Eugene Cho

iran: we are born to be free.

where is my vote

Are you tracking with the developments in Iran? I’d love to hear your thoughts:

How are you processing the election protests in Iran? What are your thoughts & emotions?

The photo above (source: Boston Globe) is so beautiful and powerful. So much emotions. Make sure you check out all the pics from Boston Globe. In addition, here’s some other news sources to check out:

  • CNN // Hatred, chaos and savage beatings in Tehran
  • NY Times // Top Cleric Calls for Inquiry
  • UK Guardian News // Shots fired as more than 100,000 Iranians defy march ban
  • Al Jazeera //Updates on Iran situation

During my couple years in Korea in 1995-1997, I witnessed the ‘protest culture’ of Korea. There were protests nearly every day and on a few occassion, there were protests and marches that involved over a million citizens. I participated in couple of them and it was an incredible experience. When I asked some folks why Korean citizens were so prone to protests, I’ll never forget this one particular answer:

We have had a history of an oppressive government. They sought to crush the spirit and will of the people and while it may have worked on numerous occasions, the spirit of the people and their desire for freedom and to be heard eventually overthrew the military regime in 1985 and ushered in a new era.  We protest today to remind the government that they serve the people and not the other way around.

This is what I see happening in Iran and it is both hard and joyful to see.  You may oppress your people for a period of time but in the long run, you cannot quench the human spirit for freedom.  We were born to be free. God created us to be free.

I appreciated this letter that one of our church folks wrote to his senator from his home state of Texas.  It encouraged me to write my elected officials and I would encourage you to do so as well.

Dear Senator Hutchison,

While the Iraq war has had its setbacks, one of the policy goals in initiating the war was to provide an environment for democracy to take root there and more broadly in the Middle East.

We are now witnessing a historic movement for democracy in Iran with students of the “Green Revolution” protesting the corrupt leadership and stolen election.

I have been following coverage on Twitter and several blogs with excitement as these students bravely challenge their repressive and dictatorial leaders.

I hope that the United States government is doing everything it can to support these students in their struggle for democracy. Specifically I hope we are mobilizing assets to support communications and information infrastructure so that Iranian citizens can remain informed and coordinate their activities in the context of the regime’s crackdown on media and reporting.

Sincerely,

David O.

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13 Responses

  1. Shawn says:

    Thanks for posting the links and insight Eugene.

  2. Bobby Capps says:

    Mission statement of Jesus:
    “To proclaim liberty… and to set at liberty those who are oppressed”
    God created the soul to be free, there is no more powerful gospel mandate than to free it…
    Jesus’ work is freedom work!
    Oh that the church could integrate these realities!

  3. steph says:

    I am sad and encouraged when reading about and seeing what is going on in Iran. I am struck by the courage of all of these young people. I am scared and hopeful.
    It is so easy to imagine this as other-worldly, surreal, removed…. yet my brother-in-law is from Tehran and still has a sibling and parent there. It is strange to watch these powerful events unfold, knowing that they will forever have a profound and lingering effect on the world, and closer to home – on my nephews and brother-in-law, along with our neighbors next door who are also from Tehran. Thanks for blogging about this, Pastor Eugene!

  4. Nancy says:

    I am not surprised by what is happening in Iran. Something in my gut told me that Iran would erupt after I witnessed scenes of the “Green” election rallies. My parents do pre-evangelistic ministry with many immigrants and refugees in Saint Louis. Many of the children I played with when I was young has escaped Iran and Afghanistan with their families. My sister played with a grandchild of the then leader of the Baha’i faith. They had left Iran because the Ayatollah had issued a fatwah against their family. I grew up visiting the home of the former school mistress to the Shah’s family. She lived in a tiny apartment with relics of her former life until she passed some years ago. I loved and respected these people and always knew that I may fear the Iranian government, but I should not fear the Iranian people. I am cautiously hoping that something positive comes of this situation. But we have to remember that though the Iranian people are not the evil monolith that we have been taught they are, they do have different priorities and views of some important issues.

  5. fsh says:

    The recent events in Iran parallels the events that took place in Florida 2000, and Bush v. Kerry in 2004. It is very interesting to say the least. At the end of the day whoever is declared the winner, Moussavi or Ahmadinejad, change will not represent too much as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will still be the most powerful person in Iran. Meaning, impact to foreign policy, nuclear issues, relations with the U.S., and rejection on Isreal most likely will not change. Change is always a step in the right direction, but a revolutionary impact this is not.

  6. I am really encouraged by what’s happening and am rooting for revolution in Iran. I don’t know why but I have a special interest in this country and have for awhile; I think they are grossly misunderstood as a people (though the gov there is far from perfect).

    I encourage everyone to watch Rick Steve’s special inside Iran, and Frontline’s special about war with Iran to hear from the people there directly. That’s the best antidote to simplistic generalizations.

  7. splinterlog says:

    Another point to consider is that Moussavi supported much of the violence of the Islamic Revolution and even approved of the fatwa on Rushdie. The young folk who support him today may be too young to remember all of this but I think his taking on of the mantle of ‘reformer’ is a bit ironic, given the course of his political career.

  8. david says:

    i agree that there’s something innately human about a longing for “freedom”- but i definitely think that term needs further qualification. is it freedom from or freedom for? and how can we balance our perspective on personal liberties with the “freedom” of gov’t to prevent your freedoms from impinging on mine?

    in a theological sense, i do think we are created in many ways to be free- free to choose, free to rebel, free to enact our human agency in God’s world… but i think it’s interesting that the “freedom” God creates us for is in actuality a holistic submission to his offer of covenant. it’s in our abandoning of “personal liberties” in an entitlement culture that we find true freedom in Christ.

    also, i do get just a little nervous when we begin to equate political approximations of “freedom” with justice, or God-given rights to freedom with a political agenda. to confuse the two is to walk a line of imperialism and colonialism that we’ve crossed too often. i’m all for “democracy,” but let’s not pretend that the US’ interest in “supporting democratic movements” around the world hasn’t been bloody, and thoroughly tainted with self-interest at the cost of those on the bottom.

  9. Dan says:

    There’s a strange intersect between Iran and South Korea as the two teams will face each other in a soccer match tomorrow and Iranians are asking South Korean fans (the game will be in SK) to wear green in support of the protesters.

  10. steph says:

    PE, this is so scary. I heard today that the gvmt has blocked access to the internet and phones from inside Iran. My bro-in-law can’t reach his family. I sent a different version of the letter you posted above, to my congressman Mark Schauer.

  11. […] 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm · Filed under Uncategorized Inspired by Pastor Eugene’s blog post on Iran, I just sent a letter to my congressman about what is going on […]

  12. Eugene Cho says:

    @steph: praying for your bro-in-law and so many others.

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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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