Eugene Cho

so sad that my parents have only 19 friends

Have you seen this commercial about a car called Venza (video below)?

I have no idea about the car. In fact, I’ve never even heard about this car from Toyota but I did see the commercial for the first time last night and laughed out loud or LOL or ROFLOL or whatever it is that people write nowadays.

Absolutely brilliant.

Funny, biting, and surprisingly provocative because it directly or indirectly asks some probing questions about “our generation” and social media:

  • Are we more connected?
  • Are we more social?
  • Are we more engaged in community?

Or even deeper yet…

Are we happier than our parents or our parents’ generation?

My parents aren’t on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and the last time I checked, they weren’t using MySpace. They don’t own a smartphone, an iPhone, 3D phone, iPad, Blackberry, but a dumbphone that just calls and answers.  They don’t instragram, Foursquare, check-in, Gowherehuh, etc. And while they do use a laptop and email, they seem to do absolutely great connecting with friends without usage of the great and indispensable gifts of social media.

I don’t know if they’re happier but they certainly understand the importance of connectedness and community.

Minhee and I have been begging my parents (who reside in San Francisco) to move up to Seattle to live with us or live close to us. We love them. We want to be around them. We’d love their help with the kids. We want our kids to spend as much time with them as possible. We want to care for them as they age. And our list goes on and on why them moving to Seattle makes sense.

But they can’t make the decision to move because…well…their community are all in San Francisco.

It was news to me: Community matters as much to my parents as it does for us. In fact, I might contend that it may actually matter more since they don’t lean at all on the over-inflated experiences of feeling connected via social media.

“This is living…”

It’s difficult to quantify an answer to the question, “Are we happier?” but as great are the benefits and merits of social media, I do wonder if we – in our current generation – actually love telling the story of our stupendous lives via 140 characters, check-ins, facebook statuses, and other mediums more than being fully present in that moment.

I’m certainly been there. Done that.

My parents? They love telling stories, too. But I noticed it happens after the event. And with real people in the flesh around them. And over a meal or with food and drinks involved. And they don’t LOL…they actually laugh out loud.

Go figure.

What do you think?

Here’s the commercial:

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15 Responses

  1. Thanks for this. One of the surprising trends that Andy Crouch said to look for is that young adults are making decisions based on their community instead of their job. I guess it’s not just the “young” people!

    “At the Q gathering in 2010, urbanologist Richard Florida observed that young adults meeting one another no longer ask, “What do you do?” They ask, “Where do you live?” More and more people will change careers in order to stay in a place—connected to family, friends, and local culture—than will change place to stay in a career. The 20th-century American dream was to move out and move up; the 21st-century dream seems to be to put down deeper roots. This quest for local, embodied, physical presence may well be driven by the omnipresence of the virtual and a dawning awareness of the thinness of disembodied life.”
    http://www.qideas.org/blog/ten-most-significant-cultural-trends-of-the-last-decade.aspx

  2. Drew Brown says:

    I think the reason why social networking is so popular is because it “satisfies” our hunger to be connected with other people, but without all the hurt that comes from real relationships.

  3. Jim says:

    “I read an article. Well, I read the majority or an article online…”

    So funny. And then I stopped laughing because I realized it was making fun of me.

    Darn it.

  4. Rebecca says:

    LOL
    LMAO
    ROTFL
    ROTFLMAO

  5. Daniel Azuma says:

    I think I’m going to skip my usual philosophical-theological tirade against technology and social media, and… go out for a bike ride. 🙂

  6. Dennis Lyons says:

    I love your work/ministry, whatever you want to call it! You are always right where I’m thinking, which probably isn’t very mainstream. Yes, I’m one of thoose older people who has started to do some networking, but mostly to stay connected to my kids; who don’t cal as much as they text, facebook, and what ever else it is they do. I try to stay connected to friends from church,etc. but it does seem that most arr going with tech. for communication,,,,it would be nice to just go out to dinner sometime!!!

  7. jddoug17 says:

    Eugene, thanks. Helpful for a talk I’m doing at a Ministry Net conference. Have to keep remembering–it’s about real people. Real community.

  8. […] 8 minutes of this month. I’ll refrain rom saying the best used 8 minutes of your life because that would be sad if watching a video is the highlight of your […]

  9. […] you seen the new Toyota Venza commercial? It’s the one where the teenage actress says, “I read an article online, well I read the […]

  10. The Count says:

    What? Why no comment on the irony of this sad little girl tweaking her parents for having a life she can’t relate to.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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