Eugene Cho

we are the most over-rated generation in human history

Ideas.

I’ve always been an ideas person.  And I think in many ways, it speaks to the numerous privileges and opportunities we all have in our lives.  I am certainly an example of someone with abundant privileges and opportunities.

Having said that, I think it lends itself to this theory that I have that we are part of the most over-rated generation in human history – because we have access to so much data, info, resources, modes of communication…but end up doing so little. We tweet, blog, talk, preach, retweet, share, etc…and while I’m not diminishing that the aforementioned things aren’t actions per se but what are the “count the costs” behind our actions? What are our sacrifices?

Or how does that verse go?

Much has been given…and much is to be expected. (Luke 12:48)

Or another way to look at it is that we tend to fall in love with our ideas more than actually doing something with these ideas to honor God, serve our neighbors, and advance the Kingdom and causes of mercy, justice, and compassion.

I recently spoke at a conference called The Idea Camp in Portland, Oregon.  My topic was about ideas and the cost of pursuing those ideas. I spoke with Dan Merchant, director of Lord, Save us From Your Followers and the discussion was hosted by Charles Lee, founder of the Idea Camp.

As you’re watching this video (below), one great way to support One Day’s Wages is to invite your friends to become fans of our Facebook Page and consider donating one day’s wages (approximately 0.4% of your annual salary). It’s insignificant to us but it will have a dramatic impact for those living in extreme global poverty.

Can you take 1 minute to do join and visit the Facebook group? It’ll be a huge blessing to our work.

Ideas are nice but let me leave you this thought:

Ideas are secondary. The person behind the idea is more important than the idea.

And so, it still comes back to you:

  • Who are you?
  • What are you about?
  • What’s your commitment?
  • What sacrifices do you need to make?
  • What are you doing to live out your dreams, passions, and ideas?

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23 Responses

  1. Kyle Reed says:

    Eugene, great points here.

    I think one of the major reasons that we are the most overrated generation is because we have lost the allurement of dreaming. Our blessing is having access to so much information, but also our curse is having access to all that information.
    I think that we have seen reality and we have been told over and over that you cannot do this or do that, you just have to fall in line and be in the box.
    The reason we are over-hyped is because we have been taught to stay safe and comfortable in a box that is predictable when in all reality we need people to get outside of the box, outside of their comfort zones and make a difference.

  2. David says:

    I’m committed to showing students Jesus. Some of that comes through teaching, some through programing, but mainly through mobilizing. Teaching students that they are valuable and there voice in culture is valuable.
    I think that’s what Jesus did with His disciples and it made their faith come alive.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Bill Kinnon. Bill Kinnon said: RT @eugenecho: We r the most over-rated gen in history because we are more Lovers of Ideas rather than Doers: http://bit.ly/53PPkU // Ouch! […]

  4. Eugene, a gentle push back. I would offer that our generations are the most active in history. And I would use you as an example. You took the huge risk to create One Days Wages. And there are so many people just like you creating compelling ideas. Idea Camp showed proof of that.

    Part of the rub might be in having so much media present that we assume all we do is talk. But history reveals that this dialog process is critical to not killing each other. And it has take close to 30 years to deal with what it means to be the first wired generation. Now as the dust settles we realize we have the capacity to actually do something.

  5. Min says:

    I didn’t like this when you brought this up at a conference you spoke at and I still don’t like it but I think the reason why I don’t like it is because…it’s true.

  6. Matthew says:

    Pastor Eugene,

    I agree with the sentiment here, if not the actual argument. This same argument was actually the primary critique of ‘the present age’ made by Soren Kierkegaard back in the 1840’s – he saw the growing access people had to resources preserved previously only to the extremely privileged, and noted how easy it was becoming for people to espouse views without COMMITTING to them. So I don’t think it is a condition endemic to this generation specifically – rather it is a symptom of a deeper illness going back further, but exacerbated now by the postmodern hyperreality of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc.

    Still, thank you for sharing this, and I pray that some of your regular readers (including myself) begin to take it more seriously. I also like to think of myself as an ‘ideas’ person, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having or developing or sharing ideas per se, except when it distracts us from the question of where our most important commitments lie.

    God bless,
    Matthew

  7. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by kinnon: RT @eugenecho: We r the most over-rated gen in history because we are more Lovers of Ideas rather than Doers: http://bit.ly/53PPkU // Ouch!…

  8. Eugene, I have to disagree with you on this. This is not a generational problem but a fact of humanity. Humans ingest vast amounts of information, generate many ideas, and do only a few things. It’s not a moral issue at all but a natural limitation. Novel writers read hundreds of books for each they write, musicians listen to more music than they produce, etc.

    It’s also (uncharacteristically for your blog) totally untrue: If there’s one thing that marks my generation is that we do more than any before us. We know more, we write more, we connect to more people, we consider more perspectives, and we are more effective at our jobs so that we accomplish far more in less time than our parents would have.

    I’m really confused about the tone of this post. If I had to characterize the primary emotion in this post I’d say “shame”. Is this connected to some other conversation that I’m not aware of that would explain this better?

    • Eugene Cho says:

      No need to be confused.

      These are my thoughts. Not trying to ‘shame’ people but simply expressing my thoughts.

      I’m glad that you and others disagree with me. That’s great and encouraging to hear that you and others have a different perspective.

      Coming onto 40 in the upcoming year, I think I’m feeling more of a sense of urgency…

    • Eugene Cho says:

      OOOOHHHH.

      Wait a minute. I hope you didn’t read this post as a shame tactic to get people to support ODW.

      I hope not.

      • @Eugene: no, no! I didn’t take it as a guilt trip:) Sorry if I gave that impression. I just meant that the general tone seemed pretty far to one side of the grace-shame spectrum. I was looking for something like “How has the goodness of God in your life inspired you to make risky changes to act on your ideas rather than just think about them.”

        • Eugene Cho says:

          I hear what you’re saying.

          I guess my response is that in the background of what I write and share and my general tone of leadership, I feel it’s okay to share that “brutally honest” personal thoughts.

          But yes: everything we do is in response to the goodness of God. I say a hearty ‘amen’ to that.

  9. danderson says:

    Eugene,
    Count me in as one who agrees with you on. Our pastor at church last evening highlighted a book — can’t remember the name — where the author’s paradigm is one of technology taking the place of God. Indeed, technology has become a god. I’m also afraid of a 1930s-style Depression hitting this country. Because collectively we have so much more money and stuff in this country, we will not know how to respond when there is a time of drought or famine. In short, we don’t know what it’s like to feel suffering as much of the rest of the world does.

    Appreciate your work with ODW. I currently support a variety of orgs, so don’t know how it fits in with what you’re doing.

  10. Maddie says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I too am an ideas person and find it hard to coherently get what I am trying to say across let alone put it into action. But I agree with what you’re saying; we are so often deemed the generation that can change the world, but its not enough to think it or dream it, without doing a thing about it. We’re all willing to be Christians….. to a point. And I feel that’s where the problem lies. Jesus teaches us to love sacrificially, to dare ourselves to live a life which may not be easy or comfortable but which is part of God’s loving conspiracy. If we could live and love more sacrificially, I think this generation could perhaps live up to its potential

  11. […] we are the most over-rated generation in human history Ideas. I’ve always been an ideas person.  And I think in many ways, it speaks to the numerous privileges and […] […]

  12. Dustin Cross says:

    great post with resonates with one that Ken Loyd did a few backs:

    http://kenloyd.net/?p=610

    Great butt kicking stuff

  13. […] Are we really the most overrated generation in human history? […]

  14. lukedaniel says:

    Overrated… jurys still out

    Whiplash… considering we went from flying in paper planes to the moon in less than 70 years… from isolated communities communicating solely by telegraph and post to an extremely connected global network in less than 150 years… yes. Definately whiplash.

  15. […] Some interesting thoughts on Eugene Cho on how we are the most overrated generation. […]

  16. […] I’ll be posting up a schedule of my speaking events for the rest of the year in the next couple days but wanted to put a heads up for the Northwest community in case you were interested in attending the TEDx Seattle next Friday, April 16 (8.30am-5pm) at the Pacific Science Center (IMAX Theater). I have the honor of speaking about the impact of social media, action, and the story of One Day’s Wages. I’m thinking of titling my chat:  “We are the most over-rated generation in human history.” […]

  17. facecake says:

    is that a chick or dude in the picture this will settle a huge debate within my friends and I.

  18. […] I think so. I’m referring to a blog post he created in November 2009 about how we tend to fall in love with our ideas more than actually […]

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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

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.

my tweets

  • Remember the fallen. Honor our soldiers. Pray for leaders. And remember that we serve the Kingdom of God rather than the Empire of Nations. || 1 day ago
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