Eugene Cho

what advice would you give to president obama?

I’m disappointed that Barack hasn’t emailed, texted, or called me recently.  Or even to play ball together.  Maybe he’s busy.  Or likely, he doesn’t know who I am.

Wait…I guess it’s best to call him President Obama now.

Many of you already shared your thoughts – several months ago – about President Elect Barack Obama.

Everyone’s talking about the historic nature of his election, inauguration, and presidency. Certainly…but I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head and heart around it.  It’s so new.  I’m actually looking forward to being in Germany and South Africa to observe the inauguration via the media and lens of other countries.

But I’m still moved by this [from an earlier post post election results]:

I was listening to an interview of an African-American woman who spoke of what will take place on January 20, 2009 when Obama is sworn in as the President of the United States.  He will be sworn in on the very steps of Capitol Hill that were built in part by the labor of black slaves.  Just consider that for a few seconds.

Someone asked me what advice I would give to Obama if he asked me to be a pastoral/spiritual adviser? 

What advice would you give President Obama?

7  things immediately popped up:

1.  Know who you are.   Honor your convictions but have a humble and listening ear and heart.

2.  Acknowledge and engage in relationship with God.  Pray. Read the Scriptures. Ask the Spirit for guidance.

3.  Remember the people.  Remember those who are the least of these; the poor; the widows; those without voice.

4.  Family.  Love your wife.  Your marriage will be the backbone of your life and presidency.  Your fatherhood is non-negotiable.  Your daughters need you as their father.  Be present.  Period.

5.  Community.  Surround yourself with good, gifted, compassionate, and faithful people.  People who believe in you but those who are unafraid to respectfully share their differences wit you.

6.  Know the difference between Authority and Power.  Don’t abuse your power.  Demonstrate authority…but don’t abuse power.

7.  Be a global leader.  You’re not only the President of the United States but also a global leader.  Reach out your hand…

8.  ____________________

What advice would you give President Obama?

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10 Responses

  1. Ben Lee says:

    Good advices you listed above. My advice to Obama would be:

    1. Fear God. (Duet. 11).

  2. gar says:

    To borrow a verse from my FB profile…

    “Administer TRUE JUSTICE; show MERCY and COMPASSION to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” -Zech. 7:9-10

  3. HC says:

    Love Mercy, Seek Justice, and Walk Humbly.

  4. […] And I can always count on Eugene Cho for color commentary on current events: what advice would you give to president obama? […]

  5. korea says:

    Be a man of prayer.
    Be a family of prayer.

    Be a leader who does the IMPORTANT before the URGENT.
    Prayer is all-important.

    Christ, the example of a leader, modelled that.

  6. chad says:

    8. Talk. To as many people as often as you can (stand). more talk = more perspectives = better insights = better choices

  7. Bret says:

    I would ask him to consider defunding the very profitable “not for profit” organization known as Planned Parenthood:

    Which is what this admendment, introduced yesterday, seeks to do:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h.r.00614:

  8. Jose lavadia says:

    “What advice would you give the president of the United States”

    I Jose Lavadia would tell our president to try keeping the neighbors in touch to maintain America a joyful area. Our president Barack Obama should inspire people to chase their dreams by being a very wise president to make them think “the better you go the better you get” president Obama shall make the poor’s life easier by sending more police forces to the most dangerous ghetto areas. You can find many homeless people in those areas. President Obama should make schools better by putting students in the right grade or class that will make them understand better.
    As a leader of the United States of America, President Obama should start a team to help him through his job which is the hardest job because of this year’s economic crisis. First, President Obama should take care of the economy. Next, President Obama should take care of the war at Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza (Middle East with Israel) for the nations security issues. Last, President Obama should take care of the jobs and settlements to mobilize thousands of unemployed workforces.
    President Obama should repair the infrastructure in the United States which would be a long term project. President Obama should be taking care of the financial crisis that our parents and we children are facing. But the president cannot work his own that he needs to come up a very strong group of political leaders under his command.
    But most of all, our dear President should maintain his direction in leading and serving the nation so that the majority of people will support what everybody is aspiring for including our president.
    May President Obama continue aspire us children to always do well to our country and fellowmen by being true to his service at all times. Our president should

  9. emeka nkwo says:

    Dear Mr. President Obama,

    FIRST OF ALL, I SAY WELCOME BACK CHRIST, NOBODY WAS TOLD HOW CHRIST WAS GOING TO COME BACK, AND NOW THAT HE IS BACK VERY FEW PEOPLE SEEMS TO TO NOTICE.

    EVERYBODY WANTS YOU TO INTERFER INTO IRAN’S CHAOS BUT YOU ALONE AS A MESSAGER THAT KNOWS THE MESSAGE YOU HAVE COME TO DELIVER WILL DO JUST THAT. TAKE YOUR TIME, BUT DO IT RIGHT AND DO NOT EVER LEAVE US WITHOUT FIXING THE PROBLEM. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH RIGHT THING FOR ONCE, HELL, EXCUSE MY LANGUAGE, WHY NOT FOREVER

    I THINK ALL MIDDLE EAST WILL HAVE TO LEARN FROM THIS, SO THAT THEIR CITIZENS WILL SEE THAT THE WESTERN WORLD DO NOT MEAN NO HARM BUT, TO SHOW FREEDOM TO ALL MANKIND. BUT, FOR LONG TIME UNITED STATES HAVE NOT SHOWN LEADERSHIP BY EXAMLPE. THANK GOD WE DO NOW.

    WE WERE WORRIED ABOUT IRAN HAVING UCLEAR WEAPON, NO WE SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT IRAN MALTREATING THEIR OWN PEOPLE. AND THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING, AND OTHERS ARE CONTEMPLATING. THIS A WAR IS UNITED STATES CAN NOT AFFORD TO LOOSE BY INTERFERING.

    TO MAKE WAR IS COSTLY, BUT PEACE IS PRICELESS.

    LET US LEAVE THE EVILS FALL ON THEIR SWORDS. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY.

    HAPPY FATHER’S DAY MR. PRESIDENT

  10. Dear Mr. President,

    Currently the BP Oil Spill is being considered as the worst Oil Spill in the history of our country. As unfortunate as this is the opportunity to help Americans while helping the Ecosystem in the Gulf is right in front of us.

    EMPLOY AMERICANS!!! Employ as many as possible to create a force of staff to help clean up the damage caused by the 17+ Million gallons of Oil leaked into our ocean.

    I am one of the unfortunate Americans who have lost their job but have taken it as an opportunity to start own business. Many Americans do not have this option nor do they have the ability to do so hence the need for employment.

    Please, don’t consider the limited resources you have in the fields required to manage this, soon to be, global issue; the only resources available. Turn our unemployed Americans into a Workforce that can help in this disaster.

    I wish you luck and hope that the wisdom needed to resolve this disaster will be given to you.

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One Day’s Wages

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As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory) May our hearts break for injustice and exploitation - whether abroad or in our own backyard. Spending a few days for @onedayswages in Thailand. Along with one of our board members, I'm traveling with a group of 10 others to learn, listen and visit a few NGOs including one of our partners, @thefreedomstory. Couple days ago, we spent an evening walking through Soi Cowboy. On a given night, about 10,000 people are in the ring of prostitution in Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, and Patpong. Much of this is driven by the consumer demand. Approximately 70% of male tourists go to Thailand for the sex industry.

Human trafficking is complex. Anyone that says otherwise is lying or selling you something. 
To reduce it to simple terms, or simple problems, or simple solutions…cause harmful consequences. While we can all agree that it is sinful, egregious, evil, and wrong…there are many nuances and complexities. It would serve all of us to grow deep in the awareness not just of the larger issue but the nuances and complexities.

When people speak of human trafficking, they tend to be ‘attracted’ to the issue of sexual exploitation. Dare I say it, human trafficking has become trendy as a justice issue.

Clearly, it’s evil and egregious. But to reduce the entire issue of human trafficking into one form is not helpful. Because the mission is to fight the entire injustice of slavery. And if that’s the commitment, we have to not only combat sexual exploitation but engage in issues of poverty, forced labor, commercial exploitation in tourism, land rights and power abuses, organized crime networks, cultural and economic realities, etc.

Oh, it's so complex but we have to be engaged whether in Thailand or in our own backyards. May our hearts break for the things that break the heart of God... More thoughts to come.

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