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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One Day’s Wages

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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.

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