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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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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