Eugene Cho

beauty in the midst of brokenness

There’s the need for balance – to understand both our beauty and depravity.  When you look around the world, it’s easy to get downright depressed, discouraged, and overwhelmed.  I certainly feel that way sometimes.   But in the midst of all this junk [including my personal junk], I’m also freshly reminded that when God created the universe and all that which it encompassed – including humanity – He saw and acknowledged that it was ‘good.’  That may be the most incredible part of God’s narrative story – right next to the Resurrection.

So, while we acknowledge the story of brokenness and sin, we can also acknowledge that God is at work – all around the earth – through the power of the Holy Spirit – to restore, reconcile, and redeem.

Locally, nationally, and globally, there have been [and always will be] a list of heavy, painful, and tragic things.  The same week that the tragedy of Virginia Tech came to pass, I received an email from a Karen Christian brother I had met during my fall visit to Station 1o1 in Burma.

How are you? you are remember me. i am xxxxxxx. i would like to tell you last two year you will come to mae sot i sending you team to 101 area church. you are remember when you visit to 101 church you are sharing the message. in this time 101 area church is S.P.D.C attack and occupy.  many people flee…please pray.  [SPDC is the military ruling regime – State Peace and Development Council]

Heavy and painful stuff.  The above isn’t just news to me; they are people I visited.  Looked into their eyes; encouraged them to have hope; taught the scriptures in that church that is not occupied by the Burmese military.

Locally in the Quest family, as it has and will continue to be, there are plenty of stories.  Why?  Because that’s life.  There are beautiful stories indeed but there are also painful stories.  Tense relationships, marriages in crisis, cancer, sickness, addictions, and so forth.  Painful stuff but this is where God’s work of restoration and redemption can take place. 

I stumbled onto this guy’s blog who lost his dear brother to cancer this past year.  His recent letter written to his brother gives me another glimpse of hope and beauty in a broken world. 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:35-39]

Love Wins.

Filed under: christianity, quest church

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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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