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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 20 hours ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 21 hours ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 3 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 3 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 3 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago