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 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, , , , ,

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,

ash wednesday primer and gathering

ashwednesdayluidliwanagafpgetty

This is from last year but still helpful for those who are not familiar with the purpose of Ash Wednesday.

For 2010, Quest is holding their ASH WED service on Wednesday, February 17 (7-8am). There is also a Family Ash WED event that same night from 6.30-8.15pm. All the info can be found at http://seattlequest.org

Depending on your background, you may or may not be familiar with Ash Wednesday or otherwise referred to as ‘Day of Ashes.’  It marks the beginning of the Lent season as we journey towards the Holy Week in the Christian calendar.  The Lent season culminates with Good Friday [Dark Friday] and Resurrection Sunday.

And a simple primer from Beliefnet: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, faith, Jesus, quest church, seattle, ,

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,

“and american democracy is not my idol…”

cornel_west_bet_hha-thumb-473x315

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,

water the da*n grass on this side of the fence

water your grass

We’re all familiar with this phrase:

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

It may or may not be true but often times if not most of the times, it’s because we spend most of our time dreaming, coveting, envying, complaining, wishing, stop caring, and before you know it, we stop watering the grass on your side.

You may eventually get to the other side of the fence but for now:

Water the da*n grass on this side of the fence.

Here’s the sermon from this past Sunday about 10 things that Build Community. This is the sermon in response to the Things that Destroy Community. This goes about 58+ minutes long and I wished I could have gone a tad longer to flesh out a few more things but I made a pact in blood w/ our other staff to end at a responsible time. And I barely made it this Sunday.

And a short clip about ‘Watering the Grass on This Side’:

Here are the 10 contextual points I shared: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, Jesus, pastors, quest church, , , ,

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, , , ,

“…whom shall i fear?”

2516

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,

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

generations of faith and salvation

Last Sunday, couple folks were baptized at Quest. Their stories of coming to faith in Jesus always moves me. With permission, here’s the story of Rosalind – one of only 30,000 Karaite Jews in the world and now one of two Karaite Jew believers.  I want to encourage you to read it and be blessed.

quest church baptism

“The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…” Genesis 12:1-4

It feels like my faith journey began before I was born. I guess that’s why my testimony might feel more like a history lesson than a story about God’s grace, but the fact that I’ve made it here is almost testament enough.

I am a Karaite Jew; a sect of Jews that has been around since God passed down his laws to Moses. Originating in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris-Euphrates river system (present day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc.), only 30,000 of us remain in the world today, 4,000 of which reside in the U.S.

My parents were born in Egypt and, like many of the Karaite Jews, were also imprisoned, and then expelled, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, faith, Jesus, ministry, quest church, 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, , , ,

“new calvinism” as 3rd most powerful idea – according to time magazine

john_calvin_-_young

Time Magazine created a list of 10 new ideas that are impacting the world right now and #3 on their list – incredibly – is an old but new movement called Calvinism or “New Calvinism.”  Listed as some of the movers behind this new movement are John Piper from Minneapolis, my neighbor Mark Driscoll from Seattle, and Al Mohler.  I find it encouraging and phenomenal that this was on the list but think we’re missing something if we think the Holy Spirit is working exclusively through the “new Calvinists.”  Despite our cynicism and reports of the collapse of the evangelical church, the Holy Spirit is working…

Mark – on his Resurgence blog – listed the distinctions between Old and New Calvinism.  He cites four main differences:

  1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
  2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
  3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.

While I personally roll with the Covenant denomination, I am advocating that we never be an island to ourselves.  I spent most of my early years in Reformed and Presbyterian Churches including two years in Korea at what I perceive to be one of the most influential [but completely unknown to Westerners] churches called Onnuri.  I received my Masters of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary so I have a good deal of exposure and understanding of Calvinism and Reformed Theology.  It’s clearly shaped a portion of my theology and ecclesiology.

So having said that, I like to think that we’re really all part of One Larger Team called the Kingdom of God.  Thus, if those four traits are the characteristics and commitments of New Calvinism, we should all be BIG fans.  I would certainly be and would genuinely love to see my co-laborers in the New Calvinism team be committed to being Missional, Urban Minded [and not just the Suburbs], led by the Holy Spirit, and Bridge Builders. 

How about you?  Thoughts about the article?

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

Filed under: christianity, church, Jesus, ministry, religion, seattle, , , , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

What a joy to celebrate Dr. John Perkins' legacy this week. Like many others, he has been a deep inspiration to me. 
When I finished the first draft of my upcoming book, OVERRATED, he was one of the first folks I showed it too. 
He wrote back with the following endorsement: "We are called to give ourselves to our generation, and Pastor Eugene's work here in OVERRATED is exactly that. This deeply personal narrative takes readers on a lived journey of wrestling through the realities of being a justice fighter today. I've given my fifty plus years to this fight, and his story is my story. I believe it may be yours as well. I encourage all believers to read OVERRATED. It lays a course for how we must proceed as humble but faithful justice leaders in an unjust world." Needless to say, I'm humbled by his endorsement and words of encouragement. It was painful to complete (and I'm still working on final edits)...but I CAN'T wait to share the book in September when it releases. 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.

my tweets

  • "Don't mistake God's patience for His absence. His timing is perfect, and His presence is constant. He's always with you." - Deut. 31:6 || 59 minutes ago
  • Beautiful. 29 churches have raised $128K. Amidst the Oso Mudslide tragedy, humbled by collaboration and generosity: wp.me/pT6R-2WC || 1 hour ago
  • About to preach in Minneapolis. Pray that in proclaiming the Gospel, I may honor God, be led by HolySpirit, & simply direct people to Jesus. || 4 hours ago
  • Be humble. Stay humble. Walk humbly. And kick butt. Then give God all the glory. || 16 hours ago
  • The book was painful to complete (and I'm still working on final edits)...but I CAN'T wait to share the book in September when it releases. || 19 hours ago
  • I nervously showed @JohnMPerkins a draft of my upcoming book, OVERRATED. He wrote the following endorsement: instagram.com/p/nJoXdUSWQy/ #Humbled || 19 hours ago
  • "Waiting time is not wasting time. Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life." ~ Henri Nouwen || 1 day ago
  • Bummer. Those Google glasses didn't help Krik Henrich with the free throws. #NBAPlayoffs || 1 day ago

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