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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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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