Eugene Cho

building bridges > burning bridges

Do yourself a favor and watch this. It’s 7:15 minutes long but well worth your time.

Such a substantive leadership lesson in itself by Bill Hybels as he explains why Howard Schultz withdrew his commitment as a speaker at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit (held on August 11-12). And furthermore, how he and Willow Creek are responding…

I was particularly convicted and stirred by these  leadership ideas:

Build rather than Burn Bridges

I’m not a huge Howard Schultz fan. Honestly, I’m sure he’s a swell guy but the whole Seattle Sonics fiasco has left me a little very bitter. I would have used the opportunity to subversively question Howard’s character but Bill offers three suggestions to exemplify grace:

  • asks people to contact Howard and Starbucks to invite him back.
  • blesses him by encouraging folks to buy his book.
  • asks people to go buy Starbucks.

Wow. I would have offered some other suggestions that I’m too embarrassed to share on the blog.

Throw stones first. Ask questions later.

Lastly, I resonated with Hybels’ concerns about the growing culture of
“Throw stones first. Ask questions later.” Respect and civility seem to be a growing issue – not just in the public forum of politics but in our broader society – especially as it pertains to our engagement with whom we have disagreements.

  • If you don’t support homosexuality, you’re anti-gay.
  • If you support gay rights, you’re anti-marriage.
  • If you don’t support women in leadership, you’re anti-women.
  • If you support women in leadership, you’re anti-Scriptures.
  • If you don’t support the war in _________, you’re anti-American.
  • If you don’t support Eugene, you’re anti-Eugene.

I want to go on the record and declare that I”m anti anti-________. I’ve neutralized your anti-ness. And I’m brilliant.

Really…We often live as people who are defined by what we are against and not necessarily, what we are for.

Seriously,  it’s hard to love your enemies when you can’t even hear what they’re saying…

Which is another reason why building bridges > burning bridges (a la the video below).

Your turn: What did you think of Hybels’ chat?

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11 Responses

  1. Johnny says:

    Starbucks is as bad as McDonalds for America and the world. I wish more articles would explore how being so overcaffeinated is harmful to our physical health. Pumping your body with caffeine to get you through the day is probably a sign that you need a new job or need some pruning in your life. And it’s weird seeing kids as young as junior high students beginning the coffee habit thanks to the 11,000 plus Starbucks in our country. We need to call out Starbucks more like we do the fast-food chains for the way they’re ruining out bodies.

  2. m says:

    Love Hybel’s response, though I doubt that type of response would’ve saved the sonics from becoming the thunder….
    I would love to be a fly on the wall in the meeting between Hybels and whoever it was that started the online petition. As much as Christians get criticized for judging/condemning homosexuals, it seems like homosexuals do a lot of judging/condemning Christians themselves….

    @Johnny: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food

  3. jchenwa says:

    I like how he suggests to write to Howard Schultz. Even CEOs have feelings too. And of all people those who understand persecution, those people would be the Jewish people. A little noise by some doesn’t change the great and also beneficial business Mr. Schultz created. At the end of day, we all must be accountable to GOD, our LORD Jesus Christ. Whether we serve Him or not, whether we are favored or not. I can learn from Bill Hybels example of gentle and trusting (in GOD to correct) teaching, correction, or admonishing (take your pick).

  4. Ann F-R says:

    Eugene, thank you for articulating what all of us feel when faced, even indirectly, with criticism, penalties and threats for simply standing with Jesus. We can so naturally move away from Jesus, too, as we’re responding to those fearful responses! Bill Hybels’ gracious & loving care for the person who has been held hostage by those who want to live otherwise exemplifies how all of us are called to follow Christ. Hybels has truly allowed the Good Shepherd to guide his steps.

  5. ycw says:

    Eugene,
    You and Bill seem to be genuine in your desire to show love to others. That is something we can all learn from. My only issue with what Bill said was the thing about scripture defining appropriate sexual behavior within heterosexual marriage only. Is that how we should really understand scripture?
    Anway, keep building bridges our way- I am one person who is trying to build bridges your way too- to reconcile my relationship with Christians and with Christ and hopefully in the process to be a peacemaker in the gay community – I pray that gay people will be encouraged by my words, actions, and attitude to stop throwing stones and start working towards peace and love toward others, even Christians.
    Peace,
    Ycw

  6. uthguy says:

    Change.org (who petitioned Mr. Schultz) started as a great idea I’m sure but like any thing that demands actions it has someones passion behind it. The passion that is driving what is happening now isn’t promoting positive action its bullying the very people it accuses of being bullies. They have petitioned the Texas Rangers to play videos about embracing the gay lifestyle whether or not its their position. Im sure this will be infringing on several players beliefs as they follow the teachings of Jesus also.

  7. Annette says:

    Much as I love and use social media, it’s sad to see how bullies have taken over much of the space. Vitriolic comments posted by anonymous people. Would they do this face to face, I wonder? Starbucks is better than many coffee chains, in that they did a deal with Ethiopian coffee growers a while back, to ensure the producers got a better deal. Like McDonald’s, they provide a lot of jobs for young people, new immigrants, part time workers and the semi-retired. Coffee is good for the brain (drunk in moderation!)

    Bill Hybels was gracious in his response. It was very Christian. My brother (who died in ’09) was gay. He never liked Christians as a result, because he had a hard time from them. He didn’t like my renewed faith, but I always loved him and challenged others’ views of him/homosexuality. Our ‘enemies’ want to make enemies of us, so let’s be especially gracious to them.

  8. Jeff Wilson says:

    What a pansy comment. No wonder people can’t figure out Christianity if this is where our leaders are coming from.

  9. I think we need more people taking this approach to leadership. Well life in general.

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One Day’s Wages

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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.

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