Eugene Cho

The 10 Commandments of Engaging Politics

The Presidential election is only weeks away…and it’s getting ugly out there. I mean…really ugly.

And before you think I’m just talking about the political process, the political parties, or the respective candidates, I was actually talking about you, me, us, and them…the people. And by people, I’m also especially talking about Christians.

Sometimes, I feel it would be appropriate to label how some Christians engage the Presidential election season as “Christians Gone Wild.

Since it’s time for another presidential debate and there’s sure to be drama this week and next, and the following week, and each day leading up to Election Day on November 6 and likely some weeks afterwards, I thought I’d share with you my 10 Commandments of the Election Season for Christians in hopes that it might speak some balance, sense, and perspective to any readers – not just during this election season but thereafter; Not just in this country but in any country.

Why else am I sharing this?

Because I really want you to still respect yourself the morning after the election season.
Because I really want your friends to still respect you, too.

Know what I mean?

So, here are my 10 commandments of the Election Season

…….. Read the rest of this entry »

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A conversation about prayer with President Barack Obama.

Unless it’s Justin Bieber I don’t get star-struck, but I have to admit, it was pretty cool to meet President Barack Obama earlier this month. During his visit to Seattle on the weekend of February 16, I had the opportunity and privilege to attend one of the events he was speaking at. Specifically, it was an event at Boeing Everett to celebrate the work of American workers, Boeing, and the culmination of the work of the Dreamliner 787.

Light to the World.

As you know. I don’t run in these circles.  Sitting in a special section with dignitaries and politicians including mayors, various council members, business bigwigs and the Washington governor was awkward to say the least.  How I got invited to this event is a little unclear but over the past couple years, I’ve been building relationships with the White House via their Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. It’s also from a commitment I’ve had – as a Christian, a pastor, and a leader – to be a light to the World and not just merely light to the Light. Translation: As we serve and love the church, we must also look outward and engage the larger culture. Folks notice and when opportunities arise, they sometimes ask for input and involvement or just merely your presence and that’s what happened.

Because of this theology and ecclesiology Read the rest of this entry »

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president obama opposes family, faith, freedom, white dogs, asians, and human beings.

It’s amazing what makes headline news nowadays.

Example:

President Barack and Michelle Obama’s Christmas card selection.

Yup. Headline news.

Why?

Because former Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, has come to officially criticize its selection as “odd” since it emphasizes Obama’s family dog, Bo, and as such, we can assess that the first family and specifically, President Obama, elevates canines over “family, faith, and freedom.”

Huh? Really?

I hope this doesn’t sound awkward, elite, or boastful:

Minhee and I also received the official White House Christmas card couple weeks.

When I first opened the card, I was secretly hoping it included a gift card from Target but I digress. When I first opened the card, I analyzed the card as I do every single Christmas card I receive since it’s very helpful for me to make judgments and analysis about that person.

So, I thought I’d join in the party and share with you 8 things I learned Read the rest of this entry »

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vote for me! the politicization and manipulation of jesus, christians, and religion

I confess that I don’t have much idea with what’s currently going on with the Presidential primary process but can assume that things are heating up as candidates ratchet up rhetoric about all things including their affection for Christ, faith, religion, evangelicals, etc.

And why does this make sense? Because supposedly, America,  is a Christian nation – or at the least, a religious nation.

Statistically, in the United States, 83% claim to belong to some sort of religious denomination 40% claim to attend services nearly every week or more, and 58% claim to pray at least weekly. The majority of Americans (60% to 76%) identify themselves as Christians… [source]

All this to say that it makes perfect sense why politicians and political parties would want to politicize religion or faith – however genuine their faith is or not. This is why it made perfect sense for President Obama’s opponents and critics to question, Is Obama really a Christian? And that’s why it makes sense & smart strategy for Rick Perry to throw down some religious rhetoric to say “I’m one of you” when he promised in a recent political ad (click here for RSS readers) to:

“end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. ”

He goes on to say…

“there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

While some folks holler and scream about Rick Perry’s ad, the blunt truth is Read the rest of this entry »

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why president obama is and isn’t american

What is the deal with President Barack Obama? Or maybe we should re-frame the question:

What is wrong with America?

Why is it that we have such a hard time

His presidency is historical for obvious reasons and everyone knew that he was going to experience an uphill journey but the questions he’s had to endure are ridiculous: Read the rest of this entry »

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is he a christian, a muslim, or a cactus? why can’t we just believe president obama?

I received a letter this week from the White House. A big fat packet. Ain’t I special?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t an invitation to a special Gala or for me to sing at an event. It wasn’t about a partnership with One Day’s Wages. Or to join his circle of sagacious advisors. Or to ask me to join Warren Buffet in helping turn around the U.S. economy. Or to inform me that he’d be visiting my church. And no, it wasn’t a direct letter from President Obama himself. But it was a letter from one of his staff sharing some stuff about President Obama, some initiatives, and what I perceived to be clarity about his faith. Huh?

It puzzled me initially but after some thought, I think I know why I received the letter as I’m sure several other “pastors” may have received it as well.

Why? Read the rest of this entry »

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pray for president obama?

I’m not trying to sound political or overly spiritual but today, I just had the most sudden “impression” that I can only describe as a prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for President Barack Obama.

If you’ve been reading my blog,

I care about politics because it engages policies that affect people – but I try not to be political.

I am a staunch independent when it comes to political parties Read the rest of this entry »

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we should all learn to bow like obama

Dear Americans,

What is wrong with us?

So, President Obama bows in respect to the Japanese emperor during his recent visit to Japan and the next thing you know, all kind of crazy, nonsensical, and ridunkulous statements are flung through the newspapers, blogosphere, radio shows, and chit chats.

What exactly is wrong with the image above?
What are your reactions to the reactions?

Here are some of my thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »

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obama, the nobel peace prize, bono and rebranding america

from the NY Times

Like many folks couple weeks ago, I was stunned that Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, I thought it was some sort of joke but alas, it was legit. But I did manage to get couple tweets in there including this one:

Re: Obama: all he did was say to the world, “Hello”, “We’re sorry” & “Let’s Talk”… All good things but Nobel was premature.

…but was surprised at the number of responses via Twitter & Facebook. Many people seemed to have an opinion.

What did you think?

Again, I wasn’t a big fan but then I read this quote from Cornel West and it got me thinking that this Nobel Peace Prize was indeed a forward looking prize if there’s such a thing.

“It is going to be very hard to be a war president, when you win the peace prize.”

And then I read this pretty amazing column from Bono entitled ReBranding America in yesterday’s NY Times. Here’s an excerpt: Read the rest of this entry »

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pray for those liberals…

liberals

I remember being instructed as a new Christian many years ago to pray for influential Hollywood people.  I did as I was instructed and I still remember praying for numerous including Tom Cruise…umm, I should have prayed more. So, I kind of chuckled when I saw this article recently from the Christian Post entitled, Prayerful Americans Called to ‘Adopt a Liberal.’

I’ve been called lots of different names and labeled with different words including the ‘liberal’ word. I’ve also been called a ‘narrow minded fundy,’ ‘wanna be progressive’, ‘classic conservative’, ‘christian communist’ and the list goes on.

The positive about being labeled is that I might actually make it on someone’s prayer list and who doesn’t want prayer?  :)

I’m a fan of prayer. I’m a fan of civility. I understand the nature and necessity of politics. I don’t really like some of the views of the folks on the list but I also don’t know them as people – personally. And I know that while we’re instructed to pray for our ‘leaders’ but the ‘adopt a liberal’ thing sure seems weird.  How long before we get an “Adopt a Conservative” initiative? And thus, the perpetuation of the “otherizing” and worse, “demonizing” of others. Which leads us to the big picture question:

Is there another way?  What is the “follower of Christ” way?

Enough of me. What do you think?

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

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a black president playing with his asian-american niece. huh?

Why can’t I stop looking at this photo?

Per the note on the Official White House Photostream, President Barack Obama plays with his Chinese-American niece Savita Ng [child of Conrad & Maya Ng] during the family’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Aug. 25 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

I am so mesmerized by this photo.

A bi-racial Black President playing with his Chinese niece…  Wow.

The world is changing. America is changing. Are you changing?

What comes to your mind when you see this photo? Please don’t say, “Oooh, look at that Socialist baby…” Read the rest of this entry »

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jimmy carter, barack obama, wilson, racism, “you lie” and the perpetual elephant in the room

Anyone that says that racism doesn’t exist or that racism no longer exists is living on Jupiter. But with some talking about visions of a Post-Racial world, you wonder how you exactly go about doing that in a world that is so racialized… Or in other words, how do we move deeper towards Reconciliation?

Some of my readers know that I have immense respect for former President Jimmy Carter. Let’s be honest: He was an average President at best but his post-presidential work, voice, and advocacy in so many various venues have been very inspiring – including his decision to leave the Baptist denomination over his support for the equality of women.

And while I admire his courage and boldness in speaking about racism recently, addressing the perpetual elephant about racism and the possibility for some [and reality of others] of the “fear” of a black President, I found some of his comments disturbing: Read the rest of this entry »

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the outcry over obama’s speech to america’s youth

schoolbadge2Most folks who’ve read my blog over some time should know that while I very much respect President Obama, I don’t go Ga-Ga and drool over this man. I can understand why so many love him but I can also see why many disagree with his views and policies.

But having said that, I simply cannot understand the outcry of some parents, schools, churches, politicians, talk show hosts, your mommas, and whoever you want to add to this list that are going nuts about President Obama addressing America’s students. Of course, he has an agenda. As the President, he has certain goals, convictions, and “agendas” and in this case, he’s made it clear that he wants to address the youth about “working hard” and “personal responsibility” which umm, are clearly dangerous socialist, communist, and muslim agendas.  Huh? Read the rest of this entry »

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“america is not a christian, jewish, or muslim nation…”

courtesy of White House

What did you think of President Obama’s speech at the Turkish Press Conference?  And this quote from his speech:

…”American is not a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim nation…”

Here’s the above sentence in the larger context:

I think that where — where there’s the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation and a predominantly Muslim nation, a Western nation and a nation that straddles two continents — that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous; that there are not tensions, inevitable tensions, between cultures, which I think is extraordinarily important.

That’s something that’s very important to me. And I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is Read the rest of this entry »

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“…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 »

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blind versus discerning submission

photo by cbc.ca

I received this comment last week regarding my supposed slandering of soon to be former President George W. Bush.  The funny thing was I was trying to defend him in that post about an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at him.  Okay, I know he’s not the greatest president and many can’t wait to see him out of office but we should give him some props.  Why?  His work and advocacy for Africa was signifcant and secondly, the reality of extremist terrorists is legit and he navigated the country through uncharted territories especially through post 9/11.  But I still don’t support the war in Iraq.

Anyway, read the comment below.  Good thoughts for rumination by the commenter who I don’t know.  I appreciate the respectful tone in which he communicated his concerns.  But honestly, I get very concerned about Christians quoting Scriptures instructing people to “respect our governing authorities and fall in submission to them.”  

Really?  Yes, let’s respect our leaders.  I agree that it’s important but please don’t blindly submit to your leaders.  Please don’t tell this Read the rest of this entry »

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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, ,

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 »

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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

  • Seattle: You're invited to Quest Church for Easter Sunday. Come hear the Good News + Gospel Choir + Communion Feast. http://t.co/fo3vpo4RD5 || 1 hour ago
  • Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? 1 Cor. 15:55 || 8 hours ago
  • "It is finished." - Jesus http://t.co/s4hHROxhf0 || 20 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. || 21 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/ || 23 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 || 1 day ago
  • RT @seattlequest: Join us tonight for Good Friday at 6pm & 8pm. Easter Sunday celebrations at 7am, 9am,11am. - seattlequest.org http:… || 1 day 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... || 1 day ago

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