Eugene Cho

‘the next evangelicalism’ & the changing face of christianity

soong chan rah

Soong Chan Rah isn’t a household name that rolls off your tongue like others in the larger Western evangelical world.  But if you’re at all interested in Christianity and it’s engagement with Justice, Urbanism, and Multi-ethnicity, you’ll want to bookmark his website/blog and take a look at his new book entitled, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity.

Umm, I don’t think he got the memo that ‘happy titles’ sell more books.

the next evangelicalism

Since he’s a professor at North Park Seminary in Chicago, he was one of my primary hosts when I visited and spoke at the seminary couple freezing winters ago.  I recently had a chance to chat and interview (video below) Soong Chan about his new book, the changing face and supposed decline of Christianity and the Boston Red Sox, Cubs, and Seattle Mariners.

Listen to what he’s trying to say about the changing face of Christianity. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, I’ve been saying that as well.  Not to sound ominous, but getting this Read the rest of this entry »

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my quasi-conversation with rob bell…about women

Well, I finally met Rob Bell last night and had an intense conversation with him.  Kind of.  Like indirectly.

He was in Seattle for the Seeds of Compassion event with the Dalai Lama.  I have no problem with that at all.  I would have loved to have been invited to participate but no one called my agent.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , ,

my pastor is a janitor

During the first year of Quest, I was without salary and had tried so hard to obtain a job – any job – but I realized the painful truth that pastors [outside their jobs in churches] are useless in society.  I discovered that my Masters of Divinity degree…well…wasn’t really all that divine.   It was actually pretty useless.  After several months of looking for work, I finally landed a job as a janitor at a Barnes & Noble store in Lynnwood, Washington.

Not my idea of a “dream job.” It was one of the most difficult jobs and periods in my life – especially because this took place at a time when I thought I would be kicking ass in my “career” as a pastor.  Damn my hubris…

But I digress.  I want to introduce you to Jason Douros.  He’s sort of on staff at Quest Church as our custodian.  Why am I introducing you to our church’s custodian?  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , , ,

most exciting aspect of ministry

One of the most exciting aspects about ministry at Quest is our stewardship philosophy.  It has been there from the beginning – even before the church got started.  So, it is exciting to see stuff in my heart/mind come to some level of fruition.  If you want to get to know someone on a deeper basis, you’ll likely want to know how they earn, save, spend, and give away. 

Churches are no different.  We can say all that we want to say with our lips but a church’s budget speaks a great deal to its ministry and stewardship philosophy.  We have a long way to go but after several years of saving a few dollars here and there [Quest is a 6 year churchplant] and tinkering with our nomenclature, we are excited about the church’s 1 Fund and 3 Foundations.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: religion, , ,

“everything redeemable…”

About 7 or 8 months ago, I did an interview with Outreach Magazine about…umm…outreach but the article was just published for Jan/Feb 08.  These people certainly plan in advance!  I think I surprised them when I shared honestly that I don’t ever remember ever using the word “outreach” since we planted Quest Church.  I wasn’t trying to be smart-arsy about it because I know the importance of the traditional language of ‘outreach’ but I was trying to convey that in my ecclesiology, outreach really wasn’t an event, a thing, or something that you necessarily do but rather a lifestyle, presence, and worldview; Not an accessory but something that is inside you and thus, it’s not outreach but the very expression of living it out daily.  It’s incarnational.  Outreaches are good…nothing wrong with them per se.  Church do “outreaches” because it’s a platform to help people enage in outreaches but if we’re not careful, we end up teaching christians to be programatic and fragmented but not necessarily incarnational.

Remember I wrote couple months ago about a photo shoot where I had to take several hundred shots [for that one perfect picture]?  Well, they didn’t quite find the perfect picture.  When I showed my wife the article and picture, she actually busted out in laughter citing how big the dot on my nose looked!  Here’s one quote from the article [you can also click on the pic below to view the entire article]: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 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, ,

six years – suffocating and intoxicating

Quest quietly turned six years old two Sundays ago.  No hoopla.  No hurrah.  No fireworks.  No big party.  Just a quiet reflection with my wife at home.  We enjoyed a small cake ourselves [for my birthday]. The six years have been immensely adventurous.  At times, unbearable, painful, and suffocating.  Other times, intoxicating, profound, and beautiful.  Through it all, God has been steadfast and faithful.  We feel so humbled and privileged.

Here’s a picture [before the warehouse/cafe renovation] and an article from the first year: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, faith, religion, seattle, ,

final makeover pics

As promised, here are some final pics from our recent renovation of our newly gifted church property. In June 07, Interbay Church gifted their property to our church, Quest, and joined our community. For 27 days through several weeks in August and September, we went through a remodel of the church to update the space to better serve our larger community as well as continue our commitment to the larger city of Seattle and beyond.

Because of limited finances, we did about 80% of the work in-house.  If possible, I’ll never do this again.  It was enjoyable – on many levels – but dealing with stuff afterwards is no fun.  It would be much more convenient to hire a construction company and project manager and let them do what they do best.  Thanks again to the volunteers that sacrificed much of their time and talents…

Here’s a pic of what the sanctuary looked like before the changes:

_dsc3828.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: emerging church, religion, , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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