Eugene Cho

we’ve blogged about it. now, let’s get together…

skin-deep
I want to follow up on yesterday’s post which I believe has broken the record for the longest title in history: “deadly vipers, mike foster, jud wilhite, soong-chan rah, chuck norris, joyluck club, angry asian man, wanna be ninjas and everyone else.” Yo, that’s how I roll.

I had some good dialogue with Mike Foster yesterday and then a conference call later in the afternoon with Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite (Authors), Chris Heurtz (Director, Word Made Flesh), Soong-Chan Rah (Prof., North Park), Kathy Khang (InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Ministries Director), and Eugene Cho (Pastor, Quest Church). The conversation was facilitated by Nikki Toyama-Szeto (Urbana 09 Program Director).While I had to click out about 40 minutes into the hour conversation, I was encouraged by the honest conversations from everyone involved and the shared conviction that we did not want this to be a one hit (one chat & out) wonder a la Men at Work (remember them?).

As I shared in the post yesterday, I know there’s no ill intent and this is often the case but folks just don’t know how this kind of stuff indirectly and even directly perpetuates stuff that can be harmful and painful.

I know that what I am about to share is not directly linked to DV but I want to share a glimpse of my heart.

I love my kids dearly (now ages 11, 8, and 6) but when they come home and are occasionally distraught over “stuff” they’ve heard at their school (elementary school aged kids!) about their 1) chinky eyes, 2) where are you really from 3) why don’t you go back home, or 4) stories of being alone or eating alone – it tears me up in both forms of that word. I went through it but prayed to God that my kids wouldn’t have to endure through some of that stuff.

One of the comments yesterday (from one of our Quest congregants) got me choked up because my fear is that for some reason or another, they would grow to be ashamed of who they are:

Thanks, Pastor Eugene, for your accurate, thoughtful and gracious response. There are many others that can much more eloquently voice why this is offensive. All I can say is that when I clicked through the pages and graphics of the book on the publisher’s website, I had a strong emotional reaction that made me feel ashamed when I had done nothing wrong to have that feeling put upon me. Yes, please trust us. It’s offensive.

This is about all of us and not just demonizing the “White Privilege” of Caucasian men. I am capable of insensitivity, prejudice, and worse.  Our church is far from perfect. Our church bumbles and stumbles our way in the ministry of reconciliation but we’re committed to engaging in both conversation and actions – even if we know we’ll fall short. But we’ll keep trying because we know that the ministry of all things reconciliation is not an option but part of our discipleship. Currently, our church community is in the midst of a 3 week “depth class” with large group teaching and small groups. And on Saturday, November 14 (10am-2:30pm), we’ll be hosting what is usually our annual conference on Faith & Race. Here’s more info:

Quest Church is pleased to host another one day Learning Conference. In years past, we’ve had the privilege of hosting voices such as John Perkins, Lauren Winner, and Shane Claiborne to speak on how our faith in Christ engages such important issues such as Reconciliation, Gender, and Politics.

This year, we invite our friends, neighbors, and guests from the larger Pacific Northwest and beyond to join us for SKIN DEEP: a conference on faith & race in the church.

We’re all aware that our world including our very own cities and neighborhoods are changing around us. And while we all acknowledge and celebrate the biblical portrait of the WHOLE and DIVERSE Church, we often allow the culture to dictate who we are rather than the gospel to inform and transform us so that we serve as agents of Light & Salt to our world.

Whether we like to admit it or not, RACE and its complexities remain a source of tension and division. For that reason, the Church must be a voice of Hope and Reconciliation.

This year, we welcome Dr. Soong Chan Rah, author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity and professor at North Park Seminary, as our keynote speaker.

We’ll also have several important voices from the Quest Church community including Dr. Brian Bantum (Seattle Pacific University professor), Rebekah Kim (first female Korean-American public school principal in Washington), and Jason Rust (Community Groups Director at Quest). Lastly, we welcome your voice along with what we hope will be over 200 voices joining us. The agenda for the day includes several breakout discussions with hopes that we can bring people from around the Northwest to engage in both dialogue, friendship, and action.

We don’t want any barriers for your participation and per our usual practice, costs are very accessible. Registration is ONLY $10/general and $6/students and this includes lunch. Register here. // Facebook Event

I sincerely hope many of you can join us. I have the privilege of facilitating the conference and I promise you, we’ll sing Kum Ba Yah together. Ok…not really.

Soong Chan Rah

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Dr. Brian Bantum

Jason Rust

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16 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    i’m gonna wait to make-up with a bear hug at the idea camp…(jk)
    Thanks for being approachable and transparent. I appreciate our new online acquaintance and the fact that we represent WA state (holla!)

  2. Josh Deng says:

    I totally agree! The followup is just as important as getting the issues on the table and understood. Hope you can be one to bring you guys together again and further the conversation:)

  3. dewde says:

    You make me want to move to Seattle and be a part of your church.

    peace | dewde

  4. Kacie says:

    Prof Rah is amazing. I heard him a few weeks ago and absolutely loved his message.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho and waynepark, Jim Gray. Jim Gray said: Great post this am from my friend @eugenecho "We've blogged about it.Now,let's get together" http://tinyurl.com/yepoe6x […]

  6. Kathleen Overby says:

    I’m a complete nobody, no platform, invisible, little voice. This whole conversation has been done so appropriately, that it is makes me think of coined phrases like ‘dangerous hope’, ‘ scandalous freedom’ etc. That the movers and shakers of the big family, the bride of Christ can do this important thing publicly is noble. We have always let our kids see us heatedly and intensely discuss important issues in our marriage. They got to see us fight fair, listen, empathize with the other and make up with intimacy and new understanding the reward. You adult to adult are showing the entire christian community how to do it. I’m crying happy tears. My heart is bursting with hope.

  7. daniel so says:

    Eugene – Thanks for your leadership & grace, and for sharing heartfelt words about your kids. My daughter is the same age as your youngest, and it absolutely kills me when she encounters the same kind of racism I endured growing up in the Midwest. It doesn’t matter that SD is a big city with a wide range of people, the same kinds of taunting/ignorance/hatred we grew up is still out there. The four things you describe have all happened to my daughter as well, and I can think of few things that pain my heart more than that.

    I wish I could join you for this Faith & Race conference. It looks incredible — I can’t wait to hear what comes out of this gathering. Thank you for being a proactive force for reconciliation, understanding and the Kingdom of God.

  8. Margaret Yu says:

    Appreciate what you had to say, Eugene. Thanks for your humility ,love and grace to all involved. I appreciate this as an Asian American learning to in touch of her own anger; but to do it in a righteous way. I sense God is teaching all of us to be like Jesus by learning to be angry and yet without sin…..to practice righteous anger with love towards our family of God. This is what it means to follow Jesus!

    Shalom!
    Margaret Yu
    Epic National Director of Leadership Development

  9. David Park says:

    you are the man, e.cho. thank you for your leadership and witness. wish i lived in seattle too, but then you would be too much of an idol to me. infatuation from across the country is much less detectable.:)

  10. Dawn Carter says:

    Eugene:

    Thank you for your words of grace & wisdom. Like @dewde said, it makes me want to move to Seattle and attend your church.

    Appreciate your leadership & transparency.

  11. “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” We’re praising the Lord with you, our brother in Christ!

  12. […] Here’s the write-up from Eugene Cho’s blog […]

  13. If I were in Seattle, I would so go to this conference. Best wishes. Also, I attended Asbury College with Chris Heurtz.

  14. […] Eugene Cho, Charles Lee, David Park, Shaun King, Glennis Shih, Skye Jethani, Drew Hyun, Ed Cyzewski, Daniel So, Jim Gray, DK Daniel Kim, Kathy Khang, and more… […]

  15. profrah says:

    Thanks for your partnership in this Eugene. See you in a few weeks. Where did you dig up that photo?

  16. Eugene Cho says:

    @profrah // hey man. only together can we be a choir.

    found that on your facebook account – i think.

    look forward to you being here in seattle and hosting you at the home. we’ll watch korean dramas together.

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One Day’s Wages

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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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