C]hurch to be a source of care and grace to one another and the larger city and world.  Difficult times are when we can demonstrate our substance and convictions of Loving God and Loving People.

Let’s share some ideas and good news.  Question:

How are you or your church seeking to care for one another and the larger city & globe?

I recently wrote the following letter to our church sharing how we are stumbling our way to care: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

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,

video interview with phyllis tickle

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I had the joy of  having a great chat with Phyllis Tickle recently and she was gracious enough to shoot this video interview with me. Phyllis’ recent book, The Great Emergence, is making the waves amongst many people and it’s also on my ‘To Read’ list for 2009.  She is one sharp amazing lady and I don’t want to spread rumors but I’m pretty sure she’s on steroids too…just like Scot McKnight.  :)

Whether you agree with her premise of ‘The Great Emergence,’ I think it’s pretty obvious that one thing is inevitable:  CHANGE.  

Change happens and and will always happen and according to many, we’re in the midst of a historic change.  But lest we get think too much of ourselves in the ‘Church,’ this historic change isn’t just within christendom but one that encompasses the larger world. 

Here’s the interview with Phyllis and her bio from her website: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, culture, emerging church, Jesus, ministry, pastors, religion, ,

why sundays still matter…

worship at quest

In conversations with people about the state of [Western] christianity, people can be all over the map.  And at times, I think it’s because we’re really that desperate, that upset, that disillusioned, or that [insert word here].  And then, there are times we just want to make a crazy statement to sound edgy and prophetic.  Yo, it’s pomo, bro.

One of those crazy conversations surrounds the topic of the corporate worship gatherings known to most people as ‘Sunday worship services.’  

I want to contend –  that whether it’s on a Sunday or another day – that gathering as a unified faith community is very important and healthy.  Or more accurately, it is one aspect of a healthy faith community.

Now, don’t mistake what I’m saying.  I’m not a big fan of big productions, fancy shows, gift giveaways, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, churchplanting, emerging church, ministry, quest church, seattle

video interview with scot mcknight

One of my goals this year is to read 23 books and many of you shared some of the books you’re hoping to read this year in an earlier post.  I had the cool privilege of running into Scot McKnight recently – author of Jesus Creed and The Blue Parakeet [which is on my list].  He also happens to be one of my favorite bloggers although I suspect he may be taking steroids.  How else can he produce so many posts for his blog?  Random test, I say.  

But stupidity got the best of me Read the rest of this entry »

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

The oldest injustice in human history is the way we treat women.

Update [January 5, 2012] I read and saw this video yesterday and it tore me up. While perhaps this case and this girl’s situation may be extreme, the mistreatment and abuse of girls and women are nevertheless still common. It is and continues to be the “oldest injustice in human history.”

Don’t turn away. Read this article and watch this video:

Nicholas Kristof/NY Times

In every culture and in every part of the world, this injustice is present.  What is the oldest injustice in the world?

It is the way that “we” view, treat, and oppress women.

It would be erroneous for me to say that Asian culture is entirely proned to be against women but I can share my personal experience that as a young Korean man, I was influenced – partly through the Confucian culture and worldview that women were born to serve their fathers as young girls, their husbands when they got married, and their grown sons when they were older mothers.  Their lives and purpose – in part –  revolved around men.

As a person of the Christian faith, I learned – in bits and pieces (both in subtle and occasionally in direct ways) that women should be our “partners.” They should be quiet, submissive and know their place.  Obey and honor their fathers, love and submit to their husbands, and raise godly sons and daughters.

Why didn’t I learn that women and men are both created in the beautiful image of God?  Why didn’t I learn that while we have different roles, we are also created equal in the image of God?  Why didn’t I learn that through Christ, women and men can do all things through Him who gives strength and grace.

I still remember this email that I received from a congregant couple years ago after a sermon I gave at Quest regarding women:

But at one point today, you said, “Women, you were created equal to men in the image of God.” I mainly write because I don’t know if you realize how powerful that statement was. I don’t know if you realized what it would feel like to hear that statement coming from a man — what it would mean to me, and possibly to other individual women and men. You didn’t even say it to me individually…I have never been told by a man, Christian or not, that I am equal to him. I have never been told by a man that I am equal to him. And equal in that we are both created in the image of God…I cried all the way home. How is it that I’ve never been told by a male person that I am equal to him? That I am equally beautiful and broken? That we are both created in the image of God?

…Women are deeply wounded by living in this world, and wounded that men don’t fight for us. Instead, they fight to rule us, and we…sometimes we fight, but most of the time we believe them when they tell us we aren’t worth our weight (sometimes taken literally). Today I felt like a man was fighting for me, not because I can’t fight for myself, but because he recognized the wrongs in a world and a Church that have benefited him unfairly.

So, I ask you a simple question for dialogue:

Why is it that women – across cultures, religion, and history – are oppressed? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, emerging church, family, quest church, religion, , ,

why i roll with the covenant

At least once every week, someone emails me to ask about Quest Church’s history, connection, and affiliation.  Specifically, are we non-denominational, independent, cultic, or affiliated with some sort of denominational group?  People tend to be scared of charismatic Asian dudes with long curly hair and bad patches of facial hair.

eugene cho

Minhee and I initially planted Quest as a non-denominational church.  I had no interest in denominations.  I was burnt out.  I was weary and cynical about organized religion and chose to leave my then denominational affiliation. The theme of my life – then – was ‘rage against the machine.’  I was somewhat of an angry deconstructionist pastor.  It was probably a good thing that I had no idea what ‘blogging’ was back then because it would have been pretty intense.  But after some months, I also came to realize that I didn’t want to pastor or lead a church on an island to ourselves.  We felt we could do more in partnership and relationship with other like minded and like hearted followers of Christ.  So, after some months of intense research, conversations, and reciprocal interviews, we decided to partner with the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Some of my friends still give me grief that I chose to partner with “a bunch of Swedes” particularly because diversity and multiethnicty was always an important ecclesiological pursuit for my vision as a pastor and leader.  So, why did I partner with the ECC even despite no truth to the rumors that Covenant pastors receive 50% discount from IKEA?  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: emerging church, family, religion,

what is your “car porn?”

Like everyone or most everyone, I have areas of weaknesses.  In light of the numerous posts about global poverty and our plans on starting the new NGO to fight global poverty in the upcoming year, I am a little embarrassed to say that one of my weaknesses is Car Porn.  I’m 38 but every time I go to Barnes & Nobles, I still pick up car magazines and start drooling.  Every time.  That translates to Car Porn. And specifically, I have a thing for convertibles. I stare every time I see, walk, or drive by a convertible.  My first car was a 1976 Volkswagen Bug Convertible.  I loved that car and still regret selling it when Minhee got pregnant but I had to choose:  baby or bug convertible.  It was tough.

Six years ago, I traded in our family’s unreliable station wagon and brought home a first year 1990 Mazda Miata.  Maybe I was going through my early midlife crisis but I drove it home and you should have seen the look on Minhee’s face.  It was priceless. 

Anyway, we’ve decided to sell off some assets this year to help fund the poverty organization.  But we had no idea of the impending and current financial crisis.  It has definitely affected our family and we’re doing all that we can to both get by and fund the organization so selling this car along with other stuff is important.  Six months ago, after agreeing on a sale, the buyer never showed up and to be honest, I was ecstatic since I wanted to hang on to the car.  After putting it back on Craiglist this past month, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: emerging church, family, religion, , , ,

stay at home dads are safe from hell – part 2

I know I shouldn’t but I feel like I need to follow up with a post from couple weeks ago.  And next week, I’ll pump out some thoughts about Stay-at-Home-Moms.  Couple weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled Stay-at-Home Dads are Safe From Hell in response to Pastor Mark Driscoll’s [Seattle's Mars Hill Church] recent teaching/soundbyte about the ungodly nature of Stay-at-Home Dads.  I received a variety of responses from folks including some emails questioning my “public” response to Driscoll and the poor choice/decision/sin of me calling “out” another pastor.  Honestly, I felt I was mild and respectful in my disagreement but it did make me ponder this question:

Should there be a general rule for pastors to not publicly call out or question other pastors? 

I pondered long enough to email Pastor Mark to apologize and asked to get together if he had some time.  No response but understood since he’s a busy dude.

Why apologize? I feel apologetic for not contacting him directly but I don’t apologize for being in disagreement.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, emerging church, religion,

what if starbucks marketed like a church?

This video entitled What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church? A Parable is making the rounds around blogosphere.  It was created to “help churches to truly understand the disconnection between how we do things and the people we’re trying to reach.”

Take a look. Thoughts?

My thoughts:  

  • Well made video.  Helps visualize some great points since it’s so easy for a church to grow disconnected in our insular world.  
  • As I’ve shared on a post entitled Soul of Starbucks, it’s a great company to work for but brutal to compete against. 
  • And interesting that this video was released about a week before Starbucks released news that their profits decreased 97% during their 4Q.  They’ve laid off over 1000 people this year and closed or in the process of closing 600 stores this year.   
  • And at least here in Seattle [headquarters of Starbucks], it doesn’t help that their CEO, Howard Schultz, currently ain’t the most popular people for selling off our NBA professional basketball team to someone who eventually moved it over to Oklahoma.
  • But something about this video freaks me out.  I know it’s a parable but do we really want to see Starbucks or a corporate giant as a good juxtaposition?

So, while there are lessons to be learned in this video, maybe there are other lessons to consider.  No? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, emerging church, religion,

rob bell in time magazine

Honestly, I haven’t read any much of Rob Bell’s stuff – just the soundbytes.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I have this weird thing where I don’t like to read too much stuff that’s written by people that are still alive.  Is that bizarre or what?  So, I can devour C.S. Lewis, Augustine, Nouwen, St. Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther King Jr., Lesslie Newbigin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Bosch, etc. but I have a hard time enjoying contemporary authors that are loved by others: Piper, Bell, Marva Dawn, McLaren, Lauren Winner, McManus, D. Miller, and others.  N.T. Wright, Eugene Peterson, and Scot McKnight may be the few exceptions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: emerging church, religion, ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

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 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.

my tweets

  • "It is finished." - Jesus http://t.co/s4hHROxhf0 || 4 hours ago
  • Jesus, thank you for you have redeemed this day of death, darkness, injustice, & violence as "good". You are truly the Light of the world. || 4 hours ago
  • Don't rush too soon to the empty tomb. Reflect on the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life & love.… instagram.com/p/m8_UMXyWcy/ || 6 hours ago
  • In his last days, Jesus washed dirty feet, ate with misfits (incl. a man who He knew would betray him), & forgave his enemies. #AmazingGrace || 9 hours ago
  • RT @seattlequest: Join us tonight for Good Friday at 6pm & 8pm. Easter Sunday celebrations at 7am, 9am,11am. - seattlequest.org http:… || 10 hours ago
  • There is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Before we move swiftly to the celebration of the risen Christ, may we sit at the cross... || 13 hours ago
  • Thank you, Jesus, for this day. For Holy Friday. For your obedience. For the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life and love. || 15 hours ago
  • 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 || 1 day ago

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