Eugene Cho

marriage – the greatest synergy

As we’re studying through Colossians, I decided to take some time to ‘park’ around Colossians 3:1-17.  Because of life circumstances in the life of our church, I thought it would be appropriate to engage in a topical series (six week) entitled, “God’s Ethics of Intimacy and Sex.”  Of the 400 adults at Quest, I would guess that about 70-75% are single. Every year, we have at least a dozen weddings.   This past week, I even learned that we’ll be having our first Interbay and Quest marriage.  This couple took the ‘church merger’ way too literally.  🙂  Like any community, we have seen our share of both incredibly beautiful and broken stories in relationships.  And so, I hope these sermons have been both appropriate and helpful to our church community.  I’ve discovered that when you’re speaking to a larger group, you can afford to be brutally honest.  I’ve sensed that brutal honestly lends itself to a deeper understanding and experience of God’s irrational mercy and grace.

All six sermons can be accessed on the Quest website.  Yesterday, I very much enjoyed teaching about intimacy and sex in the context of marriage.  Over 80% of women preferred (according to a survey conducted in a Dear Abby poll) a good conversation on a couch rather than sex with the man they loved.  For men, ‘lack of sex’ is cited as the single biggest factor in the breakdown of their marriage.  This = tension.  Both women and men long for intimacy and when they’re unable to have those needs met (whatever they might be), it’s possible and at times, likely, for our ‘beauty’ to submerge and our ‘depravity’ to emerge.  I don’t say this to justify the choices that people make but statistics indicating that 53% of all folks will have an affair at one point in their lifetime is gutwrenchingly painful.

As my wife and I celebrate 10 years of marriage, we look forward to gathering with other folks at our church to renew our vows.   The worst thing that the church can do is to beautify ‘marriage’ in such a way that it isolates anyone and everyone whose marriage isn’t perfect.   Umm…that would be everyone.  So, everyone has to go around pretending how perfect their marriage is when in fact, we all know that it simply isn’t perfect.  One person said it pretty accurately:  marriage is the closest thing to heaven and the closest thing to hell…

I’m tempted to regurgitate my sermon here but I’ll just share this one thought that sprung up on me yesterday.  Marriage, as God intended, is the greatest synergy God has ever created.  When a man and woman, leave their parents, and embark on the journey of being “one” as husband and wife, imagine all that can be created not only for the the joy and pleasure of the two but for the glory of God.

mcquilkin2.jpgI recently discovered Mr. Robertson McQuilkin’s resignation speech from 1990. Each time I listen to it, it resonates deeply.  He was the president of Columbia International University in SC when his wife, Muriel, was struggling with Alzheimer’s.  He felt it both necessary and a privilege to take care of his wife.

In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, in joy as well as in sorrow, in successes and failures, in prosperity and in adversity. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”

Filed under: church, family, marriage, ministry, quest church

9 Responses

  1. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the link.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    A ‘Dear Abbey’ poll? Really??? 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m teasing you a little, but on the serious side, I’m not sure that’s the best way to get at the reality of the subject. If you say 80% of women just want to talk on the couch, it makes it sound like women are not really interested in sex. It puts them back in the virgin/whore dilemma where nice wives just like to sit and talk. If it were based in some actual research, it would be one thing, but this is a Dear Abbey poll. Trust me, women like sex too.

    Lauren Winner’s book has a great holistic take on this, as do others.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Eugene….I mean, how would you like it if I said, “Korean men aren’t very sexual/they dont enjoy sex very much…they’d rather sit and talk”?

  4. e cho says:

    jennifer: you and your family were missed this past sunday. i wished you could have listened to the whole sermon. although it is possible you would have disliked it even more. i’m not sure but i poked at the dear abby poll, explained that sex doesn’t = the totality of intimacy, and that these statistics were dangerous because the generalizations that it portrays. as i shared on sunday, i’m certain that women enjoy sex and that men also enjoy converations. my hope was to convey the importance of the converage of intimacy: intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creational (stewardship), relational, recreational (play & laugh) and of course, physical.

    i’m sorry you’ve taken offense at the post. i’ll need to be more careful…
    and yes, i’ve heard incredible things about lauren winner’s book and am in the process of contacting her peeps to see if she’ll come and speak at quest – likely next year.

    and no, i don’t believe in pepetuating the virgin/whore dilemma.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    Thank you. I really appreciate your response here.

    I promise I’m not trying to just be picky 🙂 Part of the reason I’m drawn to Quest is because its a group where so many people are talking about the issues of racism, sexism, etc….so, when sexist things like that are said, it stings even more.

    I appreciate your heart and leadership!

  6. Samantha says:

    Eugene,
    I just want to thank you for the messages the past six weeks. Your personal honesty and ‘brutal honesty’ has been very refreshing and helpful. I look forward to the Q/A on the 26th.

  7. angela says:

    FWIW, I thought the sermon was incredible. I appreciated your comment about eat, sleep, laugh, pray, and talk as simple things that couples can do to build intimacy.

  8. cp says:

    pe,

    what a refreshing series on marriage for the last 6 weeks…Thanks!!! i’ve been arguing with my wife the last couple of days and been feeling pretty crappy…but the video of McQuilkin’s speech was of great help. it really stung my heart. i need to go home, say that i’m sorry and give a big hug to my wife now…=)

  9. cp says:

    ooops, in the above post, i meant to say “series on intimacy and sex”…=)

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One Day’s Wages

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#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

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You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. 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.
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