Eugene Cho

you are not alone: an interview with jim wallis

Recently, I had the privilege of spending some time in Washington DCwhere I also announced my entrance (and short lived) into politics. There, I met some old friends, made some new friends (will post my interview with The ONE Campaign next week), and was also able to spend some time and interview Jim Wallis. For those that aren’t familiar with Jim, he is an ordained minister, evangelical Christian writer, activist, and also the founder and president of Sojourners.  The mission of Sojourners is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world. Jim’s most prominent books are entitled, God’s Politics and The Great Awakening.

In the interview, I attempted to break him down, reduce him to tears, talk trash about his alma mater Michigan State, and tried to compel him to jump up and down on his chair professing his love for his wife and children…but alas, we just talked about life, family, Scriptures, following Christ, and the pursuit of justice. All beautiful things. (For those that are reading this via a RSS reader, you can view the video here.)

Years ago, I felt very alone because I was trying to integrate my faith with justice. It made sense to me but I was often criticized for being liberal, a heretic, or in need of serious repentance.  I was often told:

Just focus on Jesus.

And my response was often:

Exactly. That’s why we need to do more than believe.

I am, foremost, a follower of Jesus Christ. I’ll never hold back my devotion to Jesus. The Triune God informs and transforms me; compels me to follow after Christ… But, I’ll never hold back from the conviction that believing in Christ changes everything. And thus, I believe that God calls us to Love Mercy, Seek Justice, and Walk Humbly (Micah 6:8). Furthermore, I want to take the invitation of the ministry of reconciliation – seriously, passionately, and faithfully (2 Cor. 5:18). God calls us to be a voice and speak up (Proverbs 31:8-9):

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

During my participation last week in the Mobilization to End Poverty conference, I was encouraged to see so many young people at the conference. I was reminded again last week what God reminded me years ago when I felt like I was drowning in loneliness and my Elijah complex:

You are not alone…

Filed under: bible, christianity, church, culture, emerging church, pastors, politics, , ,

4 Responses

  1. splinterlog says:

    Great interview. Cornel West next? 🙂

  2. Jim Chen says:

    Thanks for that P.E.!

  3. Steve says:

    I think the church in the U.S. is still reeling from the fundamentalist and modernist rift that happened a century ago, and this is why many Christians still preach a truncated Gospel without having the kingdom in their big picture. If we can truly understand what God’s kingdom is really about (and what it requires us to do), then the church will come to know that justice, politics, the environment (to name a few) are entry points for the world to know and experience the liberating grace of Jesus and his Gospel

  4. alliehope says:

    Great interview. I’ve always admired Jim Wallis, and his teflon coating!

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. 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)

my tweets

  • To support both the equality of women & the dignity of the unborn feels like a very lonely place to be but we're not alone. May we press on. || 17 minutes ago
  • Going to the Women's March in Seattle bc as a Christian, I believe women are fearfully and wonderfully made and are to be heard & respected. || 3 hours ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 3 hours ago
  • God bless America...so that we may be a blessing to the hurting, poor, vulnerable, immigrants, oppressed, marginalized. God bless America. || 1 day ago
  • Hope arrived. Not in a politician, system or "great" nation. Rather, hope arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. Place your hope in Christ. || 1 day ago
  • Whatever our political inclinations, may we have courage to both genuinely pray for our leaders and to speak prophetic truth to their power. || 1 day ago

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