Eugene Cho

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, , ,

remembering september 11 [9/11]

I am reposting this again this year and will likely do so every year – on September 11 as we remember, mourn, learn, and strive towards peace…

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Today marks the seven eight year anniversary of the devasting events known to Americans and the global world simply as “9/11.”  I could share so much but I don’t quite know how to articulate it.

So perhaps, it would be best as we remember September 11 to simply ask some questions and let you share your thoughts.  This is an invitation to all of you – subscribers, regulars, visitors, lurkers, civilians, soldiers, Christians, atheists, Republicans, Democrats, and [whatever] to share your thoughts and help create a dialogue.

Certain events of history – personnal or global - make a mark on your consciousness.

When the 9/11 attacks took place,

Where were you exactly?
What were your initial feelings and emotions?
Did you do anything in response?

September 11, 2001

*  Still one of my the most compelling reads is this piece by Time Magazine to mark the 1 year anniversary of the attacks.

*  Picture by Marty Lederhandler, AP

Filed under: politics, religion, ,

shame on you: david letterman & jeremiah wright

letterman and palin

My head has been buried in stuff so I haven’t been tracking with too much current news with the exception of the North Korea (and Laura Ling and Euna Lee) stituation.

But as I was reading through my RSS reader this morning and read Scot McKnight’s blog about inexcusable comments by David Letterman and Jeremiah Wright (two separate stuff), I was pretty downright disgusted myself.

First, heres’ the news about Letterman’s completely inappropriate comments/jokes about the Palin family (via ABC news):

Letterman’s “Top 10″ list Tuesday night focused on Palin’s recent trip to New York, and included several cracks: “Bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her ‘slutty flight attendant’ look,” Letterman said.

But it was a line in Letterman’s monolog that set off a firestorm: “One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game, during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”

Palin was in New York with her 14-year-old daughter, Willow.

I’m shared before on this blog that I don’t like Sarah Palin in that kind of way…but I completely agree with her and her husband. Absolutely unacceptable. David Letterman: While I enjoy the few occasions I get to watch your show, this is inexcusable. Shame on you. His explanation (apology

You have to wonder if the folks Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: entertainment, politics, , ,

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, , ,

“…a nation of cowards”

Are you a coward?  Chicken? When it comes to the issue of race, why are Americans [including Christians] so reticent and reluctant to engage in honest conversations?What are we scared of?  This is such a thought provoking and honest assessment about the American people and the issue of race by Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards…” 

I have two instructions for you:

  1. Read the article below.
  2. Discuss.  Agree?  Disagree?  Damn it: Why does it always have to be just about black and white?  What does “translated into policy” mean?  What are we afraid of?   Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, , , ,

another perspective on israel and palestine

* Please take a few mins to view these pictures from the recent sitaution in Gaza.  Let me warn you that they are incredibly graphic and intense but lest our hearts grow hardened and desensitized:  http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/12/israel_and_gaza.html

As promised earlier, here’s another perspective on the tension between Israel and Palestine and why Israel should feel threatened and act in some way.  The article below in the NY Times is a good read as was the post I shared yesterday. I am not a radical Zionist since I don’t even quite know what that means anymore. As much as people try to cite history to support their views, I also believe that God chose Israel to carry out His plan of redemption for the larger world and while this many not include the totality of Israel from a political or statehood perspective, the “people” of Israel is still part of God’s future plans as well.  The important thing we need to all remember is that God’s plan of salvation, redemption, and grace is not just for one nation or people but the larger creation – including Palestinians.  Isn’t this the good news?

We’re all aware of the Holocaust but what do we really know besides numbers?  In my lifetime, I find it incredibly provocative that in the 38 years of living thus far and in the numerous places I’ve traveled around the world, I have always encountered some form of random prejudice and borderline animosity/hatred for Israel and/or Jewish people.  On occasions, I have asked these people – men or women, young or old, Western or Eastern – why they have such views and most don’t have the slightest clue.  But they do and worse, there are those who seek to eradicate their existence.  Why?  

This doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of human right or international guidelines but something for us to consider.  Peace and shalom.   I yearn for the day when God will restore all.  Until that day, may we wrestle and work towards that Kingdom.

Take 10 minutes to read this NY Times opinion column entitled, Why Israel Feels Threatened: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: , christianity, politics, , , , ,

one perspective on israel and palestine

Like many of you, I have been following the recent escalation of tension and Israel’s “all our war” on Gaza with much sadness, frustration, and prayer.  As a usual sympathizer with Israel for various reasons, I have been appalled at the current assault and the lack of strong condemnation by the U.S. leaders including both the current president and president elect.  

The issues are immensely complex and Hamas had “something coming” [in my opinion] but the fallout on this “all-out assault” will only escalate to more deaths – on both sides and on both sides of the ocean.  As you’re reading up on news wherever you are, also check out these additional news sources: BBC News  and Al Jazeera.

I’m currently on vacation so I don’t have time to write more but I do want to “share” couple posts by others – today and tomorrow to engage your thoughts.  This is a note that one of our church folks, Cyra, wrote and I thought it was worth sharing [with her permission].

Question:  What do you think?

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Here’s Cyra’s thoughts on Israel and Palestine:

I’m no blogger, but Matt’s at work, and he’s sick of listening to me vent about Israel and Palestine anyway.

One of the hardest parts of growing up, I think, is learning that some of the things you were taught as a child are just wrong. Fortunately for me, as my worldview has shifted, so has my parents’, so we are able to agree that some of the things they taught me were wrong. One example is the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

As a child, all I ever heard about Israel and Palestine was that Israel is constantly under attack and that as Christians it is our duty to support Israel (since the Jews are God’s chosen people) and encourage our government to do the same. I heard this at home, but mostly I heard this at the various churches I attended. Just writing this, I can feel anger swelling up inside me toward all the people who propagated this lie, until I remind myself that many of those people, my parents included, were simply unaware of the truth of the situation and had been lied to themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

george bush and the shoe-throwing journalist

George Bush and his legacy as President of the United States?  What do you think?  Is it too early to tell since the war on terror will mark the legacy of his presidency?

When he was sworn in eight years ago, who would have thunk things would have turned out in this manner.  Even folks in his own party have dismissed him, opposed his leadership and pleas, and he was clearly ignored at his own party’s convention.  Now, I know that 9/11 changed everything but who would have thunk?  So much convoluted thoughts in my head bit let me share four random things including the news of the shoe-throwin’ journalist: 

from BBC News Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, , , ,

prop 8 musical video

What do you think of this Prop 8 Musical Video? 

It’s a satire and I get it but it wasn’t that funny since well, they’re making fun of people like me.  I’m frustrated for many reasons including the lowblows at Christians.  I get the lowblows and potshots at Christians because we deserve it yada yada yada.  I understand.  But I get frustrated because you almost NEVER hear about the positive and good things that christians and churches do for their neighbors, cities, and such.  You only read and see the bad stuff that happens with churches, pastors, and christians. And stuff like Prop 8 just widens the chasm between people.  We stand behind issues without really knowing the people on the “other side.”

Well, I don’t really have the energy to share anything more.  In the next week or two, I’ll attempt to articulate why I hold to a traditional view of marriage but don’t support Prop 8.  That position sucks because it gets rocks thrown from both sides.  But let me stop here…I’ve received enough angry emails for the week that I’m considering removing the ‘contact’ section on my blog.

Here’s the video.  What do you think? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, politics, ,

the abortion conversation – the sequel

I really need to do a better job in following up on sequels to earlier posts.  This is the sequel to the original The Abortion Conversation which sparked some good and intense dialogue.

A commenter wrote:

Eugene said:
“However, I just do not believe we can legislate it.  Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal.”

Instead of “abortion”, replace it with any other crime; like murder, rape, slavery, theft.  How does it read then?  Is cost any reason not to criminalize an act where another person is harmed?  Obviously, we still have murders and other crimes even though it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean we should allow it. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, ,

being trampled to death on black friday and thoughts about buy nothing day

from NY Daily News

“Black Friday” claimed it’s first victim when an employee at a Walmart store in Long Island, New York was trampled to death right as doors opened.  This is disgusting and I’m feeling sick to my stomach.  I’m not trying to sound righteous here.  People that know me know that I love bargains.  Who doesn’t but what a way to die?  And all this happening in the same time of the global tragedy of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.   

And sadly, even a person being trampled to death by hundreds isn’t going to stop this “cultural expression.”  Look for a big lawsuit and then, business as usual.  I’ve reposted an entry I shared on Sojo last week about Buy Nothing Day.  I want folks to clearly know the entry isn’t coming from the angle of “bash White folks” but rather a call a reflection on privilege – which certainly includes me.  While I support Buy Nothing Day, I also understand the complex nature of our world economics.  Buying Nothing isn’t the answer but I love what the cause stands for: Re-examine our consumption. 

If that’s one of the natural results of the economic downturn, it’s a significant plus.

Here’s the news from NY Dail News: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, ,

church, gay marriage, and prop 8

Okay, let’s have at it respectfully.  You knew that the hotly contested and “controversial” Proposition 8 of California was eventually going to be discussed here.  Why am I bringing it up now?  This morning, I saw this billboard [online] and thought it would be worthwhile to host what I hope to be a passionate, compassionate, but above all, respectful dialogue.  I confess I don’t know much about the precise details of all that led to the actual vote of Prop 8 beyond the big picture media blitz it has received during the election season.

p1070758

What do you think of the billboard and it’s message from a group of Christians “sorry” about the results of Prop. 8.  From their website, Our Hearts are With You:

As a Christian, I am sorry for the narrow-minded, judgmental, deceptive, manipulative actions of those who took away the rights & equality of so many in the name of God… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, politics, religion, ,

picture of the year – bulls*#t or prophetic?

This gets my early vote for art image of the year.  And if I can be honest, I get a little more satisfaction and pride that this art comes courtesy of a Korean-American artist [graphic designer] named Ji Lee from NYC.  Lots of emerging Korean-American artists but they get no love.

What do you think of the dead bull? 

dead bull by Ji Lee

I can’t stop staring at it.  It’s as provocative and subversive as this art referred to as “Upside Down Church” but named “Device to Root out Evil” by the artist:

From the Portfolio Magazine:

To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

gratitude and prayers on veterans day

Let me begin by sharing my appreciation for all veterans and their service and sacrifice for this country.  I am able to enjoy certain blessings, privileges, freedoms, and benefits because of those that sought to preserve such liberties.  The world has witnessed the rise of those who would seek to destroy the gift of freedom and liberties and there were those who sacrficed to oppose such forces.   May our country, in our righteousness and power, distinguish between aggressors and protectors. 

My parents were children of the Korean War.  The stories they share are as hard to believe as the “When I was a kid, I used to walk 12 miles to school” stories.  My father served in the US Army.  We have several folks that are currently serving in the military in our church community.  Couple have already served stints in Iraq and may need to return in the near future.  I hide no reservations in my stance of being against this war but despite my opposition to the war, I do not want my support and appreciation for our troops to be feint.  And through our “merger” with Interbay Church 1.5 years ago, I have personally heard the stories of several who served in the military through both World War II and Vietnam.  I am thankful for them; Words cannot capture. 

How about you?  Do you have loved ones that are currently serving in the military?  Where?  How many of your parents and grandparents are veterans? 

Share your stories. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion,

let’s kiss and make up

I follow politics but I don’t go crazy.  Meaning, I’m not the kind of person that wears buttons, puts bumper stickers on their cars, and plant signs on their home lawns. I confess I do have one vintage Ronald Reagan shirt I picked up a while ago from a second hand store.  So, while I watched the elections with great interest and cried like a baby, it was hard to live vicariously with those who were celebrating like Kids Gone Wild in Seattle or those who were visibly upset about the doom and gloom news of impending socialism and Obamunism.

It’s not just because I’m an ‘independent’ voter but also because I feel like my voice in the City, Church, and Culture is to be a ‘reconciler’ or ‘peacemaker’ that I’ve been feeling torn over the growing division in the country between RED and BLUE.  When you see leaders tear each other apart, you wonder how anything be accomplished to remedy some of the national and global crises. 

Even more painful has been the division in the ChurchRead the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

a picture says a 1000 words beginning with: “inconceivable”

Update:  Check out a call for the church to move towards post-election reconciliation:  Let’s Kiss and Make Up.

The picture below sums up why Obama’s presidency is truly historical.  Many of us don’t really know because we’ve only seen it or felt it through the eyes and stories of others.  As I shared in an earlier post, I wasn’t ga-ga about Obama but as a minority or person of color, I was overwhelmed and cried like a baby during his speech.  But I could tell that my tears were different that those that flowed down and kept flowing down from the eyes of Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Toni Morrison, and others. There was a time when even the idea of a black person becoming the President of the United States was absolutely inconceivable.  

Let me rephrase that in another way: The idea did not even exist. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, politics, religion, ,

how i’m voting

My ballot still sits on my desk but I’ll be completing it soon and walking it in on Tuesday to my local polling place.  As I shared last week and again, yesterday during my sermon at Quest, I will not be divulging who I am voting for various reasons. 

Side question: Do you think “active” pastors [currently serving congregations] should publicly share who they are voting for?

Politics can get heated and messy.  You don’t just have to watch the various media and news outlets to know this.  You can also sense the tension within the Christian community which I think is perfectly normal and okay as long as we 1] engage in the rules of civility and 2] get off our righteous soapboxes and consider what it means for us to live out our faith and convictions beyond the election season.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, , ,

the abortion conversation

Every presidential election, abortion becomes a tense issue and I suspect that will never change.  Let me first say I respect those whose commitment to the unborn extends beyond the election rhetoric.  I have a friend whose life long calling and job is to fight for the unborn.  Unlike her, I confess that while I am Pro-Life and against abortion, I am more talk than walk, more preach than do, more blog than [can't find a good word here].  But I still struggle with it.  While I was genuine in my quote in Sojourners that

“I don’t want to be defined by one or two issues”

I still care much about those one or two issues.  While I can’t honestly  come to agree that abortion is the greatest moral issue of our day as some are proned to say, I know that God cares immensely for the unborn and thus, we must care as well.  God also cares for the born and thus my “womb to tomb” ethic of pro-life.

Couple people [I know of] left our church because they disagreed with my view on abortion and I suspect that it may be possible that couple more may leave after they read this.  Like most Christians I know, I am against abortion.  However, I just do not believe we can legislate it.  Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement - if it were to be turned illegal. Furthermore, I think we are fooling ourselves if we think abortion rates will be reduced significantly if Roe v. Wade was overturned.  I can certainly be wrong. Rather than legislating it, I wonder how abortions can be reduced by speaking and appealing to the Heart and Soul of a person and to make all necessary provisions if a person decides to have that baby In short, can we maintain choice but do all that we can to preserve and ensure the life of an unborn?  This is where most of us fall short. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: politics, religion, , , , ,

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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