Eugene Cho

blogging, hits, traffic, numbers, ministry, and burma again

i’ve given myself 15 minutes for this post so excuse me for the choppiness.  many in the church, including myself, don’t quite know how to thoughtfully integrate the subject of ‘numbers’ into conversations.  the pastoral staff and i have never once spoken about how to increase the numbers at quest.  that’s why some recent criticism that i ‘only seem to care about numbers’ sting a little more than the other stuff i find in my inbox.  but isn’t it fair to say that numbers should absolutely matter but that numbers can grow to become an idolatrous obsession?  geez, that’s another post and i only have 14 minutes now. 

let me admit that i take occasional peeks at the number of hits i get on the blog…isn’t that ok?  we create, write, post, paint, compose, and engage in other acts of creative bursts – not simply for our own pleasure but also for the purpose of sharing with others.  and that’s good, right?  i guess the danger is when we allow the love of attention, hits, traffic, numbers, and such to influence us so much that it begins to taint, diminish, and compromise the actual process and product of what is created.  heck, i can easily post on the usual hot topics like driscoll, rob bell, and tim keller to get instant traffic in the christian blogosphere.  i read recently about a pastor in NC who wrote a post (ironically criticizing technorati) that basically thrusted him to the #1 most searched item in technorati – even ahead of paris hilton.  go figure. 

who doesn’t like traffic and hits?  so, how does that influence what we share?  what we create?  how does that influence our motivation?  how does that influence church and ministry?  is it possible that we begin to be mostly inclined towards subjects, sermons, and programs that we know will draw people back and build the numbers?  crap, now i only have 9 minutes. 

couple weeks ago, i looked over my ‘most viewed posts’ and they included pastoral health, significant highlight of ministry, stupid emerging church, and blah blah blah. what was most interesting was the least read post.  any guesses?  it was the post entitled, prayer for the nation and people of burma.  specifically, 54 hits on that post.  the lowest by far.  that’s in comparison to an average of about 800-900 hits on the posts i referenced above.   for goodness sakes, the casual post entitled, pho shizzle, got more hits in the first half day.

since we can all yield to the temptation of numbers, hits, and traffic – i wonder if churches (quest included) tend to avoid the topics that don’t necessarily encourage, affirm, and make people feel fuzzy all around.  it’s easy to avoid the conversations of racism, sexism, socio-economics, poverty, homelessness, genocide, pornography, mental health, and yes, subjects like what’s going on in burma.  would you do me a favor and read that post about burma?

couple hours ago, i received an email from a friend who’s working as a community development missionary in thailand.  he joined a group of us that trekked into burma from mae sot, thailand. we specifically visited a village called the 101 battalion.  i met many wonderful men, women, and children in my day visit and had the privilege of preaching at a church service.  the village was attacked yesterday by the burma army.  the report from free burma rangers:

Report Summary: On 7 April 2007, at midnight, the Burma Army, along with the DKBA launched a series of attacks against the Karen (KNU) along the Thai-Burma border north of Mae Sot. The attacks proceeded through the 8th and are ongoing as of 9 April 2007.          

On 7 April 2007, at midnight, the Burma Army, along with the DKBA launched a series of attacks against the Karen (KNU) along the Thai-Burma border north of Mae Sot. The attacks proceeded through the 8th and are ongoing as of 9 April 2007. Eight columns from at least three Burma Army battalions (355, 356, and 357) are involved in the attack. They are accompanied by two columns of DKBA Battalion 999, commanded by Chit Tu, and one element under ex-KNU 7th Brigade commander Htin Maung (who has made a personal alliance with the dictators’ army). The attacks occurred from south to north targeting villages and KNU positions along the River. On the 8th, two columns hit KNLA 101 battalion area at The Law They Hta twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. Also in the evening, the Burma Army attacked Thay Kai Yah, an IDP site.

The villagers had heard of the coming attack and had fled to the Thai side the day before (on 7 April 2007)…In support of these attacks, the Burma Army is using 81mm and 60mm mortars and .50 caliber heavy machine guns.These attacks have displaced more than 130 Karen families, who have all fled to the Thai side of the border. An estimated 30 families fled from Loh Di Tah, 50 families from Thay Kai Yah, 30 families from Tha Koh Klah, along with 20 more families from areas near the fighting. These numbers are low estimates and may still increase because of continuing attacks.

i’m very saddened as i read this report.  there’s horrible stuff going on all around the world – even stuff in our own back yards.  while traffic, hits, church growth and attendance, and numbers have a legitimate place in the conversation, i think the bottom line is very simple.  we’re all going to die – hopefully later than sooner.  so, let’s make a difference.  we’ve got one life.  if you have the stomach, you can view some pictures of another recent attack. 

the read on google earth and darfur is another compelling read.

Filed under: justice, ministry

8 Responses

  1. CV says:

    Dude,
    Thank you for your insight and reframing the “numbers” context.

    You rock!
    cv

  2. CV says:

    oh yeah,
    thank you for the invitation to deal with discomfort.

  3. Reyes-Chow says:

    tis true my friend, tis true. I have had more hits on my “Hottest Nerd Crushes” than the one on Racism. I think some of that is the nature of blogging and that many of these more intense conversations are better had face-to-face, but still I hear ya! Part of me also loves sharing the more playful side of myself as it integrates with more meaningful aspects.
    Blog on bro!

  4. e cho says:

    CV: good to hear from you bro. hope all is well in portland. see you in a few weeks.

  5. tn says:

    Thank you. What we were asked for by every group we met with last summer, was, “Please don’t forget us. Please tell your country we are here. Please tell your government. Please pray.” Thank you for helping to be a voice.

  6. sam says:

    so true. so true.

  7. […] is not meant to sound morbid or insensitive but as i shared in an earlier post, “we’re all going to die – hopefully later than sooner.  so, let’s make a […]

  8. btd says:

    very good thoughts here and worth thinkinga bout some more. much appreciated dialogue. thanks.

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One Day’s Wages

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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

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Know what you're about.
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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on.

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