Eugene Cho

in memory of carlos holguin | a year ago

On a Saturday, July 2, 2005, approximately 1.30AM, a local homeless man named Carlos Holguin died. There’s been much speculation how he died. Initial reports stated that he was badly injured as he was ‘burned in an accident while grilling with propane.’ Many of the local homeless community who knew and love Carlos thought otherwise believing there was a ‘hate crime’ involved.  In fact, they are certain of it.  The case is now closed with his death attributed to an accident. A week after Carlos’ death, we held a memorial service at our church for him. We were surprised how many people from the homeless community had gathered to pray and honor his life.

One conversation I had was with a man who was not homeless and he did not know Carlos at all. When I asked him, “Why are you here?”, he replied with this answer (paraphrase):

“Reverend, I’m here because I needed to be here. You see, I was once homeless many years ago and I remember how it used to be. Being alone. And no, I don’t know this man, Carlos, but I read the article about his death and felt I needed to be here to somehow let him know that his life mattered.”

Honestly, I didn’t know Carlos very well or “Los” as many in the homeless community called this dude.  We chatted a few times but one thing I knew about “Los” was that he was nearly always happy.  He was always smiling and encouraging people.  He called me “Rev” and shouted it at the top of his longs whenever he saw me.  He was always nearly drunk as well and could tell he was drinking away some of his pain.

There are times I’ll sit in my church office and wonder if what we’re doing as a church means anything at all. We are so far from being the church we ought to be but nevertheless, I find strength in knowing that in some way or another, we are communicating and demonstrating to ourselves and others that PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD and IF PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD, THEY OUGHT TO MATTER TO THE CHURCH. PEOPLE OUGHT TO MATTER TO QUEST…

As you soak in the words of GOSPEL this week that YOUR lives matter to Christ, may you be encouraged and convicted to speak those words of TRUTH to others in your lives – both friends and strangers.

Filed under: church

One Response

  1. Carlos Holguin was my uncle. A year and a half ago my family and I heard the news of my uncle.The family was very upset with the way the seattle police took the case.We are still very, sad and hurt about uncle los and his death.Because it was a bad way to die. We all couldnt understand how the seattle police dept took it so blunt.We would love justice to be handed down to the person who did this to the los.Our uncle the coolest of all uncles,brother,cousin,and father of carlos Jr.I can remember all the great times me and the los had.He was a great person.He would always come home back to michigan,to pay a short vist and party with all of us.There is no way that there was any propane involved with his death.Seattle Police didnt care because the thought he was just another homeless man.That was not true carlos was a worker,and the job rate failed here in michigan.So he ended up some how on one of the fishing boats in seattle.The police who ever they where that day should of did there jobs.But they where to dumb and shouldnt waved it off as another homeless mans death.That to all the others who held the service for our beloved unlce los thank you very much the the church

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One Day’s Wages

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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