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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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. 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.

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