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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day 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." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago