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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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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