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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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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  • The Gospel, not social justice, is our identity as believers but the Gospel compels us to love God/love people incl. work 4 the common good. || 12 hours ago
  • Folks often ask me, "What is social justice?" "Social justice" are fancier words for "Give a Damn". || 12 hours ago
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