Eugene Cho

monday sermon quarterback | ex 34

i don’t intend to make this a weekly habit.  not planning on sharing post sermon thoughts every week but will do so when i say something or omit something that i want to elaborate on.

yesterday, continued teaching on exodus 34 and the juxtaposition of god’s compassion and the announcement of punishment for sins for parents and their children to the third and fourth generation.  i wanted to elaborate on my thoughts that i shared about the importance of shaping ‘worldview’ of our children and how the early years are so important.

as a father of three, i know that parenting is complex.  i didn’t want parent and parents to be at quest (we’ve had about 10 babies born in the past 5-6 months) to feel like i was trivializing the tension they must feel as they make decisions about their families.  nor did i want to offend the feminists of quest (i refer to them as such with respect).

my proposal:  supporting and raising families are getting tougher.  dual incomes no longer seem to be an option but a way of life and that simply perturbs the life out of me.  in the early years of a child(ren)’s life, i believe parents ought to seriously consider one PARENT staying home to raise the child rather than daycares, babysitters, or even extended families. EDIT:  I’m not downplaying the health and viability of integrating other options but the importance of parents playing the PRIMARY role and not secondary roles to some of the options I listed earlier.  finances and income is obviously a legitimate concern but while we so easily justify taking on debt to obtain degrees and training – college, grad, seminary, etc. – i just think that parents shouldn’t feel so bad about debt in order to make the investment of the early year(s) of their children.  this is the choice that my wife and i have made.  we’re not espousing reckless  accrument of debt, but wise and prayerful investments.  there is nothing more significant that raising, nurturing, and shaping the lives of our children – so that they shape the lives of their children and add to the global community for the honor of God’s glory.

again, this is not to elevate the guilt level of parents who have chosen to continue working.  not at all. please pray, think, wrestle, and ultimately, may you FOLLOW your convictions and simultaneously, not be consumed entirely by your circumstances.

for those from our quest church community, we’ll have some of the se asia vision team sharing their stories this upcoming sunday and i’ll finally wrap up exodus on september 24.  we’ll take a break before we get into delicious leviticus.

Filed under: church, quest church

3 Responses

  1. David Park says:

    You raise some good points. I think that a response that I would like to see from churches and believers is a real, tangible commitment to community, living in community and raising our children in community. I believe that no other faith has a stronger theology or calling for that type of sacrificial communal living than what Christ gives us, and yet it is hard to see examples of that in real terms. So in terms of sacrificing and willingness to go into debt for the raising of our children, it should be a collective, communal commitment of like-Christ-minded people which should reduce debt altogether and allow us to visibly live with the statement that is counter to this individualistic, egocentric, here-and-now culture that we live in.

    Of course, I don’t have children yet, but ask me in a couple of years, I’m working on it though right now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Eugene,

    I really appreciated your thoughts on Sunday morning.

    But I’m just not so sure that having a self-sufficient family unit where one brings in income, and one watches the children, is even always desirable. In earlier times, and in other cultures, the extended family was there to help. In the absence of extended family, most of us have to turn to friends and paid care-givers. The way that American families tend to do this is with mom and the kids staying home all alone all day. They may get out from time to time, but the mom generally has no other adult interaction during most days. I’m just not sure this model of isolated family was ever how it was intended to be. Kids need strong bonds with their parents, but having others around to help (extended family, friends, paid care givers) doesn’t interfere with that process and it can teach more about community beyond the stand-alone small family unit. The family unit is part of a bigger whole, and wasn’t ever intended to operate in isolation. I think some of the cracks that have appeared in the foundation of family are due to putting a bigger burden on it than it was meant to stand up under.

  3. eugenecho says:

    anonymous

    i agree. i recant the part about ‘extended families’ needing to be involved. i also agree that other forms of ‘community’ ought to be involved. there are many varaibles but here’s one variable that MUST not change: parents must be involved. and in ways that we’re not willing to acknowledge, i see parents (not necessarily at quest but just in general) too easily taking a backseat in the role of raising our children.

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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