Eugene Cho

who doesn’t have problems with the church?

In preparation for our faith community’s important Annual Meeting this Saturday, I thought I’d share couple quotes/read [today and tomorrow] that have given me something to ponder.  The past year has been one of the most fruitful and yet, the most spiritually challenging and exhausting year thus far in ministry [16 years].  Why?  Because “who doesn’t have problems with the church?”

Here’s today’s read from Eugene Peterson [h/t BH] – one of the more influential authors for me:

“What other church is there besides institutional? There’s nobody who doesn’t have problems with the church, because there’s sin in the church. But there’s no other place to be a Christian except the church. There’s sin in the local bank. There’s sin in the grocery stores. I really don’t understand this naïve criticism of the institution. I really don’t get it. Frederick von Hugel said the institution of the church is like the bark on the tree. There’s no life in the bark. It’s dead wood. But it protects the life of the tree within. And the tree grows and grows. If you take the bark off, it’s prone to disease, dehydration, death. So, yes, the church is dead but it protects something alive. And when you try to have a church without bark, it doesn’t last long. It disappears, gets sick, and it’s prone to all kinds of disease, heresy, and narcissism.”

This is why I believe that Church sucks but so do you.  So, let’s move on and work towards Philippians 4:8-9…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Filed under: religion

6 Responses

  1. capt Ralph says:

    I LOVE analogies. I try to put them into perspective – how is it like and how is it NOT like. Great analogy – the church is like bark on a tree – dead but protects the living organism. Thanks for the “thought of the day”!

  2. i always like eugene peterson… but i have to disagree with this one. the thing about naive criticism is kind of a low blow. but maybe he is talking about something other than what i consider to be constructive criticism? i thought jesus and all the prophets could call the people back, challenging the status quo and sticking it to the religious people, the whole time vigorously outlining the real pathway back to God.

  3. agreed on the phil. 4 thing tho…

    we’re doing the discipline of writing down 10 things we’re thankful for every day.

  4. […] Church Vs. 17 01 2008 I’m gonna rip this one off of Eugene… because it’s one of those things you read in passing and sticks in your mind all day. […]

  5. u know, thinking about this some more, i guess peterson is saying that the word institution is not a dirty word, like so many in the current dialogue about emerging/missional/organic church treat it… i rarely hear the word institution in a neutral tone anymore.

    so i agree perhaps that the structure of church is not where the life is, and that structure protects it from “disease, heresy, and narcissism.” the structure of church is what protects the life of Christ in us when, if we were left on our own, we would cease to really spur each other on toward love and good deeds. we’re not going to become like Jesus automatically. so this was a check on my narcissism here🙂 ouch. thanks e. cho

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One Day’s Wages

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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. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter

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