Eugene Cho

the most encouraging christmas card…


Quest recently received one of the most encouraging letters… From the beginning, we’ve tried to BE the church and as such, not be a community that merely worships (and hides) behind our liturgy or church building. Remember the post entitled, The Blog Post No One Wants to Read?

For example, the Q Cafe was started to help us engage the larger neighborhood and city and various ministries have been sprouted including one called, “To the Streets” led by Pastor DeAnza Spaulding (one of our pastors) and her team from the Compassion & Justice Ministries.

She received this letter during this month’s To the Streets distribution. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been very encouraged to see Questers take up her challenge and invitation to purchase and provide necessary stuff to help our homeless friends with the cold elements: clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, etc.

In the upcoming year, I’m excited to hear more about the vision of the Quest Justice Compassion (QJC) Ministry to build and fund a Drop In Center on or near our church campus for the homeless community that takes the care and distribution from once/month to a regular engagement.

Here’s the letter:

To All the Members of Quest Church, Read the rest of this entry »

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we finally did it and excited for the future

We’ve received our share of criticism about our public pledge to donate our 2009 salary to fight extreme poverty. Everything ranging from “Stop boasting” to “You’re lying” and

How about Matthew 6:3 and “…when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

For the record, I have no good response to people rebuking me with that scripture.  I know some of you are sick of me mentioning it but this will be the last time I mention it (although I know that this is what most of the media and bloggers will focus on as we get started).

I need to share it because there were many (mostly anonymous Facebookers) that doubted our pledge. While we weren’t able to honor the pledge by the October 20, 2009 launch date as we had hoped, I went to the bank yesterday and walked out with a cashier’s check for $68,000.

When we made our pledge, we had a plan to make it work but the year proved to be much more difficult than we had anticipated.  But after this past year+ of saving, scrimping, subletting, saving, borrowing, and other creative things, we were finally able to make the donation.

And while it was a difficult year, we learned much; grew more in love and respect for my wife; experienced many teaching moments with our children, and are excited for all that is in store…

There are two main reasons why we did this: Read the rest of this entry »

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starbucks “de-brands” itself as your local cafe

photo from Seattle PI

By now, many folks know that Starbucks has chosen to experiment by “de-branding” themselves by opening up three “neighborhood” coffee & tea shops called 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea. Along with coffee and tea, these stores will also sell wine and beer. I have yet to visit one of these shops but intend to at some point to see what the fuss is about.

The question is: “Will it work?”

I was told my Starbucks employees that they’re goal is to entice people that don’t normally go to Starbucks. And while some may go, they should be smart enough to know that that folks that are reasons why folks don’t go to Starbucks.  De-Branding yourself isn’t going to change that, will it?

Will it? Good idea?

Here’s my take: Read the rest of this entry »

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seattle low tide adventures & most beautiful summer city

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Earlier this year, I asked my readers for their opinion about the “most beautiful city in the world.” There were many compelling nominations.  Having lived in San Francisco and having visited other beautiful places including Capetown & Johannesburg (South Africa), Vancouver BC, NYC, San Diego, Monterey/Carmel, London, Hamburg (Germany), Beijing/Shanghai, Bangkok/Chang Mai, Kagoshima (Japan), etc…

I don’t know if there’s a more beautiful place than Seattle…during the summer.

The weather is amazing as many will note but it’s in the summer when you really appreciate the amazing topography of the area.  Within 30 minutes, I can be by lakes, oceans, mountains, trails, rivers, and camping by many of these natural beauties.  I love the beauty of the area as it compellingly reminds me of God’s magnificent handiwork. So beautiful and creative.

Yesterday, Minhee and I took our kids to a local beach in Seattle called Golden Gardens to enjoy the Low Tide adventures.  Here are some pics Read the rest of this entry »

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double tall vanilla latte and a goat?

Q Cafe

Let’s first get the coffee espresso snob question out of the way:

What’s “your” espresso drink? Or are you a tea person?

In the face of some incredibly shocking statistics about extreme global poverty, it’s easy and understandable to feel paralyzed. I’ve often felt this way but instead of feeling the burden to change the world, just think about making an impact on one person, or one family, or one small village.

As some of you know, I also serve as the executive director of a non-profit community cafe called Q Cafe. I’m joined on the Advisory Board by Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: justice, non-profit, Q Cafe, , , , , , ,

calling on dreamers, visionaries, and investors

Eugene & Minhee Cho, co-founders of One Day's Wages

We recently unveiled our vision for One Day’s Wages – a movement to fight extreme global poverty. We’re still working hard to get the beta version of the website ready by late June/early July and a full launch by September but we still need your help.  This is my invitation for the early Dreamers, Visionaries, & Investors to help launch One Day’s Wages.

Raising funds is not an easy to do especially in light of two things: 1) I hear there’s a global financial recession going on, and 2) It’s not easy investing in something you’re really not sure if it’s going to do what it aspires to do.

And what is ODW’s aspiration?

Inspiring people around the world through human relationships & stories and technology & social media to stir a movement to fight extreme global poverty.

Would you consider being amongst our early Dreamers, Visionaries, and Investors?  Here’s the good news: We’ve already raised $50,519.63 Read the rest of this entry »

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gay marriage: failing both sides?

gay marriage?While I hold to “conservative” views on homosexuality & gay marriage, I support everyone having full benefits associated with civil unions.  While it may not be popular to some, I think that the goverment needs to get out of the marriage business/industry, oversee civil unions for everyone, and marriage should be administered by churchees as they see appropriate. But that likely isn’t going to happen anytime sooon and the battle over gay marriage is only going to intensify.  Want proof?  Read this from yesterday’s Seattle Times:

A group called WhoSigned.org says it will publicize the names of people signing petitions for Referendum 71, which seeks a public vote to overturn a new expansion of Washington’s same-sex partnerships.

WhoSigned.org says it’s partnering with the gay rights group KnowThyNeighbor.org to put the names online.

In a statement Monday, WhoSigned.org says it expects people who see the names online to contact the signers for what may be uncomfortable talks about gay rights.

Sponsors of Referendum 71 have until July 25 to collect about 121,000 signatures to make the fall ballot. The referendum seeks to overturn the latest expansion of the domestic partner law, which would give partners the same state rights as married couples.

I can’t even comprehend the pain that the gay community feels but I wonder if this will only backfire on their efforts…

What do you think? (As usual, please be respectful in our dialogue)

Folks want an easy target and blame the Church or Christians for the movement against Prop 8 and other initiatives but I think they might be off base…

I think I need to chill on some of these intense topics. I’m not trying to play victim here but it’s exhausting and not pleasant to get these kind of emails from both sides. Folks are clearly passionate.  While it may be hard for some to believe, I’m trying to Love God and Love People – trying really hard but apparently, failing miserably.

It’s people like you that give Christianity a very bad name. Read the rest of this entry »

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the cho girls on unicycles

If my master plan of getting all three of my kids to and through college on Division I sports scholarships don’t pan out, there appears to be a Plan B.  The girls apparently might be able to qualify for some sort of unicycling scholarship at CTU – aka Clowning Technical University.

This past Sunday, they and about 60 of their elementary schoolmates participated in the Norwegian Constitution Day parade in Ballard – a neighborhood of Seattle with long Scandinavian roots.  Check out this two minute video below.  You’ll see both of my girls in a sea of probably about 60-70 unicyclists and you’ll even see a nasty fall. Seriously, I was really nervous because there were so many kids uncycling everywhere.

I’m going to show my girls this blog post so feel free to share some words of encouragement like: Read the rest of this entry »

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our church’s response to the H1N1 – swine flu

communion at quest

I just sent out this note to our church email database in response to the growing concern of the H1N1 Virus (aka Swine Flu).  In addition to some cases in the larger country, there have now been seven new cases of what is likely the H1N1 virus.  Six of them involve children which explains why six schools are now closed.

With the impact of media and social media, news of the ‘Swine Flu’ is going literally viral.  While there clearly isn’t ONE response, we should not err on the extremes: Panic or Ignorance.

Leaders: No need to propagate fear and panic but don’t ignore the fact that some of your congregants are genuinely worried for themselves and their families. In Seattle (article above), six schools have temporarily closed their schools in response to the virus. There’s clearly no need to cancel church but we should take measures and precautions to reassure our congregants.  Remember: Pastoral Care.

Having said, our church staff made the following precautionary decisions that impact our church worship

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: church, ministry, quest church, religion, seattle, , ,

dream job: wanna be barista & music promoter

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What would be your dream job?

Mine would – in part – encompass my current roles as “Chief Barista and Music Promoter.” Okay, maybe not my ultimate dream job since that would be playing shortstop for the Seattle Mariners but being the Executive Director of Q Cafe is one of the best parts of my job.  I love being a pastor but wearing one hat or at least working in a traditional box of what a pastor does [aka - work just in church building] would drive me insane. About six years ago, the then 40+ people of Quest took a huge step of faith and helped start Q Cafe with the hopes of blessing our larger neighborhood.  The vision of the cafe is pretty simple:

Q Cafe is non-profit neighborhood cafe in Seattle featuring direct trade espresso and tea, live music, art, and community events.

or in four words:

Be a good neighbor.

Why do I love my work at Q?  Free coffee, hang w/ the baristas, love the Advisory Board, meet neighbors, enjoy local artists and musicians, sponsor community events, and donate 10% of sales to a new local non-profit every month.

Anyway, I had the chance to swing by Q Cafe last night to enjoy a show.  I don’t get to go too often but try to check in to keep my youthfulness. Here’s a crappy video to give folks a glimpse of the show from last night: Read the rest of this entry »

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a letter to my children’s pastor

quest children's ministry

Dear Katey,

You’ve been our children’s director and pastor for several years now. You’ve done an amazing job.  I still remember the days of Quest when our (Minhee and I) – then 2 children – were the only kids at Quest. Through you and Christina, our amazing associate director, and other folks like Becky, Karis, Gordon, Stacy and on and on, God has immensely blessed our church community. When we “hired” you as our children’s pastor many years ago, you were just graduating from college and there were some concerns expressed by the interview committee but I remember sharing with them these words: Read the rest of this entry »

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your city and your ideal future home?

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In light of Seattle being named ‘City of the Year’ by Fast Company magazine (article below), let’s begin a new week with a community building post.  A ‘community building’ post is an invitation to get off the sidelilnes and write a comment.  Share your answer and a bit of yourself.

Here’s the question:

Where do you currently live?  Do you like your current city/town? And if you could live anywhere else in the world (not visit but actually live), where would that be?

My answer: Obviously, I live in Seattle.  We are heading towards our 12 year anniversary in Seattle this June.  It’s amazing to think that nearly 12 years ago, Minhee and I packed up our station wagon (about 5 months after getting married) and made our way to Seattle – not quite certain what the future would hold.  I shared more about why I love Seattle here.  Many of you also shared your answers for the world’s most beautiful city.

If I could live anywhere, my choices:   Read the rest of this entry »

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film screening: ‘crossing’ into north korea

Simple invitation: Join me to watch this award winning film – Crossing – at Q Cafe.  Here’s the FaceBook Invitation.

Awareness can not be underestimated.  One of my goals in life is to raise awareness and then see if and how people respond.  I can’t control that response but I can work towards raising awareness.

There are certainly many issues but one that is still hidden to much of  the consciousness of the larger world is the grave suffering and injustices in North Korea.  And yes, it is close to my heart because North Korea is where my ancestors are from.

The special screening of the film – CROSSING – co-sponsored by Q Cafe and Quest Church on Monday, May 4 @ 7pm.  Every person that I know that have seen the film says it is incredible.  It was considered for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film in 2009 and stars an actor I respect immensely – Cha In Pyo – not just for his talent but for his compelling altruism and humanitarian efforts.  Tickets are ONLY $5 and $3/students but if you can’t afford it for whatever reason, I will comp your ticket.  ALL proceeeds go to support the work compassion and justice in North Korea. You can buy the tickets here.  We are partnering with Liberty in North Korean [LiNK].  They will also be present at the film screening to introduce the film and conduct some Q/A.

Here’s the 2 minute trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

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atheist bus ads arrive in seattle

To support and amplify the already pervasive non-religious reputation of Seatte, the atheist bus ads are set to arrive in Seattle.  To refresh your memory, remember my posts from recent months about these bus ads from the UK:  There’s Probably No God and then of course the Christian response:  The Atheist vs Christian Bus Ads

I suspect that in the near future, some Christian group or folks here in Seattle will fund a set of new ads in response to these ads.

And then at that point, I’d like to launch my own campaign and website called: Read the rest of this entry »

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good bye to the seattle post intelligencer

Good bye Seattle Post Intelligencer (1863-2009) and ‘Thank You.’  When I heard the rumors, I didn’t want to believe it even though I knew it was inevitable.  It’s not just the current economic situation but the continual impact of the internet and how it impacts people reading and receiving their news.  Last year alone, the Seattle PI lost 14 million dollars.  And so, today, the Seattle PI prints their final edition.  In a small way, I’ve contributed to that closure since I was once a subscriber but chose to read all my news online couple years ago.  I really do like the feel and experience of flipping through the newpaper pages but how can you compete with free?

  • How do you read your news? Who and how?
  • What are your feelings about these changes?  
  • How is your city or town being impacted?  

And while the Seattle PI will live on as an online paper, it just won’t be the same. And I’m not sure how I feel about Seattle being the first of probably more to come of other cities being reduced to one newspaper source.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer will roll off the presses for the last time Tuesday. The Hearst Corp. announced Monday that it would stop publishing the 146-year old newspaper, Seattle’s oldest business, and cease delivery to more than 117,600 weekday readers.

The company, however, said it would maintain seattlepi.com, making it the nation’s largest daily newspaper to shift to an entirely digital news product. [read full article]

While I wasn’t a current subscriber, I enjoyed reading the PI via my RSS reader and directly on their website.  And while I know that they’ll continue being an online paper, it’s just not going to be the same.  I’m going to miss the Post Intelligencer as a printed paper because I’ve had a very good relationship with several of their reporters and staff.  They were fair in reporting about Quest and our presence in Seattle and their editors were also very gracious in allowing me to write couple guest columns:

Read the rest of this entry »

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the church video venue coming near you

I ran into a fellow pastor/acquaintance at the Q Cafe yesterday.  He’s a good guy.  We ended up having a short but substantive talk since I haven’t seen him for several months.  When I last chatted with him, he asked for some advice about churchplanting and so I did the good midrash thing and asked him a few questions which he said he really took to heart and got him thinking. Those questions led him down a road where he eventually left his denomination and go figure, joined the Mars Hill Church network.  He’ll soon be pastoring one of their zillion “campuses.”   That’s just kind of funny to me that my advice got another pastor to join Mars Hill. 

Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill has been on the national news a lot recently.  The NY Times published an article couple months ago entitled, Who Would Jesus Smack Down?  The reporter called last year and asked me for some quotes but I said, “No thanks.”  My ego was tempted since it would have been nice to be mentioned in the NY Times but not that way.  I’ve got my differences with Mark but heck, we’re still Facebook friends.  BFF  KIT  TTYL.  Meme me.

In previous entries on this blog, I’ve shared both the concerns and respect I have for Mark here and here.   But my conversation yesterday with this soon to be MH elder got me thinking [again] about the church video venue. Read the rest of this entry »

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humbled by seattle’s snowpocalypse and tubing with our kimchee bowl

leochensnow3

leochensnow2

Seriously, when I made my “Farewell Video” last week mocking Seattlites’ winter ineptitude and “the world is ending” local news, I really had no idea what we had in store. I’ve braved two memorable winter storms: one in Princeton, New Jersey where it snowed so much we couldn’t open our front door and the other being a Chicago wind/snowstorm that was so cold that it made me cry…literally.

This wasn’t the worst I’ve experienced but let me just say that I’ve been humbled by Seattle’s Snowpocalypse. I’m not making any more sarcastic videos for a while. And I think I can speak for the entire city and while I’m at it, for the entire Western Washington that this has been humbling.

Some humbling stuff: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, travel, , , ,

in memory of brenden foster

While being away in the East Coast last weekend, I did not receive the news of Brenden Foster’s passing last Friday, November 21, 2008 until this morning.  Brenden is the 11 year old boy from Seattle diagnosed with leukemia three years ago who stirred a movement of compassion and genersosity.  On a recent trip from his doctor, he passed the homeless community called Nickelsville and his last wish was to help feed the homeless.  It’s an amazing and beautiful story.

Like many others, I’m moved, compelled, and deeply encouraged by the short but significant life of Brenden.  His life is an encouragement – simply – as a reminder that one person really can make a difference.  And even more so, he isn’t alone.  We are not alone.  There are many people seeking to be agents of hope, compassion, and generosity.

The stuff below didn’t make the news and we don’t do it for the purposes of making news Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: family, health, religion, , , ,

stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

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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.

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