Eugene Cho

guest post: may we all be egyptians

As you know, I’m hosting an occasional guest blogger for my readers. Today’s guest post is by Helen Lee, the author of a new book called The Missional Mom. I admit I have yet to finish the book but from what I’ve read thus far, I’ve been very encouraged – even as a Dad!

Let me also share how indebted I am to Helen. I’ve only met her once before (very briefly) but when she read from my Twitter account that I lost my jacket in Washington DC and was coming into freezing Chicago (her home), she found out where I was speaking at and sent her husband to greet me with an extra jacket!

Not only is she a missional mom but also a compassionate missional mom! Thanks Helen.

On another note, I’m incredibly grateful to Helen and her agent who are donating 10% of all proceeds directly to One Day’s Wages. Take a peek at her website.

Here’s her guest post:

Watching the recent events in Egypt unfold has been an incredible experience, to say the least. But of all the coverage, the article entitled “We Are All Egyptians”, by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, affected me the most. Within minutes of reading it, I was surprised to find tears in my eyes. Here are some of the quotes that stuck with me: Read the rest of this entry »

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new york times: do-it-yourself foreign aid

Got some really cool news to share with you. Literally…cool and inspiring news.

I had the most surreal phone call while I was fishing in Nebraska during my vacation. A guy named Nicholas Kristof called. For those that don’t know, Kristof is one of my favorite writers and he’s also a two time Pulitzer winning columnist for the New York Times. He and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, are also the authors of a phenomenal book called Half the Sky. Somehow he had heard about our story and of One Day’s Wages and wanted to chat – without any promises – of a possible inclusion in a special feature he was writing for the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

That article, The D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution, was published in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Every time someone mentions or writes about our story, I feel the importance of trying to share how ODW was so much of a community thing. We are not an island to ourselves. So many have inspired, encouraged, and prayed for us.

And so, I again want to extend to my blog readers, friends, and larger community – sincere thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement.

Thank you.

Your prayers, belief, and generosity in helping “seed” the vision has allowed ODW to move forward. Amazingly, we were able to raise $71,797 (mostly through this blog) to help launch ODW. And as I’ve shared before, Minhee and I are Read the rest of this entry »

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religion and women

Nicolas Kristof has an article in today’s NY Times entitled, Religion and Women, that’s worth reading. Unlike some of his other pieces, it’s not super long so it’ll take one sitting but hopefully, it’ll sit with you for a bit.

I’ve written about this topic numerous times and will continue to do so. If you’re interested in some of them, here’s several to check out:

It is the oldest injustice for the simple reason that men are physically stronger and thus, can oppress the “weaker” half. And then you mix in the combustion of various religions and world ideologies that seek to elevate one half and suppress the other half and you’ve got a cycle of great devastation and oppression.

I’m not an expert on all world religions so I can’t speak with full authority but this is one of the reasons why I am captivated by Jesus: He liberates; Not oppresses. If anything, he liberates that which has oppressed.  He turned things UPSIDE Read the rest of this entry »

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what really happened with laura ling, euna lee, and north korea?

North Korea border

These are crazy times but I have a feeling that those words could have been said at every point in human history.  These are crazy times because, in my opinion, it reflects that reality that “something just isn’t right with the world.” But nevertheless, we keep working and moving forward towards restoration and reconciliation. I just hope folks comes to realize that God is the author of Shalom and thus, we need to return to Him for guidance in this journey.

I’ve been mulling the situation in numerous part of the world but also keeping tabs with American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.  I have friends, even as I write this, that cross the border of North Korea and China on a weekly if not daily basis.  When the whole news broke, I was absolutely confused:

How do journalists accidentally cross over to North Korea?

You don’t.

My suspicion all along has been foul play – somehow, somewhere, and some folks.

The 12 year sentence?

Didn’t really surprise me – but it still saddened me.

So what will happen?

For now, it’s all a guessing game but one thing I am convinced of is that the blame does NOT fall on Laura and Euna.  We need to keep them in our thoughts & prayers; Continue to put pressure on our government and its officials to maintain dialgoue and pressure on North Korea. I am also convinced that they will return one day. And while it was not what they intended or planned, the words they will write and share will be more impactful than they can imagine. It will give the world a deeper glimpse of the darkness in North Korea and the change/revolution that needs to happen.  For now, I want to encourage you to check out Nicholas Kristof’s article (below) about Laura Ling, Euna Lee, and North Korea. I agree with much of his assessment.

My ancestors are from North Korea.  My father and mother was born in North Korea. Some of you have read my burden and heart for North Korea.  Couple years ago, my parents trekked back to this part of the China and North Korea border in hopes of seeing their homeland – even from across the border.  He was taking some pictures and captured the one above before he was “asked” to stop taking pictures.

Here’s the full article by Kristof. Read it: Read the rest of this entry »

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be very angry about slavery

photo by Nicholas Kristof of NY Times

First of all, Happy New Year.  I intended to put together a nice, happy, and joyful family letter but haven’t gotten around to it – and may not until 2010.  Who knows?  But as we embark on a new year, I want to personally commit myself to a deeper walk and work in Christ and in that process, not only be more hopeful, prayerful, grateful but also commit myself to a deeper anger.   Yes, you read that correctly.  

I personally think Christians don’t get angry enough at the grave examples of evil, injustice, and suffering around the world.  We see, observe, discuss – but mostly at a distance – a safe distance.  While my actions may be limited, I want to see the evil, injustice, and pain around me to impact me deep inside so that the Holy Spirit may use it to transform me and by His grace and power, compel me to be an agent of Hope, Grace, Faith, and Love.  

I have a postcard of Martin Luther King Jr. on my desk and it reads the following:

When evil men plot, good men must plan.  when evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.  When evil men should ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.  Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”

Tonight, I read another article by Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times entitled, If This Isn’t Slavery, What is?  Stunning and f**k*n’ sickening Read the rest of this entry »

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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, , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

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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