Eugene Cho

women’s day, girl effect, and 10 reasons

womensilence

I am joining others on this day to mark International Women’s Day and in this small way, contribute to the celebration of their voices, gifts, and presence and highlight the need for continual justice.

Each year on March 8 the world takes time to observe International Women’s Day. It is a day dedicated to the celebration of women’s social, economic and political achievements worldwide. In the United States, this official day of observance is rooted in women’s efforts to campaign for rights to work, vote and hold public office, culminating on March 8, 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to sweatshop conditions and child labor. In the early 1910s, the concept gained recognition in the international community and grew momentum as women across Europe continued to fight for the right to work and protest against ensuing world conflict.

There are also others on the blogosphere also highlighting the voices of women in the Bible.  One female voice that has recently spoken to me in surprising new ways is Lydia from Acts 16:11-15.  My church is currently going through the book of Acts and I recently preached on that text [mp3] covering Paul, Lydia, power, and transformation.  Paul went to Phillipi and likely sought out the synagogue [and men] but it did not exist.  He went outside the city gate to the river – again expecting and hoping to meet men since that was his strategy.  I love this passage because we see how it wasn’t Paul’s intent, strategy, or plan but God surprises and blesses him nevertheless by introducing him to Lydia who if you read through the text, can safely assume that she was an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, and someone who was a “worshiper of God.”  The Lord convicts her and she not only responds to the gospel of Christ but her whole life is transformed from one particular worldview epitomized by the power of purple to the power of Jesus.  Her whole household comes to faith through her. And eventually, she works alongside Paul and his cronies to plant a church in Phillipi – at her home.  Pretty amazing.  

May we commmit and re-commit ourselves to welcoming the voices of women to the Church. 

The reality is that we need to be investing in all our young boys and girls but in many parts of the world, the balance is skewed in such a way that being born a girl is to trek uphill your entire life – like the story of Shamia who had acid thrown on her face because she dared to go to school. This video, entitled Girl Effect, is a good reminder of the positive influence we can have on young girls and beyond.

Last year, I posted two entries that may be of some interest: Ultimate Fighting Jesus and Conversation with Rob Bell [re: women in ministry] and while we’re at it, I’m re-posting the infamous 10 reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained For Ministry .  It’s just too funny not to share again.

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.

8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.

7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.

5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.

4. Pastors need to nurture their congregations. But this is not a traditional male role. Throughout history, women have been recognized as not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are prone to violence. No really masculine man wants to settle disputes except by fighting about them. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was betrayed by a man. His lack of faith and ensuing punishment remind us of the subordinated position that all men should take.

1. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the church roof, and perhaps even lead the song service on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.

Filed under: christianity, church, , ,

25 Responses

  1. joanne says:

    wow, hahahahaa..did you you write this? i like #7.

  2. Jen Walters says:

    Well, You had me ready to fight before I read this, but now I find you to be very wise and insightful . I believe that God is definitely speaking to you on this important subject Pastor . ;)Jen

  3. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  4. Stacy says:

    Thank you Pastor Cho. Excellent, encouraging word. Continue to be a voice.

  5. […] on The God Who Sees Kathy Escobar on standing up for the nameless and voiceless women Eugene Cho on Lydia Pam Hogeweide on the secret weapon of teenage […]

  6. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the […]

  7. Bethany says:

    #5 is my favorite. And, I can only conclude that your ponytail an attempt to negate the effects of your roguish good looks on your female congregants. How very noble, PE.

  8. Liz says:

    Lots of good stuff here. I would be interested in knowing what you think of my take on the story of Martha and Mary. You can find it here: http://gracerules.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/mary-and-martha-a-story-about-gods-radical-hospitality/

  9. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Miz Melly preached on the woman at the […]

  10. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Miz Melly preached on the woman at the […]

  11. Kimberly George says:

    Thanks so much for this great post, and for using your voice and platform to make others aware of the importance of dialoguing about these things!

  12. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Miz Melly preached on the woman at the […]

  13. […] Brennan – Mary Magdalene Deb – Deborah Ellen Haroutunian – Out from under the veil Eugene Cho – Lydia Happy – Abigail Helen – Esther Jan Edmiston – The unnamed concubine Jessica Schafer – Bathsheba […]

  14. joel says:

    This is an excellent post and one that i struggle with. Not the notion of women in church or the validity of their voice…that should never be in question, but that it tends to be a subject not dissimilar to your recent post on the homeless — sure we talk a good game, but how many ‘progressive’ churches have their own version of the man show every sunday. sure, women sing or offer a standard greeting replete with announcements but how many truly listen? is it enough to simply suggest that a group of pastors’ listen to their wives or have the obligatory woman children’s pastor? i’m beginning to think that even in the midst of some the ‘liberating’ verbiage and ‘action’ some churches take, it’s simply a means with which to control their voice.

    ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, but we gave them a set at the conversation, but nobody said we have to take them seriously.’

    well, that’s how i’ve experienced it. for most pastors, especially in youth ministry, girls or women have been relegated to an after thought or filler. never first on the programing agenda…and that’s a major issue and another area where pastors pay lip service.

    the number of guys that have posted on this topic might be a clear enough example of this…

  15. Heather says:

    Man, I went back first and read the rob bell interview and was like, Amen! These are questions I’ve been pondering myself as we see now that many people are being raised up like Rob Bell and unfortunately none of them are women, and/or of any other color than caucasian/european. Since i am a mix of both and a woman and was both of the world and am now of His kingdom, I’ve struggled with this personally, searching scripture and seeking God’s advice on how men & woman can seriously encourage and sharpen one another, instead of what we so often see. Maybe that’s why things have gotten so out of balance in the church, because we’ve chosen to counter act the worlds advocacy towards equality between men and woman by affirming men’s authority and leadership over us or the sanctity of marriage and our male/female roles in marriage? A couple of people come to mind that have a strong voice in this family friendly arena.

    If we are the hands and feet, then definitely a hand or foot is cut off from the body as a whole when woman aren’t asked to participate, outside the nursery. So, i just want to thank you for bringing this topic and also for being what you’ve not seen and being willing to be a voice of reason that is scripturally based. We’re (the church) spending a lot of time talking about physically where a church should be, building vs. home…but maybe we should be looking at how we operate as a body of believers including both men and women first?

    I was thinking the other day, about my job in the world and how i’m asked to give input and expected to contribute my experience and expertise; with the goal being that we’re collectively as a team making decisions. Why is it when i enter into ‘church culture’ that this changes so drastically? Continually wrestling with these things, but knowing that I also have to be a voice and not just wait for a man to do it for me….right? Although, I think it should be a team effort.

    Heather

  16. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Miz Melly preached on the woman at […]

  17. kathyescobar says:

    hey eugene, i am glad your voice is out here. good video. i do hope we keep pouring into those that normally wouldn’t have a chance, whatever that looks like, and see what can happen with a little love, support, and encouragement in a really intentional way. i think it can change far more than we can imagine. thanks for the work you do! kathy

  18. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Miz Melly preached on the woman at the […]

  19. […] on Shiphrah and Puah Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba Eugene Cho on Lydia Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible Miz Melly preached on the woman at the […]

  20. […] I “borrowed” this from Eugene Cho’s blog, pastor of Quest. Check out his blog called women’s day, girl effect, and 10 reasons. […]

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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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