Eugene Cho

don’t throw rocks

For the second time within the last few weeks, someone threw a rock into the church staff offices this morning.  To clarify, someone threw both a BRICK and a rock.  The first time, I was hoping it was a random drive by rock throwing…

photo_080107_001.jpg

It’s a sucky feeling.  Your mind races why someone would do this… 

  • Was the sermon that bad last Sunday? 
  • Is it because we’re removing the pews next month?
  • Was someone drunk and upset that the Mariners got shut out by the Angels last night?
  • Is it my facial hair and sideburns? 
  • Was it a cafe customer unhappy with their double tall 2% hazelnut latte with light foam?

I shouldn’t speculate but how can you not?  As the “lead” pastor, one of my privileges is  to care for and protect the staff as I desire to be protected and cared for.  Someone [if anyone was sitting there at the time] could have been seriously hurt.  I don’t like to have rocks thrown at me [let alone a brick] but without sounding too dramatic, I’d rather people throw them at me rather that my family, children, or church.  Better yet, don’t throw anything.  Just email your frustrations – but DO NOT mention my children or their names.

As I speculate, I have to ask, “Is it me?”  I hope not, but I wonder…

In  blogoland, the past six months have been somewhat intense.  Much of it has been because of three posts on this blog:  The Gay Conversation, Prayer for Korean Hostages in Afghanistan, and Make Sense of Virginia Tech.   On the most part, there were some good dialogue but also lots of intense private emails into my inbox: 

Eugene, you’re too liberal, too conservative, too Asian, too UnAsian, too emerging, too tall [ok, not this one], too ungracious, too gay, too ungay, too political, too racial, too [insert word here] and so forth. 

Interestingly, much of my criticism comes from Christians.  Go figure.  I don’t mind these emails; I appreciate people willing to share their thoughts.  But a few, which I will not publish, have gone overboard. 

I’ve been debating this for the past several months but after a couple random phone calls to the house, some borderline scary emails, and couple rocks along the way, and consulting with some other bloggers, I’m going to make couple small changes.   I’m obviously going to keep blogging as I enjoy sharing my vomitaceous thoughts as I wrestle with God’s larger narrative story, engaging culture, wrestling with faith, and other random musings.  But I feel like I need to make slight modifications to do my part to protect my family – just in case.  And this is something that my wife asked about since her blog is only accessible by those who she gives permission to.   Someday, I’ll share a scary situation from eight years ago but that’s another post.  I’ve removed all my children’s names and photos on the blog and from the church website.  If I know you and you’re not a potential rock thrower, you’re more than welcome to hit me at facebook.

I really want to believe it was some random jerk throwing a brick.  I’m sure it was.  But just in case:

This is the personal blog of Eugene Cho. The views, words, posts, thoughts, and ideas represented here are my own, not those of Quest Church, Q Cafe, my family, my ethnic Korean countrypeople, the city of Seattle where I live, the USA of which I am a citizen, or the totality of the Christian faith and community.  As I spew out some vomitaeous thoughts for conversation, connection, amusement, and critical discourse, I seek to grant and receive grace.

In other words, please don’t throw rocks.

Filed under: christianity, church

21 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    That sucks, man. Maybe they were protesting the higher prices at Starbucks, and got the wrong coffee house.

    Have you read David Aikman’s article in the new CT, “The Attack Dogs of Christianity?” Might be an encouragement, at least to know you’re in good company. My prayers for your safety. . .

  2. John says:

    Honestly, I think you made a good decision to use the blog to say and communicate your thoughts but be cautious with your family.

    It’s not because you’re famous! It’s just the world that we live in and this thing called the internet!

  3. daniel so says:

    Eugene — I’m very sorry to hear what has been happening. It’s remarkable how cowardly some people can be. Although I wish we didn’t have to do things this way, I totally agree with your decision to protect your family by removing their information/images from your blog & church site.

    Also, another big thanks for keeping us all updated on the situation in Afghanistan and for not allowing this tragedy to be buried under the endless mound of mush the mainstream media pushes as newsworthy.

  4. e cho says:

    daniel,
    i’m likely making it more of a deal than it is…
    but just in case.

  5. Oh, no,

    makes me feel sad when some one does it, but its world and you never know when that rock going to be thrown at you,

    some people just do a ministry like that to their master.

    God may protect your family an dfrens

    blessings

  6. Joseon says:

    Eugene,

    Thanks for sharing about this. Perhaps writing about it here will stop the jerk(s) from doing it again.

    Somebody in my neighborhood has been regularly damaging my car and it’s frustrating to know people are so disrespectful. I’ve even thought about installing cameras inside my car to catch the guy.

    I’ll be keeping Quest and your family in my prayers.

  7. gar says:

    This might sound odd, but as a kid, I always knew my dad (a pastor) carried a loaded Sig Sauer 226 with him when he went to work at church, especially when he had to close up at nights. I used think that it was strange, but now that I’m adult and I’ve seen plenty of bad things in this world… I think now I understand why.

  8. keewonhuh says:

    Gar, I’ve been wondering if I should be doing the same. Our church has been broken into twice in the past two years during the evenings, and I do often stay late by myself.

    Eugene, I don’t think it’s an over-reaction. Considering the events that have unfolded in the US these past few years, precaution is probably the way to go. I will pray God provides His angels to protect you and your family as you continue your Kingdom-building work.

    Blessings.

  9. rk says:

    i found your blog while searching for updates about the hostage situation. i’ve read a couple of your other posts as well and just want to let you know that i love the way you’re sharing your thoughts. they make me think.

  10. Deneen says:

    Obviously, you are making an impact in the city of Seattle as well as in the world at large. It is wise to protect your wife and family.

    I appreciate your blog and that you are willing to confront issues that most Christians largely avoid.

    I pray for boatloads of blessings on you and your family!

  11. Wayne Park says:

    Eugene, it’s happening cuz you’re doing all the right things.

  12. insipid "g" says:

    is it cause of the insipid worship… 😉

  13. vince vonada says:

    Ouch from that brick! I hope it’s just one of those random urban things. As a dad too, I agree with you being concerned about your family. Very glad you aren’t removing this blog completely though, it is very frank, clear and honest. A rare find even in the Christian world in my opinion. Sometimes speaking up will bring some bricks, and quieting down can then make it seem like the bad guys are winning again.
    Vinny

  14. Maia says:

    EC- Not to take this situation lightly but you are really funny! f someone threw a brick at my house I don’t know if I could make jokes about it. I’d be too mad.

    Anyways my fiance and I came to service last Sunday and we could immediately tell this is a place where we want to be. Thanks for your encouragement, we haven’t been in chuch for awhile, or been pursuing a christian lifestyle but your sincerity has helped redirect us. Thank you for your hard work.

  15. Blake says:

    I got your back PE. Just say the word and I can round up a Quest posse to go over caffeinate these rock throwing people with some amazing Q Café lattes.😉

    You, your family, the church, and the church staff are all in my prayers. Way to take care of them.:-) It’s a wise decision.

    Blessings!

    PS. I know you’re not the firearm owning type, but if you’re at all considering it I can recommend some great shops and places to take defensive handgun classes. A concealed carry permit is rather easy to come by as well. I myself have been known to carry occasionally, especially when I go out on late night walks through my neighborhood and can’t count on the simple presence of other people to guarantee safety.

  16. Sam S says:

    Eugene,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the brick. It really is a broken and sinful world we live in.

    I for one am every thankful for your insights, especially about the korean Christian hostage situation. You are really right on about that.

  17. Mercedes says:

    Mercedes AMG

    2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

  18. Love your blog and I feel terrible that this should happen to anyone. Perhaps investing in a video camera would be of use in case these uncivilized people should come back for another visit. Thanks for being real.

  19. Ed C says:

    Call the Autobots. That will get them straightened out.

    Oh well…in reality…

    Just do what you are doing. There is nothing to be surprised about those people who would fight God’s message with rocks and stones. Ask Stephen (oh well…he’s gone so…)

  20. […] the rocks.  Now the multiple tags around the church building.  Again, I’m just thinking and hoping […]

  21. Jersey says:

    There are Christians out there who are working their butts off to try to reunify the church, but then there are “purists” who say that others who proclaim to be Christian either are not or are “erring” Christians.

    I am on one end. My family is on the other. I am not saying one is right, one is wrong, for maybe both are, or maybe aren’t.

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One Day’s Wages

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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. 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.

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