Eugene Cho

responding to the BP oil spill

The above video from You Tube – BP Spills Coffee – is hilarious but then again, it’s really not.

In fact, my laughter fizzled half way into the short video into the awkward quasi-half-laughter questioning:

What the heck is going on?

I am no expert and as much as I am trying to read about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (aka BP oil spill), I am simply amazed and petrified that we can’t stop it. How crazy is it that we’ve created this oil spill via the oil rig explosion and we can’t stop it.

Think about this:

We can’t stop it and as a result, it has become the worst oil spill in history – an incredibly horrendous environmental disaster.

How do you feel and how are you responding?

Personally, I feel paralyzed, angry, and uncertain how to respond because its’ so overwhelming. But I’ve come to some personal convictions that even if I don’t quite know how to respond, I won’t allow myself to be paralyzed into doing nothing.

These are small and minute things but they are personal responses and thus important. Here are 5 things we’ve chosen to do:

  1. I’m busting out my bike. Also, my wife never learned how to ride a bicycle. To her credit, she chose to learn how to ride after the BP disaster. I had my doubts but she now knows how to ride and our hope is to use our bikes – particularly for short distances we would just get into our car for.
  2. Family Responsibility: Our family is going bonkers on recycling and composting. I’m also going to limit my usage of water plastic bottles and stop being so lazy and use couple of my numerous water bottles.
  3. Government. I’ve called my representatives in Congress couple times to express concern and ask for accountability. I have my cynicism if this even helps but am trying to make this a regular rhythm of response and civic responsibility as a citizen.
  4. Our church is committing and going green – recycling, composting, educating, and planning another class on the theology of environmental stewardship.
  5. While this was planned way before the oil spill, I’m thankful that we have the platform to chat, learn, and share with the many children of our church. Quest is hosting a summer camp, ReNew VBS, for our children and the focus – while clearly on the gospel of Christ – will also include teaching our children about caring for God’s creation.

Some folks may push back and simply assess this as some sort of liberal and left winged agenda but every Christian – no matter where we align ourselves on the theological spectrum – should believe and live as good stewards of all that God has entrusted unto us including the gift of creation.

If you’re in the Seattle area, I really hope you can join us. It’s free for first time attenders:

Renew VBS [K-6 & Preschool] is going to be an awesome week of fun and games, learning about taking care of God’s creation, and nurturing the seeds of faith in our soul! $12 per kid, first time campers are free. Register online!

But I am curious to hear from you:

How are you thinking and/or responding to the BP oil spill? If at all?


[photo by Charlie Reidel | Newsweek]

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11 Responses

  1. […] the original post here: responding to the BP oil spill « eugene cho   No […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho and Bryna , Beyond BP. Beyond BP said: responding to the BP oil spill « eugene cho http://bit.ly/dqSD0Z #bp #oilspill […]

  3. “I’m busting out my wife.”

    Whuh?

  4. April says:

    I’ve been tuning out the news about the spill out of sense of helplessness/hopelessness. And I think some of it could be described as “disaster fatigue.”

    The VBS sounds great!! We’re in Austin, TX or else I’d be sending my kids for sure! Good luck with it.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      April, I’m sure there’s a church in Austin that will be using the curriculum that we’ll be using called ReNew VBS. I’m fond of the curriculum and put up a promo ad for them on the side of my blog. The company is also partnering with ODW to donate 5% of all sales for one of our water projects.

  5. Jeff Stewart says:

    This is symptomatic of a much bigger problem – a thing called universal sin. It becomes convenient to look at those with magnified consequences and shake our heads in frustration. We can point our fingers and utter eloquent pronouncements. I’m all for accountability, but only if it is appropriated with a personal confession. The leak of tapping from the earth for our own purposes is chaotic. Somehow, someway, I contribute to that chaos. Lord, have mercy on us. Protect us from ourselves.

  6. Joshua Daniel Franklin says:

    Eugene, I am impressed that you and your family are taking concrete steps. I hope that you and Quest can also keep involved locally in advocating for sustainability. This might seem unnecessary in Seattle, but there is always a lot of pushback to change. For example, just last year a 2% tax on raw petroleum failed to pass the Washington state legislature:
    http://daily.sightline.org/daily_score/archive/2010/06/28/olympia-declined-100-million-from-bp

  7. TIC says:

    It’s overwhelming. I wish the world could simply get off oil fast. Let’s learn from this disaster and use it as an opportunity to push clean, alternative fuels for our cars.

    I’ve also been biking to work. Even though I’m sweaty when I get there, my students don’t seem to mind since many of them also bike as an environmental statement (not to mention health reasons).

  8. Monty says:

    Great post, our family is taking responsibility aswell. My kids go to a great school that has some awesome programs to get them focussed on what they can do, paper recycling, worm farms, smarter classrooms.

    During the day we try and build fun experiences for kids that can help them understand why we need to look after the earth http://bit.ly/ciOuaz.

    My concern is that this continuing disaster will just fade from media coverage without BP and the oil industry, governments actually taking responsibility for dealing with the fact that this can happen and catch us out this much. STRAWS!!! Duct tape, swiss army knife and MacGyver type techniques were obviously all that made it to the disaster planning manual😉

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One Day’s Wages

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Breathtaking sunrise above the clouds this morning with such mesmerizing colors. No filter. As I soak in this sunset, 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...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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