Eugene Cho

social justice matters because the gospel matters

Social justice.

Those two words – depending on the circles you  roll with – are either really bad news or really good news.

But for the latter, it’s not truly the good news.

But if you truly believe in the good news … as in the Gospel

If you truly believe in the Gospel, then you have to believe that it matters not just for your personal salvation and blessings but God’s pursuit of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the entire world.

I believe in this Gospel.

I live for this Gospel.

And while folks may disagree on the meaning, context, and agenda behind the vernacular or verbiage of such words as social justice…

Christians ought to agree in the Gospel that is revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

  • a Gospel that not only saves but also serves
  • a Gospel that not only saves but seeks to restore all things back unto the One that ushered forth all that is good and beautiful
  • a Gospel that not only saves but ushers in the Kingdom of God
  • a Gospel that not only saves but restores the dignity of human beauty – even in the midst of our brokenness and depravity.

This Gospel is not just for us. It is good news for all

– especially the least, the marginalized, the poor, the forgotten, the forsaken, the alone…

How can we not believe in this kind of Gospel…when this Gospel has been extended unto us?

Truly, the Gospel saves…but thankfully, it does more than save. The Gospel not only saves, but invites us to a life that God intended for us and in that pursuit, God desires for us to

love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly.

One of the things that’s giving me great joy and vitality in this current season of my life  is our church’s commitment to bumbling and stumbling our way in living out the Gospel.

Mind you, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been a culture – rooted in the Scriptures and the Gospel of Christ – that we’ve sought to incubate and incarnate from the beginning of our church.

During the month of November, we challenged and invited the church to help us raise $50,000 over two Sundays to fund the vision of our church’s Justice & Compassion Care Center. The pastors and elders were so humbled and amazed by our church as we collectively gave $70,105.24.

Part of those funds was allocated to hire a Homeless Advocate & Case Manager to work with our Justice and Compassion Pastor and to identify an office space (outside of our small building space) and closer to the main streets of our larger neighborhood.

Something pretty crazy happened: A 2500 square feet office space was extended to us – for free – and to use for the purposes of living out our faith.

the gospel matters…

And so, we begin this week with the mini-renovation process of making the office spaces our own as we get ready to celebrate the open house of the Quest Justice & Compassion Center on the last Sunday of January.

If there are some encouragement I can extend to my readers, fellow pastors, and leaders:

  1. build the culture of biblical justice and compassion. and remember, it takes time
  2. cast the vision again and again – and again.
  3. don’t underestimate yourself, your leaders or your church – especially if you’re a small/medium sized church.
  4. loving your neighbors often means serving your neighborhood.
  5. don’t give up.

Regarding #5, the work of justice and compassion is well…in the long run…not very attractive or dare I say, “sexy.” For example, advocacy for the homeless or housing challenged community is a struggle and if we’re honest, it’s the blog post no one wants to read.

But…the gospel matters.

Update: Here’s an update of the Bridge Care Center (about 9 months post launching) and video:

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17 Responses

  1. Annie M says:

    This is so exciting!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Ben S and others. Ben S said: "How can we not believe in this kind of Gospel…when this Gospel has been extended unto us?" @EugeneCho http://tinyurl.com/2wlrx58 […]

  3. […] because the gospel matters « eugene cho […]

  4. […] Like everyone else I saw the videos and news stories tracing Ted Williams’ meteoric rise to fame. I hadn’t planned on writing about it however, until I read a huffingtonpost.com post by Eugene Cho. I quote: “Stories of redemption & encountering God never grow old. They are the most beautiful stories. We are created in the image of God. We are loved by God. This — in essence — is the definition of human dignity. Indeed, the Gospel matters …“ […]

  5. Jason says:

    Awesome….you guys are an inspiration….

  6. […] Social justice. Those two words – depending on the circles you  roll with – are either really bad news or really good news. But for the latter, it's not truly the good news. But if you truly believe in the good news … as in the Gospel… If you truly believe in the Gospel, then you have to believe that it matters not just for your personal salvation and blessings but God's pursuit of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation for the entire wo … Read More […]

  7. Indeed an inspiration to us all. Never would social justice be negative on the eyes of the people with a pure heart.

  8. […] While it’s true that it’s often the blogpost no one wants to read, it has to matter if the Gospel truly matters. […]

  9. […] The Holy Spirit will convict and change. May our lives simply testify and point to the truth and gospel of Christ. […]

  10. […] Thank you for not only loving Jesus but for living in a way that demonstrates that the Gospel matters… […]

  11. […] The Holy Spirit will convict and change. May our lives simply testify and point to the truth and gospel of Christ. […]

  12. […] Wow. Amazing. Makes me wonder if we truly believe in the Gospel? […]

  13. […] Wow. Amazing. Makes me wonder if we truly believe in the Gospel? […]

  14. […] Cho also tackles this subject on his blog today with this intro, “Today is World Day of Social Justice. Those two words, “Social […]

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Thinking back a few months ago at the "White Temple" in Chiang Rai, Thailand - one of the most intense, heavy, and provocative exhibits/musuems I've walked through. It's also a must see if you're visiting this country.

I'm reminded of the incredibly messy and complex work of justice. Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying or selling you something. Run away fast. As non-profits, mission organizations, or leaders, the temptation is always there to put things into neatly packaged solutions...but that can be dangerous. And simply wrong.

On a recent @onedayswages learning/vision trip to Thailand with @jlin7, our hope was for his team/board to experience many things but particularly:

1. Justice work is indeed very messy and complex and thus, solutions are often messy and complex.
2. The importance of meeting and learning from indigenous, local leaders. No one knows their context better than locals. And of course, we need less Western Savior Complex and more of Learn From Indigenous Leaders Commitment.
3. Injustice exists but Hope still persists.

Be encouraged. Keep persisting. Seek justice.

#onedayswages #jlin7 #linsanity Junior high - Check
14th birthday - Check
Tallest in family - Check
Selfie Master - Check

Still my baby son! This was 10 years ago. I dominated my son in wrestling and I know what you're thinking, "How could you employ a rear chokehold armbar kimura on your own son?" Hey, a competition is a competition.

I love you, son. The world is broken. This ia a sad truth. But the story of redemption is not yet finished. God is not yet done. This is the ultimate Truth. Have hope. Press on. Ten years ago, I witnessed one of those "God things" when a church called Interbay Covenant Church gave itself, its legacy, and a building property worth $7 million dollars to @seattlequest. We were then only 5 years old.

Quest is an urban, multiethnic churchplant that started in 2001. We rented the facilities at Interbay Covenant Church - a predominantly older, mostly Anglo congregation with a rich 65 years history. After some time, Pastor Ray Bartel (senior pastor, Interbay) approached me with a "crazy idea" of Interbay "dying to itself and giving itself to Quest" for the sake of the greater Kingdom and the coming generations.

This eventually led to three years of many conversations and prayers. On June 3, 2007, the two churches officially came together to become one church. In giving itself, Interbay also shared their leadership, legacy, and stories. They also gave all of their assets without any strings and without any debt.

Their radical generosity and courage is what enabled Quest to grow - not just numerically - but deeper in discipleship, and deeper in missions - to the city of Seattle and beyond. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of this merger, we created a short film (check my FB page to see the video) to tell the story - so that our church and the next generations may never forget and that the larger Church may be stirred and encouraged by a greater Kingdom vision.

Thank you, Interbay! The NBA season is over but the hustle and grind continues for my daughter. We argue sometimes but I love training my daughter. She's working hard for her senior year next year. Starting point guard. She's improved a lot. She's one of the quickest players on the floor and has a great midrange jumper. But trying to get her to keep working on her handles, using her off hand and shoulder to protect the ball,  staying and dribbling the ball lower to the ground, and playing aggressive and downhill while remaining in control. That's what we're working on this week. #hoopdreams #ChovarBall

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