Eugene Cho

undiscovered beauty and talent

By now, many folks have heard the story of Paul Potts.  If you haven’t, you need to see the video below! He has become an overnight sensation.  An incredible story of a 36-year-old British man who was making a living as a mobile cellphone salesman.  Check out the story line…it’s made for Hollywood:  Bullied as kid and consequently, resorts to singing; Has ambitions of being an opera singer but gives up his dreams; Wasn’t even going to audition for the talent show…But alas, he enters and wins the Britain’s Got Talent show [equivalent to ‘American Idol’ here in the Stateside]. It’s a little mushy but what a wonderful story of a hidden talent that is now uncovered for others to enjoy. I have a reputation of a tough man to maintain but I have to confess I got a little teary-eyed the first time I saw this video. The last time I cried was when the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl couple years back. That was painful but that’s another story.

While there was some “controversy” of some details that revealed Paul had some vocal training, the truth seems to be that he really is an average bloke.

I have never worked as a professional singer. I have poured everything I could earn into a few lessons, but everyone taking part in this television show has had some training,’ he said yesterday.

‘My four performances with Bath Opera a few years back were all amateur. I am angry about this because I have never earned anything, although I did get petrol expenses a couple of times.’ His story is confirmed this weekend by the singing teacher who gave him lessons until Potts was forced to give up in 2003 because of illness. Potts adds that he has always been open about a trip to Italy to improve his voice. He had saved up to sing for Luciano Pavarotti in a masterclass, but had no tuition from the great tenor. [read the full interview]

What’s he going to do with the earnings? Well, he intends to pay off some debt and fix his teeth.  How average and ordinary can you get?  The bloke even has a MySpace account.  I guarantee you that you’re going to see commercials soon with a montage of his singing and ordinary folks saying, “I am Paul Potts.” 

I want to resist the temptation of making this a nice “spiritual illustration” but how can one resist?  One of the thoughts that came across my mind as I was seeing this video was the thought of all the undiscovered beauty [and talent] in the lives of all people.  And maybe part of the function of the body of Christ and pastors is to serve as “talent scouts” or discoverers.

Filed under: culture

12 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    You are special, very special, a fan.

  2. chad says:

    pastors as “talent scouts”…
    i like that idea
    that’s one i can run with as a youth pastor!

  3. Rachel says:

    pe- yes! i came across this video last week, truly beautiful!

  4. Janet says:

    No need to apologize Eugene. I like the idea of churches, Christians, and pastors helping one another to discover the talent and beauty of each person. While it can be construed as New-Ageish, I actually think this is biblical.

    Happy Discovering.

  5. kd nyquist says:

    I’m going to suggest that talent scouting is a sign of quality leadership in all realms, not simply limited to pastors or the like inside church walls. I think pastors have the dual responsiblity of not only uncovering gifts, but also making sure that those gifts are a means used for worship versus becoming passions that spiritually blind the talented. There is a difference between doing something for God and doing something because one is good at it.

  6. Don Sturgill says:

    Great point, Eugene. As believers, our job description calls for us to see the glorious potential for joy inside of a suffering individual. I was at a low point, myself, when I saw this video…and it was a living sermon to me. Just what I needed, just when I needed it. I have put up (my first ever) blog to invite others who have been touched by Paul to share their experience. Please take a look: http://www.thepaulpottsstory.com

  7. Michael says:

    I heard about the “real” Paul Potts story after discovering him on youtube recently and I must admit, I felt kind of…deceived? I would’ve preferred to learn about his struggles as an amateur paying for his own lesseons, unpaid amateur performances, surgery, broken collarbone, etc, instead of being led to believe this guy just showed up out of nowhere.

    But after a little while, I was still alright with him and I’m a fan. I just don’t like being taken advantage of by the media and recording industry for profit (who does?), which Paul’s initial, sort of half-truth story seemed like.

  8. Mick Daly says:

    I cry EVERY time I watch Paul’s audition video (that’s dozens of times), and am proud of it! Btw, I too was born in Bristol England!

    As an elder at our church I gave a message on Sunday (Journey to Joy) using Paul Potts and his video as an example of a fundamental truth that I think most churches and Christians miss: Jesus was a Man of Joy. Like Paul Potts, when we use God-given gifts and talents (even if we don’t know Him or that he gave them!), and when we use them for the benefit of others, then we give Joy and experience Joy ourselves. Just watch the judges and the audience as Paul begins to sing – that’s some kind of joyful transformation taking place.

    I have a feeling that Paul does know where his talent comes from – if not, I pray he learns that truth and that he is on a Journey to Joy that ends in heaven, where Joy comes from and where his and our Joy will be complete.

    Mick
    http://www.dalys.com

  9. John Eaton says:

    Amen, Gene.

    The Jericho road is a long one, and there are many travelers.

    John

  10. Mami says:

    For the record “Britain’s Got Talent” is the equivalent to “America’s Got Talent” – and “Pop Idol” is the equivalent of “American Idol.” Both shows originated in the UK.

    It does appear that Paul is a natural singer and any voice coach will now welcome the opportunity to work with him.

  11. Hope Anderson says:

    I am just so happy for Paul Potts and his family. Much success in the future, Mr. Paul Potts! God Bless you! Hopey

  12. […]  The instant judgment.  This is a familiar story, isn’t it?  I’m not talking about Paul Potts (another winning contestant in Britain’s Got Talent) but for us as Christians, Jesus […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

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