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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One Day’s Wages

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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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