Eugene Cho

can i just wear my darn shirt?

How ironic that on the day I was wearing my “Africa” shirt, someone emails me these images. Its’ either amazing timing or someone is a stalker. I’m really hoping it’s the former.

My initial vomitaceous thoughts:

  • Yes, we all care about image.
  • Can I just wear my darn shirt?
  • Everything can be criticized No one and nothing can hide.
  • But cynicism aside, can we try to see the “good”?
  • Are there such things as cynical prophetic voice?

Check out the shirt below. What do you think?

Filed under: , , ,

18 Responses

  1. Ben from TIC says:

    I don’t like altruism being co-opted by Starbucks. Just buy our products and you’ve done your penance. Corporations have adopted charities because it’s good marketing and it makes them look good and green. Regarding t-shirts, there is a sense that it becomes more about fashion than about the cause. I remember I wanted the same doctors without borders t-shirt that Jeff Tweedy wore. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the organization, I just wanted to be cool and be the only other person wearing that shirt besides Jeff. Since then I’ve found causes that are near and dear to my heart to support and I’ve never gotten the t-shirt. But, perhaps the t-shirt incentive was a stepping stone for me to find a charity to support?

  2. mo says:

    Yeah it sucks when corporations like Starbucks get involved in charities, simultaneously raising awareness and generating orders of magnitude more money for the cause. The nerve of those people to co-opt MY charity…

    As for the shirt, whatever man. The only way to fight cynicism is to keep doing what you’re doing. Wear your shirt and wear it proud. I have a “i❤ NY" shirt, even though I haven't been to NYC in a decade. I still wear it tho. Who? Because I❤ NYC.

    If you❤ Africa, wear the shirt. All the naysayers are saying is that they❤ crapping on other peoples' parades.

  3. Kevin says:

    In terms of the above shirt — worse case scenario is it’s just a clever idea to make a few bucks. I don’t see it becoming a huge fad. Best case scenario it causes those of us who do buy and wear shirts tied to causes to evaluate why we wear them. Are we doing it just to appear a certain way or are we wearing them to sincerely promote the work of an organization, etc.? If it’s for promotional purposes, do we know enough about the organization/cause to share more with people if they ask about our shirt?

    I personally would love to just wear shirts that promote what I believe in. If someone is offended by it, so what. If someone is influenced/inspired by it, how cool is that? Plus, they often do raise money at the same time.

  4. I LOVE THAT SHIRT.

    Yes, I have a big cynical streak, and I also have a near vomitous distaste for what I perceive to be the common thread of socially-acceptable liberal activism in the Pacific NW (really, mostly Portland and Seattle).

    So yes, I think that shirt is awesome.

    Knowing you and knowing some things about ODW, I don’t think you should feel bad wearing a shirt that promotes ODW or World Vision or any charity that is doing great work in Africa, as long as there is a reason why you think that organization is good and/or is doing good work, other than “my roommate told me they’re good” or “I saw somebody at the Genius Bar wearing one.”

  5. Chris says:

    I’ve heard things like this from people before…a lot of it is from To Write Love On Her Arms shirts. They have become the popular “brand” in the music industry and people feel like people wear them to be cool or trendy or to look like they support a good cause but they might not even really know what TWLOHA is about. So the question is all publicity for a company, non-profit, cause, etc good? Sure there are going to be people that wear it for the trend but at least the money they spent on that shirt goes to something good and not just into someones pocket…

  6. Kyle Reed says:

    I think it is a very creative way of making a point.

  7. Miguel says:

    I have my share of thought-provoking, socially conscious t-shirts and I often tread that fine line between wearing the shirt because to advance a message, or wearing the shirt to advance a message about me.

    If I were to be perfectly honest with myself, I’d say it’s almost always both. On one hand, the message will (hopefully) speak for itself. A shirt like this one, in my opinion, is clear. The image of the African continent has somehow become synonymous with poverty and sickness, and hence, need. For better or worse, I believe this to be true. It’s unfortunate and yet still necessary just the same to keep reminding people of where there is need.

    A shirt like “I suck at math” however, might need some more explaining. If I, a Filipino-American man, were to wear it, the context gives it meaning, but it serves the dual purpose of speaking about myself. It says, “Think about this stereotype” and it also says, “Hey, look at me, I’m the kind of Asian guy who wants to defy a stereotype. In fact, label me progressive and conscious, immediately.” (And there’s my streak of cynicism)

    Those are my thoughts…

  8. Yeah, you should be able to wear your darn shirt. The problem isn’t corporations raising awareness, it’s hipster nerds who want to accessorize themselves with some compassion, despite the fact they don’t really care all that much. Most people who wear a Livestrong bracelet have never done a dang thing for cancer, beyond buy a bracelet. If you really devote your time and energies to a cause, you can legitimately wear your t-shirt.

  9. Joshua Daniel Franklin says:

    In the excellent 2007 Vanity Fair issue, Bono mentions “We believed that to ignore the neon and creative force afforded by corporate America would be to ignore the truth about where most Americans live and work . . . we want them to make money for their shareholders because that will make (Red) sustainable.” (search for “bono message 2u” for the article)

  10. David Knapp says:

    If I gave money to a cause in Africa or whatever I wouldn’t want to announce it on my shirt.

    But I think I might wear this shirt.

  11. I wonder if its a temporary backlash against what is true for some. Social justice sounds cool but its a costlier way of life. So if I can get people to think I’m doing it, then I don’t actually have to do anything. I think the shirt is funny.

  12. marissaburt says:

    That shirt made me laugh.

    But that doesn’t mean I’d stop wearing shirts like that – and we all have them. I have a “freeset” bag that I use for a diaper bag, and about 50% of the time I’m okay with that and glad to have purchased something where the proceeds go to something good (offering sex workers alternative employment). I have no idea if anyone actually wonders what freeset is or if they even care. The other 50% of the time, I am a little sheepish about this kind of “branding”. Maybe it is putting too much thought into my image.

    But reality is such that for those of us with the discretionary income to actually own more than two or three shirts, we tend choose them based on some idea of our image, right? It’s kind of the ridiculous piece of our culture – but it’s so ingrained. And it’s evidenced by the fact that we actually have a response to the witty shirt. If I want to overthink it, I’d say I suppose it depends on one’s motives for wearing a shirt. But better to say, hey, if you like a shirt, wear it.

  13. gar says:

    I laughed when I saw the shirt… does that make me cynical?

    I don’t think it’s necessarily bad for people to wear t-shirts that advocate for causes. If anything, at least the t-shirt is being used to promote something worthwhile.

    I do have a problem with people who wear t-shirts adovcating for a cause and these same people have ZERO idea of what it’s about or the organization named. It’d be like a guy wearing a Sonics t-shirt not knowing who Gary Payton is, or someone wearing a Bob Marley t-shirt who can’t hum any of his songs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

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.

my tweets

  • 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. || 15 hours ago
  • Folks often ask me, "What is social justice?" "Social justice" are fancier words for "Give a Damn". || 15 hours ago
  • RT @EugeneCho: Just met Edna, a sister-in-Christ. She's 90 years old. She met Jesus when she was 85. You're never too young or too old to f… || 17 hours ago
  • Thank you @fullerfyi @KPowellFYI for this important resource about listening, engaging, and discipling young people: churchesgrowingyoung.com || 17 hours ago
  • Just met Edna, a sister-in-Christ. She's 90 years old. She met Jesus when she was 85. You're never too young or too old to follow Christ. || 1 day ago
  • RT @jennysimmons: Hard to convey the profound impact @EugeneCho has had on me. His endorsement of #MadeWellBook means a great deal. https:/… || 1 day ago

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,418,920 hits