Eugene Cho

In honor of Rosa Parks: Quiet, confident, strong, courageous, prophetic…and a follower of Christ.

Rosa_Parks_BookingRosa Parks.

This woman.
Quiet but not timid.
Confident but not arrogant.
Fierce but not violent.
Strong, Courageous, and Prophetic.
…and a follower of Christ.

Rosa Parks.

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

As many seek to honor her, it’s common and tempting for folks to only acknowledge parts of her. In a fast changing post-Christendom world, many will not want to acknowledge (or even know) the significance that her faith in Christ played in her life and thus, her activism. In other words, her activism was part of her discipleship. Read the rest of this entry »

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Garrett Swasey: Christ Follower, Son, Husband, Father, Pastor, and Police Officer. We see you. We honor you.

PhotoGrid_1448697030787It’s just utterly tragic. I’m just starting to read the horrendous news of the shootings at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. Information is still being gathered for the shooter, his motivations, and the victims.

One of the killed was a first responder – Officer Garrett Swasey, a six year veteran of the campus police force of Univ. of Colorado (Colorado Springs). It wasn’t even his responsibility as a campus police officer to respond to this incident but he chose to go. If this isn’t heroism, I don’t know what is…

Let’s be honest: There’s been so much horrible news of police brutality throughout our country…that only reveal a glimpse of the reality of police abusing their power and authority including and especially with their engagement with Black Americans. As some of you may know, I’ve been a vocal supporter of racial injustice issues (here, here, here, here, here, and here).  Now, please hear me: The power dynamics (abuse of power) can not and should not be ignored, denied, or avoided. As we go about this urgent work of racial justice and fighting against police brutality, if one is not wise and discerning, one can make the error of making generalizations about anyone and everyone associated with the police. This is certainly my confession.

Couple of my friends who are in the police force have shared this very new reality and tension:

“Eugene, folks don’t see us as human beings any more. They just see the uniform and thus, public enemy #1.”

This is important: To support one is not to reject the other. These two things should not be viewed as competing, contradictory, or antithetical. In other words, I’m trying to articulate – not very well – that one can and must challenge and protest against systemic injustice and still value the individuals that work with integrity within such difficult, unjust systems. These are indeed challenging and complex times….ones that require much prayer, courage, tenacity, and humility.
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After Charleston: An Open Letter to White Christians from a White Female Pastor

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We are all still in shock and pain. Yesterday, I wrote these brief words on social media about the tragic events at Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina.

There’s a time to argue issues and there’s a time to just grieve, mourn, weep. Now is that time to grieve, mourn, weep.

Tomorrow will come and may God give us wisdom and courage to be both fierce and gentle, prophetic and pastoral…in pursuit of God’s Kingdom here on this earth.

But today…we lament. We lament. We lament.

Well, we continue to lament, and grieve, and weep. And as we do so, we must have the courage indeed to be both fierce and gentle, prophetic and pastoral. We must have the courage to speak up. Today, I asked Rev. Liz Mosbo Verhage, one of our pastors at Quest Church and also an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary, for permission to share her courageous post entitled, “An Open Letter to White Christians From a White Female Pastor.” 

Please take a read. Please take this heart.

An Open Letter to White Christians from a White Female Pastor

I am grieving and lamenting and beyond angry over what feels like open season on the Black Community/Church right now in the United States.

White Christians, this is the time to pay attention and be part of our nation’s struggle to understand and address the continual violence happening against our black sisters and brothers. When one part of the Body hurts we all hurt – when one part of the Body is repeatedly targeted, killed, not protected, pulled out of swimming pools, seen as threats when unarmed – and then misrepresented, silenced, or made small through ahistoric excuses, side-stepping through political mess, or any other form of evil – we need to stand up. We need to show up – loudly. We need to demand a different response – and start with our people in the church.

White church – and the wider church in general – this is the time for all of us to engage. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quest Church has purchased the building formerly known as Mars Hill Church. Full transparency: Here’s why and how.

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Update: Quest is currently renovating our new space and will be hosting our first service in our new location on Sunday, September 13.

I have some big news to share – news that will likely solicit mixed emotions for many people.

If you’re an internet junkie, it’s possible that you may have already heard as I’ve been receiving my share of texts and tweets. About two weeks ago, Quest Church – the church I lead – purchased Mars Hill Church (Ballard). Yes, that Mars Hill Church.

Since then, there’s been a trickling of blogs, online news, and television reports that have covered this. As such, there’s also been a trickling of criticism of why we would do business with MH, questions about the transactions, and simply, erroneous info about Quest on the blogosphere.

No, Quest is not a social gospel church. No, I’m not a socialist. No, we’re not an emergent church. No, I’m not an Angry Asian (OK, only sometimes). No, Quest is not a cult. No, I was not in a boy band in the 80s. Blah blah blah.

Because Quest deeply values transparency and integrity, I thought it would be good to answer the most common questions we’ve received thus far. We have nothing to hide and would actually ask for your help to clarify any false information or rumors that you may hear. We share this because of the highly sensitive firestorm surrounding MH this past year. We share this because we covet your support and prayers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Drop Box film. Why it’s complicated, why it matters, and why you should watch it.

It’s true. The topics of orphan care and adoption are incredibly complex.

Anyone that says otherwise are naive or selling something. It’s complicated on their own and even more complicated in the same sentence. And even more complicated when you engage it on local, national, and international level. They might be undergirded by certain same principles but they can (and should) look different on the ground. There’s no one simple, generic solution. And whenever solutions are presented, eventually – surely enough – loopholes are found to be exploited or what’s relevant in one context and culture may not be as relevant – or even dangerous – in another context.

Adoption – locally and globally – are fraught with complexities and even justice issues. It’s sad but that is sometimes the case when people [in this case, adoptees and especially young children/babies] are seen as commodities – particularly in international adoption. When we speak about adoption or orphan care, we must begin with two overarching principles for us as followers of Christ: 1) God cares for children and thus, 2) Children must matter to us – their well being, their safety, and their future. But often times, children themselves are often what’s most forgotten in these conversations, complexities, and politics.

Having said that – and while others may disagree with me, my conviction about international adoption is that we must seek to keep children with their biological families if at all possible – if children are in a safe environment. This needs to be the pervasive ethic so that economics isn’t the ruling factor – especially with international adoption.

Now, having said that, we know that we don’t always live in a society and culture of ideals and thus, the tension. This is why orphan care and adoption require much prayer, discernment and critical thinking.

This leads me to a film that I’d like to encourage you to watch: The Drop Box.

The Drop Box is a powerful documentary coming to theaters in March of 2015.

The film tells the story of Lee Jong-Rak, a pastor in Seoul, South Korea, and his wife, who built a drop box at the front of his church as a safe location for babies who are otherwise abandoned on the streets. It has an inspiring message for all of us, challenging us to consider what role we might play in advocating for orphans and supporting adoptive families.

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There will come a time to hope but for now, we mourn. We lament.

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“…Mourn with those who mourn.” [Romans 12:15]

This picture.

Wailing.
Crying.
Disbelief.
Incredulity.
Oh no, not again.
Just utter pain.
Deep lament.

It hurts to just stare at this photo and even more so, to imagine the shrieks and intensity of this father’s deep scream. Read the rest of this entry »

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In prison or in freedom, the good news is that God has not abandoned us. Christ is with us…

Over two years ago on November 3, 2012, we heard about Kenneth Bae’s arrest in North Korea.

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Over a year ago on August 10, 2013, we held a special prayer vigil for Kenneth Bae and his family.

2021587226 Read the rest of this entry »

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Pray for the people of North Korea. Lord, may your light shine forth.

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I’m sitting in front of my computer and I’m crying. And I can’t stop.

There’s a tidal wave of emotions. As a follower of Jesus, I’m ecstatic over Kenneth Bae’s release from jail. Many will know that he was detained in North Korea not because he was trying to topple its government but because of his faith in Christ and his love for the people of North Korea. And while many question the wisdom of going to a country like North Korea, I know that following Christ will sometimes lead us to places that might be irrational to many – even to the Church.

As a pastor, I’m overwhelmed with joy for Terri and Andy Chung, and their two daughters. Terri is Kenneth’s younger sister and their family worships at the church I lead, Quest Church. Having had numerous meetings with Terri’s mother, Myunghee, I can’t imagine how she must be feeling right now. For goodness sake, her love and devotion to her son led her to visit him in North Korea about a year ago. Just last Sunday, our church spent time hearing from Terri and praying for their family. It was emotional as we pondered his two years in captivity. Kenneth was in captivity for a total of 735 days…and tonight, they will be reunited.

And as I genuinely rejoice…

I’m reminded of what remains: a people under a brutal regime. Approximately 24.5 million people.
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Two years. 730 days and counting. It’s time to release Kenneth Bae. #BringBaeBack

This is a deeply personal post and I hope you’ll take a moment to read it and share the video above. While I have never met Kenneth Bae personally, his sister and family attend the church I lead, Quest Church. He is an American citizen. He is also a son, a father, a husband, a brother…and also a follower of Christ. I do not know him personally but I consider him a brother-in-Christ. Yes, he is a missionary although he was not directly doing ‘missions’ work in North Korea but he was captured on November 3, 2012.

If you do the quick math, today marks 2 years. That’s 730 days. And every day adds another day to what is already the longest detainment of an American citizen in North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »

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When your daughter’s name means “Joy of God” and yet, joy becomes the biggest challenge. #HappyBirthdayJubilee

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It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. While I think I still kinda sorta wanna look young, I’m reminded how old I’m getting when I see my children. Today, my eldest child celebrates her 16th birthday.

Her name is Jubilee and her name means the “Joy of God.”

Jubilee also has a very powerful Scriptural meaning. It’s referenced in the Book of Leviticus where it is to “occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.” We pray that our daughter lives into both of these meanings.

It’s been particularly hard because joy has often become the biggest challenge for her. It would not be appropriate for me to broadcast her life story because it’s not for me to tell and I know that when she’s ready, she’ll share her story with the rest of the world…and it’ll be raw, painful, honest, and beautiful. Read the rest of this entry »

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stuff, connect, info

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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I hate this: “We love the truth when it enlightens us, but hate it when it convicts us” ~ St. Augustine Woah. Deeply encouraged and convicted by @jlin7's vulnerable post today on IG. We all have setbacks and some of them are ones that we can never imagine or predict. How we respond to these setbacks says much about our character. Thanks Jeremy for being honest and vulnerable about your pain and emotional devastation after your season ending injury...and yet, in the midst of this, to witness your hope, faith, perseverance, and hard work: "Adversity forces us to reevaluate, adapt, improve. It forces us to ask the tough questions, to go the extra mile and push our limits...and let's not forget God always has a sovereign, perfect plan." - @jlin7

I see you, bro. Cheering you on and praying for you. And also, here's a pic we took last year after a game. Don't misinterpret my awkward smile...I'm grateful for our friendship. Lol.

Most importantly, grateful for our partnership got  the whole Gospel. Can't wait to share with others about your 2018 campaign with @onedayswages. #neverdone #jlin7 #linsanity

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