Eugene Cho

what is your “car porn?”

Like everyone or most everyone, I have areas of weaknesses.  In light of the numerous posts about global poverty and our plans on starting the new NGO to fight global poverty in the upcoming year, I am a little embarrassed to say that one of my weaknesses is Car Porn.  I’m 38 but every time I go to Barnes & Nobles, I still pick up car magazines and start drooling.  Every time.  That translates to Car Porn. And specifically, I have a thing for convertibles. I stare every time I see, walk, or drive by a convertible.  My first car was a 1976 Volkswagen Bug Convertible.  I loved that car and still regret selling it when Minhee got pregnant but I had to choose:  baby or bug convertible.  It was tough.

Six years ago, I traded in our family’s unreliable station wagon and brought home a first year 1990 Mazda Miata.  Maybe I was going through my early midlife crisis but I drove it home and you should have seen the look on Minhee’s face.  It was priceless. 

Anyway, we’ve decided to sell off some assets this year to help fund the poverty organization.  But we had no idea of the impending and current financial crisis.  It has definitely affected our family and we’re doing all that we can to both get by and fund the organization so selling this car along with other stuff is important.  Six months ago, after agreeing on a sale, the buyer never showed up and to be honest, I was ecstatic since I wanted to hang on to the car.  After putting it back on Craiglist this past month, no one was willing to pay my full price so I gladly said no to every interested buyer. But lo and behold, this morning, someone offered me full price and by 3pm, my baby Blue Miata was no longer mine.

What sucks is how badly I felt for myself.  God has blessed us immensely with so much and I can’t even follow through with some basic convictions without feeling pity for myself.  Car porn.  That’s what it is.  It sucks.

As an invitation to make me feel a little better, maybe you also have some sort of “car porn” in your life. Something that you feel you should give up as an opportunity to better care for your family, children, marriage, or simply, those in dire need throughout the city, country, or larger world.  Over the past few months, my conviction for following through on our covenant to donate our year’s salary to the global poverty organization has been tested but the stories and reports we are receiving from the poorest of the poor around the world are getting worse.  If we think we have it bad, we have no idea so I do hope you are not only honoring your commitments to organizations and causes but even considering increasing your support.

So, I ask you:

What is “your car porn?” 

Shoes?  Coffee?  Gadgets?  Shopping?  CDs?  ITunes? 

Minhee and I are expectantly awaiting our 501(c)(3) soon and when that happens, very excited to share our org’s name and vision with you.  I sincerely hope you can join us in some way or another.  If you want to donate to our seed funds right now, you can DONATE HERE.  With minimal sharing via this blog and some letters we’ve sent out, we’ve raised over $41,000 thus far in checks, matches, and pledges.  We’re hoping to raise an additional $58K and with our pledge, we’ll come close to the goal of raising $200,000 to help launch the organization.  These are incredibly challenging financial times but we’re still working towards that goal. Thus far, we have over 172,000 people that have joined our Facebook group and when the time is right, we’ll invite you and our group to help us start what we pray would be a small but growing movement to fight the complexities of global poverty.  Regardless how things turn out, I’m convinced that we’ll all experience personal change and also get to help changing the world – one person at a time.  Please continue to keep us in prayer.

Dear Baby Blue:  I’ll miss you.  We had good times.  You never broke down.  Never.  True, you got broken into twice but you kept running well.  I enjoyed putting your top town and letting by long curly Asian hair blow through the Seattle skyline.  So, I will miss you but when it’s all said and done, you’re just a car.  You are what you are.  Nothing more. Take care and who knows? When the kids are all out of the house, maybe I’ll shock Minhee one more time by exchanging our family van for a…

Filed under: emerging church, family, religion, , , ,

21 Responses

  1. Julie says:

    The progress you’re making on your vision is encouraging and inspiring.

    Truth be told, I have numerous “car porns” in my life but the two that come to my mind right now are shopping and eating out.

  2. ransom33 says:

    Keep the humour going. It makes those decisions we keep putting off a lot easier to reach.

    You are so right. I think what you call “car porns” is what the Bible calls idols. I would have to say that my idol is definitely clothes. It really hurts to admit it, but it is absolutely true. Although my family and I are contributing in our own small way to combat world poverty or rather to help the poor, I know there is so much more than we can do, and without trying to display false humility here, I often wonder whether I should stop calling myself a Christian. I certainly do not live up to Jesus’ teaching in Luke 14: 33: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has, cannot be my disciple.” Many of us identify ourselves as Christians but I fear only a handful are truly worthy of that name.

    Blessings,

    ransom33 @ http://www.ransom33.wordpress.com

  3. Randall says:

    Recently it’s been Bicycle porn.

    I have two bicycles of my own (actually three but the third one is a commuter that I put together for a friend who’s going to buy it) – one of them is my commuter road bike. It’s heavy (probably around 30lbs), it’s only got ten speeds (total), fenders, and a rear rack. If this bike were a car it’d be a late 60’s family sedan – inefficient and fugly, slow but practical.

    And then there’s my 2005 Felt F70 racing bike that I bought for a song at Recycled Cycles (used bicycle porn..sort of). Of course I don’t need two bicycles and so this one is kind of like your Miyata (congrats and consolations on the sale) but…but…

    Ah, got it. But there’s a bit of a bicycling community growing at Quest and if I go on rides with them (some of us are thinking about doing STP), I won’t be able to keep up with my commuter and so my Felt is not an indulgence but a way of fellowshipping with my bicycling brethren and sistren.

    …so I can keep it right?

  4. Nick says:

    I love Miatas as well. For me, it’s Mac Porn. I keep buying stuff. And it needs to stop.

  5. I definitely suffer from an addiction to open source software porn. Anything I like I ‘fork’ (http://github.com/JackDanger) and I have wild fantasies about combining languages and running frameworks in environments where they don’t belong.

    If unchecked it consumes VAST amounts of time.

  6. Blake says:

    Lately, it’s ski gear porn. 🙂

  7. Matt S. says:

    my car porn is car porn. About a month ago I said goodbye to my Datsun 1972 240z. I cried – my wife and kids were shocked, though I tried to hide it from them. I sold it so that I could focus on a start p of my own and extend the time that I have until finances run out to allow me to focus on this start up that will hopefully allow us to move into a path where we are free to work to meet the needs of those in poor, underdeveloped regions that lack efficient health care. Yes, maybe someday, a miata or even a 911 may grace our driveway as the Z has done for so many years, but right now I haven’t the time or dollars to spare for it so I said goodbye and though it seems really silly, it was emotionally hard, but I’m glad it’s done.

  8. PC says:

    Normally it’s gizmo porn. I have had my phone for 2 & 1/2 years and has worked fine everytime. But… but… look at the fancy new phones I could have! And my television has lasted me wonderously for over a decade. But… but… I could have an LCD flatscreen! Or add in a Blu-Ray player complete with surround sound stereo!!!

    For me, it’s about being content with what I have. I’m blessed with my gifts, clearly. There’s no need for me to get new ones, especially when the old ones work just fine. Still, I have to remind myself, and my VISA, to hold off and be content. Repeatedly.

  9. JM says:

    Hi Eugene, I am commenting here just to prove that I am not a complete blog stalker. By the way, it was great to officially meet you tonight at the show. My version of car porn has to be wedding porn. I go through various stages of my life where I am obsessed with wedding magazines, tv shows, and websites: looking at dresses, cakes, reception sites, flowers, etc., imagining what I would do for my wedding. All this from the girl who has never been engaged! My friend and I have discussed the wedding industry being like porn since we generally look at this stuff in private. In fact, she has felt the need to delete the history on her computer just in case her boyfriend checks out the websites she’s been looking at…

  10. Clothing porn.

    As way of background, I just got back from college in May and took a leadership position at the non-profit with which I did my internship. So I have been trying to beef up my wardrobe of work clothes (or at least that’s what I tell myself). I drool over that pair of name brand jeans…that dress shirt with the sweet colors and patterns…that pair of loafers that would look so good with the dress shirt and designer jeans…you get the idea. I tell myself that I have to have some outlet for the artistic bent in me.

    Thanks for calling all of us out on our repsective idols. I think we need this more often. I know I do.

  11. djterasaki says:

    Like Randall, used bicycle porn.

  12. cho mama says:

    I promise that you can get your dream car after we send kids to college. Honey, I really mean it!!! love you.

  13. leochen says:

    I really like girls… umm… wait, never mind…

  14. Ben C says:

    Hand car washes. I like to keep my cars clean. A woman’s equivalent would be… manicures.

  15. mnelise says:

    full tank of gas in the car porn?

    typical, i can see my spouse’s faults easier than my own….his is tools from menards porn.

    probably mine is new pricey food variety in the cupboard porn.

    thank the Lord for ALDI here in the midwest that keeps that in check!

  16. DC says:

    If I am honest, I struggle with pornography porn.

  17. chad says:

    porn porn does me in. oh and outdoor gear porn (which is a lot easier to fight if you’re broke all the time {grin})

  18. DP says:

    For me it was audio porn. The titillation of conservative talk radio. The anticipation of basking in the latest political gossip. The adrenalin rush of anger as a reacted to the latest example of liberal media bias. The intoxication of feeling so superior and right as I would listen to others rage about those who “just don… Read More’t get it.” It felt so good. But ultimately left me feeling empty. A false intimacy with culture. A daily step into the dark side of airbrushing the gospel truth with the red white and blue of our empire.

  19. […] the occupational hazards of ministry, whether it’s travelling alone frequently, or the “car porn” which Eugene Cho alludes to, or the addiction to success and power which I’ve […]

  20. Ashley Park says:

    i had to read what car porn was…….you crack me up! how come i never saw this car in your drive way?? hehehehhe………

  21. […] Bills & Selling stuff.  Like everyone else.  A few month ago, sold my mid-life crisis car and now, I’ve got no choice but to sell my collectible books.  If you’re a collector, […]

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 4 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago