Eugene Cho

“gracious as all f*#k”

I’m amazed how many people are tracking with the “gay conversation.”  Many folks have emailed asking if Dan Savage has responded to my email.  He said that he would a day or two after he received mine but no response yet.  Let’s not forget…he’s a big shot.  He’s an editor of the popular Stranger and has his own syndicated column that’s published in who knows how many places.  He’s got people to see, places to go, and blah blah blah so I’m not surprised or disappointed.  No biggie.

On the Slog [the Stranger’s blog], he did mention that some of the Slog posters did such a great job responding to my doozies that he didn’t really feel the need to respond.  Truth be told, there really were some incredible comments and dialogue.  Several people have shared with me that they actually printed out ALL the comments, went off somewhere, and just read through them and in some cases, discussed them with friends.  [That’s a lot of wasted paper…]

I feel somewhat obliged to Dan.  He has written, in my opinion, the best press about Quest through his “church review” and indirectly, given me one of the best compliments [I think] I have received.  In responding to my concerns about posting what I intended to be a personal email on the Slog, he apologized for the misunderstanding and wrote [there]:

We’re not in conflict about the misunderstanding. Cho’s not upset with me; the man is gracious as all fuck.

Thanks.  Seriously.  I wouldn’t necessarily put it in those words but it sums up how I’m trying to live out my life.  Grace has been shown to me through Jesus and consequently, I want to be gracious [as all f*#k].  [To the dirty mouth police out there:  Please let this one go…]

I still intend to write some more thoughts about the “welcoming but not affirming” fiasco but want to just chill before that post potentially incites another 300 comments.  For those that are interested, I am hosting a conversation for those that want to chat and chill.  Please note that it’s not a Quest sponsored event.  It is NOT a debate.  It will be a conversation.  People sitting and talking.  Chatting and chilling.  While people may have different views, my hope is that we can all learn to better communicate, listen, and ultimately, grow in graciousness…  The chats will occur on Wednesdays 7-9pm on July 25 and August 1 and will take place at QCafe.  Everyone is welcome as long you’re committed to a respectful conversation.  Simply, chatting and chilling.

There were so many comments that spoke to me.  This one’s too long to re-post here but you’ll definitely want to read this post from “Fnarf.”  Here are some of the other thought provoking comments of many…

From “Rebecca”

I agree that one of the best things about Quest is how we are challenged to work on our own planks and not focus on others’ sins. But I have to disagree that “welcoming not affirming” is not a position. I think that is the whole point of Eugene’s question: can we hold different beliefs and yet live in community? Why do we have to choose a set of beliefs and not allow room for change, growth, but also conviction? As I tolerate another’s position, why can then my position not also be tolerated? I know that the church has traditionally not been a place of tolerance or understanding or love as regards this issue, and for that I am very sorry. But please extend to me the same grace that I extend to you: the grace to have my own set of convictions, knowing that I may be wrong, that I may be right, but ultimately it is not about who is right or wrong. It is about seeking after Christ and living in a spirit of love.

SDA in Seattle shared:

I do not believe that being gay is a sin. You may feel free to agree or disagree as you like. I do not wish to argue specific Bible passages with anyone, but I think we can all agree that well meaning Christians disagree about the interpretations of the Bible. Some churches say that being gay is a sin, some churches say that being gay is NOT a sin, and some really don’t say much on the subject one way or another. So of course I am going to feel most safe to express my spirituality in a church who’s beliefs most closely match my own.

This is true of all sorts of issues. Some women feel called by God to be ministers. Some churches allow women to be ministers, and some do not. So if a woman feels called by God to be a minister, she probably will affiliate herself with a church that affirms her beliefs. Or perhaps she will stay in a church that does not allow that, hoping to influence them to change (personally, I think that would be a highly frustrating endeavor, but more power to her). Likewise, an evolutionary biologist would likely feel more at home in a church that does not hold a strict creationist viewpoint. And so on.

There are so many places where I do not feel completely safe. Gay people as a whole are bombarded daily by messages from society that we are immoral, that we destroy family values, that we are incompatible with military service, that we are sinners, and so on. I live in a country where it is acceptable political discourse for Ann Coulter to call a presidential candidate a faggot on national television. Within the last 5 years, something like 15 states have changed their constitutions to specifically deny me the right to marry the man I love and have spent more than 20 years with. Think about that for a moment. That many states haven’t acted that quickly to change their constitutions in this country since the end of prohibition. I feel that palpable oppression as a constant drain on my soul daily.

Like an infant who craves acceptance from it’s mother, I crave acceptance too. And I sure don’t get it from society. So I have to put extra effort into surrounding myself with friends who fully accept me, love me, and affirm my beliefs, just to stave off the daily societal oppression. I need to have people in my life who aren’t simply polite to me or nice to me, who simply tolerate me, but people who encourage and nurture the relationship I have with my partner, just as a married hetero couple would want friends to support and encourage their marriage. I need people who love that I’m gay, not people who tell me they love me in spite of the fact that I’m gay.

I know that’s a lot to ask, and of course I don’t ask that of everyone. But I need a few people around like that for my emotional well being. And I need that in my church for my spiritual well being.

a “Warren” wrote:

I think this is right. For Christianity, it is a moral issue…

I believe there is often a double standard in the Church, and this is not fair. All moral issues should be brought to light…

But let’s not stop there… Jesus was always more concerned with restoring and redeeming the worth of a person (think of the woman the Pharisees wanted to stone).

Julie, you asked if someone could simply say that, “God told me so,” that’s kind of it… although Jesus would never stop there, much less answer that question the way we would want him to answer (he seemed to answer questions with questions a lot).

Love God and love your neighbor… make disciples, follow Jesus. I think the core of the Christian faith has less to do with behavior modification and more to do with the heart of God that beats for his sons and daughters in depravity.

jklam wrote:

i see two (problematic) ways the church related to lgbt’s: consumption and rejection. in consumption, we try to coerce those who are different to act and think as we do. we eat ‘em like food and they become part of us — we use what we like and dump out what doesn’t jive with our dogma. this isn’t persuasian via dialogue — it’s a battlefield victory, nothing short of colonization. on the flip side is rejection, where we simply treat the other as the enemy. by evoking religious discourse, we label the other as an enemy of god himself, providing justification for the other’s oppression.

the church, i think, must bypass this consumption/rejection binary in favor of a third, more constructive way, which i think is actually demonstrated quite nicely in my pastor’s blog. the “welcoming, but not affirming” platitude is unhelpful because it’s inadequate in describing an institutional church’s relationship with homosexual members/visitors. it just falls flat, devastating people along the way. instead, i think the church must be a place where everyone’s views of sexuality can be challenged, while also affirming it as a safe place for people of all sexual orientations, thereby making the church welcoming and affirming in a way that ought to be true for everyone. by creating a safe place for all spiritual seekers, we can throw a wrench in the consumption/rejection binary by moving toward humble dialogue.

a Dan wrote:

I don’t mean to be contrary, Mr. Cho, but I can tell you at least one person’s views have been changed by this astonishing thread: mine.

I’m going to have to stay late at work for the time I’ve spent reading this blog, but I cannot think of time better spent.

I’m a gay man raised by fundamentalist christians, sent to a rigid baptist school. The lonliness and desperation of childhood, the self-hate of my early adult years, the resultant (nearly cliche) self-destructive behaviour this engendered in me coalesced over the years into a hotly smoldering rage against christians.

I have been guilty of a bigotry against people of faith just as egregious as the bigotry exhibited against me. This thread has opened my eyes to the fact that there are thinking, sincere christians out there who can engage in a real and respectful dialogue. I feel like the Grinch listening to the whos in whoville singing carols in the absence of their presents. My heart has swelled to 10 times the size it was before I read these posts.

Kate’s post (#16) literally brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t cry. Not about this topic. Not for 15 years or more.

I am so grateful for the thoughtful discourse taking place here. It’s been a bucket of water on the lingering coals of a rage I almost didn’t realize was there anymore.

Thanks for allowing this discussion to take place. It has the potential to change more hearts than you may realize.

Hope to see you folks at the Chat and Chill in couple weeks. 

Filed under: emerging church, justice, religion, seattle

9 Responses

  1. Reyes-Chow says:

    ahhh . . . if we could all be as gracious as that in the midst of disagreement. You have modeled some great pastoral and personal integrity.

  2. jklam says:

    gracious as all f8#k — high praise, indeed.

    now if only he would take back that “insipid” comment…

  3. m@ says:

    jklam,

    Nah, He’ll need to answer to the 18 year-old Asian Sensation, George, for that one.

  4. insipid "g" says:

    i’m actually beginning to like that moniker. 😉

  5. daniel so says:

    Eugene — I’m not sure why being “gracious as all flak” would be such a big deal to the potty-mouth police😉 I was tempted to comment on the original “welcoming” post when it was lingering right around 300, just to push you over the hump, but it got there all on its own🙂

    Seriously, though, I have appreciated your grace and your ability to step back and really listen. I wish I could be there for some of these chill & chats… I know these are not formal at all, but will you be posting any followups after these gatherings? I’d love to continue to listen in…

  6. Blake says:

    I completely agree. PE, thank you for being such an excellent model of how all this controversy and intensity of discussion should be handeled. You’ve taught me boat-loads.

    Besides, how many churches can say their pastor was hailed as “gracious as a f@(k” by the stranger?😀

  7. Blake says:

    haha, whoops. please excuse the typo above.🙂 Last time I checked, that simile I actually typed isn’t all that accurate. lol. You all know what I intended. I guess typos like that are what I get for typing on this itty-bitty phone keyboard.

  8. Wayne Park says:

    you go boy… man… sir…🙂

  9. waking up says:

    […] Jul 13th 2007 I made it onto Eugene Cho’s blog! […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

my tweets

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,418,383 hits